I spent some time applying for a job, or rather three similar jobs at the same institution for which there was only one application form. I have applied for several jobs at this institution before, but only once got an interview, which I felt went badly; realistically, I don’t think the institution is a good fit in terms of atmosphere and outlook. Nevertheless, I felt I should persevere, so I did. The institution’s application website had saved my previous applications, but mangled them somewhat and I struggled to deal with it. I also struggled to deal with the wide open topic questions asking for evidence of competency. I can’t work out if I struggle with these because of autism, or because I don’t have so much work experience, having been out of work for so much of my adult life or else in jobs where I tried to avoid certain demands or experiences out of autistic “new situation” anxiety and social anxiety.

I suspect that lots of autistic people would freeze on being given a vague topic like “Please provide evidence of how you have provided a positive and responsive student or customer service.” I resisted the temptation to say, “I didn’t punch the students even when they were really annoying.”

I have mentioned before that I worry that my library skills in areas like cataloguing and classification have gone rusty with disuse, but it occurs to me that my transferable skills like leadership and customer service are not in great shape any more either, if they ever were.

I also have a law library job and a school library job to apply for this week, but I’m pessimistic about my chances with either, given that I have no experience in either sector and have rarely been interviewed when applying in either sector. But I feel I have no other options.

***

I went for another twilight run, although twilight was, of course, much earlier today. It was pretty good, in terms of pace (which is what I tend to focus on), despite cramp and a headache that came and went all evening despite taking medicine (the headache was only a 5 for intensity, but an 8 for persistence – just kidding, I don’t really rate all my headaches). After that I went on a virtual tour of Jewish London (money raised going to charity). I knew a lot of what was said, but it was for good causes.

***

I notice I’ve spoken about persistence twice in this post, once in regard to persisting in applying for jobs and once in terms of persisting with a run (and later Torah study) despite a headache. I suspect persistence is one of my key traits. At least, people have told me so. Once I get started, I tend to persist in doing things even when they seem unlikely to work out, like that job application. It was only when I read the book Calling Out to You (about depression and anxiety from an Orthodox Jewish perspective – recommended) that I really began to accept that rather than beating myself up for not doing enough prayer, religious study and other religious activities when depressed, I should be proud for doing anything at all. The analogy used was, “If you have a headache, you wouldn’t expect to function religiously as if you did not have a headache.” Then I realised that not only do I try to live my life as if not depressed when depressed, but even when I have a bad migraine, I try to carry on with prayers as if I was feeling fine, actually making myself throw up the last time I had a very bad migraine by making myself pray. Possibly persistence, like other virtues, is a vice if carried to excess (like my recent decision to stop persisting with books I’m not enjoying). It is hard to remember to see it this way all the time, though.

***

I am by nature a bit of a hoarder, albeit not to an extreme where hoarding becomes a psychological problem. However, lately I’ve been contemplating a clear out of some things. I doubt I will get rid of enough stuff to feel Marie Kondo-style possession-free, but I might free up some space on my over-crowded bookshelves. I have over a thousand books and it’s unlikely that many of those are going to get re-read, or even read once in some cases. I’d like to get rid of some books and also some bits of bric-a-brac that I’ve accumulated, what my parents would refer to as shmey dreys (a Yiddish word I’ve only encountered outside my family here, with a completely different meaning given) and other Yiddish speakers would call tchotchkes (a word I’ve never heard in our family… I think we speak slightly strange Yiddish, perhaps a different regional dialect. It might also be relevant that all four of my grandparents were born in England and only my maternal grandfather spoke much Yiddish). Much of the bric-a-brac consists of mementoes of holidays I went on, or that other people brought me back from their holidays, but I’m not sure how many “spark joy” or make me think about good times particularly. Some I would keep, but maybe put away somewhere so I have the shelf-space and so it’s less of a dust trap. I might put some of the fantasy war gaming miniatures I’ve painted away too. I’m proud of them, but they do make dusting hard, and maybe there are too many of them to create a good impression.

As for books, it’s hard to work out what I won’t read again, particularly with novels. I know I’m unlikely to re-read murder mysteries, but that’s the type of thing I would like to lend to my children (if I have any) to tempt them to read more adult books when they are ready for more adult books. As for non-fiction, I’ve picked up a lot over the years, either free from the duplicate pile at one library where I worked or cheap from another library and from charity shops and the like. At one stage I wanted to build a personal library, but I think I’ve rather given up on that. Still, it seems a shame to give away classic books like Hobbes’ Leviathan or Plato’s Republic even though that’s not really where my interests lie any more. I’ve got some odd books on Jewish history too which might be useful if I write Jewish historical/time-travel novels as I’d like to do, but I suspect a lot have been superseded by more recent research and would have to be supplemented if not ignored.

