Thinking about what I can do with this blog has me rethinking my carrier and one of my most annoying habbits
For most of my youth I had no idea of what I was going to do with my life.
My parents thought that I should study.
But they didn’t seem to care what I study.
Just as long as I studied something.
I had no ideas of what to do or what to study until I reach the MAVO (some what akin to the American High school).
There I first learned about chemistry. A very interesting study about what happens when you marry two chemical substances.
What kind of substance will you get and how much of that substance.
So I decided to study chemistry at HBO level (a 4 year study some what akin to the American College).
But I soon discovered that there was a big difference between MAVO chemistry and working as a chemist.
I don’t know what chemist do now days but 30 years ago they spend most of there days doing titration. Which is the process of adding one liquid to an other and wait until the color changes.
Which is almost as interesting as watching paint dry.
So I stopped that study and joined the army of the unemployed.
But I did get one thing from that study and that was a new interest.
The school had one of the first computers that was accessible for students. And we could play on it as much as we wanted.
Most of my school mates didn’t understand it though.
The computer had only one or two, boring, games.
But it offered something much more interesting.
With a few simple statements you could get it to do what ever you wanted.
As long as what you wanted had something to do with math.
(A little Ford: Any color you like as long as it is black 🙂 )
But I understood it.
It took me a few years to get into the IT business.
For reasons I still don’t understand the Dutch government used to think that employers where interested in people who didn’t do anything and didn’t know anything.
This meant that people who where unemployed couldn’t do a study or anything else that could increase there changes of getting a job.
After five years the government finally changed their minds and I was allowed to study.
In the end it took me eight years to find a job as a computer operator.
But it was a nice job.
I learned a lot about the operation of the computers I worked with. Learned a little about myself and really enjoyed the work.
But after a few years it became very clear that although I enjoyed the work, I really didn’t like the people.
They all had “square eyes” as it was called. Meaning that they were only interested in computers and programming.
If it didn’t have anything to do with computer people didn’t talk about it.
One colleague told me that he had made a computer program for the school one of his children attended. And a computer program for the school the other child attended.
So maybe he had two children.
Or maybe the school of the third child didn’t need a computer program. I’ll never know.
Around my thirtieth I decide that IT wasn’t something I wanted to do for the rest of my life and that I would switch to working at a boarding house.
So I did the first year of a four year HBO training. And found a job.
First working with abused children for a few months and then working with mentally disabled adults.
I found that the job gave me mixed feelings.
On the one hand I had to figure out what kind of problems clients had and how best to help them.
That part I enjoyed very much.
But on the other hand I had to live with them. Which meant watching “Goede tijden slechte tijden” (the Dutch “As the world turns”) which I didn’t enjoy at all. And I had play board games with them. An other thing I didn’t enjoy.
But in the end it didn’t matter because I ran into a few problems and lost my job.
After a few years of unemployment I found a job at the sheltered work place Promen.
I didn’t know then that I was autistic. But towards the end of the nineties the Dutch government decided that giving unemployed people a subsidized job would improve there changes of finding a real job.
It didn’t work. But it did give me a steady income and something to fill my days.
So I’m not complaining.
But anyway. Soon after starting at Promen I found that most of my colleagues had problems that caused a lot of sick leave while, in most cases, it should be reasonably easy to solve the problems.
So I started telling members of staff that we should teach people how to control their problems.
I’m at it for 11 years now.
At first staff didn’t believe that it would be possible but the last few years the company is really changing…
I had hoped that it would also give me a change to get a more interesting job.
But that hasn’t happened. I’m still doing unskilled labor.
All in all not much of a carrier.
I have had a job for a little over half of my life.
But it surely wasn’t the kind of carrier my parents pictured for me.
As for the annoying habit. I talk to myself.
Sometimes I even yell at myself.
People must think I’m crazy.
The stupid thing is I’m actually not even speaking to myself.
In my mind I’m explaining every new situation I run into to the people around me.
Sometimes even to this blog.
I’m always explaining.
Always… telling stories…
I’ve never thought about it in this way. But telling stories is exactly what I do.
Suddenly I understand what I’m doing and why I’m doing it.
Up until I was about 10 yr I hardly spoke. Maybe 10 or 20 words in a week.
I have a visual thinking process. Which means that I have a movie in my mind that shows me how the world works.
Until I was about 10 I was mostly interested in how clocks and cars work.
I wasn’t interested in knowing and interacting with people. And so I didn’t speak.
When I did became interested in interacting with people I found that a visual thinking process isn’t always well suited to understand the situations I experienced.
So by telling and retelling stories I can figure out how things work.
Which is why I can’t break with the habit.
I need this.
Now I suddenly understand why I have had such a haphazard carrier.
In my teens I really didn’t know what I wanted to do. Chemistry was just my highest grade.
Getting into the IT was a good choice. Working with computers is still one of my strength.
It just was a little limiting.
Getting part of the training needed to work at a boarding house was one of the best things that ever happened to me.
It gave me the skills needed to understand the people around me.
Although I have a severe case of autism. People often tell me that they don’t recognize that in me.
Which is for a large part thanks to this training.
The next step is to find a way to tell my stories on this blog.
But that should be a breeze.
While I’m still busy writing this story I’ve already thought up two other stories I want to write and a third is in the making.