First month on the job: Surviving the last week of September

This is Part II of a two-part post on the first month of my new job. For Part I, please click here.

I hear voices in my head

I start the day walking along the road, subjecting my senses to immediate assault by the fast moving cars and inhaling the heavily polluted air. And for the rest of the day, I have to deal with the incessant sounds of phone calls, door bells, paper shredder, photocopier and scan machines, desktop towers, people walking past and occasionally bumped into my cubicle (which I found funny because I used to knock onto stuff and then found out this is an autistic thing, but of course, it is not just the autistics who bump into things), different conversations taking place at once, people chatting and bursting into laughter, and the creaking sound from the meeting room. I notice all of them at the same time and these sounds become ingrained in my head and replayed every night in my mind as I go to sleep. I wonder if this is why the dreams I’ve been having lately are noisy.

Add to the sensory challenges which I’ve been trying to suppress, are the cognitive and social demands but 3 incidents in the last week of September sent me into a panic mode.

It is not just the right to pay but to be paid on time

Since I was made jobless in May, I have used up my savings in the previous months. This new job came timely as I was relying on it to pay my bills. I started on September 1 but did not receive the contract until September 21, and then it took another week for the university (I’m still working under the university) to confirm my letter of acceptance, upon which I realised I wasn’t going to be paid on time for the first month. I got mad because it is not just about an employee’s right to pay but to be paid on time too. Besides, something is wrong with the management if it has to take the human resource nearly a month to process a contract and now what, I am supposed to pay for their ineptitude? I flustered because I won’t be able to pay my rent and bills on time. I panicked at the thought of having to call and deal with the people in the finance office who are known to be difficult. It didn’t help that my emotions were already overcharged with my sensory issues, a part of me just wanted to cry and plead “help me, I can’t pay my rent, please help me!” but another part of me told me to stay calm and hold myself together for not all is lost. I went to the colleague responsible for administrative matters for help and was given the standard reply I expected, “if you haven’t been paid today, you’ll have to wait till the next scheduled pay day which would be the end of next month, that’s the policy.” But I persisted and asked the colleague to help contact the finance office, if not, I’ll be willing to talk to them myself. First of all, it wasn’t my fault they took a long time with the contract. Second, there are always exceptions to the rule, they just don’t tell you what the exceptions are unless you persisted. In the end, the matter was resolved and I got my pay few days later. I just hate it that they have to put me through so much agony to resolve it. Talk about being a first-class institution!

I’m not lazy, I’m sensory overload

Twice in the week, I was given last minute notice, first, to attend a meeting and second, to complete a task, both required working overtime. Both times, my heart grieves at the thought of coming home late. I know this wouldn’t be the last time I have to do things at the last minute or attend to something after work but wherever possible, I’m the kind of employee who would leave the office at 6pm (the official working hours is 9am to 6pm). I did this in one of my previous jobs, before I knew I was autistic, and the reason I I always left at 6pm at that time was because I was in a hurry to catch the executive bus home for if I waited any longer, the bus would be full and I didn’t want to catch the public bus which would be really crowded. That was 12 years ago and commute was already a challenge back then. But what’s my excuse now? I’m not in a hurry to catch the bus and I’m just 25 minute walk away from home. I used to think it was laziness and poor work ethic. With the benefit of hindsight, I now realise the reason I was in a hurry to catch the executive bus, to avoid the crowded public buses aside, was because I wanted to get home as soon as possible, to be back to a place where I can truly be comfortable in my own shell. Going further back down the memory lane, when I was at school, I hated detention and team assignments, I even skipped compulsory extra-curricular activities. I wasn’t a bad student but all I wanted at the end of school was to be back home. And so it seems that my whole life, I’m always in a rush to be home. It doesn’t matter now that my workplace is near home, I’d still be in a hurry to get back home the soonest possible. I’m not lazy, I would finish whatever needs to be done for that day before leaving. I’m not lazy, if I’m given advanced notice that I have to work overtime, I will be better prepared to do so. I’m not lazy, I don’t mind working over time particularly if I’m allowed to do it from home, although I don’t quite get the logic behind the fact that we are not allowed to work from home during office hours but its ok to work overtime from home? I’m not lazy, I am one of the earlier ones who arrive at work around 8:30am and start punctually at 9am or even before and I don’t take more than an hour to go for lunch. I like to arrive early because I prefer to walk into a quiet office and prepare myself for the impending hustle and bustle. I’m not lazy, I’m sensory overwhelmed and I’m in a hurry to be home because this is where I can let my senses rest and detox (subject to the cooperation of my neighbours). I don’t go for a drink in the bar, I don’t need a luxury spa nor pampering massage, I just need to be in a soothing quiet sensory-friendly environment and that is home.

