Sunday, March 27, 2011

The decision from hell

First things first, it would be really nice to put paragraphs in this post. I'll leave it up to you to put them in, like this: ***New paragraph*** When I decided eventually to accept the job, I was only one week older than I was when I got the offer. I felt like I'd aged ten years. If I knew the job application process would provoke so much anxiety in me, I never would have applied in the first place. I was offered the job six weeks after the interview for Pete's sake! During that time I was drip-fed information which I tried my hardest to ignore. It was just like a Lotto draw, except one ball is drawn per week, and if you win you get to swim with sharks. Handcuffed. The Asperger's group last Saturday was particularly tough for me. I've met some wonderful people at the group and have made stronger connections there than I ever did in 5½ years at my last "big" job. I arrived early to make the most of possibly my last session. The first person I met was Chris, someone I've talked to a fair bit over the last year. He never seems happy but he's got a good heart and is someone who (if I could spend some extended time with him) I think I could help. By Saturday I still hadn't signed anything and my decision lay in the balance. I talked to one of the facilitators at the group - a warm, kind, gentle person who recognised how hard my decision was. I've build up a framework of support in Auckland; by accepting the job in Wellington I was about to destroy it. On Saturday night, as I lay in bed at half-past two struggling to cope, I thought to myself, nobody is forcing me to take this job. At 9am on Monday I'll get straight on the phone, ring that bloody 04 number, turn the job down and I'll be a blissfully free man. And on that thought I drifted off to sleep. On Sunday I had a swim in the sea; a dog came up to me as was lying on the beach and I thought how great that was. This is what life should be about, surely, not board meetings or exams. I had the same feeling as I bagged some feijoas from the tree outside Autism House. Before I came to Auckland I didn't even know what a feijoa was but I've since come to like them. That evening I talked to some more people and if any one of them had told me definitively not to take the job, that would have made my mind up. But after talking to my cousin who lives in Wellington, I thought more about the current job market and having to move out of my flat come what may. I made the decision at 1pm on Monday after talking to my current boss. He couldn't guarantee a timeframe, and that was that. I popped outside for lunch, not happy with my decision. I bumped into Chris from the group - he was crossing the road dangerously and I had no choice but to do the same if I was to catch him. I got his cell phone number. I'd made my decision but wasn't at all happy with it. According to Monday morning's weather forecast, the issue wasn't whether it would rain later in the day, but how much. So at least I wouldn't have to worry about tennis at six o'clock. Except it didn't rain. Oh god. If I had to write down the top fifty things I wanted to do that evening, tennis wouldn't have made the list. Considering how terrible I felt, I played remarkably well in our doubles match. Of course at sevenish it absolutely tipped it down. We should have called an end to proceedings earlier; we ended up stranded at - from our point of view - 7-6 (7-1), 5-7. We're scheduled to complete the match (which is meant to be decided on a souped-up tie-break rather than a third set) as well as the singles (where that crazy tie-break rule doesn't apply) this Wednesday. Last Wednesday we had the men's depression group. Another big positive in my life, hence it was another flashpoint for me. I still wasn't happy with my decision, and the consensus among the group was "what are you doing man?!" Yesterday I went tenpin bowling in Newmarket with some people from the Asperger's group. Well about a dozen people actually. The place needed a bit of a makeover I thought. It was full of Engrish signs (am I being racist? - I hope not), such as "Please keep your figure out of the ball machine." At the weekends you can play two games for $13, but if you're under five (and therefore can't hold the ball) you get two games for the amazing low price of $11! The last time I went bowling was in Peterborough in 2003 (I went once a week then) and I swear the music playing yesterday came from exactly the same tape. When I played regularly I was consistent but unspectacular. Yesterday I was inconsistent and unspectacular. I found the afternoon quite stressful with all the noise and someone always wanting to talk to me about something when I was quite happy not to talk about anything. I successfully avoided any mention of the two W-words: work and Wellington. Adding to my stress levels, I had to pick up and drop off Graham who lives in Albany. We got lost twice; I felt knackered and like a right muppet. I'm now looking forward to exploring Wellington - of all my fears (and there were and still are plenty) the city itself isn't one of them.

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