Diversity Acceptance Consultant, At Your Service! — Another Open Letter To The Folks Who Recently Fired Me Illegally For Being Autistic

Dear Folks Who Recently Fired Me Illegally For Being Autistic:

laptop_outside

This is not really a picture of the laptop I’ve stolen, but it does exemplify the kind of excellent care I am taking of the real device. Everyday I take it out for some fresh air and sunshine. Image Credit: Pixabay

First, it’s been a good 10 days now since I’ve confessed to stealing your laptop in order to protest your decision to fire me illegally for being autistic, and I must admit that I feel surprised but fundamentally relieved that I haven’t been arrested yet.

Although I am psychologically prepared to “do the time” for this civilly disobedient cyber crime I’m committing, of course I’d much rather you all just come to your senses and give me back the job you stole from me. But if you really want to send an autistic man to prison over this, well, then rest assured I’m really prepared to go. But in the meantime, every day that I don’t go feels like a gift, and I’m grateful and fundamentally relieved to receive it.

I don’t know what’s taking you all so long to figure out what to do about our predicament, but as long as you’re mulling things over, I would like to suggest a third option — a kind of compromise, really — if it will make things easier for everybody. Basically, I’m wondering if you might like to become my very first paying clients for my new Diversity Acceptance Consulting business.

Please allow me to elaborate:

The obvious (to me) fact that you all fired me for being autistic strongly suggests that despite your company’s being one of the more autism friendly places to work, it nonetheless has some growing it might do with respect to its current Diversity and Inclusion Strategy — especially as this strategy addresses the autism issue, specifically, but probably also the more general issue of psychiatric disability as wellIn my opinion, and I hope you will agree, your company could really benefit from the help of an actually autistic person such as myself — someone who has the skills, background, and experience necessary to challenge your own complacent (let’s face it) and self-congratulatory (just being honest here) status quo, and to lead you all towards greater awareness, understanding, and especially acceptance of autistic people and more generally the psychiatrically disabled as well.

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Again, not your laptop, per se, but yours is comfortable and in the company of friendly and familiar objects. Image Credit: Pixabay

Now, I realize you’re probably skeptical, of course. I know my methods are somewhat eccentric or unconventional. Heck, I bet I’m the only service provider you’ve ever encountered who is actually willing to risk going to prison in order to offer his services to a prospective client, am I right?

But if you know anything useful about autism, you know that if I were truly capable of doing things the way normal people do them, I would have done so long ago. I didn’t choose to be the way I am. Nobody chooses to spend his life with his nose pressed to the glass wondering what its like to be a “normal” person. And nobody should be surprised when an autistic person does something unconventional, eccentric, or just plain weird. If my methods surprise you, then clearly you haven’t spent enough time with autistic people, and that’s a problem I was born to help you solve.

Also, I think if you are honest with yourselves — if you take a good hard look at the facts —  you’ll see that much of my work with your company has already been completed. I’m sure that if you all take careful stock of what you’ve learned about autism in the past few weeks — learned with my help, and, I might add, at great personal risk to me and my family — if you really open your eyes to how you now feel about autistic people (perhaps not me, per se, but at least other autistic people) and especially the whole situation vis-a-vis autism in general, I’m quite sure you will see that I definitely deliver the goods. I’m sure you are now much more aware, understanding, and accepting of autistic people than you were.

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Image Credit: Pixabay

I’m all about customer satisfaction, and oh, did I mention that I offer a 100% money back guarantee?

Yes, that’s right, you understood correctly — a 100% money back guarantee!

Due to the unorthodox nature of the service I offer, for now at least I have chosen to use an entirely tip-based business model. Like a waiter in a restaurant or a street performer, first I deliver my service to my customers for their complete enjoyment, and only after they’ve had a chance to fully benefit from that service do I offer them the opportunity to pay me, with absolutely no obligation to do so.

