How is the government shutdown affecting Americans? Yahoo asked those impacted to share their stories. Here’s one.
COMMENTARY | This could not have happened at a worse time for me since I just finished a bathroom remodel to make my shower handicapped accessible at a cost of over $10,000. Add to that medical expenses and other home improvement work that needed doing and I just finished spending over $30,000. I don’t drive and have cerebral palsy among 13 other disabilities. I plan on eating at work so I keep food in the house for weekends and dinner only. Going to the market for food lasting three meals a day for a month or so is a painful challenge. I will be able to pay my creditors this month and the coming month but if the shutdown goes longer than 3 months I’m in trouble.
I have been staying busy cleaning house, working on three books I am writing and playing video games. I am watching all 9 seasons of the “X-Files” from beginning to end to pass time. I am watching my little brother play Grand Thief Auto 5 and laughing as he does totally vile things. I sit on the balcony of my condo and think about working in the cool breeze.
Funny as it might seem I miss working because I spent the first 41 years of my life trapped outside the work world due to my having many disabilities and being autistic. I always wanted to find paid work. From age 14, I hunted for paying jobs. I am 54 years old now. It wasn’t till my age 41 that I found my current job as a federal Information Technology Specialist. I entered my adult life living on my own at age 21 on Section 8 housing, SSI and later SSDI Disability benefits on February 1st, 1980. Even with professional help, years spent volunteering to hone my social skills, it was 41 years before I mastered life skills needed to function in the workplace as an autistic man. I had serious social skills deficits associated with growing up abused for being disabled and autistic.
Once I entered federal service after one year I became an Information Technology Specialist on the career ladder from GS5 to GS12. After a year after becoming GS 12 IT Specialist I worked hard and became a GS13 Information Technology Professional specializing in management of Assistive Technologies. I have worked successfully as an IT Specialist GS13 for many years. I am so happy to have a job I am both good at which I also love. I share this with you because; I love my job. I love going to work. I love working and knowing what I do helps the American people live better lives. Like so many who choose government service, I have a passion to do my job well. Sitting home is the ultimate pain for me because; sitting home idle reminds me of my past being disabled on Section 8 at a time when no one would hire me.
I was raised to enjoy hard work and take pride in a job well done. Being autistic and disabled I fought so hard to get into the workplace. So many people take an honest job for granted. I’m disabled, I don’t take jobs for granted. Most of my life I wanted and fought to get a job unfortunately autism along with my many disabilities conspired to prevent me having one. As an autistic man I have no social life so the little friendly social interaction I get on the job is the only and closest thing to friendship I experience. I am blessed with awesome work friends who look beyond my strange autism quirks and watch out for me in ways too numerous to list. My agency is really an awesome place to work, it has its faults but everyplace does. As an autistic man with no friends to speak of outside of work its painful to be stranded home away from the only people who bring smiles of joy into my life as we conduct the good people’s business.