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My case worker thinks I have Aspergers. It would explain a lot, beginning with my great difficulty in relating to and interacting with other people. I am not looking for sympathy, compared to some others I have it pretty good...

I recently graduated with a dual degree in International Business Management and Marketing Management from Cal Poly Pomona. I only mention this because it will become important later on.

I am a client of the California Department of Rehabilitation, upon which after graduation hired a disability employment agency to assist me in finding employment. This agency did not bother to  go "outside the box" as it were to find me employment fitting my status as a college graduate, as most of their clients are severely mentally disabled as do not have college educations. I was instead pressured into taking a job that does not use my (mostly financed by the government) education.

The state of California paid this agency a large amount of money, only to have them pressure me into a job that pays okay for who they mostly hire (the uneducated, the disabled and people that for whatever reason, never managed to escape the lower rungs of society.) I am trying to make the best of it but it is wearing me thin. I cant help but think that if this job agency had not sold me short, if they had not taken the easiest option and plugged me in at a warehouse, doing menial labor, I would be much more effectively utilized at a job that I enjoyed.

My job consists of picking items out of boxes, stacked in slots in bays. My job consists of picking the item out of the box, putting it in the tote, and pressing a button that is below the slot that signals the computer that I have picked the item. I then move on to a different tote, assembly line style. I pack literally thousands of totes a night. My performance is measured purely on how many buttons I can press a minute. I have to keep up a frantic pace of item picking, hour after hour, for eight hours a night (this is a night shift job). Shifts can vary from eight hours in a night, to ten and a half hours.

I come home bone tired, hands and feet and back aching from doing this day after day. Weekends consist of mostly sleeping, and recovering and are about a day and a half long. I hate this job, not for what I have to do, but for the co-workers I have to deal with.

The working environment feels like a cross between a prison and a high school. Most of my co-workers are very cliquish. Most of them act as if they are in high school, because frankly they never graduated high school.

Management will write you up at the drop of a hat for just about anything. If you are a minute late to work, you get a write up, if you are a minute late from a half an hour lunch, you get a write up. If you fail to perform to the frantic pace that corporate sets for even one week, you get a write up. The employees do not get a fifteen minute break as the break room (which we are required to go to) is a good five minute walk away, each way. Time spent walking to and from is counted against your fifteen minute break, even though I am pretty sure this is illegal, and if it isn't, it should be.

I now feel trapped in this job, as the job agency that found me this job does NOT want to help me find a job more suited to my abilities. I feel akin to a man trapped under a burning couch. The California Department of Rehabilitation does not want to offer me any assistance finding a better job, as they already "helped" me once. They say I should find a job on my own. Never-mind the fact that I am bone tired at the end of a shift and my weekend, never-mind that I also spend a lot of time caring for a disabled family member on top of the job that I am now chained to.

Now don't get me wrong, I am grateful for a job in this economy, and even more grateful that it pays above minimum wage by a significant margin, but that is just about the only thing I am grateful from in the situation I find myself in.

I take a huge part of the share of the blame for this whole mess. I wish I hadn't taken the first job that called me back right out of college, I wish I had held the agency that found me that job to the fire and made them help me find something more fitting for my situation. I wish I now had more energy to devote to finding a different job more suited to my skill set.

The whole point of this diary (if there is one) is that government agencies are not a perfect solution to everything, a lot of times it is occupied by people who take the path of least short term resistance, like I did in trusting that agency to have my best interests at heart.

Originally posted to dmalrajabi on Fri Sep 02, 2011 at 08:14 PM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions and Parenting on the Autism Spectrum.

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Comment Preferences

  •  You are too smart to settle for this (6+ / 0-)

    Get online and look for something that you educated yourself to do. There are jobs in your field that don't require a great deal of interaction if you are not comfortable with it.

    You are young, smart and have too much to offer to be doing the kind of mindless work you are doing.

    Good luck. Message me if you need an ear.