“Don’t invite me anywhere last minute. I enjoy doing nothing so I need to know ahead of time if my plan to do nothing needs to be changed.”

 

Would you just let me work in peace?

On the same week, I heard a news that sent me over the edge and put me in a difficult position. The office is planning a hiking trip in October which will be held during a weekday, which means instead of going to work, we are going for a hike. I think they are calling it a company retreat. Wait a minute, why is this a bad thing? Don’t you like hiking? Yes, I love being in the nature and hiking but not in a group and certainly not when I have to socialise. It is essentially a social activity. I look forward to solitude in nature, not socialising in nature. If I have to choose between hiking in a group and working alone in the office, I’d choose the latter. Socialising aside, I am anxious at the prospect of having to endure a long and crowded commute. I still don’t know the details such as where are we hiking, what time does it start, how long will it take, what else is being planned, what time does it end? While I can’t control nature but when I hike alone, certain things are within my control, I know where I’m going and I know how fast I can go. Most importantly, when it comes to commute, I plan it to avoid certain routes and times. I have none of these information at the moment other than the routes that have been suggested which would all involve a potentially long commute and I have no control over their speed and time. This makes me super anxious.

I want to do my job well but these sensory and social challenges are a distraction and preventing me from doing so. I want to cry out and shout,

“IF I CAN’T REST IN PEACE, CAN’T I AT LEAST WORK IN PEACE?”

Stop putting me in a social dilemma

I admit that ever since I knew I was autistic, I cared less about being or appearing social. It also has to do with one growing older and choosing to stay true to oneself. I remembered a conversation with a friend in the university during my first year of degree. We had been going out together with a group of friends and I told her I love being part of the group but at the same time I was tired of being out so often and I couldn’t decide if I should turn up at the next gathering or just say no. No matter how social I tried to be in the past, I always ended up needing more time to myself. I can’t believe that more than a decade later, I’m still asking myself the same question: should I make an effort to socialise or should I say no? The thing is I may mock (secretly) at people for their social neediness and I may be a misanthrope but I’m neither a sociopath nor even a rude person. When people ask me out, I appreciate their well-intentions but they are actually creating a social dilemma for me. Even though I’ve learned to say ‘no’, it doesn’t come without a tinge of guilt, after all, it is not a nice feeling to reject a well-intention invite from a friend. I know there are those who like to be asked and invited even if chances are they will decline. Not me, I don’t actually want to be invited to social gatherings or any events that essentially involves a group of people mingling around getting to know each other or to any place which is likely to be crowded or where you have no control over the crowd. Stop putting me in a social dilemma. If you know such events are going to make me uncomfortable, I’d rather not be asked and I would not be offended or feel left out because it is based on a mutual respect and understanding.

The meme above reads: “I need more friends who understand that I still want to be invited, but I’m not going.” I say, don’t worry about inviting me. Don’t put me in a situation where I have to say no.

Can you help make my dream comes true?

On the one hand, I do like the nature and field of work I’m currently doing right now. On the other hand, I dread going to work every morning for the reasons mentioned above and in the previous post. It also comes down to the question of where can this job take me? Bearing in mind that ultimately, I want to get out of this country, and if not now, when? Can this job help further my dream? When I see my co-workers engaged in areas of their research interests, I wish I could do the same. I know I’m being impatient, it took them years to get to this stage but I don’t know if I have the time and patience. I need more than an employer, I need a mentor, someone who can guide me through my career path but I guess I lack the social skills and talent to attract anyone’s attention. After all, I’m neither high functioning nor low functioning, I’m just an average autistic.

Things were better this week because we had 2 days of public holidays. With a full working week coming ahead and further meetings etc., I am just hoping I can hold everything together in place and if it does get too much, I might have to make some important decisions soon.

