Sometimes it pays to be persistent and sometimes it does not. As individuals with Asperger’s, we are often chained to bad memories that haunt us from the inside out. Times when we have been called annoying as a result of being too persistent. Or even worse, periods in which we have been labeled a stalker! We must recall those memories to avoid repeating the same mistake twice. But at the same time, we would spectacularly falter if we allow these negative experiences to stunt our future success.
During times when I am unable to let go, the best thing I can do for myself is practice the Art of Incremental Backing Off. This is a skill that all of us should aspire to as we attempt to walk that very fine line. During my speeches and throughout both of my books, it is common for me to perseverate on the destruction of my human service career back in 2006. The immaturity that was still gripping me in the throes of Asperger’s resulted in the termination from a group home environment that has employed me on and off throughout college vacations. Now I aspired to work there full-time and behaved in a very silly fasion. (I lightly hit my head with an outstretched hand after learning that the clock has been set fast by five minutes – spelling out the fact that I was five minutes late instead of exactly on-time one day.) This impulsive action lost me this position and subsequent others in the field when I had to admit this colossal defeat in future interviews.
People have told me it is time to move on, but have not been able to take on this radical step. Instead of giving up, I have made a choice to re-engage in the fight after increments of six months have passed. Every six months, I return to the human resources woman to let her know just how much time has passed since that ill-fated experience as well as all of the successes that have transpired. In order to prove myself, I continuously seek out opportunities in the human service field to resurrect this career from the grave. One of the companies I targeted just granted me an interview after having used the N-O word that all of us despite. I would like to take the liberty of cutting-and-pasting the email that led to the interview, which apparently went quite well according to the principal of the school. I have used a pseudonym for the school and will keep everybody updated on future developments.
This should be a lesson that one must not always give into doubt and the perseveration of those with Asperger’s may sometimes be considered a strength. Check out this email and let me know what you think! Hopefully it will inspire others to pursue what they want and are willing to fight for! Anyway...here is the email!
Dear Administrators and Faculty of Fiery Autism Awesomeness,
I hope this email finds you starting off the New Year on a positive note and have made it past a solid week with maintaining your resolutions. This year I have attempted to make my goals quasi-realistic because the promises of performing 100 pushups per day usually fade after a few enthusiastic days. And speaking of resolutions…
There is one particular goal for 2015 that will only come to fruition if others believe in my endeavors. Some people dream of launching the first pitch of the World Series or joining the Peace Corps to bring sustenance to those in need. I have maintained such flamboyant dreams of success in the past, but other critical goals are now a priority that will bring me the same sense of euphoria.
My dream is to continue my career at your school and make additional contributions to your Haven of Autism Awesomeness. I deeply appreciate the opportunities you have handed me. But I feel, however, that I may augment my contributions on campus especially when you take into account the success of these past positions.
The last time we met you said something very profound and true. When I asked for a position working with the individuals you serve, you mentioned that conducting myself in this environment and the social graces do not come "naturally" to me. You could not have been more correct. There is very little that comes naturally to me and everything is a struggle. This is why I have succeeded in just about every environment that has offered me a chance over the past few years. For example, I have often been plagued by bad luck and disorganization that has prevented me from showing up to places on-time. These days, I leave myself sometime two hours of extra time and have solved this crisis. If a person wants something so tenaciously and is incapable of letting go then these weaknesses may become huge strengths. In the nearly two years I have instructed class at Living Resources, Inc., the most inappropriate thing I have said is, "Better late than never" when a group once came in forty-five minutes late. Every day is treated like I am diffusing a bomb because complacency is the glove in which evil slips it hand! Even if it seems that my days of inappropriate comments are behind me, I will always have Asperger's syndrome in addition to being human like everybody else.
The Jesse A. Saperstein that existed a few years ago is merely a defunct phantom compared to the progress that has transpired today. Now…bear in mind this does not mean I have absolved my weaknesses and vulnerabilities. It just means that I have gone to extreme measures in order to compensate for them. I have worked in a funeral home with people on the worst day of their lives and had very minimal problems. This should tell you something about my liability tendencies or lack thereof if I were to ever move forward in your beautiful community. Furthermore, I have been struggling to find employment that will help build a life.
I have had success in the human service field and currently teach a creative writing class in Albany for people with disabilities that has grown so successful that Living Resources, Inc. gave me an additional class and a higher salary. The class was honored two times over the past year by Albany society at banquets. Instructing one day a week is not enough to earn a living so I am searching to expand my options. The interview that did not go so well a few years ago at one of your programs is not a reflection of my abilities and much of what I said was taken out of context. Please bear in mind that individuals with Asperger's syndrome often struggle dearly during interviews and the repeated failures during this process are not a reflection of their potential. The only thing I can tell you is that I would not give those answers today and do not want a petty misunderstanding from four years ago to stop me from reaching my full potential in your community.
Attached is an updated resume and hopefully these accomplishments will remind you that there are more triumphs we may collectively strive for within your center When you have a chance, it would be great to be in touch and learn if there is a future for me in your school I just want a chance for you to see what I have to offer beyond the successful opportunities that have already come to fruition.