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Dream: 7.31.2015 (autism, job)

July 31, 2015

I have recently moved to Maryland, and am looking for a job. Somehow, I’m spending time with a woman I’ve met who might know of a job I’d like to have.

{Unlike pretty much every other dream I can think of, this one “takes place” half within my thought process, half with me interacting with other people.}

So, I’m mentally running through the steps to re-establishing my credibility as an environmental professional:

  • whom should I contact at my old job? JAE (a previous boss)?
  • Can I get RM (friend/coworker) to log onto ICIS, and send me NPDES data from Maryland?
  • Which types of data should I ask for: obviously, big muni’s, but what else?
  • Which watersheds are directly relevant?

I’m in Data Gathering mode… or maybe, Meta-Data Gathering mode (!)… for the first time in many years, and I’m loving it. I’ve all but forgotten about the actual person that I’m with.

Then I look outside the car window, and see… flooding everywhere. Almost like a flash flood that’s coming towards us? Sort of. Or maybe, we’re going over a (tall) bridge where the water level is really high. Whatever it is, I’m suddenly confronted with an overwhelming expanse of water.

I lose myself in the wonder of it.

I come back to earth, abruptly, when I notice the woman driving the car has been speaking (I missed almost all of it, but something caught my ear). She just said, “We’ve recently moved to this area from Seattle…”

Immediately I want to ask her all about Puget Sound.



This is as clear a “coded letter” {see bolded terms} as I’ve ever gotten from my unconscious mind. A much less direct letter 6 weeks ago inspired me to apply to Hedgebrook for 2016, after I’d decided not to (for the third year in a row).

See, there’s this job… I saw the job posting in June; it closes mid-August. I’ve been waffling about applying ever since.

I’ve written here before about how I don’t try for things that I’m sure I can do, because it’s not fun/satisfying if there’s no challenge.

Say uncertainty–certainty about my abilities, qualifications, whatever, is a continuum. I need the uncertainty part to be at least 30, 40, maybe even 50% (in my perceptions), whereas the certainty part, then, is 70, 60, or 50%. The uncertainty is more important… it gives me wiggle room, and I have to have wiggle room… that’s where my creativity and innovative thinking come into the equation. That’s the best part.

So, generally, for a job that I want, I’d prefer to feel qualified/competent/confident from a position of 60 to, oh, maybe 80% sure I could do it. (Closer to 80% if it’s a technical job, and it is.)

= = =

If I just felt 50/50 qualified/competent/confident, well, it’s a lot of bother to jump through all those hoops again. Especially since I haven’t had to since 2009. Do I have suitable clothes to wear? Who could I ask to be references? Oh gods, a resume-thingy (I hate those things!). Review my own history with an eye towards interview questions I might be asked. Remember what it’s like to work in a job — try to recapture that whole mindset.

A whole lotta work. Stuff I am wildly out of practice at.

Also, sartorial standards here in DMV, in the details, are very unlike the Midwest (Chicagoland; Indianapolis) where almost all of my employment occurred.

Too… my conception of my gender has utterly evolved. When I last worked, if I thought about gender at all, I assumed I was a cis woman who was just kinda weird. Now that I’ve been seriously puzzling over my gender since 2011 or so, I still don’t know what to call it. But I’m definitely not cis.

AND (sort of related to the clothes/visual presentation issue, sort of tangential), last time I was in contact with any of my references… I had a different first name. Are they going to remember to refer to me by NewName? Because if they don’t, is that going to become an issue for the person checking references? Are they going to wonder if I’m hiding something?

I can’t really ‘come out’ to my references about the gender reasons why I changed my name because Indiana is hella conservative.


(ugh, embarrassing)

There were puzzling things during my tenure at Job (well, any job, but definitely the one where I know the people who might be my references from) that are, now, explained by me being autistic. But… do I want/need to ‘come out’ about that to references, too?

But if I don’t tell them, I do know things they might accidentally say that are… not flattering, not helpful.

If I had potential references that I knew would just say, “She’s amazing, she’s brilliant, she’s very creative, she’ll hyper-focus and probably work too hard on occasion…”, well, obviously, I’d tap those people.

I don’t think I’ve ever had references like that.

Even people who love me dearly always always feel the need to mention — both to others and to me — my difficulties, often overshadowing my good points even, as if I’m not already aware of them, thank you very much.

= = =

So, the actual job in question… I feel 30%, maaaybe 40%, qualified/competent/confident.

I’d pretty much decided, fairly recently, that I wouldn’t apply.

The one item I think that’s gripped me is… NPDES [National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System]. I actually dreamed that term. All the years I worked with it, I never dreamed about it. And… it’s in the job description, was what originally caught my eye, made me wonder if I could do it.

Plus, the “overwhelming expanse of water” has got to be Chesapeake Bay. An estuary, like Puget Sound is an estuary. Estuaries have been one of my Special Interests since 2011, but I’ve been interested in Chesapeake Bay itself since 1981 when I first encountered it.

This is a Door. In my Year of Doors.

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