When leaving isnt time to leave

Two weeks ago I came to the conclusion that it would be best to resign from my volunteer work with the marine rescue. It was not for the reason I had burnt bridges or was off side with anyone at all. I thought it was the easiest way and have the best outcome that I had thought about. I had been there for quite some time, which is 14 years of active service as boat crew and in the past as a radio operator too. I had been told that these days you can either do one or the other, but not both anymore. Work commitments always gets in the way of doing things. My main goal of the year is to complete my history degree.

 

2018 is going to be a bigger year than I know of and work was only part of the reason to walk away. My employment involves weekend work and I never want to lose my Sunday shifts for obvious reasons. I had asked for one Sunday off a while back and lost all Sunday shifts for a while through roster changes. My worry was I was wearing myself down since I two shifts I can attend in the mornings for only around four hours at a time before heading to work. That day involves a 5am start to get to the boat before a 7am launch. It used to be 630am launch before they changed the time. I start work at 1pm, which finishes at 10pm. It would have been alright if I had not finished work at 10pm on the Friday, but the weekend tired me out a bit.

 

I felt because of this and the fact I was now a trainee crew instead of a qualified crew member that I couldnt do the study that is involved from knots, flipcharts for different lights showing from vessels at night for their meanings, different navigational markers and their meanings, collision regulations otherwise known as Colregs. I have to know these off the top of my head and I will include a link for those who think I am being precious. This includes me trying to finish my university degree as well and I am wanting to finish by the end of this year as it is something I have strived to complete more for myself.

 

I had read the information in regards to resigning and I thought that by leaving without being in the bad books, I could return in a year or so. Sure Sydney being the Headquarters might not have a problem with someone not being a troublemaker of any sorts. I was not worried about going back to basics as it is something that I feel I probably should do especially some of the information, I cant seem to remember like the knots. Something I have always struggled with, but I give it a go anyway.

 

The reality is actually tougher. I had printed out the resignation letter, put my stuff like ID, name badge and epaulet into a folder. I had spoken to no one about my decision not even the head of the boat operations who might have been understanding. The deputy Commander was who I spoke to and his response when I told him why I was wanting to resign (I only spoke about work problems)  was ‘NO’ as I had spent a great deal of time with the organisation and I could always go to fundraising instead to keep myself as an active member. Also it would be difficult to return once I had resigned in bad blood or not. He gave me six months leave to think about it and I was on my way. I would be taken off the roster and to come back when I am ready. He reasoned that I had gotten through the toughest time with work being Christmas

 

I have heard along the grapevine that people are wondering why I wanted to resign though they have not contacted me or asked my reasons yet. They don’t seem happy that I had been told to basically go flip burgers as part of fundraising. The funny part of having a history degree is the burger flipping comment. I have not told any of them about my history degree that I am wanting to complete by the end of the year. They only really know about my work as I only interact with them through the organisation not outside. Maybe I should do that, but I only really talk to them if I see them at work. We shall see what happens by the end of the month as I will rock up to the boat shed to have a discussion to explain my reasons, but for the time being I think it is best that I have six months off, although I know the training stuff will fall down. I think I am more respected than I realise. The funny thing was I had the thought I could always write the unit history as a volunteer thing and they can publish the book much like for the local life savers I have seen with their centenary book.

 

The reasons, well the main reasons I will list again, but with additions.

  1. Work commitments. I work more hours and unique shifts than I did when I first joined since I was unemployed and training was far easier.
  2. Trying to finish my university bachelor degree in history. I have two subjects left and they both will be tough. Trying to remember everything on top of the rescue stuff fries the brain I think. Maybe it was only time that it would come to this. I have my own research project that I need to start and finish. That is something I need to concentrate on.
  3. Hoping the big boss doesn’t come down hard on me because I have not completed all the training. So thought resignation would be easier, only to come back later. I don’t want to be forced to complete everything. I had already been given the hard word to leave as a radio operator and time was a factor in that too.
  4. I don’t know how much protection I would have and I don’t really want others to watch my back or cover for me from one very angry person if it comes to that.

  Maybe I should tell them that I am a slow learner and some things I have difficulty with, although if that gets to the ears of the wrong people I might actually be kicked off the boat. Part of the reason why I have never mentioned Aspergers or as it is called these days Autism Spectrum Condition / autism. It makes my life easier and less complicated as they probably have figured out that I am a tough on the slow side. I would say its a huge combo of everything else and something had to give.

