navigating a world which feels like gravity is working in reverse

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  • Category Archives Social Situations
  • …and that changes everything

    As you know I am someone with a physical disability (moderate visual impairment with weird-looking glasses) and a mental illness (bipolar 1).  I think a physical disability plus a mental illness adds up to more than the sum of its parts.  At least it has in my life.

    • In all my communications with people I start out with negativity right off the bat because of my thick glasses.  In every relationship it’s like I am making the first golf shot from a sand trap!
    • Because of my visual impairment I cannot drive.  I cannot go to people’s houses and force myself on them.  Because of my physical disability and mental illness I’m almost always the needier party in the relationship and as such is the one initiating.  This keeps me from initiating.
    • Because of my mental illness I don’t have the inner strength to shrug off the negativity from and live above my physical disability.
    • Because of my physical disability I’ve been rejected for jobs I was qualified and now have so many gaps in my resume I am unemployable
    • Because of the way I’m treated on account of my disabilities it is impossible for me to believe I have innate worth–there just isn’t any evidence to back it up!  Non-disabled people are often treated better so they find it easier to believe this lie.

    May I ask, how many successful people do you know or have even heard of who have both a physical disability (particularly a visible physical disability) and a mental illness. You hear countless stories of people rising above their physical disabilities and becoming something and you often hear of people with mental illnesses who can function. But have you ever heard of someone with both make anything of their life? I haven’t!



  • Tech Job Interviews Are Basically Hazing

    I recently read one of the most profound Reddit comments I have ever read, in response to someone suggesting the thread poster go into tech. They said tech job interviews are basically hazing. I wish someone would have told me this 20 years ago, it could have saved me a lot of heartbreak. Unlike hazing at Army boot camp which is designed to tear you down temporarily for them to build you up in their own way, job interview hazing is just them taking advantage of you because of the great power asymmetry that exists in the whole ordeal.

    I have a visual impairment physical disability which means I can’t see very well at certain distances and have very thick glasses like Milton from Office Space. People have brought up my visual impairment and told me I couldn’t do the work because of it. I even had a local recruiter tell me I had to make people comfortable with my physical disability because the presence of it caused the room unease. Even disclosing my disability has not made things better, one person after I disclosed my disability just assumed I couldn’t see. They didn’t write back.

    I get it that society is becoming increasingly harsh and hurtful and people far from privilege are the ones who bear the brunt of it. But a lot of what keeps people far from privilege down is failing at the critical junctures such as job interviews which determine whether or not they get to develop to their full potential and contribute to society.



  • Being Judged

    I honestly can’t think of anything that fans the flame of narcissism more than being judged. When someone judges you they are signaling that there is something about you they didn’t like. Generally they don’t tell you what it was or they say some bullshit thing that isn’t true. The point is you obsess over what part of you it was they didn’t like and if there is any way you could change it so you didn’t get judged in that manner in the future. This whole process is constant thinking about yourself, you are being rejected for something about you so you can’t stop thinking about you!

    Also when you’re judged it means there is generally one less person in your life and the resulting alone time is often spent in your head having narcissistic thoughts.

    Older generations like to judge our generation and declare us consummate narcissists and they can go ahead, this judgement is just fanning the flames of our narcissism. If you want us to stop being so self obsessed and dwell on anything but ourselves then you have to accept us and point us to something outside ourselves that we could think about.



  • Privilege and Virtue

    The further you are away from privilege the more virtue you have to exhibit to get the same amount of reward of one of privilege.  Just image if Trump would have been black and exhibited the same (at least to Christians) immoral behavior.  He would not have had a shot in hell at getting elected.

    It’s bad growing up as well. Virtuous people treat you worse the further you are away from privilege (at least that’s been my and many others experience).  The friendship groups that are accepting often revolve around vices like drinking or drugs.



  • Autism and the Burden of Reciprocity

    Scientists did a study and found that people on the spectrum were rated more poorly by children and adults:

    In other words, Autistic people can’t take all the blame for underdeveloped social skills because non-autistic people actually are actively avoiding us, limiting our access to opportunities to practice being social in real-world situations. The study authors found that Autistic people have every bit as much desire for friendship and human contact as non-autistic people and our UCLA loneliness scores were significantly higher than non-autistic people’s, but our ability to socialize is limited every bit as much by social ostracization from others as it is by our own neurology and the challenges to socialization it can present for us.

    The studies repeatedly underlined the importance of first impressions. A negative first impression held true no matter how much further exposure a person was given to reassess that first impression. But there was one scenario in which the Autistic people left a positive first impression: when people read a transcript of their words instead of seeing and hearing the Autistic people saying those words, observers rated them as more likable and more intelligent. In fact, in the scenario where observers just read the written words of Autistic and non-autistic people, they rated both groups the same. For non-autistic people, the written transcripts were their lowest-rated mode of communication, although only by a small amount. For Autistic people, the written transcripts were their highest-rated mode of communication by a very significant margin.

    I always thought the first impression stuck, I’m glad researchers found this to be true too.  I have a physical disability which makes me look different so that tends to net me bad first impressions in and of itself.



  • society is a poorly engineered structure

    Society is a poorly engineered structure.  Most of the weight is borne by those least able to support it.  Christians like to call society broken but I believe it is working perfectly.  It just seems broken to those of us far from privilege.  Those in power could make society more just and fair but they don’t because that would make it worse for them.

    Christians are the most scornful of you for the things they are the least helpful with.  They won’t help you find a job but they will treat you like you are invisible for not having one.  They don’t offer programs to help with healthcare but scorn you for taking aid from the government.



  • Getting a Job

    The conventional means of getting a job will almost never work for those on the spectrum:

    Unless you’re lucky and land a job right out of school your employment history is likely not going to have contiguous periods of full-time employment.  When you apply online to jobs, resumes without contiguous periods of full-time employment get winnowed out right away, usually by the software itself.  If they can’t tell you may get a phone interview where they will ask you more directly about your employment history.  Keep in mind hundreds, if not thousands, of people are applying for the same job as you so they can be picky.

    Assuming you do land an interview your chances are generally dead on arrival.  Within the first minute of a job interview the interviewer has decided whether you are worth hiring.  I had someone who is now a CEO tell me this and read it in a prominent marketing book Selling the Invisible.  People call this “trusting their instinct”.  And naturally this “instinct” is informed by their prejudices.  If you are on the spectrum they are going to sense something is off about you right away.  They’ll rationalize that you aren’t a good “cultural fit”, a political correct way of saying they only hire neurotypicals and generally people just like them.

    What about unconventional means?

    What they generally mean by this is networking.  Never eat alone, always be having lunch with someone who is high status that can advance your career.  The problem is, networking is the thing those on the spectrum are very poor at.  This is particularly true because, in my experience, the high status people are the ones the most rejecting of those on the spectrum (or anyone different for that matter).  I can carry on a conversation with an Uber driver or an accounting major fine but anyone high status will be cold and shut down.

    What can companies do to hire more people on the spectrum?

    They can realize that the only word that means anything to us is PLACEMENT.  Teaching us interview skills is like teaching someone how to go up against an AK-47 with a butter knife.  If companies are truly serious about diversity hiring they’ll designate a point person that people far from privilege can go to to circumvent the traditional resume/interview process (someone on the spectrum applying online with a less than stellar employment history will just get their resume thrown out by the software).  I know this seems unfair but it’s also unfair that so many people on the spectrum with skills and smarts languish un or underemployed.