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Look who’s talking

When you’re pointing one finger at someone, look where the rest of your fingers are pointing at. This has been my motto and I wonder if this applies equally to the people that came up with the diagnostic criteria for autism. Autistics lack empathy, so they say without realising the irony of the statement. Autistics have poor communication skills, so they say and I wonder where all these misunderstanding and miscommunication comes from (the choice and use of the word ’empathy’ is a misunderstanding in itself). If we take these statements literally, there is a certain truth to say that everyone is a bit autistic (which would be a great big misunderstanding). Here’s another description of an autistic trait that puzzles me:

Insistence on sameness, inflexible adherence to routines (eg. rigid thinking patterns)

In Chinese, the above characteristic is commonly translated as ‘stubborn’, which I dislike even more as it somehow implies that people with autism are being deliberately difficult. It doesn’t explain nor encourage people to empathise with the underlying reasons for their inflexibility. Personally I think everyone is guilty of the above. Take for example, my new work office environment.

First day at work, another new colleague and I were given a brief introduction to the office by some colleagues and was told repeatedly by different people that lunch time is between 1pm-2pm. I was quietly concerned with this since there is bound to be a huge crowd with everyone going out around the same time and there are only 3 eateries nearby. Queuing aside, which in my opinion is a waste of time, it’s the level of noise and people I have to deal with. First day at work, I’m already dreading lunch time.

Second day at work, the boss took some of us out for lunch and we chatted about various topics including lunch. When we talked about the queue, the boss remarked that we didn’t have to go at the same time, to which I eagerly replied, “cos we were told by everyone that lunch time is between 1pm-2pm.” He immediately clarified that it wasn’t what he meant and that people have misunderstood his meaning. Hence I was glad to hear that there is some flexibility and so long as we take no longer than an hour, we could go for lunch at an earlier or later time.

Third day at work, I told the other new colleague that I intend to go for lunch after 2pm. She said she will join me as well. Came 1pm, people were starting to leave for lunch. A group of 4-5 colleagues came to ask if we wanted to join them so we said we intend to go for lunch later. To which, the colleague gave us a look as though that was a terrible idea. Even when we told him about our conversation with boss the day before, he shook his head and said this wasn’t a good idea. The other new colleague gave in and joined them. I was rather annoyed by the guy trying to dictate what is or isn’t appropriate so I said I will go get my lunch later and turned my back away. And I guess this is what separates me from the majority of people. Everyone claims to dislike crowd yet it has never stopped them from following the crowd. I also see no logic behind the unwritten rule that because everyone here has lunch at 1pm, that is how it should be for everyone else, regardless what the boss said. I might have portrayed myself as anti-social as a result but I couldn’t care less, I was proud of myself for not giving in. Talk about being stubborn, insistence on sameness, inflexible adherence to routines and rigid thinking patterns!

Fourth day at work, the new colleague decided to stick with me this time so we went out for lunch around 2:30pm. Without the crowd, it was a much pleasant experience and we were back in the office within 30 minutes.

I don’t know why that particular colleague was against the idea of us going for lunch at a later time nor why is there a misconception that lunch time must be around 1pm-2pm but social group conformity and herd mentality are probably the reasons behind his rigid thinking pattern and inflexible adherence to routine. Yet, it illustrates the challenges faced by people on the spectrum in the workplace and in social situations ~ the unwritten social rules that people don’t talk about yet expect everyone to know and follow.

Yes, I’m stubborn and I do prefer to stick to routine but what probably differentiates my situation from the above is my underlying reasons for inflexibility. For me, my insistence in sameness has less to do with being socially appropriate but more to do with practical functioning instincts (reducing stress and sensory overload). By the same token, my flexibility to change depends on environmental factors and how supportive the environment is. There is a recent published book entitled, “Sam’s Best Shot” which tells of the life of Sam, a teenage boy on the autism spectrum whose parents sold their family home in Australia to finance a six-month-long trip to Africa, in the hope that it will have far-reaching and life-changing results for Sam. By taking his son out of his comfort zone to Africa, it is said that the family has gone against the conventional wisdom of providing a child with autism a predictable routine. At first sight, this might appear to be going against conventional approach and a risky move. However, I would like to add a word of caution here. Sam’s best shot is not simply about taking an autistic child out of the comfort zone by introducing them to a world of chaos and unpredictability. To do that, you need a supportive environment (including supportive parents) and here, there is evidence that moving to another culture that is different from your own may be beneficial for some people on the spectrum. I, for one, is an example of a person in search of a new culture that is conducive to my needs. In Tony Attwood’s The Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome, he explained the benefits of moving to another culture by citing Stephen Shore, “some people with Asperger’s syndrome enjoy visiting and even living in foreign countries for an extended periods of time. Their differences and ‘social blindness’ are then attributed to being in a foreign country rather than a mistaken assumption of wilful behaviour.” In this case, the move to a new culture creates a supportive environment for people with autism to live in.