Links

Australian Maritime Safety Authority

https://www.amsa.gov.au/vessels-operators/regulations-and-standards-vessels

 

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Shoppergeddon and that screamer

I thought I had already written a blog on this subject, but cant seem to find it. Maybe amongst the blogs it is there hidden and waiting. Since it happens to be the time of year when Shoppergeddon happens I should post some thoughts especially within the supermarket life. This time of year means school holidays and there would be opeople all over the place including upset kids

 

You will always hear about people with autistic kids having a melt down or something similar while they are in a shop especially a supermarket. Then they complain they are getting nasty looks from the people who work in the supermarket and / or sometimes they lash out at the worker thinking they are special and they are ‘protecting’ their child in a meltdown. My response is actually build a bridge and get over it.

 

Why the attitude? The reason is this. You are nothing special. You are just another person with a crying, upset child. It is something that is seen everyday and all day. I do actually find this to be amusing and I am giving a look of disgust, but also laughing that you are stuck with the young one and I am not. If you are wanting to lash out at a worker. Then be very careful as you yourself will be in for loads of trouble. Think before you say or do anything as you will be on camera well before you leave the store and it could be handed on to the authorities including the security for a shopping centre. Retailers are starting to take a zero tolerance for any abuse be it verbal or physical towards their staff members. Maybe this updated blog can serve as a reminder. In the last couple of months the retail union has pushed out the information as it will no longer be tolerated and I think this should serve as a reminder for all those living in Aspieland. People do remember you and word does spread especially when you do not act normal or do something that is not expected.

 

There is stereotype that annoys me and that is to do with autistic people lining things up to look all neat and tidy. Like all the vegies in fresh produce looking like they are lined up and neat after some ‘autistic’ employee spent hours doing the display up. I would say great marketing as its not the reality. In 11 years I have never seen this nor would any manager allow anyone to do this on the clock. My boss would disagree too especially when there is a constant game of Jenga being played and I am not that neat unless time permits me to be, but that is actually rare. My ears should really be burning on some days.

Who supports who? Calling them out

While I was working, I had a thought that was about the Coles Quiet hour. I wondered how many statements, I could find from Advocacy groups within Australia that were in support of the Autism quiet hour. I thought I would at least come across blogs excluding mine, but Google either hides press reports when looking for them or the main groups have chosen to remain quiet. I am not looking on Facebook as there are just the usual news article shares. Not everyone is on FB or even actually follow the news online. I will say it here to start off with as I do want to be proved wrong on this topic and I will say so again further down.

 

I havnt done a thorough search to see what I can come across and I was excluding everything from Facebook. Some groups I knew had websites and one like the self advocacy group, I had trouble remembering the name of. All I could find was news articles and apart from ASPECT who is part of the whole thing there was nothing. Nothing from the ICAN Network, Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia, Australian Autism Asperger Network, Australian and New Zealand Autistic Self Advocacy Network are just for starters through a quick search. To say I am disappointed is an understatement, but I am beginning to think none of the Advocacy groups in Australia actually truly care. They seem to rather play on the Don Burke’s of the world by covering all the negativity. Maybe positivity is just ‘inspiration’ porn for these guys. I do not know the names of individual advocates within Australia as in the people so I do wonder if they actually support stuff like this or are they holding onto the negativity cards just to say ‘I told you so’.

 

Its been a couple of weeks and one Don Burke saga where nothing has happened. I would hazard a guess if it was Woolworths doing this then everyone would be over it like a rash or would there be the sound of silence? Maybe they are waiting for the whole thing to fail before these groups will crow about the failure in the system as it is what they really want. A huge fail. I do not know, but Looking on the websites there are no press releases or anything written. Maybe they need all their asses kicked into action due to their slackathon. Maybe they will tell me to stick my comments where the sun doesn’t shine and Clementine Ford will rocket me to the moon. No disrespect to her, but maybe she would love to take the subject on board. I would love to be told that they really do support this endeavour, but they have to be quiet for political reasons. Someone at least prove me wrong. Maybe they all need someone like me who is an actual outsider to point out their failings and maybe they need to list the stores in their specific regions.

