Over the last month, I have been interning at an employment agency to try to get some job skills that I can put on my job resume. I have done something like this before but it was an entirely different experience because my first job training was not right the fit and, to be honest, just ended in total misery!  My anxiety was through the roof when working at my first training and, to be honest, working another job terrified me because I was not sure if it was going to be the same way or if my pain was going to get unbearable. Luckily this second training was nothing like the first training and completely different experience! I had a lot of negative feelings going into this training because of my first job but now that I have completed here are a few things I have learned!

Phone Calls- Before I started this training this employment agency was very aware of my prior experience with making phone calls and understood that I get very overwhelmed if I have to make a lot of them. This employment agency was trying to teach me useful job skills but they wanted to do it in a way that was not too overwhelming so even though I did have to make phone calls I only had to make three to four a day and they gave me a script that I could read if I wanted to help reduce my stress and anxiety levels!

Environment- In my first job I worked in a doctor’s office and it was only me and the physician in charge so there wasn’t really anyone to talk to.  Sometimes because I was so stressed out I would have gastrointestinal issues and had to leave so the physician I worked for sometimes would say things that would be considered rude and insensitive like have you consider getting your issues fixed? Geez, I hadn’t thought of that! I don’t think my employer at my first job meant anything personally or was trying to hurt my feelings but just didn’t understand that I have my condition as well-managed as I possibly can. Luckily in my second job training, they were more understanding of my condition because they are used to working with people with disabilities and there was always someone to talk to you. I got real friendly with the receptionist who also has Spina Bifida and because we both have something in common we always had something to talk about.

New Skills- In my first training a lot of the stuff I did was self-taught and to be honest that is a huge reason I didn’t like it. I have never had an office job so I need someone who has the time and is willing to train me and luckily in the second training that was the case and I learned some new skills! Since I am a blogger and I am very tech-savvy  I didn’t learn as many skills as I thought would because most things they were teaching me I already knew. Yes if you compare my compare knowledge to average millennials I will be offended because I have designed a website that is more complicated than you may think and most millennials do not know how to do that.

Appreciation- I cut my first job training short because I was too stressed out and just couldn’t handle it. When I quit my first job instead of thanking me for my time she just gave me a bunch of business cards and asked me to continue promoting her business. Yesterday when I ended my second training I had a completely different feeling because instead of giving me a bunch of business cards the volunteer coordinator(the person who was training me) and developmental director both wrote me nice thank you cards thanking me for my time and that I was a huge help. I understand my employer in my first job may have needed help promoting her business but a thank you would have gone a long way!

Pain-  In the first training I didn’t have to worry about migraines or really any pain at all but unfortunately, in the second training I did! Sometimes if my pain gets bad enough I will become very forgetful and emotional.  I was not sure if I was going to have high pain levels during this training or if I was even going to get through it at all because of my pain. Luckily I was allowed to listen to music to help me get through the pain because the first two weeks of the training I had really bad pain and I needed something to distract me from it and without that distraction, I don’t know what I would have done. I was working five hours five days a week and although that does not sound like much it to someone without chronic pain it takes everything out of me and less hours may have helped keep my pain better controlled.

My employer in the first job training was not used to working with people with disabilities so although she may have said a lot of things that could have been considered rude or insensitive I did not take anything personally because I knew she just didn’t understand. She was not around disabled people very often so there was no one to educate her on what you should and should not say to disabled people. My first training was a learning experience and although it was not a good experience I am glad I did it because it taught me a lot of things about myself that I would not have known if I didn’t do that training! I was delighted to be a part of this second training because it opened my eyes as to what it’s like to work a job where I can actually function normally and have controlled anxiety levels. If you have any questions about my experience with working with chronic pain please leave them in the comments below.