I’m still job hunting. I applied for two jobs yesterday and two today. It seems the library sector was not as good a fit for a borderline autistic/Aspie as I thought. Almost all the jobs going seem to require promoting the library service to other staff, which was the element of the renewed contract I was offered at my old job that I thought my boss was saying I would not be able to do, and which I felt I could not do. It’s surprising how many librarianship jobs have a strong interpersonal element, or even an element of training others, but I have seen stuff in my professional training and development about the industry moving that way, towards teaching and education and away from classifying, cataloguing, maintaining and giving access to books. I feel under-qualified and under-experienced for every job. I increasingly feel that I should have stayed in the job I was offered, difficult though it seemed, because I’m not going to find anything to which I am better suited. I applied for some jobs anyway, but I can feel myself hoping I won’t get called for interview, which is not the right mindset to go in with.
I just can’t see myself being able to do these jobs (a disproportionate number of which seem to involve law librarianship at very exclusive law practices), let alone doing them and being happy. I feel my life took a wrong turn somewhere, probably a long time ago (university or even school) and I don’t know how to get back on track. I try to job hunt, but I keep getting distracted and procrastinating, often blogging or wanting to blog, here or on my Doctor Who blog, which I guess is telling.
Looking at my CV and application, I seem to lack a lot of the skills I feel I should have acquired by now. Looking at my experience, it seems to have been mostly trivial stuff, punctuated by the occasional brief moment of initiative or responsibility. Is everyone’s first job or two like this, I wonder? Perhaps they are. I think my peers are all long past this level of work, though. I know, I know, I shouldn’t compare myself to anyone else. It’s impossible not to, though, because I want to know how I am faring in the world and in the absence of an absolutely objective God’s-eye perspective, I can only judge myself against other people.
I want to write an honest CV that would read something like: An overly-rule bound individual who struggles to use his initiative, is pedantic to the point of missing unspoken instructions, is profoundly uncomfortable with social interactions and goes completely to pieces under pressure. He is unable to make a decision, however trivial, without serious procrastination. His skills are limited as a result of his training at a third-rate university and are increasingly out of date as he has done little professional development. He suffers from mental health issues and, frankly, you’ll be lucky to get more than a couple of months consistent work out of him. He won’t steal the office stationery, but there’s a strong chance you’ll catch him self-harming with it. Plus it’s likely that any spoken instructions will be lost under the tidal wave of racing socially anxious thoughts that start up whenever someone talks to him. He has yet to develop any serious Howard Hughes-type eccentricities, but give him time. And whatever job you give him, he’ll probably be wishing he was blogging.
I also realised that I still can’t remember what my gross annual salary is. To be fair, I can remember my net monthly salary, but I can’t remember the monthly gross and I have to work out the annual by multiplying the monthly. I don’t think this is the biggest problem in the world, but it was one of the things that convinced E. that I was too unworldly for her. It also necessitated a time-wasting walk back to my flat to retrieve my contract so I could check.
The world does often seem too miserable, sordid and complicated for someone like me to thrive in it. When I was a child, I would often hear it said that I was “sensitive.” It always seemed that being “sensitive” was not considered a good thing. I do feel too sensitive to operate in the real world, which upsets me greatly, as I think people should function in the real world and not retreat to solipsism, fantasy or, except for certain select individuals, an ivory tower (my three great retreats). I don’t know what the exact correlation is between ‘sensitive,’ ‘depressed’ and ‘autistic,’ but I suspect there is one.
I know I write about sex and being a virgin at thirty-five a lot (too much) for a frum (religious) Jew, but I feel it somehow symbolises a lot of my areas of ineptitude: that I can’t form lasting relationships, obviously, but also that I struggle with relationships in general (friendships, family relationships – obviously not the same as being married, but there is some overlap of intimacy, involvement and concern) and that I’m not good with the entire practical, concrete side of life (again, as E. noted). Then there is the religious side of things that comes with marital sex being a mitzvah (commandment), both for spousal intimacy and for procreation, two areas where I have obviously failed which lead in turn to social dislocation from a community geared towards those who married and started a family in their early twenties or even late teens. I was at a kosher restaurant this evening with my family and I could see the young frum women in there and in the street outside, and I felt so conscious that they could never love someone like me, and wondered how I will ever find someone who can accept me for who I am. I felt that this would be a suitable topic for a poem, but I haven’t any poetry for years, not since being rejected as a writer for a website. Also, when I wrote about sexuality for Hevria.com, I was told that I need to stop viewing women as “anxiety-inducing sexual objects.” Obviously I ignore the many positive responses I had to the article from women and focus on that one critic (it was a nasty thing to say, though, and I hope ungrounded).
Even at dinner (it was to celebrate my birthday) I felt somewhat inadequate. I enjoy eating out sometimes, but I do find the noise somewhat draining (a classic autistic trait). I also felt that the conversation was a bit uncomfortable for me at times. We spoke a bit about my leaving my job and my job hunt and whether I should have accepted that revised contract. We also spoke a lot about my sister and my brother-in-law’s ongoing and complicated house move. I felt that we were saying that I may have made a serious mistake with my life decision and gone backwards while they are moving forwards in a big way, moving up the property ladder (a big thing in the UK, especially in London where property prices are astronomical, although strictly speaking they were already on the ladder).
It feels that the more I try to work on my career, socialising, family, relationships and so on, the harder it becomes, rather than the easier. I was told that the more I socialised, for example, the easier socialising would become, but it has stayed the same or even got harder for reasons I do not understand. It is as if I pushed against the world, and it pushed me back, harder. Similarly taking on new work responsibilities only led me to more social awkwardness and greater expectations of achievement (from myself and in others’ view of me), without actually making it easier to achieve anything. Working less than two-thirds of full time would seem a backwards step after my previous job, but I am not at all sure that I can manage even those hours. I wonder again if I should make a third attempt to get myself diagnosed with autism/Asperger’s or whether I just use that possibility as an excuse for living with my parents, being unemployed and being unmarried. It is very difficult to know what to do, especially without being supported by my therapist.