My parents have also encouraged me not to throw away books or objects that were given to me as presents or books given as prizes for academic achievement at school or university. I have quite a few of these (*blushes*) and they make up a lot of the “unread, unlikely to read” pile. Bear in mind my parents still have several large packing boxes of toys that used to belong to me and my sister in the hope that they will one day have grandchildren who will play with them although I’m not sure how much children would want to play with old toys, even classics like Lego and my train set. I can see the point in holding on to some of these, but I think others would better go to a children’s charity.

I also have a lot of Doctor Who videos, even though I’ve replaced them all with DVDs by now. I was hoping that they might become valuable collectibles at some stage, but I’m not sure that they will. I would like to keep the sleeves even if I get rid of the tapes as, perhaps surprisingly, the Doctor Who video range often used specially commissioned painted art rather than just photos, even though the latter is much cheaper. The pictures produced were often very good and even when they switched to photoshopped photos, the covers were still quite attention-grabbing. I just can’t bring myself to throw them away, although if I disposed of the videos I could store the sleeves easily in a folder.

It’s something to think about anyway. It’s probably be good that I’m even thinking about such a clear out.

11 thoughts on “Persistence and Hoarding

  1. It’s true that I’ve always thought of persistence as a good trait but some of what you’ve described i.e. reading books you are not really into etc. seems a bit different. It reminded me of a novel called David Elginbrod by George MacDonald where he talks about a boy who does this with books. In the story his tutor intervenes and insist that he not persist because we only truly learn things through the heart and so it’s pointless if the heart isn’t in it. Anything to an extreme isn’t good I think. There are people who don’t do their basic duty and others who dutifully plod along unnecessarily or for no real purpose. Which actually brings me to this word I’d never heard before of “shmey drey”. It’s almost like it’s something that appears to have no purpose but it holds sentimental value and therefore it does. It’s all about the ♥️. If you won’t do your basic duty by someone you might be showing you don’t really love them. If you do your duty but it’s not cheerful the same could be true. And then some things are just pointless and don’t deserve your heart’s attention.
    Don’t get rid of the old toys!!! Sorry to yell, lol. Or if you do consider who you give them to. Toys these days are such low quality and eliminate the need for imagination. A nonverbal autistic child will not play with most toys but they will get endless joy out of a train set and legos and a set of either of these is expensive and out of the reach of a lot of people. Just my two sense.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wouldn’t throw away the toys, but to find a place to donate them, but in any case my parents won’t let me get rid of them at this stage. I was just going to get rid of bric-a-brac and unwanted books, mostly non-fiction that I don’t think I’ll read again, if I’ve even read them once. But I’m still building up to that! At the moment I’m not sure what I will do.

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  2. The only book prize I got that I can think of was for top mark in History 12, and it was a book about World War I. I don’t think I ever read it, although I was fascinated by a picture of a dead body with the lower half blown off (cheerful, I know). I only got rid of it this year.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Re: job hunting — I stumbled across this organisation whilst looking for support for my son. You have probably come across them already and I think this is just one of several, but just in case https://stackrecruitment.org/

    Good luck with the clearing out but don’t worry overmuch if you don’t get much past thinking about it (most people don’t begin to think about major clear outs until they’ve retired and sometimes not even then). I always keep good books — they’re the easiest things to get rid of when the time comes, and you never know when you’ll want to refer back to them. And I’m sure, as a librarian, you already have them all neatly sorted into categories, if not catalogued!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hadn’t heard of Stack Recruitment, although I have found similar organisations. I will register with them in a minute, although my experience with similar organisations has been mixed.

      I do have my books sorted, and catalogued on Goodreads.com. My problem is shelf space – I already have two large bookcases and one small bookcase full of books in my bedroom, with books piled up on top of each other or two rows deep to fit them in (excluding another bookcase full of DVDs), plus a smaller bookcase downstairs and even then I have to store some more books in the cupboards above my bed. It is tempting to get rid of history books that I doubt that I will ever refer to again, but the fear remains that one day I will need them, probably for a writing project, although I’m not sure how much they would reflect current research in the field.

      Like

  4. I have noticed that no matter how you’re feeling physically or emotionally, you always persist and accomplish something (or things) each day. That’s so important. Job searching is extremely stressful. My older daughter and her husband are in the throes of it. It’s not going well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you.

      Job searching is difficult even without a pandemic. There really aren’t many jobs out there right now, particularly if you can only work in certain environments.

      Like

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