    Still trying to think of something thought-provoking or hilarious for this space.

    by LuLu on Fri Sep 02, 2011 at 08:24:41 PM PDT

  •  I don't know much about programs, (4+ / 0-)

    but it sounds like you've already gotten an official diagnosis. I urge you to go back to the original office or find another better suited and push them to help you. It sounds like you're not having any enjoyment in life, and your intelligence is being wasted. Until then, perhaps there's an interest, outside of work, where you can find people or things to bring some joy back. You have a choice, as scary as it seems as times. I'm betting you'll improve your life.

    "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed, and hence clamorous to be led to safety, by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." H.L. Mencken, 1925

    by cv lurking gf on Fri Sep 02, 2011 at 08:34:22 PM PDT

  •  I'm sorry about the difficulties you are facing. (6+ / 0-)

    I took a quick read about Asperger syndrome to try to understand the additional challenges you have to deal with.

    Obviously you are facing a bigger challenge than others, because of Asperger, but the account that you provide about your job is also very illustrative of how the working conditions continue to deteriorate for the average worker.

    Things are tough all around, and for many people.  I know you got your college degree, and should be able to get a better job.  My advice would be to update your résumé, reach out to community non-profit organizations that help people with disabilities, and try to find another job and get out of that soul-destroying environment.

    But believe me, I know you are in a very tight spot, especially if you are also trying to take care of another person.

    The best of luck to you, don't lose hope.  Take time to meditate, sop, relax when you can.

  •  VR is atrocious for jobs for those who (8+ / 0-)

    are intelligent and have disabilities. Some of my deaf friends who have bachelor's degrees that got jobs through VR got low-paying jobs that didn't even fit what they went to college for.

    I was advised to do VR after college graduation. I never went there, and I'm glad I didn't.

    I work with B2B PAC, and all views and opinions in this account are my own.

    by slinkerwink on Fri Sep 02, 2011 at 08:42:25 PM PDT

  •  and another thing about VR, they're not (9+ / 0-)

    there to get you a high-paying job that fits your abilities, they're just there to make people feel better about hiring people with disabilities for shitty pay.

    I work with B2B PAC, and all views and opinions in this account are my own.

    by slinkerwink on Fri Sep 02, 2011 at 08:43:52 PM PDT

  •  I was Dx'ed at age 48 with AS (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LuLu, Dirtandiron

    I always knew I was different, but did not know why. I went through a lot of crappy jobs. I ended up accidentally finding a job that FINALLY made use of my skills and abilities.

    Had I not been in a union job, I would have been fired from that one also. When I first heard of Aspergers in April of 2007, I finally knew why I was different. It was an epiphany!

    So I decided to let my boss know, so that he would understand that it was not willful behavior that caused problems, but a genetic difference.

    So, of course, I was now making up an excuse for all the things I did that pissed him off. Let's just say that it has been a very interesting battle to get them to realize that this was a real issue, not an excuse.

    During my time before the Dx, I went through a lot of crap similar to what you are experiencing now, but without the ADA as a foil. I am one of the 'lucky' ones, my math and science skills and ability helped me sort of live a life that was better than most with AS.

    I know that when I was in situations similar to yours, I wanted to beat my head against the wall. And sometimes did. That was NOT a good thing to do.

    My words of encouragement to you would be:

    As you get older and better at pretending to be 'normal,' you will improve your work situation, as well as those other areas of life (just about all of them) that will continue to be problematic for you. But as you get older, you are less likely to give a damn about what others think of you.

    Those that are good people will see all your good qualities, and those that are not good people will be the kind that you are better off not knowing well. Just keep being yourself, and watch out for those that want to use and abuse you.

    I have been learning to pass for 'normal' for 52 years now, and I figure that by the time I am 100 or so, I will be able to. But as I get older, I have become less worried about passing for 'normal.' My learning to be more 'social' is not focused on passing for 'normal,' but to get people to give me that chance to know me well enough to find that diamond that is my soul.

    I know this comment went way off the topic of your troubles with VR, but I wanted to share some of my experiences with you. It is not a rosy future you face, but it is NOT one that will stay as bad as it seems now.

    I am going to republish this diary in the Parenting on the Autism Spectrum group. It could be useful to those to see what our lives are, and could be.

    Just your average every day Autistic hillbilly/biker/activist/union steward with an engineering degree.

    by Mentatmark on Sat Sep 03, 2011 at 09:33:49 AM PDT

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