I think capitalism is not for me.

I happened to notice this past Sunday that I was free from the “Sunday scaries.” I’ve always experienced: that common anxiety toward the end of the weekend that comes so often with the coming week. Even during periods of my life where work didn’t feel like trauma and pain, where I actually enjoyed showing up somewhere, where I liked seeing the people I saw every day, even then, Sunday evenings have always come with a certain tension, an inability to relax and enjoy myself because of all the tasks I had coming to me in the morning, either real or imagined. On one hand, it’s a little confusing because I don’t feel that same anxiety on any other four weeknights that precede the other workdays. But part of me wonders if it’s just a function of difficulty with transitions in general playing out in the transition of weekend to weekday.

This past Sunday, I looked at my partner and said, “I am actually excited to go to work tomorrow,” and it was the truth. I feel like I’ve finally found a job at a company that values me for who I am and what I’m capable of without me having to “flex” into something else or struggle to be something I am not, which has been my experience throughout my career. The past week and a half have come with a lot of promise and hope, starting a new job that feels like I’ve finally found “the one.” What’s more promising is the people I’m meeting are transparent about their challenges. Even during the interview process, it seemed like they were more nervous about luring me in under false pretenses and really wanted me to know the volume of work I was signing up for by taking this job. It’s a stark contrast from previous roles where the optics were of utmost importance. What the thing was did not matter as much as what the thing looked like and how it was communicated and how it was received, where it seems like here, we are mostly just concerned about the “thing”, what it is, how it functions. It’s ok if it’s a little ugly or unfinished or misunderstood because we can deal with all that later. It feels more tangible to me.

So tell me why I am miserable today for no discernible reason. I feel physically exhausted. I woke up this morning with a sore back, but I’ve woken up that way every morning for the past month or so. I got about as much sleep as I always get. I had too much junk food last night and my body just feels uncomfortable on multiple levels. And while I’m still excited about work and the culture here and the chance to make my own decisions and do the things I want to do and how I want to do them, there’s some creeping doubt telling me I can’t do this.

I can kind of picture how I want things to go. I can conjure an image in my head of what this job might look like a year or two down the road but I have no clear vision of how to get there. I don’t think I can do this. I have been too anxious to go down to where the rest of my team sits and visit with them today because I don’t have anything to say and I’m not sure I can stomach another awkward moment of just standing around staring out the window, not sure if I should be saying something else or walking away. And if I were to walk away, do I say something before I go or do I just leave? I also don’t know if they’re busy and I’m intruding or bothering them. I can’t stop thinking about all the times so far I’ve just stood there for way too long and then eventually walked away awkwardly. They must thing I’m really odd. And I don’t want them to think I’m odd so I won’t go there. But I’m not quite sure what to do with myself and this lack of a clear direction is making me feel useless. I was sitting at my desk almost in tears but I was distracted by IT installing some software on my computer before I could fully break down.

What is wrong with me?

I wanted this job. I want to do this job. I think I can do this job. Most days I want to do this job. Today I just want to sleep.

But it’s OK when I do it.

Why can’t I cut anyone any slack? I have this view of myself as being incredibly conscientious. I know on a rational level that this cannot be true given how absent-minded I can be, except that, no matter where I am or what I am doing, you can be sure my brain is on overtime, analyzing myself and how am I coming across, how much space my body is taking up, how others might perceive the words I am saying, being sure to phrase things in a very specific and intentional way to limit the risk of being misunderstood. On an intellectual level, I know that my experiences are not universal and yet I subconsciously hold everyone else to this same standard.

I have a meeting this morning with a consultant my company was working with. I interviewed with her before I got the job and I think she was instrumental in my getting hired. I like her a lot. We do the same work and speak the same language and, while verbal communication can often be pretty taxing, speaking with her is energizing. It’s exciting! It’s actually fun!