 

I would love to see some officialdom for the Coles Quiet Hour or at least a little bit of support. ‘Nothing about us without us’ is starting to sound like a catch cry without doing anything or supporting real grassroot causes beneficial for all. I wonder if Autism Speaks leant their support towards this then people will wake up. Maybe someone should tell Coles to take the ‘Autism’ out of the quiet hour as maybe the community doesn’t really deserve such a thing and the general community is more deserving especially when there are people who would love not being blasted by anxiety inducing sensory overloading sounds that are not even on the Autism spectrum. I maybe a small minnow in a sea of discontent, but I have written about the Quiet Hour twice. Maybe the groups need to know that without the support of the people then they are actually nothing, but hollow shells.

Work with me

In my line of employment I have seen people come and go over the time I have been there. I work retail, specifically within a supermarket and part of a huge chain. It’s a great place to work, but I should point out that not everyone can hack working at the pace we have to work.

 

We have to work to a specific time frame which means within a shift you have to do more than one thing. In my shift I usually have to fill the freezer, fill milk and fill the ice if it is empty and talk to customers. Work cannot be left for the next day or else you have the snow ball effect and put people who are on the next day out as they have their own work to do. We are all supposed to be working to a certain carton rate per hour, just depends on what it is. Mostly it can be around 52 boxes, but can change.

 

I will be honest, I do not actually care about your ability. The only thing I care about is if you can get the work done or not. If you cannot do the work specified then, I actually don’t want you. I always know within a couple of weeks who the slow people are and the fast ones are. I should point out that I am not picking on you, I am making sure you keep the work up. If there is still work to be done and someone else has to jump in to help then we all know you are in need of help, which cannot always happen. If you do not turn up to work them everyone regards you as unreliable. That’s the whole reality of the situation.

 

This time of year makes it tough as it is the Christmas season where you have to work hard and fast especially with the amount of work that appears and the people wanting all sorts of stuff as it literally flies off the shelf. I tend to see people posting on pages about not working to your potential in regards to Asperger / autism. I have said it before and will always say it. The people who are posting online as blogs or talking about such nonsense at conferences are the ones holding everyone else back. I enjoy my job and they should let people do what they want, not what the ‘professionals / advocates’ want. My advice is don’t listen to half of what is said as they are usually paid and are promoting something for their agenda. I think I have covered two topics right here.

Paying Attention

It might be considered bad behaviour, but it is otherwise called trolling in person. I have done this for a while and no, I don’t care what others actually think half the time. I am an adult, but need to have some fun and also see what happens. It seems wherever you go that people are not really paying attention to their surroundings and I am one who like to put that to the test for my own enjoyment

 

On my last trip away I had to signal for a passing bus for it to stop. I noticed that the four other people at the stop were not paying attention, so I did not wave the bus down. I had thought they would, but the people just watched the bus go past. I don’t know if they commented, but I was smirking while listening to my music. I was happy to wait a little longer to get back into the city. Not my problem if others are not paying attention. We did get a bus around 20 mins later with more people who had arrived. An afternoon in Auckland when the school buses are doing their think makes for a busy trip.

 

In other places I have done similar like at airports when you see groups of people and you have a bag trolley, so you stop and start laughing when one of the people actually walks into you. It can be quite funny when they apologise when you were basically setting them up. Nothing new there and is a part of my life. People do cross the road looking at their phones and the least you can do is either step out of their way or see if they will look up in time to avoid walking into you. I have done this while in London when using my bags as a virtual battering ram as I look like a backpacker with bags hanging off me and people don’t seem to want to get out of your way.

 

What I do is if I have to look at my phone, then I step to the side and look at it so that I don’t get in the way of the human traffic. People seem to have their focus on other things in life.

Self diagnosis of The Don

I had always wondered what would happen when people self diagnosed themselves with Aspergers and / or Autism, when people flat out not welcome them to the fold. Turns out that day came during the week when Don Burke a celebrity gardener in Australia decided as part of his interview to drop the bomb shell that actually was like a balloon going flat that he had Aspergers. He later said that he self diagnosed himself due to some of the issues that resolved around the whole thing. While he thought he would be well received, it bit him in the ass mightily. The autism community seem to be great in that way. Be both welcoming and then with something not to their liking its basically instant death.

 

Something that I found amusing was the community is usually welcoming of any celebrity diagnosed officially or self diagnosed. I do wonder if Don had dropped the bombshell without the allegations against him, then the Autism community would open their arms to him. On one side I do see this a little hypocritical of the community for a reason as it’s a national sport to diagnose everyone and everything. Cats have aspergers apparently and so does Baron Trump and Putin from Russia. I think if it has legs then it will now have aspergers or autism to some people including that tree over there that looks shady. It also turns back onto the people with comments like ‘You know nothing about autism’.

