Finally! After 10 months of trying to get one, I have finally got my first ever job at a supermarket which I’ve had for a month now. It’s probably not wise for someone with ADD, ASD, and Dyscalculia to get a job at a supermarket, there is constantly something happening and it can be very overwhelming. I hear, see, and smell everything. I sit down and open my till and I hear the beeping from every other till, I hear every single receipt being printed, I see every item in every isle in sight, and I smell every onion and piece of hot food from the deli counter that I scan. So this makes it difficult to interact with customers because I’m trying to make my ASD background noise so I can act like a neurotypical person – it’s like I have two brains, but I will talk about this in a separate post.
I’ve taught myself over my time of being undiagnosed with ASD how to behave like neurotypical people so people don’t find me to be different. It’s called shapeshifting, a term used by the girl with the curly hair that means that someone with ASD observes a neurotypical person, and then copies exactly what they do to get by in the neurotypical world. It’s very exhausting and very annoying when I can’t be myself, but I think of it as an on and off switch. Most of the time, I am off. This means that I don’t have to act like a neurotypical person and can daydream, fidget, stim, talk how I usually talk (which is more childlike), and keep to myself. But when I go in for work I am on. This means that I can’t be obviously daydreaming, can only fidget with my legs, can’t stim, talk in a “grown up” voice (one that I am putting on), and interact with people.
I work 3 days in a row which can be tiring, but it’s suited to my schedule – two evenings and one afternoon, since I am not a morning person and will probably never be. I also didn’t initially tell anyone that I was going to be working with that I have any learning disabilities, because although people usually are quick to accept that I have ADD because it comes clear when people try to hold conversation with me, people don’t realise and are quite shocked to learn that I have ASD, because of my shapeshifting abilities. But the worst learning disability for this job would probably be the Dyscalculia because a. no one knows what it is, and b. I work on a checkout with numbers and money and I am not good at handling numbers and money. I knew going into the job that I wasn’t particularly good at adding up money fast, but I didn’t realise how bad my Maths would affect me. It’s difficult to explain, so I will also explain what exactly Dyscalculia does and what it’s like to have it in another post, but I basically just tell people the wrong totals because my eyes will switch the numbers around or replace one number for a different one, or my mouth will say them in the wrong order. I also get the money mixed up sometimes, and there’s been incidents where I’ve given people the wrong amount of change (I’ve only gotten one complaint from a girl who came back to my till… to say I’d given her too much).
All in all I’m just happy that I have a job and that my first pay day is this week. I try to only think about work when I’m at work, and when I’m at home I can relax, because otherwise I get too stressed that at the end of the week I have to turn the switch on for 3 days straight. But I am disappointed that I don’t work at the book shop where it’s quiet and the people who go in there are always nice because you share the same interest.