I’m an APS2 public servant and have been looking forward to a promotion at the end of the year that will finally see me back on a wage I can live comfortably on. So it was a huge shock last week when I was told that I won’t be getting the promotion that I have been promised and instead will be getting a much lower one. About $20,000 lower. Having worked in APS 4, 5 and 6 positions over the past 10 years this is a massive blow.
While I do have a university degree and 10 plus years’ experience in my field, I also have Autism Spectrum Disorder, and/or Asperger’s syndrome. So my social skills are not great, nor are my job interview skills. I have never managed to get a job by conventional means, instead getting jobs via vacancy registers, positive employment programs or other means. In the jobs I have had I’ve always maintained a policy of being polite everyone and doing the best I can. I have even managed to get complements in some jobs because of my eagerness to help people, kindness and work ethic. Despite that, I’ve never been promoted, and never had a pay rise other than standard yearly pay rises. This is despite having several times trained up people who then got promoted over me. So any job I get promoted to after this one will be the job I will be in years from now.
So now I’m looking at being stuck at a lousy wage that will be about half of what many of my co-workers get, and about $18,000-$24,000 less than most of the office staff. Many of those staff don’t have a university degree or my years of experience. While I don’t begrudge them, and I really work with a lovely team of people, the reality is I just can’t live on that sort of wage much longer. I’ve seen my saving dwindle, and I was really hoping to be able to spend about $20,000 on a much needed medical procedure in the new year. I was also hoping to buy a small block of land so I could retire to a simple life in about 5-10 years time because I have some medical issues which are affecting my quality of life.
So, anyway, I have decided if I am going to work for a lousy wage I may as well work doing something I enjoy. I really like helping people. Having been overseas I think I would enjoy doing aid work because it is really nice improving people’s lives and bringing joy to them. I am wondering if anyone who has done aid work can tell me what it is like, who you worked for (if you can), what you did, and what it was like living overseas. I have a mild mobility disability that causes pain when I walk or stand for long periods, but I don’t think that would be a major issue, or would it be? I love solar power and would love to help install solar power systems in developing countries. I’m also really good at things like basic plumbing, and I work with computers and have trained classes of adults in computer usage. Also, on the practical side were you paid a living allowance that allowed you to put your things in storage or covered costs back home? Like I mentioned, I don’t mind a lousy wage, but I think it is fair that it covers my costs.
I’ve also thought of getting a job elsewhere in Canberra. However, that has been hard. So I’d want a job with a good work environment. Currently I do work with very nice people, and I like my team. However I rarely ever get told I’m doing a good job, and get told when I am doing something wrong (usually along the lines of “No, you’re doing it wrong.” With no advice on how to do it right.) Though I try hard not to take it personally, I admit that gets to me and I have often gone home in tears and have been thinking of suicide a lot lately. So I am looking for a workplace that encourages and motivates staff more with a carrot than a stick. Where there are regular social things like morning teas so you can get to know people, network and form good working relationships. I know such places exist, can anyone let me know where? Especially in the IT field.
In addition to being Autistic I am also gender diverse, that is I don’t fit into the male or female binary very well. This is also probably why I have never had a promotion. Any work place I go into would have to be respectful of that. I wonder if such a workplace even exists.
Lastly, does anyone know of clubs for adults with Autism or Asperger’s who do social activities. Because I am very much like a child in how I see the world I’m really not good socially. Even most conversations leave me behind. By the time I have figured out what people are talking about, and figure something to say, the conversation has move on. So I am quiet and not so great at making new friends outside of work. It would be great go meet people who are at my level or understand where I am coming from and do social things, even if hanging out and playing board games.
Thanks to anyone who can give answers to these many questions.