But today I am annoyed. We’ve booked out six different virtual meetings to transfer the work she’s been doing over to me but none of the meetings in my calendar contain a location so I have no way to join any of the meetings until she sends the zoom link, which, evidently, she typically sends at the start time of each meeting. My coworker suggested she might have other meetings going on so she does it this way to avoid potentially having two different clients join the same zoom session. Having managed booking sessions on zoom, I know that’s entirely avoidable, but I didn’t push it.

I think this morning was my third or fourth of six meetings and, in addition to sending the link at the absolute last minute, she’s now sent the link for two meetings to my personal email address, which is an understandable mistake since that’s how we communicated before I was hired, which is why, the first time it happened, I responded from my personal address with my work email and let her know. Then it happened again, so I forwarded the email to myself and joined the meeting. But this morning it happened a third time and this is where I am getting really frustrated with myself.

I could have responded again and asked again for her to please remember to email my work email address since I don’t like to be in the habit of having to check my personal communications throughout the day. But that’s the thing. I have my phone with me at all times and I check it constantly. I saw when she sent the emails. But, on principle, I should be working from my work email and using personal email for personal matters, so when she sent the zoom link to my personal email address for our meeting this morning, I just pretended I didn’t get it. I expected that she would wait for a few minutes and then, when I didn’t show, I assumed she would check her email to make sure she sent the link and then realize she sent it to the wrong address.

I waited for five minutes and did not hear from her, so my next tactic was to email her from my work email asking if she had a link because I hadn’t seen one come through. I figured if she would notice the address I was sending it from and that would be another clue for her to check her email and make sure she sent it to the right place. She responded with the link a few minutes later and I even waited for another few minutes—to punish her, I guess?—before joining. Did I mention any of this when I joined the call? Absolutely not. I am meeting with her again later on in the week and I already know that every detail to this whole song and dance is going to be repeated. So why couldn’t I just ask her to please make sure to send it to the right place next time? I even emailed her from my personal account a couple hours later to apologize for missing the link she sent there as yet another clue for her to realize her mistake and subsequently course correct but she responded back with something work related so, like, I’m not even accomplishing what I set out to do with all my indirect passive aggressive manipulation tactics.

Why am I like this?

This theme of trying to get my needs met without having to verbalize them is going to be the death of me. Why is it so hard for me to just state what I need? Is this related to the trauma of an early childhood where many of my needs were not being met so I learned to feel shame for even having needs? Is this a neurodivergent struggle that I just haven’t seen anyone talking about yet on TikTok? (Except that idea literally came from there lol)l

How often have I said I’m not a mind-reader? In my last job, I had to contend with a LOT of communication that was indirect or implied, and I was constantly reminding everyone to be direct and explicit. I would even play dumb and ask for clarification even if I knew what they were asking, thinking that the process of having to clarify might make them be clearer next time. I’m not a mind-reader… but no one else is, either. How ironic that I would voice my irritation over indirect communication in the very manner I found so offensive in the first place. And they never changed! So you would think that, coming into this new environment, I would learn to alter my approach. You would think that my own struggle to communicate my need for direct communication would give me some compassion for others who struggle to communicate directly but, I think I might think that my struggle is their fault. If they communicated in a direct manner in the first place, I would then feel safe communicating that way. That’s the logic I’m peddling to myself right now, anyway, but part of me thinks that if I could just take the first step and just be what I am expecting of others, then they would follow suit. And there’s another louder part of me that’s just wondering why? Why am I like this? Why is this a struggle? Why am I even thinking about this at all? How is this tiny non-issue so adept at hijacking my headspace?

I think it ebbs and flows.

I was just sitting on the bench in my backyard watching my dog nap in the sun. He likes to lie on his side in the grass with his paws stretched out in front of him and sometimes he’s so still that insects will land on him and he doesn’t react, making me call out to him just to make sure he is still alive. But today it’s really hot and he is panting and it made me think maybe he is ready to be groomed. He also gets incredibly itchy during the summer and I thought to myself, I should call around to different groomers to see if they have an available appointment for a little haircut and some kind of skin treatment.

I should “call around,” I thought to myself.

