This week I am talking about courage. One of the many challenges I have experienced in my life is confidence and believing in myself. I have a lot of difficulties bragging about myself and find the faults in myself before the strengths. I have worked at the same university for nine years, got my Master of Arts degree, and have interviewed for several administrator positions.
In spite of my tenure and experience and degrees, I have been unable to receive an offer for an administrator/management position at my job. I’ve even won an outstanding staff award from the college I work this year, but this isn’t enough. I feel like the university would instead hire people who are fake and full of BS versus someone genuine and honest. I know that a lot of people love me in my current job. Still, I’ve never understood why and believed that if I was so wonderful that I wouldn’t be struggling in my career and struggling financially. If I was so great, why won’t anyone at my university hire me as an administrator/ manager? It feels like I am not good enough, and I don’t know what to do.
People with autism (like me) have difficult selling and boasting about ourselves. We keep it real and look at our weaknesses over our strengths. When I see job descriptions, I think that I need to be proficient in every single skill that is listed, and I do not understand transferable skills. I’ve sought help with the career center at my university, but they haven’t been able to help me. I’ve read Temple Grandin’s “Different Not Less,” and she discussed the need for people on the spectrum to have a portfolio that illustrates their talent. Still, I am not sure what someone in my current job would keep in a collection besides awards and letters. Many of the people she refers to are in professions such as the arts, where many already keep portfolios. It makes me think that I should have chosen another career.
The highlight of my week was reading about Time Magazine’s 2019 Person of the Year, Greta Thunberg. I admire her courage and speaking truth to power. She is only 16 years old but has made an immense impact on the world in such a short time. Her desire to improve the planet began after battling depression at the age of 11. She watched a documentary on climate change and was appalled at what was happening to the earth. Her parents saw how devastated she was and adopted a more eco-friendly lifestyle.
If you did not know already, Greta Thunberg has autism. Her passionate response to the climate crisis is similar to how others with autism would respond to something of high interest to them. Greta’s passion is stopping climate change, and she is determined to get the people around her and the world to do something about it. She is known for skipping school to protest in front of the Swedish parliament, and her action started spreading action around the world. Thunberg has spoken at international climate summits and spoken to several world leaders.
Greta Thunberg doesn’t mince her words and is very blunt. Her goal is to convince world leaders that the earth is at high risk and describes the threats to her audiences. My favorite quote of hers was back in September when she addressed the UN. She states, “We are in the beginning of mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth.” She states facts and points out BS from world politicians.
Greta Thunberg is courageous and speaks truth to power. She encourages me to find out what I am passionate about and not to stop pursuing my dreams. Every day, she is made fun of and criticized for caring about the planet. Donald Trump even referred to her as a “teenager with anger management problems.” I cannot imagine the pain she goes through when she sees others making personal attacks on her and telling her that what she cares about is unimportant. Those of us on the spectrum experience significant pain when others do not have the same level of interest in what we find interesting. Additionally, if someone were to make a personal attack on us, it would hurt us even more.
I encourage everyone to read the bio on Greta Thunberg inside the Person of the Year issue here https://time.com/person-of-the-year-2019-greta-thunberg/ . The article is a bit lengthy, but worth the read. Reading about Greta has inspired me to find the courage to pursue what I want to do and that people with autism can achieve greatness and can overcome insults and criticisms from those that do not believe in me. Speaking truth to power will have an impact, and hopefully, those in power will listen to the truth.
I need to find the strength and courage inside of me to pursue my dreams. I sell myself short and need to understand my strengths better. People like Greta Thunberg are making a huge impact at such a young age and I am hoping that I can achieve something like her someday.