Neuro-Excited

As The Chief continues his technical writing pursuits, I periodically encounter some odd elements.

In the email below, for example, the recruiter either wasn’t familiar with the English language or they tried to be inspirational.  But yeah!  There are few things more exciting than looking for a job!  I mean what reasonable person doesn’t enjoy the rigor of composing a perfect correspondence to a potential employer – especially if they’re desperate to find a job.

Then there’s this beauty below.  While applying for another tech writing job last December, I had to complete a section which asked a question I’d never seen before.

‘Do you identify as neurodivergent.’

Neurodivergent?!  I actually had to look that up – and was offended they’d made such an inquiry.

For years companies have been taking people’s fingerprints and making copies of their driver’s licenses.  I never had a problem with that and always acquiesced.  It was just part of the hiring process.

I’ve also undergone drug screenings, which entail urinating into a plastic cup.  I still find that more intrusive than anything and – after my last such screening a few years ago – vowed never to do it again.  In that incident I inadvertently starting washing my hands after stepping out of the room, which I didn’t know was forbidden.  I’d already handed the cup to the gloved associate who had been standing immediately outside.  When she practically hollered at me for reaching towards the sink, one of her colleagues (they were both female) passed by and made some chicken-shit comment about men not being able to follow instructions.  They began laughing to which I promptly responded, “Excuse you!”  That seemed to upset them, but I will not be disrespected.  Imagine if male associates had said something similar to a woman.

Now some employers are asking for proof of COVID vaccinations.  And exactly what type of shot I received!  And from where!  That’s when I stop being conciliatory.  I simply told one recruiter ‘NO’.  I would not tell them exactly what type of anti-COVID vaccine I received, much less provide a copy of the card displaying my personal data.  If it’s a remote position, who really cares if I’m vaccinated?!  I received both shots, each of which made me ill.

Understand I’m not some right-wing extremist or a Canadian truck driver.  I think the COVID hysteria has reached a crescendo.

But neurodivergent?!  That’s a new one, which I find as intrusive as the cup thing.

Several years ago a human resources associate with the energy company where I worked asked if I’d had personality disputes with coworkers.

“Come on now,” I replied.  “You’ve been around long enough to know, when you gather different people from different backgrounds in one location to work together, inevitably there’ll be some conflict.”

My elaborate answer seemed to surprise her.  I surmise she was accustomed to hearing something like, ‘Oh never!’  Or, ‘Of course not.  I get along with everybody.  I’m a people person.’

But she had to concede I was right.  A company never knows what they’re going to get when they hire someone new.

Neurodivergent?!

This moment came a few months after I’d had a heated text discussion with a long-time acquaintance who lives in California.  He was involved with two younger men – a couple he’d met on a dating site.  He described one of them as somewhat anti-social, adding that the guy’s mental aptitude fell along the autism spectrum.  He went further, though, declaring that people who aren’t good in dealing with other people are borderline autistic.

It stunned me.  I’ve never been good in dealing with other people.  My parents could never understand why I had such a tough time making friends.  But no one had ever deemed me autistic.  To me autism is just one step above mental retardation.  My California acquaintance tried to assure me he wasn’t insinuating I’m mentally retarded, but I remain unconvinced.  He doesn’t really know me.  We’ve never even met.  So I found his cyber-assessment of me as autistic insulting.

I answered no to the “neurodivergent” inquiry, but I wished there had been another option: ‘Who gives a shit!’

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