As you may be aware I’ve lost my job a bit less than a year ago and unemployment was what inspired me to set up my blog. At the beginning I wasn’t very clear on what to blog about, I thought to focus more on direct advocacy but I’m glad I found my niche. There’s loads of autism advocates out there and I must say it does look a bit strange when someone is constantly demanding people to understand and accommodate us without making much effort to explain how we see the world.
So that’s what I’m doing: explaining how I see the world of social situations. I believe my 44 years of life experience gives me good understanding where challenges can be, but I guess I can still misinterpret or miss something – but that is the point, as it allows the reader to reflect on what is missing in my interpretation.
But to do that I need to comment on other people behaviour, there’s no other way! And the problem is I’d like a more permanent job, either part time or zero hours contract but in one place. Working for an agency is good in terms of being able to avoid all the workplace politics, but I am always getting stressed when I have to get to a new place and for several minutes at the beginning of my shift before I get a bit of an understanding of what’s happening around me.
And I wonder now how having a blog is going to impact my ability to find permanent job.
One problem is that I made a few posts about what I believe is wrong in social care. I suppose I could delete them, but at least one of them mentioned the willingness of some people out there to use the term ‘autism’ when they mean ‘learning disability’ (‘X is autistic so she doesn’t understand verbal communication very well. That’s why we have to use pictures and objects of reference’ – that absolutely infuriates me. Inability to understand verbal communication is not even mentioned in diagnostic criteria for autism).
I am aware some managers, or possibly even all of them, would find it threatening in the current era of constant funding cuts. They’d think that I’d start disclosing my opinions to every CQC and council inspector who turns up and that will make the place look bad. I presume the fact that I have a blog makes people see me as opinionated while the fact that I’m autistic makes them think I don’t know when to shut up. Can anything be done about that?
The other problem is my comments about what people said and what it made me think. Even though I don’t include anything confidential and don’t even add details that would allow to identify which place I worked in, I can see how that would create an issue for staff.
‘You know, I told Magda ‘ABC’. I was stressed and it just came out, and guess what, she wrote about it on her blog! If it made her uncomfortable she should have told me so that I had a chance to explain!’ Yes, that is what is going to happen. And the consequences will be that either staff will be avoiding talking to me (best case scenario but then I’d have nothing to post about) or that I’d be firmly told by the management that I need to stop posting about my colleagues because that creates conflict within the team.
While with working for an agency it is much easier for the individual care homes to not interfere even if they find out I blog about social interaction at work. Let’s take yesterday post, about that male staff who asked me, out of nowhere, how long I had lived in this country. So first the care home would need to check if I was actually on shift on that day and then ask all male staff if they asked me that question, which would put the manager in a bit of a difficult situation. Therefore (I hope I’m right here) the management is much more likely to decide my blogging is ok as long as I don’t include any sensitive details.
I don’t really know how I got myself into this situation. I mean it’s still better that I can see the challenges before applying for permanent job, but I didn’t see that happening when I decided to start blogging about my private life. Moreover, I thought having a blog would be a solution for some British people perceiving me as a ‘looser from Eastern Europe’ – which was not very understanding of them but I do admit here, I didn’t have much of a life at all just over a year ago so at least I can see where they were coming from. I thought that having a blog will make me look like a desirable person in a team, not someone who needs to be avoided. And that is the problem with being autistic – the inability to imagine how the situation is going to unfold.
However, closing the blog down is not an option. I know where putting my head down to keep a job took me the last time.