I have no idea how people find quality service providers of any kind. I used to take him to a groomer right down the street that I met through an old roommate. They also did dog-walking and it was really convenient because they would walk him while I was at work and sometimes just take him back to the groomer, give him a bath and a haircut, and bring him home. Then they got a new location and stopped offering grooming services.

Let me back up for a second. This whole grooming process is often fraught for me because I go through phases where self-care is difficult for me… really care of any kind, including washing and brushing my dog. So he gets matted and it’s uncomfortable for him and I feel so guilty that he’s uncomfortable but I fall into this terror fantasy that if I take him to the groomer, they will be upset with me for letting him go this long and they won’t give him back to me because I don’t take care of him. So I don’t call but he gets worse and so I finally have to call because it’s so bad and my feeling of compassion for my poor pet and the need to get him relief outweighs the feelings of guilt and shame and fear so then I take him in and they are judging me and it reinforces the fear and guilt and shame and I start the whole cycle all over again about 10 weeks later.

A while back, I brought my dog to the same location I always brought him, which is still a dog groomer, but it was a different person and different company altogether since the person I knew had gotten a new location. But this groomer is not as nice. In fact, they’re brash and judgmental and I don’t like their manner at all so I few months ago when my dog was started to get a bit overgrown and slightly matted, I decided to break out of the cycle and find a groomer I actually like.

I guess it bears mentioning here that I was kind of going through a phase of dumping providers after finally realizing I deserve to receive medical care from individuals who saw me as a person and treated me with dignity and respect. So I cancelled the appointment I had with the dental hygienist I actually like because the dentist there always chides me for not wearing my night guard, chastises me for not flossing enough, as they’re wont to do in general anyway, but also he is in the habit of minimizing or doubting my pain. For example I once cracked a tooth and called right away to see if there was anything they could do to help because it was really painful and when I was in the dentist’s chair a couple hours later, he said, “you came in for this?” I said “it really hurts,” and he rolled his eyes and said “okay,” and then repaired it without giving me any novocaine.

I had a psychiatrist that I liked as a person except she would ask me a lot about my drug and alcohol use. I sought help for depression and anxiety, initially. Once I asked her about adhd and she asked, rather confrontationally, “why do you think you have that?” as though she didn’t believe me and it was a ridiculous thing to ask about. I also mentioned to her once how a therapist had told me in the past that he was pretty sure I had Asperger’s and she just said “I doubt that.” After the last appointment I had with her, I was looking online at my medical record for a medication list, I think, and I found my “problems list” and after each appointment, my psychiatrists notes indicated: alcohol use disorder, cannabis use disorder, cannabis use disorder, alcohol abuse, cannabis abuse, alcohol use disorder, etc. So I cancelled my next appointment with her.

Did I make a new dentist appointment? Absolutely not. Psychiatrist? Likewise. I didn’t know how to find either of these things. I know I can go on my insurance company’s website and browse their network but how do you pick a provider out of a list of names? Based on location? Is it based on their web presence? I have no idea. So I just went without.

And that is exactly what happened with the groomer. So in an attempt to avoid this cycle of him getting overgrown and matted by finding him a quality groomer that would work with me on setting up a schedule so I could just have him getting taken care of regularly without having to think about it each time, I ended up not being able to find another groomer and letting him get overgrown and uncomfortable and I ended up bringing him to the same place that I didn’t like just because it’s where I’ve gone in the past and I know them. And they were rude to me and they added an extra charge for his dematting, which they hadn’t done previously.

So now me thinking I should just call around is just asinine. I caught myself thinking this and imagined myself just cold-calling a groomer to ask some quick questions and perhaps make an appointment I just felt pride at finally taking care of my pup the way he deserves to be treated. I felt hopeful that maybe they might be able to find him some relief and he can get a little bit cooler and maybe less itchy. I didn’t feel anxious about calling or talking to someone. I didn’t feel scared about being judged or sounding stupid for asking questions. Sometimes I get in these phases where I feel like I am expected just to know the “rules” of places, like where you walk in, whether you need to make an appointment, how far in advance you need to make appointments, where you go to pay, where you order, how you order, etc., like all the things you need to know to get a service from somewhere. I feel the pressure to just know those things because everyone else just seems to always know those things but today I thought to myself the best way to learn those things is just to ask the people who know and it didn’t fill me with dread.

