View Full Version : has anyone experienced this...................

05-28-2004, 07:08 AM
I never let my fused spine be an obstacle or excuse for anything but when it comes to getting a job it is becoming a huge obstacle. All I am trying to get is a casual job to earn money for university (I am planning to move across Australia) and after six months of trying I still am unsuccessful. How do i know that it is my back that is the discriminating factor. Well......

If I mention my back (doing the right thing by doing this) employers look at me and go hmmmmmm. Even with a surgeon's letter this does not seem to help. They immediately start thinking liability. And if I don't mention it, they I find with some jobs that it is physically out. Such as tonight I had a job trial at an Ice-cream shop. I couldn't scoop out the ice-cream properly (with the troughs being deep and not being able to bend properly. As soon as I got in the car I burst into tears out as frustration, I know my fusion was the right thing, it had to be done, but it is just BLOODDY FRUSTRATING and sometimes not FAIR!!!!!


PS I have all the skills, life experience etc for jobs, and good interview skills

04-15-2005, 01:25 AM
Hi Alison,

I would start applying for jobs that won't affect your spine at all...

I have had many job interviews over the years, and not once have I brought it up in an interview. If it then did become a problem at the workplace I would discuss it with my employer.

Eg. I was a cashier at a grocery store. You were often expected to lift large bags of dog food etc (items that would strain your back). When this rule was implemented I spoke to my supervisor, and she suggested for me to call for assistance whenever I was faced with something I couldn't lift/pickup/move etc.

Jobs that don't seem to affect or cause back pain for me are: office assistants, reception, bank teller and most jobs where you can move around a bit.

Any job that consists of mainly sitting or mainly standing will cause strain, and you should try and mix it up a little.

The only job that I have ever had that did cause a problem is when I was counting deposits at a bank 8 hours a day. It involved a complete day of sitting and a lot of bending down to get money (it had very poor ergonomics!).

I too am trying to save up for university, I am just looking for a summer job, and I am going to look for more office jobs that have a lot of duties. That way you know that you aren't going to just sit there all day and answer phones in excrutiating pain.

Good luck with the job search! I would stay away from restaurants, and cafes.

04-15-2005, 09:00 AM
Hi Jill

(Sigh) I think except for that job mentioned below, I have applied for about every single kind of job possible. I started trying to find a job when I was 16 and a half (mainly stuff over the summer) and am just shy of 19 (since high school (17) more long term, regular casual stuff) now. I worked it out I have applied for over 80 jobs, most in the past year, I've almost given up in finding a sustained casual job.

I had a month of work over the summer just gone (only got the job 'cause they think my sister's wonderful, working in back to school retail. That didn't go to badly, and even having had paid work experience, I can't get anywhere (find a job)

(Sigh) I should have worked from the minute I turned 14 and a half in McDonalds. Hindsight's always a good thing, but where on earth I would have fitted it in......Academic stuff always took priority and I debated, I played in bands, orchestra's and choirs, and played sport all the way through school.

And now at 19 I'm seen as too old and expensive for casual jobs. I'm at the wrong age, under 18 you're cheap, and over 21 they've got to pay you the same as everyone else........., and when you have limited "paid" work experience, it makes it all the more harder.

The one question I think is the sticking point, is the one that regularly pops up in applications now. Have you ever had any surgery.........well it's a bit hard to lie, and I'm not comfortable with doing so, and whenever an employer sees the word spine surgery they quite honestly seem to freak or get very silent. If you lie, you can get in greater trouble later on.

I'm medically cleared to do Nursing (I'm studying Nursing at Uni) and have been cleared as fit, healthy, and pretty good flexibility and basically do absolutely anything I set my mind to. I study Ballet, Fence, Hip Hop and Jazz Dance to name a few. Quite frankly I push my back to its absolute limit. I don't see it as an obstacle, just a lot of other people see it as a limitation.

I do a lot of Volunteer work with the Cerebral Palsy Assocation in my city. I mainly work in Children's Respite and and in the Creche. They absolutely love me and "don't know what they would do without me" (as they say regularly) and right glowing reports. They want to hire me, but can't unitl I've had my license for two years (which'll be December the 28th this year). Which is fine....but if I don't have a job by about August, I can't transfer into my choice Uni course (the one I want to do more then anything) as I can't afford it.

Sigh, end of my sighs and moans.........., i know I'll eventually get one, but it's very frustrating.

