This seems like a decent image of the hard times I had while in the mainstream workforce. Photo courtesy of yourstory.com
A brief update on the progress of my book, “WALKING ON EGGSHELLS”:
It’s getting closer to being done!
All ten chapters have been edited for the third (or fourth, I’m not sure) time and been printed.
I just have to go back to one chapter and possibly replace the name of a place where I used to work with a pseudonym, in case such place takes offense at its mention, the way I described my experiences there.
The next step? Getting my manuscript into a sort-of book form at the local UPS store and (finally!) sending it to Lulu.com for self-publication.
As I’ve mentioned on my Facebook page, if “WALKING ON EGGSHELLS” is not in your hands by December 31st of this year, then I will consider myself as having failed at this endeavor.
As For Now…
I thought I’d give another excerpt of the struggles I had as an adult in the workforce due to what I know now stemmed from having Asperger’s.
My (mostly) bad times during those years toiling for a paycheck were so many, like my high school days I divided them into two chapters.
These excerpts are from the chapter I call “Failures In The Workforce, 1991-1998”:
As I obviously needed a job and it was, as Mom put it, “desperation time”, I went in, asked for an application, filled it out at home, brought it back, and a few days later I got a phone call from them saying I was hired. I remember promising Mom that I would “work hard and do whatever they say”, feeling a sense of relief that I was gainfully employed again and was able to find something relatively quickly after such a monumentally terrible experience at Grant School.
That feeling of relief evaporated like water in Saudi Arabia in the middle of summer as my job as a salesman fast became what I call to this day “The Eight and a Half-Month Prison Sentence”, realizing quite rapidly that working in retail was even MORE of a wrong profession for me than education was.
I hated the concept in retail of “There’s always something to do”, even when no customers were in the store and all the luggage and counters were clean, polished, and stacked neatly.
I especially hated it when, just before the 10:00 p.m. closing time, which was the shift I was always given, what seemed to be a load of customers would come into the store and I would be forced to stay after having been there for eight full hours, gritting my teeth on the bus home and doing everything I could not to scram in anguish over slaving away at that plantation; for the record, it was the only full-time job I would ever have.
And I REALLY hated it when, on a scheduled day off which gave me a most blessed sensation throughout my being the phone would ring and it would be the store ordering me to come in and work because someone had called in sick, whom I would think would be faking so I would be tortured at that personal hell hole; there I’d be, so looking forward to a relaxing day at home watching TV and what not, and I’d be forced back into the salt mines.
And on top of everything else, in the tradition of pouring salt on what in my heart was a painfully gaping wound, there was one other thing that made tat place of retail a maximum security prison hell: A certain co-worker who, like Marlon roughly 15 years before, was a flat-out bully and a word-that-rhymes-with-witch.
I’ll call her Gina*.
(Gina) was short in stature – not quite like Snooki, but in that Jersey Shore girl’s league – with pale, pasty skin and long, wavy brown hair. She had an ever-present stench due to her being a heavy smoker, reeking of tobacco as a prominent image of mine regarding her was standing outside of the store with a pack of Marlboros in hand, dirtying her lungs, other people’s lungs, and the air with those wretchedly foul cancer sticks.
I’ll never forget one particular day when she pushed me too far and I snapped, going into one of those meltdowns which are common to at least some folks with Asperger’s…
Gina and I were standing behind the counter next to the cash register. I wish I could tell you what Gina said, but like so many other incidents before and since, I’ve blocked it out of my mind due to the extreme post-traumatic stress that it would cause to my psyche.
One thing was for certain: I was feeling low and depressed and Gina must have called me some bad name or made some bad gesture that pushed me over the edge. I do remember her putting her hands in her ears like Bullwinkle and making a taunting noise after I had told her to leave me alone.
A more accurate illustration of how I felt during my years working for someone else in the workforce. Photo courtesy of businessinsider.com
The next thing I knew, I was throwing some balled-up piece of paper at her and she reciprocated by spitting her Marlboro-laden saliva at me. No, I didn’t make any move to hit her – however much a word-that-rhymes-with-witch that Gina was, at least I had enough presence of mind and respect for females to not let it come to that – but it was another albatross around my hellish luggage store neck.
You would think that my experiences at that store would improve by leaps and bounds after Gina was finally fired for her evilness a few weeks later, the owner of the store dramatically pointing at the door and telling her those two words that I so wanted to her for the longest time, but nothing could have been further from the truth as my miseries went beyond that little Lady Voldemort.
That’s why it was a foregone conclusion that I would be relieved of my duties right before Labor Day, though in all honesty they beat me to it because I was planning on marching into the owner’s office right after that holiday and tell my oppressor, I mean employer, those two little words that I had desperately desired to tell him for so long:
I’m quite positive that many of you are thinking this right about now…
“You should have been glad to have had that job! You were just an ungrateful, spoiled little baby who need to suck it up and grow up!”
I can certainly understand that sentiment, and despite what it seems it’s not my intention to use my Asperger’s syndrome as an excuse for my fucking up at that store – and nearly every other job I had before and afterwards. I know that many Aspies have been successful in retail-type gigs and other professions where service with a smile is required,.
However, I’m about as far as those Aspians as one could get as not only is any gig of that persuasion isn’t any place for me, I knew even before that horrible experience that I was 1,000 times more successful in situations where I was allowed to do my own thing at whatever work I was involved in.
It’s like if I had a little plot of roses growing in this huge garden, and it was my responsibility to take care of those roses in that plot, keeping those American Beauties watered and the ground insect-free.
When an overseer, I mean employer, would criticize me on how I’m doing or micromanage me, he/she is – figuratively speaking – stepping on those roses of mine for what I see in my mind as no reason other than to be a mean bully.
That’s how I felt and, to be brutally honest, still feel. Even though I understand that employees need supervising and constructive criticism in order to achieve maximum performance, I couldn’t, and still can’t help from seeing that as bullying.
That was why I HATED evaluations…at least in my mind, evaluations were always a way for bullies, I mean bosses, to remind me that I was a lesser being in their eyes, which essentially and eventually ruined me as a person with ability to sustain gainful employment as far as working for someone else.
No, this wasn’t where I had such a horrible time but as it’s a place that serves the public, it’s in the same league as that luggage store where I toiled. Photo courtesy of themountaineer.com