Then that made me think about all the times in the past when this line of thinking would absolutely fill me with dread and my immediate thought was, well, I must have been faking. I must have been faking. There’s no way that I could have felt those things authentically then if I am not feeling them now. Or if I wasn’t faking then maybe all those thoughts are just symptoms of my depression and I’m just trying to get attention and feel special by thinking they could be related to possible asd, adhd, or both.

I really need to catch myself when I am doing this binary thinking. Just because it’s not hard for me now doesn’t mean it wasn’t actually difficult then. I was in a different place. Depression can account for part of the difficulty without it being the only contributing factor. My mental health is such a delicate balance of so many factors. Maybe I have more fortitude to put into proactively caring for myself and my pet now because I don’t have the added pressure of an un-supportive work environment and because I spent the week driving into work at a new job that values and supports me, that trusts me to make decisions, where there’s a clear separation of work and home and I can leave the pressure of all the STUFF I need to get DONE at work and not think about it when I’m at home. Like it’s all connected and it doesn’t help me to beat up my past self for not being able to do certain things. In fact, I have immense gratitude for my past self because they got me to where I am at present.

Writing all of this out is really helping me to process 🙂

I’ve reached my vocal quota.

I haven’t been spending as much time on this as I’ve been wanting to. I have a lot on my mind that I’d like to read and work through here but I started a new job recently. I am really excited about it! It’s my first real leadership role where I will be single-handedly responsible for all of the strategic planning and execution for an entire function. It’s the work I’ve been doing for the last ten years of my career and I can’t describe the relief I feel at having found a position where my job is to essentially show up and be myself. How many times have I fantasized about how I would do things if I were the one making the decisions? And now I have my chance! But underneath the excitement is a not insignificant tension that’s already wearing on me.

Aside from my doubts at my ability to be organized and motivated enough to keep track of everything I need to get done, plan out how it’s going to get done, and then actually do it, I’m finding the interpersonal communication really exhausting. The culture here isn’t want I’m used to. The industry necessitates some work to be done in person so they’ve been slower to adopt some of the technology I’m used to across the board, specifically around working remotely. In short, everything is done in person. At first I was excited to be leaving my house again, after working from home for the last two and a half years. The lines between work and home became too blurred for my liking and as someone who was already prone to procrastination and executive dysfunction, I was really looking forward to the structure of having somewhere to be. Sometimes half the battle is having accountability outside of myself to actually bring my physical body to a different location. And so far that part has been really great, but I’m also exhausted.

I start my day already anxious because my work station is in a different part of the building than the rest of my department so I imagine I should be stopping in to see the team at some point but I’m not sure when. So I have been getting settled in and then stopping in to see them shortly after, which feels fine, although I do find myself standing around awkwardly not really sure what to do with myself.

Then the conversations are stressful. Two of my new coworkers aren’t very expressive so I can never tell how I’m coming across. I am trying to share enough about myself so they can get to know me but trying really hard not to overshare and not really sure even where that line is. When I was younger and a little more naive, I would say I’m an open book and not hesitate to share any number of personal details if they were relevant to the conversation. I’ve since learned that there’s almost a sequence information has to be shared for people to be comfortable. Some things are safe to share but just not too early in the relationship or before other “foundational knowledge” is shared. I’m also trying to be warm but not insincere and making sure the pitch of my voice is not too monotonous and laughing a lot and then wondering if I am laughing too much or if I’m laughing at things that aren’t actually funny. And then I’m trying to make sure I’m translating my thoughts into the corporate words they’re used to hearing but then I have to check in with them to make sure I actually understand what the words they’re saying mean because while I understand the concepts, I can get lost if the conversation is too indirect or abstract. And I’m also thinking about what my body is doing. My undershirt is too long and keeps bunching up around the waist band and my button-up keeps coming untucked. My feet start to get sore if I have to wear the same shoes for too long and sometimes my ankles and lower legs get kind of a headache feeling if I have to wear socks for too long. And I’m trying to be comfortable while seeming natural and leaning in and not doing anything strange or off-putting with my hands and I am just so tired.

