One of the diagnostic questions I have been asked in the past relates to work and my attitude to the world of work. The question specifically looked at whether or not I made mistakes when bored or whether I would, or could, remain focused on the task. This, I think, is asking about a person’s focus and the ability to shut out all of the noise of the world. For the attention to be on the task and the task alone. This is not me. If I am bored by a task then my attention wanders to anything and everything. Sherlock Holmes said that his mind “rebels at stagnation” and that he “abhors the dull routine of existence” and to an extent I can sympathise. Obviously, I am not an intellectual like Holmes. Nowhere near. But it is an interesting idea. If I get bored then I start to wander. When I wander I make mistakes. When I make mistakes I don’t move up the ladder. Because I don’t move up the ladder I am bored.
Life is a snake eating itself. I am the product and producer of my own failures.
I have always harboured a dream to be a professional writer. Like millions of others I dream of being published and stroking my chin during discussions about books. Obviously, the chances of this happening are infinitesimally small. But dreams are there for a reason. It could have been an attitude of “I am not meant for this” that made me careless and apathetic in office jobs. The routine of the job and the tedious nature of it always wore on me. Some people with autism, if not the majority of them, crave routine so you would think this would be right up my street. But it wasn’t. The routine became depressing. On this day do this task. Then a week later do this task. It just wore me down.
Another factor that I found hard work in… work. Was the people. Generally the people I have worked with have all been lovely. However, the main problem is that they cared. They actually gave a shit about whether we produced enough work items within a month. And whether this amount of work then made some rich man, as it is almost always a rich man, slightly richer. They cared. They put their personality in to this mundane work. I couldn’t ever that level of feigned interest. How can you?
Though when I was sick of rubbish end of year reviews and not getting a bonus I did focus my attention. I also stopped emailing people not in the company and did the work diligently. My work items shot up and I ended up the year with a high year with the full bonus and the highest possible rating. Which at the time felt good. I know my wife was made up with the extra money coming in. Does this show that my heart wasn’t in it because I was deluded or was I bored? Was I given a wider range of tasks or did I become focused?
As an educator, especially when I am not doing supply, I don’t have time for distractions and the routine provided by the timetable is welcome. My heart is in teaching and it is definitely what I was “meant” to do. If I was meant to do anything.
Again, I seem to be able to sum up these thoughts by saying it maybe a mixture of autistic traits and my own perception of what I am doing. It maybe that some aspects of a job appeal more than others but that is not necessarily autism but generally human.