Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

My son is trying to find work

Unbeknownst to me, my son has been looking for work since June. Now I know why he kept asking for the car. While I still have my reservations, I’m so very proud of him. The last time he worked, it was in 2012, before the diagnosis, and as expected, they were all disasters (6 jobs between 2011-2012).

Now he seems a bit stable and I’m hoping for the best. I think working will make him feel so much better about himself. I truly do. Give him some sort of purpose, a reason to get out of bed. And I want this for him so badly. But here is the dilemma. He has gone on several interviews, and no call backs. My heart breaks for him. He said to me, “Mom, they can tell there’s something wrong with me. I don’t talk much, and I never laugh, and I don’t know if I answered their questions right”.

I’m sure he would never mention sz, but I’m sure they noticed something was “off”. I’m hoping someone will give
him a chance.

Also, he was not sure if he should mention sz @ the initial interview. I’m sure he was scared to mention it.

I’m hoping for a kind hearted empathetic employer to come his way.


The best of luck to him. I’ve noticed more people in service and retail jobs who seem less traditional employees. With employment shortages I feel employers and to a certain degree customers are willing to give people a chance.

I’m fairly certain my new mail carrier is on the autistic spectrum which seems a good fit. He’s a little odd when I speak to him, but as long as he delivers my mail-- I’m happy.


My son won’t work with a case manager, but if your son is willing, they might help him connect with interested employers.


@Maggotbrane, I’ve also noticed the “less traditional” employees @ the mall and fast food restaurants as well. He has applied @ a few fast food places and shoe stores. He likes expensive sneakers. I’m really not sure if he’ll be able to handle the fast pace of a busy restaurant, but at this point, I’m not interfering. I just see him getting discouraged…

@Vallpen, my son also refuses any and all help from the ACT team and case manager. He wants to do it himself. He’s extremely stubborn about things. He didn’t even tell me about his job searches, found out thru his brother, because he wanted to use his brothers girlfriend as a reference.

That’s great your son is looking for work. Maybe you can search on line fur some interviewing tips. Tell him not to feel bad. Lots of people don’t get call backs despite multiple tries.


Not trying to say anything in particular by “less traditional”, there just seems to be a more diverse workforce of all stripes nowadays. And I think it’s a good thing.

I’ve found most of my jobs through friends and family. I haven’t had that many interviews, but I have interviewed many people and auditioned for many theatrical parts. And surprisingly a few SMI people cropped up in the process. They all gave their own ‘tells’, I certainly wasn’t trying to smoke them out, nor did their illnesses themselves disqualify them.

I found they outed themselves in several ways. Self aggrandizement was a big one that stuck out. Over the top claims and name dropping of professors and pop stars and the like from a couple people (this was a science and technology position). Assuming derogatory information was out there, and bringing it up and self sabatoging was another. Generally people who interview you have read your resume and not much else. They will only check references and do background checks if they want to hire you, and even then this might not happen. Being overly nervous was another problem. People tended to talk too much and blow things as a result.

Believe me, I found in the audition and hiring processes that the people doing the interviewing generally want you to succeed and get on with their jobs and stop interviewing. We’re willing to give some benefit of the doubt and breaks to people, if people are up front and earnest, yet confident enough not to self sabotage. It also helps to be polite and appreciative.

Hi mbheart,
I’m experiencing almost the exact same situation. My heart goes out to you and your loved one.
Our son has actively been looking for work as well and we’re very supportive but to see a loved one try and fail at a job or go through the process without success is truly heartbreaking. Your comment
“I’m hoping for a kind hearted empathetic employer to come his way.” is just was I’ve been thinking about today.


@urnotalone, thank you for your kind thoughts. Like it or not, there are stigmas associated with almost every situation, not just mental illness. But to see our children trying to do something positive, after all they’ve been thru, and getting let down over and over, it’s just hard to watch. But I’m keeping my mouth shut, he wants to do this on his own.

Hoping something comes your son’s way soon.

As an HR professional, I will affirm that this is very good advice. Don’t say too much, but be prepared to have a convincing statement or two that gives assurance in a realistic way to the prospective employer that you are a good candidate for the position. Our son is also very stable and applying for mostly part-time jobs, which is an appropriate and much-desired next step for him and for parents. He had two interviews at a fast-food place but they picked up on something he said or on his demeanor…I really don’t know…and called him in for a 3rd “interview” that actually turned out to be their way of letting him down easy. Like others who have posted here, our son does not want help from us in this process. However, I have offered some “coaching” comments, and he had self-analyzed the situation to come up with a better way to account for his gap in employment history going forward. He “had a medical illness but is doing very well now” and I would suggest something like being “confident of his ability to perform the necessary job duties”.

The reality is that many people without SMI have to apply for many, many jobs and may go on several++ interviews before they get hired. Even a seasonal job would be a good start. Our son was considering applying for H&R Block but their classes required education classes to be “considered” for employment started in August.

Another idea I’ll add is applying at temp agencies. I worked a myriad of light industrial jobs in my prodrome after I dropped out of college. One advantage was you interviewed once and then they called you. I liked the variety. Some assignments lasted two or three days and others could lead to permanent jobs. The assignments were all over the map, food manufacturing, warehouse jobs, assembly line work, inspection.


In the state of California, if one receives disability benefits, there is a program called -Ticket to Work - for those attempting to find employment. They are given the chance to find work of interest and by how many hours one can work.

Another suggestion, would be volunteer work. That way, there is less pressure, especially if performance is not what is expected. Also, if the employer gets to know the volunteer worker, there is a greater chance of being offered a paid position.

Wishing your son the best in his job search.


Good suggestions here! Here is another resource I discovered recently…lots of good info including tips for Job Seekers and whether or not to divulge the illness or need for accommodation and what kinds of accommodations one might need. Job Accommodation Network:

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My son is the same - won’t take any help. All you can do is listen and empathize. It is hard to get a job. Hopefully he might be open to help after a few more months of job searching on his own.

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