I’m a rocket scientist get me out of here

I have wanted to get back to this blog for a while. When I set it up I realised that it gave me the ability to convey things to my friends that were hard to do verbally (having Aspergers makes it difficult for me to express myself in conversation). Today I need to reach out for help from my friends from university and in the space community: I’m currently stuck in a difficult situation and I’m struggling to find a way out.

Since graduation I’ve had to go cap-in-hand to my local jobcentre and they’ve tied me down with some difficult expectations, insisting that I divide my job search efforts in two: between my graduate job search, and looking for local part time work. This seems reasonable on the surface but it has divided my time and effort in two, and has left me struggling to do either. They tried signing me up to the Work Choice programme in the hope of helping to provide some kind of structure but Work Choice was unable to support my graduate job-hunt (other than with petrol money) and I feel like they’ve done more harm than good.

Despite this I’ve made some progress, particularly being invited to an assessment for Reaction Engines’ graduate scheme, but this was more exception than rule. I feel like I’m being held back by the jobcentre, by Work Choice, and by my remoteness from the rest of the space community. I feel that while my classmates have gone on to get graduate jobs I’ve been forced to give up on those aspirations in favour of a much lesser job and I don’t understand why. What’s worst about this is the effect it’s having on me: I feel like I’m much less of a person than I was before, that I’m having to shrink myself down to what other people are willing to accept because there’s no room for me to be anything else. Others have noticed this too, so it isn’t just my imagination. I therefore want to get away from those people and connect with people who I can actually work with; I’ve since left Work Choice but I also need to get the Jobcentre off my back.

I’m therefore reaching out to my friends for help. I’m very aware of how the people around me can influence me, so I want to connect with people who can do so positively; I feel that being around space people brings out the best in me, and the space industry has the ability to put that to the best possible use. Being at the UKSEDS conference last month, and at the Reaction Engines assessment, was inspiring and stimulating; my family does their best but there’s a limit to how far they can go.

I’m looking for a project to help with, a course to build my skills or something else that will get me moving. I want to build up some practical experience to wave at potential employers. My finances are currently very tight though, severely restricting what I can do, so I also need to make some money: something entrepreneurial perhaps? But what I really want is to get back among uplifting people who can inspire and motivate me. This is really about reaching out to break my isolation and I’m keen to hear any ideas and suggestions.