So then I come home and all day I’ve been thinking “oh I can’t wait to tell my boyfriend about this” and when I see him I just feel annoyed because I can’t think of any of the things I wanted to tell him and even saying hello and asking about his day just seems like so much work and I feel awful that I am not giving him the attention and affirmation he deserves and I worry I’m too cold and I wonder if he wonders about me. And I can sit here for half an hour and type all these words out about my experience and my feelings but as soon as I start to speak I run out of steam.

Part of me, the part who’s spent hours watching autistic people on TikTok describe their experiences which sound so familiar, thinks that this is related to my self-diagnosed-but-questioning autism and maybe I need to seek out accommodations for other modes of communication, which would basically entail an entire culture shift at this organization, not to mention contrary to my new boss’s vision for my role. Then there’s a part of me that wonders if everything I think is neurodivergence is just trauma. I know there’s a co-morbidity but what if, for me, there isn’t? What if I just want to be autistic because it makes me special in some way and that’s all I’ve ever really wanted, right? To be special? What if all of this is made up and, just like a muscle, the more I socialize with these lovely people whom I really like and appreciate so far, maybe it will get easier over time.

Here’s my brain wanting to throw things into an either/or binary when things aren’t that cut and dry. Autism is a spectrum and logically it’s likely I’m somewhere on that spectrum. Having to communicate with these people will probably get easier and less stressful as time goes on and we get to know each other more and I can worry less on how I’m coming across and just be myself. And maybe I do have a quota for the amount of speaking I can do in a day, like the “spoons” described in the disabled and chronically ill community. I just don’t know. It could be any of that or none of it. All I know is I’m tired and I think my relationship is in trouble unless I can figure out how to keep showing up when it feels like so much work.

Oh right, I’m mentally ill.

There’s nothing like a meltdown to remind me I’m not as together and functional as I want to believe when my mood is a bit lighter. It’s a reminder that I need help processing my emotions. It’s a reminder that my perspective is narrow, that I am predisposed to see the world in strict binaries which often leads to my inability to take things in stride or have what I would deem a proportional response.

I am in the middle of getting a new job. There’s a lot of work trauma I don’t really want to unpack right now but suffice it to say I followed a toxic boss to a toxic company back when I was under the impression that both actually held the values they described and when I started to try to look behind the curtain, I was retaliated against, demoted, and replaced while still remaining employed. It’s been demoralizing and I’ve been actively trying to leave for six months now.

I’ve been on edge the last week or so. I had some really good interviews and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and I’ve been trying to visualize myself working there, trying to picture how it will be when I give my notice and quit my current job. But I just feel insecure and stressed out. When people ask me, I talk about being excited because I think that’s what they want to hear. And if I talk about how I’m actually feeling, people usually just tell me all the reasons I shouldn’t be feeling this way. The irony being that I know all of the reasons I shouldn’t feel this way. I don’t want to feel this way. But here we are.

So this morning I received a formal offer letter for this job and it included a stipulation that the offer was contingent on a physical exam and drug test. Instead of being excited about the offer, I immediately thought of my regular cannabis use. I thought about how I’ve literally been using it to self-medicate and how going on a break in order to produce a “clean sample” would also mean going without the support of this medication, regardless of the arbitrary moral value that ends up getting attributed to cannabis use. I also thought about a physical examination and how dystopian it feels for a potential employer to have medical information about my body or for the corporation to behave as though it’s entitled to that information.