Thanks for your reply by the way, much appreciated


04-15-2005, 10:32 AM

Can't your parents help you out financially ? Just a thought if you don't get a job in time. I know you probably want to be financially independent, but at your age parents are expected to help out.


Karen Ocker
04-15-2005, 04:41 PM
In 1960, 4 years after my original un-instrumented scoliosis fusion(a year not walking, 3 casts, fused T-4 to sacrum) my spine surgeon encouraged me to become a registered nurse with no limitations. I applied to 3 nursing schools with his recommendation letter attached. Two rejected me outright(I had very good grades) but I got into my first choice. Two of my instructors, a doctor and a nurse, had scoliosis-very noticable and not operated on. I completed the course and never needed a sick day for the next 5 years.

When I applied for a job I NEVER mentioned my surgery. I was never rejected.
Pre-employment physicals we performed after the job was offered and accepted.
In 1971 I applied for nurse-anesthetist school. Again I never mentioned the surgery and got in.

My suggestion is: if you believe you can do the job don't even mention it. It should not be an issue especially if it isn't even noticeable.

When I applied for private disability insurance through my professional association I did, of course, put that on the application. The insurance company was so clueless about scoliosis they didn't even use that as an exclusion. When I needed the revision they paid me.


04-16-2005, 12:12 AM
My basic policy is "don't mention unless the application form specifically asks"; thus how it is worded ie do you have any back problems- No.

Have you ever had surgery?, Explain. Yes..........

I never sit there and mention it in interviews, why it doesn't affect me doing anything. But that question's popping up more and more on applications and I simply can't lie.

I think what compounds it is that I don't have a lot of paid work experience backing me up.

I'll get there eventually I know......its just very frustrating


04-16-2005, 12:30 AM
Hi Celia

How's your little girl doing with her casts??

In Australia, it's not a standard practice to "go away" to university, thus our parents don't start "College Funds" when we are wee tots. Our Fee system is very different.

It's the only place in Australia where the course is available. I know I could do it as a second degree, but I don't really want to do that, I can find reasoning behind having a degree I barely use then going and doing another 3.5 years of study. And there isn't a Masters Degree for it, so I'd have to do another undergraduate degree. Lots of money, lots of time, and I can't find reasoning behind it.

My parents will only "pay for" one degree. Wouldn't you be angry if your child did a degree that you paid for, then barely used it? They do want to be able to have some money for themselves for retirement etc (they're 52 yrs old this year). If I do a second degree it would be my complete financial responsibility. And the rules change on "second degrees" so I couldn't defer all HECS fees on the second one and some would have to be paid upfront.

Try explaining to your parents why you want to move across the country to go to University, when your already in a University degree here.........., it's taken them many years to warm to the idea.

When I do get across their, my parents (who are a teacher and a Boiler Inspector) will be paying my Boarding Fees. Whilst I will be deferring my HECS (university fees)

But then there's all the day to day stuff to pay for which will be my responsibility (my HECS fees for my current course are 3000 Australian a year, whereas my boarding fees will be around 8000 a year, thus the "extra stuff" is my responsibility); books, food (none of the particular university colleges at the uni have food provided), bus/tram fares, personal items, stationary etc.

I also need "paid work experience" to be able to find employment over their. It'll be unlikely I'll qualify for Government Assitance (as my parents will be paying my boarding college fees and therefore I'm considered under them financially) for at least the first year.

Some my parents will be "helping me out financially" in a way, but I also need some money behind myself to be able to survive over their.

All scholarships etc are for direct school leavers into university (which I won't be, as I'm planning to transfer from another degree)


04-16-2005, 12:42 AM
Alison, When my daughter was about your age and home from college for the summer she worked for a temp placement agency. If you don't know what that is, it's a place that businesses can call when they need some extra people to help out because an employee is out, or they have a special project going on, or they just need to get caught up. Some jobs are for a day and some can be for months. You go in to the agency and take a couple a little tests (typing, computer, etc.), they grade them, interview you, and usually call you within a day or two with a job. My daughter's third job ended up lasting the whole summer. They even tried to get her to hire on and go to school at night. You should be able to look in the phone book under employment agencies. Good Luck!

04-16-2005, 10:14 AM
Hi Alison

One of your posts mentioned you'd done lots of music - bands and orchestra's etc. Is there anyway you could turn that into cash - maybe giving music lessons. You don't have to have a teaching qualifications (UK - don't know about Australia) to give private lessons though you do to go into schools.