Employable Me - A revealing portrait of the search for work
If you work in an office, in fact, if you work anywhere, you'll probably have heard someone '“ usually the office irritant '“ say 'I'm a bit mad, me', after inadvertently doing something slightly out-of-the-ordinary.
Or you may have heard a colleague, as they throw a paper cup in the bin, “oh, I’m a bit OCD, aren’t I?”.
Neither of these people, obviously, has any kind of mental health problem, nor do they suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder – a very real, extremely problematic condition, which can cause severe hardship.
If they did, it’s unlikely they would have much of a chance in the job market, a problem Employable Me (BBC2, Wednesdays, 9pm) attempts to remedy.
In this week’s episode, young jobseekers Ashley and Tom went looking for work. Neither had been able to find gainful employment before, and were unsure they would ever be able to.
Ashley, from Liverpool, has a form of Asperger’s Syndrome, and was obsessed with Victoriana, dressing in waistcoats and deerstalkers, to complement the enormous handlebar moustache he sported.
Finding it difficult to form relationships – and brutally frank about his attitude – you could see he might have been difficult. But, offered the chance to work in an antiques house, he thrived.
Similarly, Tom – an intelligent, likeable 27-year-old – had found his Tourette’s had made finding work impossible. His condition manifested in both verbal and physical tics, including meowing involuntarily.
He tried teaching, but found it exhausting trying to keep his Tourette’s in check. But working as a tree surgeon proved a revelation, the concentration involved on the ropes and saws reducing the number of tics.
This could have been a freak show, and you could see why an interviewer, with a finite time to judge a person, would run a mile.
What the programme did, however, was reveal the person behind the syndrome. And what we saw, we liked.