It ended up being fine. After spinning out all of these hypothetical worst-case scenarios I ended up asking the recruiter for more information about the physical, he asked why I was concerned, brought my concerns to the company, and they said it was all OK. So, now I feel pretty foolish.

I don’t know what is typical.

I have no idea what’s typical. I had a really great job interview today and, while I’m feeling energized by having participated in some invigorating conversations and also hopeful at the prospect of finding myself in a new job that actually values me, I am already dreading the crash I know that’s going to hit tomorrow. Or the next day. Or, most likely, Sunday, when I’m supposed to be spending time with my family. Is foreseeing myself in a low place, resentful of the laughter and general noise around me, resenting my family, is picturing this more likely to make it happen?

I feel like I put on my corporate persona as a costume. There’s definitely some code-switching that happens: I inject the corporate jargon I know their looking for, being careful to repeat the same buzzwords that I heard them mention and also some industry synonyms so they know I understand what they’re talking about when they use the buzzwords and not just parroting the language back to them. But there’s more to it than that, even. I make sure to widen my eyes and make plenty of eye contact so they know I’m not only attentive and engaged but confident. I widen my mouth and make sure to smile a lot. I keep my pitch low while keeping my tone more upbeat and also making sure to avoid up-speak where I can, intentionally ending sentences definitely to convey more confidence and let them know definitely it’s their turn to speak. I lean forward as much as I can but not too much. Careful not to play with my hands but also not remain so still as to be unnatural. I avoid negative-sounding language but still remain honest because I am not conning anyone. These are all conscious choices but it’s not an act as much as it is camouflage. I know that I belong here but I need to do all these ritualistic things to curate my appearance so that you also know I belong here.

Does everyone do this? Is everyone thinking about themselves in this way at all times while still remaining attentive and engaged enough to answer questions intelligently and also remember to ask the questions I need to ask? Is this masking?

It’s not like these behaviors come naturally to me. I’ve been in the corporate world for 16 years now and in that time I’ve had countless conversations with managers about these specific behaviors. I realize now but didn’t know then that I was receiving feedback but I would hear that my tone was too flat. I used to confuse the words effect and affect until I heard so often that I had a “flat affect” that these two words fell into four discrete boxes with axes based on vowel and part of speech, with the vowel “a” intersecting with “noun” to describe my general demeanor of what I was told was disinterested, bored, disengaged, annoyed, serious, and even angry, among a whole host of descriptions that all came as a shock to me, thinking I’d been enthusiastic and cheerful. I was lucky enough to have the privilege of a corporate job and a caring manager who would brainstorm with me on ways I could adjust my presentation so as not to be misinterpreted.

I meant to only reflect for a little while but it feels like I’ve been typing for hours. All I wanted was to record this experience. In a way, I have been thinking about this as recording evidence of my autism so I can later show anyone who says “but you seem so outgoing” or “you seem so social” or “you’re too successful” or I don’t know what they say but I feel invalidated all the time and I sort of want to record these things so I can come back and say See? Is this enough for you? Can you finally see me for who I am? But then that feels disingenuous to me so I feel like I also have to adequately record my doubt. If it turned out that I did not have autism, how would I feel? I’ve only recently come to latch onto this diagnosis because it feels so much like home but it’s not the first time, is it? I was convinced I had Bipolar II at one point because my depression had been so cyclic. Looking back, I think my depression has been heavily influenced by my environment and as my mood has dipped I can simultaneously track where my environment has shifted to be less supportive. But that doesn’t stop me from feeling like a fraud. And maybe I am a fraud. And maybe that would be ok but I need to figure it out.

What is abundantly clear is that I need to get out of my head and get out of my house and be around other people, neurodiverse or otherwise. But it would be nice to also be cultivating a sort of tribe or community or chosen family, too. That feels too big for me. I guess we’ll see.

Finally, someone understands me.

