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  • Writer's pictureCory Morrison

Autism: Reflecting on my Past Professional Goals

Updated: Sep 15, 2023

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As I turned 30 two weeks ago, one thing that has especially been my mind often lately is how my professional goals have changed over the years and how my autism characteristics have played a role.


Goals in Early Years


Remember Being Introduced To Jobs as a Young Child?


When I was young, going back to my preschool and first few years of school, I used to think that I could be anything I wanted if I put my mind to it. I didn't even know I had a disability, let alone had awareness of how my disability would get in the way of things.


Do you recall in those years, "*Insert name* what do you want to be when you grow up?".


"I want to be a police officer!"

"I want to be a fireman so I can face fire!"

"I want to be a teacher so I can play fun games like you do!"

"I want to play in the NHL and be like Sidney Crosby!"

"I want to produce films for a living!", only to realize that these jobs would be out of your league as you got older?

careers
People in various careers (Photo credit: 4774344sean on Can Stock Photo)

The above was me in a nutshell. Whenever I had a special interest, I would consider it a career path, without understanding how my social difficulties, motor difficulties and sensory difficulties would get in the way with many of these paths.


Teacher


With me, I wanted to be a teacher until I was around maybe 10. When I was eight, I recall playing school with my family, relatives, neighbours, my mother's daycare kids and my ABA therapists.


I'll admit that while I was often creative with lesson ideas, I had a hard time making sure I wasn't too rigid, appropriately dealing with people who were disruptive, and with general organization. This combined with the lack of social skills made me realize that teaching wouldn't be for me.


Computer Programmer


I also considered being a computer programmer in those years because I was mega-interested in most computer games, video games and online games (most things from Kid Pix at school to The Sims at home). Playing on the computer was always my favourite part of my early elementary years, to the point where I was too reluctant to take turns with others.


As soon as I became interested in weather and writing stories in my pre-teen years, however, I changed my tune. Plus, I realized that computer programming takes a lot of organization, which is something I struggled with a lot as a kid.


Drawing Road Maps


In addition, a "strange" hobby I had as a kid was drawing road maps. I thought I would be good at it until I realized I might not be that great at pinpointing the exact spots of the roads (of course, with the GPS, extreme accuracy is key). I still love looking at road maps, and will often look at Google Maps after road trips to reflect my route.

road map
Road map of Toronto (Photo credit: Max776 on Can Stock Photo)


Goals in Later Years


Author


In my pre-teen years, when I would often write stories, I considered being an author. At that point, however, I still had trouble with structuring a story and understanding exactly what makes a good story, which in a way, held me back.


Even a few years later, once I finally understood how it all works, I recall having lunch with my dad one time as a teenager, and he told me, "You might have better luck with blogging than writing a book because of how things are now." As much as I would like to write a novel, I agreed with him.


Also, I eventually learned it would take a lot for people to have approved books as competition is often quite high. Competition is something a lot of autistic people such as myself struggle with.


Meteorologist


Around the same time I would fully enjoy creative writing assignments at school, I eventually became interested in weather and meteorology. Some of the strange weather during late 2005 and early 2006, including a record hot summer in Ontario, Hurricane Katrina and more cold and snow in December than January, sparked a fire in me (so this would become a big special interest that would last a super long time).


I wanted to become a meteorologist myself, and by doing so, I would frequently track weather sources, models and learn how weather patterns work in our world. It was a path I was enthusiastic about until I realized I was not good at math.

hurricane clouds
Hurricane clouds approach coast (Photo credit: Samc352 on Can Stock Photo)

Writer/Journalist


In the mid-2010s, it eventually hit me that I could use my interest in weather and writing, as well as numerous other things I'm interested in, as something I could do regularly. There would be no math in the picture (and if there is, I would report on it and not actively solve Calculus-like equations). Plus, most things I do wouldn't be outdated in today's society. This is when I considered journalism.


I have enjoyed many aspects of writing and journalism. In addition, I have exposed myself to many related concepts such as content marketing, social media, design, photography, videography, broadcast news and more.


I have had a hard time in my industry for various reasons related to my challenges, but I continue to pursue this path and look forward. The looking forward part, is admittedly, easier some days than others, but there is progress.


Musician


As I discovered my musical talents in my pre-teen years, I also wanted to be a musician, particularly with piano and/or mallet percussion. I have had few issues with solo performances. However, keeping up with bands, as much as I enjoy doing it, is harder for me.


Some of my motor coordination difficulties can get in the way of being in a band like many famous musicians, but at the same time, I like to play my keyboard as a hobby. Here is my most recent tune, which is a cover of The Joker by Steve Miller Band:



Conclusion


There's been no shortage of rollercoaster activity when it comes to considering career paths for me throughout the years. However, I have been much more consistent in the past decade than I was during the first 20 years of my life.


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