Work and “Work”

I consider myself a diligent, hard worker. I currently work two jobs. Granted, one is a once every other week job (4 hours every other Monday) but it’s paid so I consider it a “real” job. The other job I consider my life’s calling. That is my sporadic, “as needed” job as an Autism self-advocate. But again, it’s paid so it counts. I will get to this later, but at my advocacy, I’m not in it just for the money.

It’s not that I “prefer” advocacy over my other job, but it kind of is in a way. Look, I LOVE both my jobs and am grateful for both of them, don’t get me wrong. It’s just that at my advocacy job, I tend to be more “into” it. I work my ass off as a self-advocate. That is not saying I slack off at my other job, please understand that. But when I am doing self-advocacy, I am making a “real” difference.

My other job is what I guess you’d consider a “warehouse assistant”. That job includes assembling boxes, filling vials with mineral oil, sorting  and occasionally vacuuming. And while I like it there, it’s not the actual “job” I like, per se. It’s my bosses. My bosses are a husband and wife couple. They own an independent woodcutting business here in Baltimore. And just to brag a little, we were featured on Oprah’s Favorites. My bosses are genuinely great people! I can work at my own pace and have never felt pressured to “hurry up”.

As I said earlier, my calling is self-advocacy.  I am damn good at that job!…at least I’d like to think I am. I LOVE my advocacy career, if I can put my title like that. I am happy helping people at my wood warehouse job, but knowing I am making a difference—a “real” difference—in peoples lives, both strangers and close relations alike…that’s a feeling I can’t even begin to describe! It’s pride. So in that case, yeah…I’m playing favorites. But I love both my jobs.

At my advocacy job, I’m constantly in “work mode”. Even when I’m not “officially” working I am still “working” if that makes sense. Basically when it comes to advocacy, I’m a workaholic. That doesn’t stop me from being “me” though. I can be the “real” me when advocating. Minus some language.

At the warehouse, I’m in “real” work mode. Simply put, I need to act more “professional” or “mature” there than at my advocacy. I think it’s just that I’m more adept at talking to people than I am at assembling things. I interact better, I think, with my advocacy coworkers and bosses than I do my other job. I think they just “get” me a little more. Plus we just have a better rapport. It’s not a jab at my warehouse job at all. I think it’s just a matter of preference.

So to close this, I enjoy both my jobs. I am just “better” at public speaking. It’s just who I am. I genuinely love talking to people. My warehouse job is fun, but it is work. I have fun at both jobs. I am probably comparing apples and oranges here, but these things are my jobs. Two totally different jobs, but jobs nonetheless. I am an educator at one and a helper at the other. But I do enjoy both. So what are your jobs? Do you enjoy them? What’s your work preference? Thank you for reading and let me know in the comments!

-Tom

Author: AuTom Spectrum Blog

I have Autism and am a self-advocate and public speaker. On the side I do stand-up comedy. I live in Baltimore County and have an AMAZING girlfriend

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