Working hard for a year to find out why I want to keep what I already have.
A year ago I started a program at BAVO-RNO to find work that was suitable for me considering the fact that I’m autistic.
In the first part of the program I research my own qualities and those of other people. Although I don’t remember the exact list of qualities I found, it was interesting to think about them.
Being autistic I tend to focus on the individual parts of behavior of people without realizing that there is a deeper meaning, a system to there behavior.
For instance tomorrow I’m having a meeting with one of my manager about a, for me rather costly mistake, he made at the end of last year. I always knew that I couldn’t trust him. But I never realized that there is a kind of motivation to his behavior: He is lazy and willing to do anything to prevent people from finding out that he is lazy.
Now I recognize that I can deal with him accordingly.
It was when we started with the second half of the program that I felt that I was loosing speed and in the end coming to a complete stand still.
In the second half of the program we started thinking about what kind of jobs I would like and what kind that would suite me.
The problem there was that I had put down the condition that it should be a job at which I could start without getting an additional education. I was 46 at the time. Which is rather old for somebody who has experience in the field but hasn’t worked the field for the last decade. But starting from scratch in a completely new field of interest with a completely new education would mean that I would be 50 before I could get a job. Which would be completely impossible.
But my existing skill set is somewhat limited.
I’ve work in IT for a few years but that was more then 10 years ago. I haven’t kept up. Which means that my knowledge base for a fast moving field as the IT is gone. No change that I would ever get a job there.
I also have a different skill set. After leaving the IT I was fortunate enough get the first year of a study called “inrichtings werk”. As far as I know this type of education never existed outside of the Netherlands so I’m not quite sure how to translate it.
It was a study where you were taught to teach people how to change there behavior. The study was meant for people who would work with people that didn’t feel that there were responsible for there own life and there own problems. Meanly people with (mental) handicaps.
For some one who, like me, didn’t know that he was autistic it meant learning about behavior, social skills, acting and a whole lot of other skills you need to survive in a modern day society. But I also learned how to influence people and how to change their behavior. I’m actually quite good at it (if I may say so myself 🙂 ).
But as far as finding a job this is also a skill that’s not very useful. Influenced by emancipation movement of the sixties and seventies the way social workers dealt with the disabled changed. People became responsible for there own actions. Which meant that social workers became advisers and sounding board for their clients. Listening to them and asking them questions. Which is a completely different skill set. One for which I don’t qualify.
The third option was to try to find some kind of unskilled labor.
Although I did think about it for a while it soon became clear that there is no way that I can do unskilled labor outside of the sheltered workplace.
When people do unskilled labor employers invest hardly anything in them. Which means it’s very easy to dismiss them. But even if they aren’t dismissed workers can very easily be moved from one department to an other.
I have experienced both in the 8 months I worked outside of the sheltered workplace and both were to chaotic for me. In both cases I experienced a lot of panic attacks.
So early August I concluded that there is only one workplace left for me and that is to do unskilled labor at the sheltered workplace.
If that sounds boring that is because the work we do is very boring.
But when I started thinking about working for the sheltered workplace for the rest of my working life I realized that I do have a skill that has a value within the sheltered workplace. I’m schooled in teaching people who feel left behind and not responsible for there own life and
handicap disability how to live and work with their handicap disability.
We have a lot of those kinds of people within the sheltered workplace.
This may not be a skill that is recognized by the sheltered workplace and at the moment there is no job in it. But that only means that I will have to
sculpt carve my own niche out.