I recently “read” Unmasking Autism by Devon Price, PhD. I feel a little guilty when I say “reading” because I tend to listen to audiobooks on double speed since that’s the only way I can seem to fully pay attention to the information I’m ingesting, but I digress. This book hit so close to home and in so many ways that I am going to give it another listen but go through the accompanying PDF at the same time. I tend to struggle in identifying which of my experiences are unique and which are universal. I’ll have a full-blown epiphany and share my findings with my boyfriend who will report back that it’s common knowledge and then I’ll go to a meeting and see everybody nodding along to what I thought was an objectively bad idea and wonder if I am living in an alternate reality. So, I thought working through this would offer a more objective view.

While I haven’t started yet, the first step is to “find your why” where you uncover your values by remembering five moments in your life when you felt like you were FULLY ALIVE (it appears in all caps like that) and describe moments from all different phases of your life in as much detail as possible, also thinking specifically about why the moment was significant. I will think more in depth about this when I get to it in the book but I have been feeling anxious about this ever since I printed off this PDF. I was really struggling to remember ever feeling fully alive. It feels so long since I’ve even been partially alive, let alone FULLY in ALL CAPS. And then I had a really good job interview this morning.

I was not expecting it to be a good interview. In fact, every stage of this process has been bizarre. A recruiter reached out to me on LinkedIn a while back with a job description and asking for my resume. I emailed my resume that day because it looked like an interesting opportunity. He wrote back “great resume!” and said I would hear from someone the following day. A week went by and I didn’t hear anything when one morning, I received the same message he’d sent me on LinkedIn but via email. So I emailed him back and said I’d already forwarded the resume but if he had any feedback or something I could do to improve my chances of getting a call back next time, I would be open to receiving this information. Then I logged into LinkedIn and saw my email to him in the recently sent messages, which is when I realized that he had only messaged me once. LinkedIn sent me his message again via email and that’s what I was responding to. Like a fool. So I apologized, then he apologized and said he would put me in touch with someone from the company he represents. I’ve had a few interviews and, while the recruiter seems like he might be new, the actual conversations have left me feeling hopeful.

The recruiter called me Monday to say they wanted me to meet with this consultant who has been doing the job they now want to hire a full-time position to do so I said I was available on Tuesday or Thursday. We set a tentative plan for Thursday. He said they would send me a calendar invite but they did not. In fact, the time for the interview arrived and I’d received no way to join the interview (which I assumed would be a web call) nor even a confirmation that was happening. After a few annoying calls with the recruiter, I was finally able to connect directly with the consultant and we found some time to speak this morning. It was incredibly validating, whether or not I end up getting this job.

The part that stood out to me the most was where she talked about how, just from the way I had answered the questions she’d asked me, that I was thinking systemically and that to think this way is rare. RARE. This was news to me but it explains a lot, I guess. I honestly don’t know which of my experiences are universal but maybe I should just assume none are? But maybe this explains why I’ve been bashing my head against the wall for years wondering why no one else is asking the questions I am asking, why people are so willing to go along with work that is inefficient or doesn’t make sense, why no one ever seems to care about why we are doing the things we’re doing.

I read things like “work connects to larger organizational objectives” and “time and effort are valued” and “expectations are clearly communicated” on the employee engagement surveys my employer sends out to all of us to complete every year and wonder how everyone else is answering. And today I spoke with someone who not only asks these same questions but even understands that people do not ask these questions, that it is rare for these questions to be asked.

I continuously find life to be SO CONFUSING because there are so many instances where the qualities or behaviors or ideals that a company or an organization or a family or a church or a society or a nation SAYS IT HAS are, in fact, the opposite of the qualities and behaviors and ideals that are rewarded by said company or organization or family or church or society or nation. It felt refreshing to be able to speak openly about the things that I value to someone that seems to genuinely value those same things. I’ve spoken too often about these things to people who seem to enjoy and even gain energy from the words I am saying while simultaneously misunderstanding, misconstruing, invalidating, or even mocking what the words actually mean.

There was even a point where I, a scatterbrained disaster, lost my train of thought maybe halfway through my sentence and she not only picked up the thread but accurately predicted where I had planned on taking it. To feel so understood is… a gift, truly.