Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Work and self: the ASD esteem issue

Each of us on the spectrum has run into days (or weeks; or months; or years) where we felt useless and worthless. Work can help some of that equation because it means somewhere someone finds our existence valuable enough to pay us to be around them... and do work of course.

But work is more than that and it is worth examining what working does for us:

  1. Provides a paycheck
  2. Helps us kill a few hours on a regular basis
  3. Gives us a sense of fulfillment
  4. Helps form our identity (Hegel's philosophy on this point is astounding)
  5. Allows us to do something we enjoy (this can happen occasionally)

Point number one is the primary driver behind a lot of our employment decisions. We take jobs we might not like in order to earn enough money to provide things we do like. When people ask me why I went in to computers, included in my answer is "and the pay is good". There are only a few things I like about working in computers in corporate America but the pay is one of them. If I had my way I would run a cat shelter that never refused taking in a kitty and only used euthanasia when quality of life was no longer possible. Not a whole lot of pay in that line of work.

Still it is hard not to feel like you're for sale when you trade in happiness for the steady corporate job. That tension will stay with you a long time and add anxiety into an already anxious life. So here is something to try: decide that you will work so that you can afford to find something that allows you to enjoy points 2 -5. Make this a conscious decision. You will feel empowered after doing it because you are doing something nice, very nice, for yourself. It is a gift that you can give to you and is hard for others to take away. Your 2- 5 job can change from time to time but it is still the same rewarding gift.

And if you enjoy some aspects of earning money then that is icing on the cake.

No comments:

Post a Comment