My intent is not to perpetuate the differences between neurotypicals and autistics. For all I know, I can’t say for certain that all my colleagues are neurotypicals (even though it’s tempting to think it that way given how different I feel when amongst them) but I sometimes like to give everyone the benefit of doubt and assume that everyone is a neurodivergent. In which case, what I hope is we can all thrive in an environment where diversity is embraced and not frowned upon.

Featured image from http://www.pixabay.com

S~low

I had a ‘delayed‘ response to finding out that I’m autistic because I had been labouring under the misconception that being autistic means avoiding or not wanting social interaction, which are fine by me given my introverted and at times, misanthropic personality. This misconception meant that I wasn’t aware of and therefore, never considered the sensory implications and executive function aspect of my condition. I got my diagnosis in 2009 but it wasn’t until 5 years later I read The Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome that suddenly everything that has happened in my life makes sense. And when I referred back to my assessment report, I realised the significance of some observations which I had thought were minute and irrelevant. For example, it was observed:

“It took her slightly longer to process and answer the questions directed by the examiner.”

Apparently, there is an ‘explanation’ for this.

“During the diagnostic assessment the adult client may provide responses that appear to indicate empathy and ability with social reasoning, but on a more careful examination it may be clear that these responses, given after a fractional delay, were achieved by intellectual analysis rather than intuition. The cognitive processing required gives the impression of a thoughtful rather than spontaneous response.” Tony Attwood, The Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome

I find this interesting and rather unbelievable. Don’t people think before they give a response? Do people not think before they say? What does even a spontaneous response mean? How is that possible? What’s the thought process that go through these people’s mind? I cannot fathom.

Below are a couple of reasons I can think of that may contribute to my slower processing time during interactions.

The use of intellect rather than intuition in social situations

It has been noted several times in the book that individuals with autism use their intellect and cognitive abilities rather than intuition to socialise. It makes me wonder what it feels like to be a neurotypical. Apparently, when I tried to emulate the persona and behaviour of my class monitress when I was 11-12 years old, I was using my intellectual abilities to socialise by camouflaging, observing and adopting a social role and script.

Poor executive function & difficulty switching attention

Autistic individuals may have problems with switching attention from one task to another. Some may find it difficult to stop the activity at hand and move on to a new activity unless they have successfully completed the activity at hand. This may prove challenging in employment situations where one is often required to multi-task. Starting a new task can also be challenging due to an impaired executive function. It can be time-consuming because of the mental effort it takes to plan and structure. From writing my essays in schools to writing my blog posts, I probably spend more time than is necessary to plan and structure my outline, which is why you probably notice that I seldom address autistic issues in my blog because these kind of posts take up a lot of my time and mental effort. Individuals who struggle with organisation will require considerable mental efforts and therefore longer time to process and switch attention from one task to another.

Sensory overload

When someone demands attention from me or interacts with me, they are at the same time competing with the environmental factors and external stimuli for my attention. And being a hypersensitive person to sensory experiences especially sounds and movements, it takes conscious effort to focus and listen or else I get distracted. The same thing happens when it’s my time to respond. I need to exercise conscious effort to focus and stay on track. By the time the interaction is over, mental exhaustion hits in.

TMI 

I think the side effects of an impaired executive function and tendency to sensory overload is to get overwhelmed by too much information. Put simply, my brain is like a web browser with too many open tabs, I need time to process information. The video below by The National Autistic Society (UK) is a great example of both TMI and sensory overload.

Little philosopher / thinker

It is said that girls with Asperger can sound like ‘little philosophers’, with an ability to think more deeply about social situations than boys. It has also been noted that people with ASD think about things that most people take for granted. I find this to be true in my case. When I was about 23, I worked with a colleague and we used to share book recommendations. One of the books she recommended was Tuesdays with Morrie, she said it was thought-provoking because it made her ponder about life, to which I was extremely puzzled. What do you mean the book made people ponder about life? As a child, I thought about life’s purpose. I grow up thinking about the meaning of life and I’m still thinking. Do people not ponder about life?

