This morning I had my interview with two professionals from the supported employment program’s team from the autism NGO I had written to. I went there straight from college, and I had a casual, informal look. I wasn’t trying to impress them. On the contrary, I didn’t even bother with eye contact: my cv can tell them how competent I am, but they can only know my difficulties from my behavior.
They asked me about my abilities, but that question was too broad for me to answer. They helped me by asking about specific abilities, such as “Do you know any foreign languages?” Yes, I’m a transator. “Can you code?” No, I know nothing of coding. They also asked me about my interests, and I said I was really interested in school psychology, my new course of studies. They wanted to know about my past experiences, and I told them about my two months as a camp counselor. They seemed really impressed when they realized I had gone there by myself, with no family, and stayed working there for two months. “You have plenty of abilities! You are very independent!” They exclaimed, probably wondering why I had not talked about that before, when asked about my skills. But I didn’t think it was relevant, for no one gets paid for traveling alone.
Another thing they asked about was my diagnosis, and whether I had a certificate of disability. I told them all the story about it: my diagnosis was PDD-NOS, it was made when I was a child, my parents were not ready to accept it, they never got me a certificate (not even when the school required it for special education services) and they never even told me about it until I asked at the age of 21. They asked how that had happened, and I also told them. They seemed interested in my unusual story.
They said that the only offer they had right now was only for people who had a certificate of disability. I got upset. I looked down and covered my face with my hands in order to hide my tears of disappointment and lost hope. But they still noticed, and they gave me a few seconds to calm down. Then they explained why this offer was not a good option for me anyway: it was an internship of six months, and its main tasks were carrying stuff from one place to another. I was overqualified for it, they said. That position was more suitable for people with lower verbal and intellectual abilities. They were expecting to receive new offers from another company that often hires young adults with Asperger’s syndrome without a certificate of disability.
That helped me stop crying, but I was still feeling pessimistic. “But I want to get a job this year, not in 2030!” I complained. They reassured me that the company had said they would be hiring new employees from their program sometime this year. That was enough to make me feel better.
Then they asked me about my working prefferences and whether I could do certain tasks (counting money, entering data on a computer, doing administrative work.) I answered, and we talked some more about the different possibilities and the way the program works. In the end they asked me if I had any questions. After I said no, they promised they would be contacting me for any future offers that seem to suit me better, and they said it was really nice to meet me.
I left their office feeling confident and happy, despite the fact that I am still unemployed. I told my mother about my interview and she said she’s proud of me. She’s also sure I’ll find a good job for me soon, and that I will have a great career as a school psychologist in the future.