Is this a good reference or a bad reference?

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MoatsArt
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10 Jun 2017, 12:00 am

I'm trying to find a paid job and so asked for a written reference from the manager of the library where I volunteer. She gave it to me yesterday, but I'm not sure whether the comments are positive or veiled references to bad aspects of performance:

"Nathan takes particular care to ensure he has understood assigned tasks and seeks clarification around any points of uncertainty. This demonstrates to me that he is comfortable in seeking help to fill any knowledge gaps he may have."

"On a few occasions when he has felt uncomfortable in the often busy and noisy environment here, he has been able to acknowledge his discomfort and put strategies in place to deal with that."

"I would consider that Nathan is well suited to work that involves highly detail-oriented tasks, the need for close and careful attention to the task, and to work that includes occasional interaction with customers."

Not sure whether or not I should send it out with my resume when applying for work. Please help.



underwater
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10 Jun 2017, 12:34 am

She's basically broadcasting that you are autistic, but you can do certain tasks well. Are you open about your autism?


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10 Jun 2017, 1:26 am

It sounds like a positive and truthful report, from a supervisor who wishes you well. Whether it is effective with potential employers will depend on what kind of job you're applying for. If you're trying to get a front-line customer service position in retail, I would look at that letter and conclude that you weren't suitable. If, however, you were applying for a back-office position where you were managing the files or working special projects, then the letter would tell me that you're well suited.


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MoatsArt
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10 Jun 2017, 2:12 am

Thanks for your comments. I really don't care if people know that I have autism. It makes my behaviour more understandable and, hopefully, forgivable.

I live in a relatively remote country town so my work options are limited. On the one hand, the reference is truthful and targeted at the kind of work I'm most likely suited to. On the other hand, it would probably rule me out of contention for most jobs in the area.

Having just re-read the paragraph above, the implications are that I'm unlikely to find suitable work without relocating. Not a good idea as it would take our family away from our support network.

Hmm. Need to do some more thinking.



beady
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11 Jun 2017, 9:00 pm

That doesn't sound to me like a reference I would want to share unless it was for a very specific post that happened to correspond with your strengths. I kinda think she is unnecessarily pointing out your weaknesses when she really doesn't need to be that honest. She could have said it in a more positive way.
I have been asked for references and have said only the positive things that I could about the person even when I know negatives. Getting a job is too important and as long as the negatives don't put anyone's life or health at risk there is no need to emphasize them. Give the person a chance to do better next time.



MoatsArt
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12 Jun 2017, 1:17 am

Thanks for your comments, @beady. This has prompted a line of thought.

Which is more important: A job I can sustain or an immediate job that may not last? Because my wife works and I'm on a disability pension I have the luxury of time.

Stressful situations trigger meltdowns, self-harm and suicidal ideation. I also have bipolar, and a meltdown could also trigger depression.

In short, I don't need a job immediately. Furthermore, a poorly chosen job could result in additional damage to my mental health, decreasing the likelihood of long term employment prospects.

In view of this, and given that the reference refers to my strengths while implying my weaknesses, I think it might actually be a useful tool to winnow out the suitable from unsuitable roles and work environments. I might use it and look for work with patience rather than my usual obsession.



SH90
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13 Jun 2017, 5:30 pm

Doesn't sound like a reference, more of a performance review.



kraftiekortie
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13 Jun 2017, 5:57 pm

I believe the person who wrote the reference had a positive intent, and had honest intentions. But I don't believe the person understood the need, in this competitive job market, for a superlative reference.

Whenever I am asked to give a reference, I de-emphasize the negative. I just don't put any potentially negative items within what I write.

There are many potential employers who would look somewhat askance at that reference, and would compare it to more "positive" references.

In a competitive job market, I would only use this reference as a last resort should you not be able to obtain other references.



Hoggy
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14 Jun 2017, 9:04 am

Do you have to send your references with your resume where you are?

Here in the UK references are only asked for when they are ready to offer you a position or some cases after you already have the job. In which case i don't think that reference would be terrible.we just put references available upon request on the cv/resume.

If you have to send if with your resume then i do think some might overlook you for an interview depending on the job etc



kraftiekortie
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14 Jun 2017, 9:07 am

It's the case, usually, in the United States, too.

Not always, though.



MoatsArt
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03 Aug 2017, 6:05 pm

An interesting turn of events. The library manager who wrote the resume has given me some paid work: Eight hours a week for thirteen weeks processing a backlog of local history resources to be added to the library's collection.

Yay for me! :D



Voxish
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04 Aug 2017, 9:11 am

underwater wrote:
She's basically broadcasting that you are autistic, but you can do certain tasks well. Are you open about your autism?


She is being honest I guess, good for you for getting a role, thats cool.


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