 

It will be interesting to see what the so called self diagnosed crowd will do as they have been damaged by Don’s revelations. Are those people to be trusted or mocked for their mathematics? They get 2 plus 2 and equals five or six. Will the event still have people reluctantly diagnosing themselves or will there be a heap of people suddenly come to the revelation that they have Aspergers like Don does. Will people be fair game afterwards as the Autism community can be very unforgiving, but all over the place. I do wonder what the thoughts of those watching on from their Ivory towers. Will people come out and say criminals who were convicted and such are not autistic as obviously an autistic person could not have done that? I think I did see something along the lines during the week and I cannot remember who wrote it.

 

My response at the time was ‘Bullshit’ and now just ‘meh’ as it doesn’t impact my life. Maybe Don would become an honorary member of the Autism community later down the track, not that I have a crystal ball or anything. I do wonder if there will be more regulation amongst the autism community over diagnosing Godzilla and King Kong as soon it will become very silly. I don’t support Don for what he has said, but I bet it caused an uproar throughout the entertainment industry and Autism community both. I am kind of Chaotic Neutral on any issue as fallouts within the autism community doesn’t have any impact on my life and I am very fortunate for that.

 

Next issue: Motocyclists dont have autism as they can manipulate fine motor skills to ride a bike on a road and autistic people cannot do that.

Experiencing The Coles Quiet Hour

What: Coles Quiet Hour

Where: Banora Point, NSW (Banora Central)

Time 10.30am to 11.30am

 

Out of sheer curiosity, I went to visit one of my local Coles stores for their quiet hour that runs from 1030 to 1130 on Tuesdays. I could be a little biased since I work for Coles, but I am also on the Autism spectrum so it has its relevance to this blog especially as an adult. I was a couple of minutes in arriving into the Quiet Hour and since I have spent 10 years working for the company, I half knew what to expect. Quiet times usually have happened when the power has gone out and nothing actually works properly.

 

 

Today, on walking in I heard no music at all. It was a very quiet store. The only thing I could really hear were the quiet voices of people and the Deli staff talking to customers. No beeps or noises from the checkouts and I wasn’t sure about the lights, but they did seem to be dimmer, but I was wearing sunglasses. I spoke to some reps who come in from other companies who work in the stores and since I knew one of them, I asked what his thoughts to the Quiet hour was. His response was magic. He said he could hear himself think due to the fact the music gets annoying after a while. I came very close to pressing the buttons on the singing Christmas toys to see 1) How loud they would be, 2) If any team members panic due to the noise and 3) How much attention it would receive.

 

The team members on observation felt like they were happy for the quiet hour especially on the checkouts. I am sure the fridges were quieter. The only loud beep that occurred, which wasn’t an issue was the beep from the paywave. On exiting the store, I noticed something. It was literally louder outside than inside the store. I really do not know how that could be possible, but is an achievement in itself. The noise from traffic, people and Zaraffas coffee shop.

 

I went to Tweed City to see how much of a difference it was from a quiet store to a loud one and Tweed City Coles was louder being in a shopping centre and brighter. I think they would love to have a quiet hour too. I happen to have a day off and I work for that particular store so I know what its like. It could work in all stores if it is supported. Even if you remove the ‘Autism’ from the quiet hour, I bet much of the community would support the concept as then they are not blasted by the music or any huge noises, but staff have to be able to work as well so everyone has to work together.

 

While this concept has been supported by many within the online world, I have not actually seen support from the major groups like the Australian Autism Asperger Network or individuals, I don’t call sharing news articles as support through Facebook. Maybe its something that is way over their heads or they just love the negatives or waiting to be proud over making sure it falls apart. They need to be vocal in their support and the silence has been deafening so far outside of ASPECT. As an individual, I am expressing my opinion for it to stay and continue. Christmas is fast approaching as it will be a great test. People on the autism spectrum also need to be patient with the staff members as many would not know much about autism. Speak to them and be civil as rudeness is remembered. That will be relayed pretty quickly as everyone would know. Make sure you know what times the Quiet Hour finishes as I would expect it to finish exactly on the dot and everything goes back to normal.