Next week is a big week for me.
I’m currently working in a temporary job (I’m sure I’ll do a post about employment later) and I’m desperately trying to get a permanent job. Perhaps I’m trying a little too hard!
My employer has recognised that I work hard (phew) and there is a permanent position on our department up for grabs, but the only thing is, there are people there with more experience than me. Pretty much everyone who was temporary applied for the permanent position, and all of those people got offered an interview. I know interviews are hard, but I believe that they are more difficult for those people with epilepsy than those without.
My interview was the week before last and I was more nervous than I’d ever been in my life, because I knew there was a real chance my epilepsy could take over and I could mess up big time – with my interview basically consisting of absences, slurred speech (thanks to my tablets) or forgetting words (thanks to my tablets and the epilepsy). Sometimes, when I have absences, my brain gives an automatic response (not good). When I had an interview for my teacher training course, I was asked if I speak German fluently. I had an absence, but my brain gave an automatic response and said “Yes”. (I don’t speak fluent German – I just have an A-Level in it.) I really did not want this to happen on this occasion. I also would rather not sound like I was drunk.
As I knew there was a good chance of this happening again (I had little sleep the night before, and tiredness is my trigger), I explained to my Manager beforehand about the slurred speech thing and that epilepsy does affect my interviews more than other people. I prepared answers to every possible question they could have asked – it was competency based – and I had prepared answers so thorough that they were pretty much exactly what I was going to say (in case I forgot my words – there was a good chance of this happening). They asked one unexpected question, and I ended up giving the same answer to two questions (not good), but I’d rather that than seeing like I didn’t know what I was about – and my preparation went down well. I also took in my CV, my application form and evidence of changes that I’d made just in case things went wrong! Luckily, the epilepsy stayed away (with my preparation stopping any memory problems) and I got through to the next stage – a series of tests. These are to be this week.
I don’t think I will get the job, but I can only do my best. I know that I can only do so much to prepare for the tests, as most of it is testing the skills I already have anyway. I asked for extra time (though I might not need it) as I am entitled to it – I would encourage anyone else in the same position to do the same. Your employer shouldn’t judge you on this, and if they do, then they aren’t worth working for. You need a good employer if you have epilepsy. I will be taking the tests at a different time to everyone else. I’m hoping that they understand why.
However, I also have another interview on Thursday – two days after the tests. Eek. This is for a very different role, so I’ve prepared a few different answers as well as the ones I took into the previous interview. I’m hoping that will be good enough preparation, to exude confidence and positivity as best I can, and, most of all, that the epilepsy stays away. However, these Managers do not know me, and I can’t explain to them about the epilepsy thing. The best I can do is prepare well, showcase my talents, and hope for the best!