Alexithymia (Emotion blindness) & Lack of self-awareness

Alexithymia, an impaired ability to identify and describe emotional feelings. Questions like “how’s your day?”; “how are you feeling?” are difficult for two reasons. First, I need to ascertain if this is just a question the other party asks out of courtesy or is s/he genuinely interested in an honest answer. The second challenge is finding the right words to explain how I feel. There is also the question of self-awareness. I struggle with hypothetical ‘what if’ questions and answering questionnaires for psychological assessments because of the gap between ideal and reality ~  what I’ll do or who I perceive myself to be may not be who I actually am. Yes, I’m talking about myself as if I don’t know myself.

The other day I had a meeting with my boss. She asks how things are going. My mind was thinking if I should go with the quick answer (fine, thank you) or something closer to the truth but I just blurted out “ok” after all, she always greet people with “how are you” so the question seems to be out of a habit and even though I knew she would listen if I have any problems, maybe that wasn’t the right time. She sensed the hesitation so I clarified if she was referring to how things were going in terms of work or otherwise? She knew about my current plight so I wasn’t sure if she wanted to hear any further or whether further talking would help. After a few more prompts, I admit I’m still worried. Yep, I can turn a simple question into a complex mental exercise.

Other reasons

Autism isn’t the only thing that defines my identity, which is also shaped by other factors such as education, family, cultural and upbringing etc. etc. Here are some other reasons (non-exhaustive) I can think of that contribute to my need for a longer processing time:

  • depression
  • fatigue
  • lack of confidence (don’t trust instinct)
  • afraid of making mistakes
  • low self-esteem
  • cynicism
  • need for clarity (often asking “what do you mean by this/that?” because I can’t comment on things in general or without a context)
  • refusal to take things at face value or for granted
  • stupidity (considering it took me 5 years after my diagnosis to appreciate the implications of the condition, talk about autism awareness! I know nobody here is going to tell me straight to my face I’m stupid, I take it upon myself to do so. Depending on how one defines stupidity, I do seem to take a longer time and twice the effort to get things done.)

S~low & Hard Functioning

In the context of employment, it isn’t difficult to see why I would have difficulties securing employment. Most job adverts require “ability to multi-task”, “great organisation skills”, “work under pressure” and I have worked in positions like these but what I find really annoying are the times where the ability to “work under pressure” is not so much due to the job nature (e.g. in ER or the stock market) but is quite unnecessary and can be avoided if only other people cooperate and not succumb to last minute deadline and better effective management from the above. I know I’ve never been put in a managerial position so that’s easy for me to say and I can leave finding employment for next discussion. I do wonder though if my slow functioning has not somehow rendered me somewhat low functioning. Again, that depends on how you define low functioning but in a society and education system which measures success by one’s ability to keep pace with the rest, being slow is certainly hard functioning. I wish society and workplace embraces individual effort and spirit as much as it encourages team work and celebrates team sports.


“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.” Henry David Thoreau

Related posts:
Little philosopher
Autism and my journey towards the enlightened path

Featured Image from http://www.pexels.com

 

Employed but jobless: Oh what nonsense!

Feeling sick for the past few days. A tight knot in the stomach. How can someone be employed yet unemployed? Easy. If you hold 2 part-time hourly-paid job, which has for the past 6 months provided a steady income, not much for savings but enough to make a living and then you suddenly realise that there is little, almost no further incoming work from both employers resulting in a near zero income. Yes, I know such is the peril of hourly-paid positions, yet I didn’t see it coming because for the past 6 months, there were times where I was expected to perform something in short notice as if I’m a full-time staff or time-consuming tasks which take up almost all my time I thought I might as well have been employed full-time. In addition, my assistance is expected for an event in October which would take up a portion of my time. So really, where do I stand? I’m employed but without an income, I might as well be unemployed. That is the ridiculousness of blah blah land. Do my employers not realise that my living depends directly on them? Do they think I’m rich because I can afford to work 2 part-time? Is it so hard for employers to give a thought to their employees’ needs (regardless financial or personal, special/non-special, autistic/non-autistic etc)? You know that sick feeling when you realise that you are running short of money and might not be able to pay your rent etc? The hourly-paid arrangement feels like an injustice. I’m fuming, I’m worried, I want to yell at them but I know they are not bad persons, they are only human. And it’s time for me to communicate my needs.

http://blog.readytomanage.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/communication-comic.jpg

