I just made the decision to return to school. I’d looked for work for the past year. Despite a great resume and more interviews than I care to count, I could not find a job. I know our economy’s living out a horror story, but my fields have vacancies here and there. For these I applied, faithfully, in my city, and many times was asked to come in.
Unfortunately, each time my NLD was perceived as too awkward and/or I suffered from expressive language difficulties (writing is so much more comfortable for me). I got used to the standard interview questions, and spun my responses. I did get better at interviews than when I began my search, but I’m just not a natural at selling myself.
I’m not comfortable being scrutinized or cross-examined. Whenever possible, I avoid situations where people try to cross anxiety-provoking lines, where I feel like my boundaries are not respected.
It’s harder for me to say no because of NLD. That doesn’t mean I don’t say no, just that it’s twice as uncomfortable. Deciding between making an excuse and a point-blank “no” is always a tough call. A call that would easier to make if my visual-spatial skills helped me navigate, but of course they’re generally not reliable. So my right brain tries to catch up with my left brain, but it’s a big challenge. It interrupts and halts my speech and makes me seem awkward.
The best advice I have is this: tell people you have NLD before a professional meeting and work with people you already know if possible. So often it’s not possible, though. It is my hope that in the future, society will learn to respect and celebrate learning differences. Until then we must advocate as much as we can, but also not get exhausted or overly stressed in the process.