Things were not good today.
I left my job placement two days early today. Right in the middle of the most important time of year for this particular employer. I was pretty crucial to what they were doing, and I left them hanging.
Another broken commitment.
I tried so hard to make it work. I took my breaks in the quietest areas I could find. I used hearing protection in the form of earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones (sometimes both at the same time). I disclosed my ASD and asked to not have to come in on Saturdays as one of my accommodations since I desperately needed two whole days to recover.
But it still wasn’t enough.
The quietest areas still were not quiet enough. Earplugs and headphones cause me pain after a while, so then I had to choose between two different forms of sensory overload (auditory or tactile). I haven’t been sleeping well for months. I’ve been getting bad heartburn recently (some of which is contributing to the insomnia). I cut out coffee and carbonated drinks, and took a short course of lansoprazole, which helped but didn’t cure. I did a very expensive sound sensitivity treatment in some attempt to get my auditory sensitivity under control. It didn’t help.
Is this all life is? Just limping along through a series of jobs that I can only endure for shorter and shorter lengths of time?
(That was a rhetorical question, I know intellectually that that is not what life is. Doesn’t change the fact that that’s what it feels like).
I don’t know how to not work. I don’t know how to deal with a gap in my resume. I don’t know how I will find work if I’m not currently working. So I panic and leap at the first job I find, even if I know it will be a terrible fit. Then I panic when the sensory demands back me into a corner and I ungracefully escape, leaving a crater behind me. I don’t know how to stop this cycle of endless panic.
I should correct what I said above; I didn’t technically “leave” my placement, the temp agency offered to contact the client to let them know that I would not be in tomorrow, and then I am supposed to contact the temp agency again tomorrow to let them know how I’m doing. What I need is to not go back at all, but I couldn’t even say that.
I don’t know how to say “no”.
No wait, that’s not quite right.
I don’t know how to say “no” without sounding like an employee with an excuse. Like I’m just a fragile snowflake that needs cushy treatment.
I’ve become my own nightmare boss.
“This isn’t every job, you were just in an environment that wasn’t a good fit for you.”
How do I know what kind of an environment is a good fit? I never know if a job is going to trigger my sensory issues until I’ve been there a while. It’s impossible for me to figure it out during an interview, and I can’t even make a general list of what is good/bad because it’s literally been different for every job. The same job can be either perfect or impossible depending on the environment. How can I know when I find it if I can never tell until I’m already neck-deep?