I work for a tutoring company. Nothing special. I do HR and recruitment and when it comes down to it I’m one of many many people like me that tutors will talk to during the interview and on-boarding process. I’m invisible. Interchangeable.
I have the same conversation over and over again where only the academic subjects I’m screening for change. My days pass quickly because I am always too busy to realize the monotony of my routine. And I don’t mind. I like the repetitive nature of what I do. I like that I blend in. I like the anonymity. It’s easy.
I am afraid of nearly everything outside of my front door and my job lets me hide from my fears while still being a productive member of society.
But while my job is comfortable, for the most part, it’s not necessarily a good kind of comfortable. If nothing else it illuminates the fact that I am broken every day, like a flashing neon sign.
Today I had a moment, and I’m not sure why THIS was the moment I decided I need to start making the most of what I am, but this was it.
I had a video interview scheduled for today and everything was going fine until the man I was screening paused, took a breath, and then said “I’m having a panic attack.”
This was clearly not a ruse. I could see the wide eyes and the struggle to breathe. His upper lip was beaded with sweat and I recognized the symptoms. He asked if he could go get some water and I was able to calmly tell him not to worry, that I understood.
I told him how to click his screen off. I told him to go take care of himself and I would wait.
He came back and didn’t look much better but was trying to be functional. To still move forward and function like it seems everyone else can so effortlessly. I was able to tell him that when I panic I have trouble focusing and that I wanted to give him the best shot at getting through the interview. I asked if he’d like to reschedule so he could fully come down from his attack and be able to answer screening questions with a focused mind. He said he would.
I gave him as many details as I could about how the interview would go when he did get in for the reschedule so he could mentally prepare .
I feel horrible for him and because I am broken, I looked for just about every way to blame myself for his panic.
I completed my notes on his application, ambiguous and positive so as not to influence whoever gets his next interview, and then had a thought.
It’s a good thing he was scheduled with me.
I have empathy for him. Our other interviewers would have been polite and professional, but they wouldn’t necessarily have been able to understand him like I could. We might have lost out on a good tutor, and made him think less of himself because of something that is ultimately outside of his control.
I may be broken but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. And possibly for the first time ever, something good has come from my disorder.
My goal for this year was to push my limits. I want to get out more and enjoy more from life.
Now I’m thinking I need to focus on something else as well: finding the beauty in negative spaces. Finding positive ways to use aspects of myself that I’ve always considered purely useless or problematic should be part of this.
I like to think I’m a creative person. I should be able to look outside the box and find more good in myself.