I’m tired of interviewing. I hate it. It’s a performance for which you can have no rehearsal because you never know what the questions are going to be. I had an interview last week for a team that I had worked with before over 2 years ago and I felt more relaxed because I knew the people on the interview panel. I walked out of there thinking I did a spectacular job and floated through the weekend… until Sunday night when the catastrophising feeling sunk in and I started feeling severe anxiety… “what if they don’t offer me the job?” I didn’t sleep overtly well that night and was really tired and down on Monday morning. Thankfully they put me out of my misery quite early (just after 10am)… and to hear the words, “I’m really sorry but we will not be offering you the job,” you just want the world to open up below your feet and swallow you whole. What the feedback boiled down to was that I didn’t fully answer the questions with robust-enough responses.
Now, this is where I feel that my suspected Asperger’s/Autism comes into play; when I’m asked really long questions, I usually need it repeated or (ideally) written down in front of me to be able to read and process. The one particular question where I gloriously fell flat on my face was a two-parter (explain a situation where you had to say No to a parent and how were you able to positively maintain the relationship afterwards). I’m sure most of you reading that would start thinking of several situations, but then you have to completely recategorise whatever you retrieve from long-term memory to make it fit both conditions set out by the question. Because I had completely forgotten the second part of the question (or possibly not even fully processed it) my example used was just completely wrong and they couldn’t score me any points on it. “Gutted” doesn’t even come close to explaining the feeling. I’m so annoyed with myself, because if I could have just processed the questions the way “everyone else” can, then I might not have cocked up my opportunity and would have maybe even offered the job. I know I’m a damn good caseworker; if they observed me in my current post, they’d see that in the short time I’ve been out of social work and in SEN, I’ve adapted to the different world quite well. However, they’re not interested in that; all that matters is the impression you make in that 30-40 minute interview, which (in my opinion) is bullshit. You can have someone who interviews beautifully, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be any good at the job!!
Thankfully, I’m working in a good team where I am and have very supportive colleagues who were genuinely disappointed for me, but were selfishly glad that I’m not leaving. I have been rationalising it like this: I’m secure in my job (for now, pending potential commissioning out, but that’s a whole other issue), I’m happy with my team, I’m happy with my manager, and things could be a lot worse. I just was looking forward to not having to commute over an hour (both ways together) every day, as well as the step up professionally and the higher salary.
Until the next job comes up… perhaps I’ll have my diagnosis by then and can have some extra help. I’m not expecting to be given the job just because of having a diagnosis; I’m just becoming increasingly frustrated that I feel like I’m being judged when I say I have difficulties because I don’t appear to have difficulties. I have managed to hide my difficulties for so long, but I think it was easier as a kid, to a certain degree; being an adult is hard, though I still have times where I feel like I’m not quite an adult yet… it’s hard to articulate.
My next blog post will be about my disdain for Christmas. Stay tuned!