Five scoops of ice-cream

Studies suggest that people with autism have a lower employment rate. For example, the National Autistic Society estimates that only 15% of adults with autism in the UK are in full-time paid employment.* While the exact rate is unknown, I can empathise with that as I too am struggling to stay employed. This is partly due to the nature of a research assistant post which is typically project based and subject to the availability of funds. My longest employment so far is 13 months. Another reason that contributes to my struggle is my low tolerance level for tasks (and people) that I dislike. On the one hand, it is nerve wrecking to stay in a job that demands my constant attention attending to other people (be it my boss, co-workers or subject targets) and which generates a high level of anxiety. On the other hand, I feel bad about being a quitter. With hindsight, I believe my challenges in staying employed and career progression stems in part from my autism. I’m not pushing all the blame on autism but if it is true that people on the spectrum face challenges getting employed, then it is reasonable to think that my autism contributes at some level. Often, what triggers the thought of resignation is the level of anxiety the job is causing which prevents me from enjoying a peace of mind. It feels like an intrusion of my private space and it is frustrating to find myself subject to the whims of others. Unpredictability stresses the hell out of me such as organizing and coordinating a big event, work that requires me to be on call anytime or last minute meetings. The more things are beyond my control, the more my anxiety level increases. Commuting at peak hours and travelling to crowded areas is another major source of stress and turns out to be the most priority concern and major cause of anxiety. I have come to this realisation in the past 2 years, as I face the imminent prospect of commuting in crowded transport to work and then it hit me that out of my 10 years in Hong Kong, 8 years was spent studying or working at the nearby campus, which is just a short distance walk from home.

I’m not sure if the same considerations apply to others on the spectrum but these are the following factors that contribute to my anxiety and stress levels at work (and possible mitigating factors) and a table to illustrate the measurement of stress.

Slide1

Commuting to work

  • Does the job require commuting to crowded areas or peak rush hours?

Teamwork & Leadership

  • Who am I working with? Am I required to work in a team?
  • How is the team structured? Is the division of work clearly demarcated? How coordinated is the team? How much discretionary power do I have?
  • Am I getting clear and specific instructions?

Job description & nature

  • What is the job nature? Is it administrative, business or research based?
  • What is the purpose of employment? Am I doing something I’m interested in or solely for the income?
  • Do I have to work under time pressure or multi-task? (This depends also on the nature of task)
  • Who will I be dealing with essentially? Do I have to deal with clients? Do I have to make phone calls? Do I need an extensive social network and interpersonal skills?
  • Does it involve independent or team work?
  • Is there a clear demarcation between office and out-of-office hours? Am I expect to be on call anytime?
  • How many days of leave am I entitled to?

Work environment

  • How much privacy and personal space do I have?
  • Is it quiet and sensory friendly?

Social aspects

  • Am I expect to engage in social activities?
  • Am I expect to attend meetings? (I really don’t appreciate the art of small talk during work meetings.

Salary

  • Does it cover my basic expenditure? Can it cover my holiday expenses?

What happens if stress level is at or beyond 5?

I had once organised a three day programme for the entire Year 3 students in the faculty and co-organised a three day conference for more than 50 local and international participants. By the end of both events, I was drained and traumatised with the social demands that was placed upon me. As with recovering from a social burnout, I retreated into my personal space and switched off my mobile device for the next few days after the event. The latter event was also a precursor to getting a tattoo.

The symptoms could be physical. During my 5 months traineeship as a solicitor, I developed a bad cough for nearly a month and lose 2-3kg in the span of a weekend. Now I can’t say for sure if that is a reflection of my stress level but on hindsight, a part of me probably didn’t want to recover.

I hate being a quitter but how do I know when enough is enough? At the end of the day, I am more and more convinced that there is a need for more awareness, acceptance and support for people with special needs but unfortunately, there is still a stigma attached to autism and the fear that people will not understand. A job I dislike makes me look forward to Friday and dread as Monday approaches. I hope one day to find a career that makes me look forward to every day. 

References:

*The National Autistic Society, Autism facts and history http://www.autism.org.uk/about/what-is/myths-facts-stats.aspx

*Ronald Alsop, “Are autistic individuals the best workers around?” (7 January 2016)
http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20160106-model-employee-are-autistic-individuals-the-best-workers-around

https://www.facebook.com/Snoopy/photos/a.164481990269232.46758.161564697227628/1199629350087819/?type=3&theater