My mom and dad always believed that school should come before any job. (What else would you expect from two teachers!) My first real job was working at an arcade, and for those of you who are too young to remember, an arcade was a store you could go to and play video games! Of course finding one today in nearly impossible...unless you want tasteless pizza and a cartoon animal singing in your ear! So if it wasn't for my friend Chris, who knows how long it would have been before I got a job. The reason is with Asperger's, one never knows what kind of job interview one might have; meaning at that moment you might remember the questions you asked and answered, but when you leave...you forget it! Not on purpose but, trying to think back about what was said may be impossible, unless I took notes! I remember an interview I had for a video rental company called Applause Video. I recall some questions they would generally ask then they recreated a scene where they wanted me to sell a product of theirs, so I did it and I thought I impressed them. I didn't get the job and still didn't know why. I even remember one time where I helped set-up a store and on the inside, but when it came time for positions my friends all got jobs, but I got left out...what the HECK?!!! It didn't make any sense. I was able to get a job at K-Mart (Yes, I actually said K-Mart, not the Other-Mart). I have to say thank you to that corporation for getting me through most of my college years.
There were several obstacles I had trouble with while working. One was money because there was a time when a person could come in and say I didn't give them enough change so I wouldn't question it, I would simply give them what I still owed them. However, when I turned in my drawer at the end of the shift, I end up being that many dollars short; or even sometimes too much! Other times would be where I'm on the floor and I'll have several customers come up to me all at once and I can't remember every one's request so what ends up happening is I've left a customer standing there, still waiting for me to help them...and a little pissed off. So that would lead to this...complaints and conflicts, I'm an incredibly big pacifist and I try as hard as I can to avoid a fight. If a customer complained, I would do anything in my power to make then happy (or shut them up!).
Between the arcade and K-Mart, my wife and I got jobs as Para-professionals for the Kansas City Kansas School District. There, having watched the lead teacher do her job, I knew I could do that too; so I was able to make the faithful decision of becoming a teacher. I worked with severe-multiple handicapped kids and I really found the experience to be enlightening. Jaimee got to work with Behavior Disordered students (or at least that's what they were called back then.)
One of my last jobs before the education field came a callin' was Worlds of Fun. It's an amusement park here in Kansas City and my job was a floating ride operator. Meaning, when I came in to work, they would place me where ever they needed someone to run a ride, so instead of always being at one station, I got to travel around the whole park. The only real reason why I mention this is because my twin daughters work there now and I'm really proud of them both; one paints faces and the other takes pictures.
[By the way, I did have one BRIEF job at a certain cafeteria which shall remain...nameless! Just three words: Chicken...Finger...Hands. Nuff’ Said!!!]
The Song of Inspiration [Check it out on iTunes!]:
Song: "Hold Us Together"
Artist: Matt Maher
Album: Alive Again