Yup, you understood that correctly: if you are not completely satisfied with my Diversity Acceptance Consulting service, then you don’t have to pay me a dime. Of course, if you are, say, 30% satisfied, then my hope is that you will pay me 30% of what you would have paid me if you’d been 100% satisfied, but I will leave all of those details entirely to your discretion. The upshot here is that because I’m running a tip-based business with all this, my customers have total control over whether and how much I get paid or not.

In any case, that’s the compromise I’d like to offer you. If you simply cannot give me back my job, and you simply cannot bring yourselves to press charges against me, then how about taking a middle road by becoming my first paying customer for my Diversity Acceptance Consulting business? If you do that, I will still keep your laptop as a souvenir, but you can definitely deduct the cost from whatever you were going to pay me.

I hope that makes things easier for you all. As I said, I am all about customer satisfaction!

Sincerely,

Daniel L. Scholten, a.k.a. “The Walrus”

Diversity Acceptance Consultant — at your service!

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Image Credit: Shutterstock (colored blocks)

Please Stop Using the ‘Going In A Different Direction’ Pretext to Fire People: An Open Letter To Anybody’s Boss

Dear Anybody’s Boss,

Please do not ever again fire or otherwise deny someone employment under the tired old pretext of “going in a different direction with this role” (or any of its cousins, e.g. “internal restructuring”, etc.)

Of course, definitely do not use this pretext to fire someone illegally, but especially if you really do need to let someone go for a legitimate and non-discriminatory reason, then especially in that case, please do not use the exact same pretext that a criminal may use to fire someone illegally without detection.

In short: please do not let someone who would commit such a crime use you as cover for their misdeeds.

Especially because you are not a self-righteous, pathologically ignorant, insecure, and sanctimonious bigot; and especially because you revile the criminal acts of those who commit such crimes; especially because you truly are a good person, then please, please do not ever allow yourself to be mistaken for a common criminal by using the exact same pretext that they use.

Please, please let that be just their thing, so that it will eventually become just a polite way for them to confess that they are firing someone illegally, and eventually used in a court of law as such.

I thank you in advance for your consideration of the above.

Sincerely,

Daniel L. Scholten, a.k.a. “The Walrus”

You Just Got Me Fired For Being Autistic Again! — Another Open Letter to a Man Who Raped Me

[Trigger Warning: I don’t do trigger warnings (yet).]

Hi Fritz,

Well, congratulations, your evil plot to destroy me for being autistic is working. Remember that dream job I found miraculously last October?[1] The one that made my family and me feel like we had dodged your bullets? The one that was absolutely perfect for me — perfect both for my autistic limitations and my technical skills; perfect because the company is in fact one of the more autism-friendly companies out there, so much so that it even has a program that creates jobs for autistic people?

Well, they just fired me for being autistic, and it’s mostly your fault. You see, Fritz, because you lied [your fault] to the EEOC investigators about why MetLife really fired me, and because the investigators subsequently just believed [their fault] your lies and dropped my charge instead of doing a real investigation [because their boss is your former Seyfarth Shaw colleague Victoria A. Lipnic, Donald Trump’s acting Chair of the EEOC], and because of your own dangerous ignorance and confusion [your fault] regarding autism and no doubt all psychiatric disabilities, I have found it utterly impossible to move past the gang rape you orchestrated and inflicted upon me [and indirectly my family — my children! — since their well-being depends heavily on my own, which you and your fellow rapists stole from us].

Obviously, the people who just fired me are also partly to blame, but it’s mostly because I am still obsessing autistically about that goddamn gang rape. Yes, yes, the “gang rape” that was “only” a “gang rape” in some purely figurative or metaphorical sense; the “so-called” gang rape you all managed to carry out with extreme politeness, with no physical contact whatsoever, and in fact almost entirely in writing! But again, from my perspective, this distinction between gang rape in a “merely figurative” sense, and actual gang rape in the old-school prison-shower sense has been far less useful for me than it has been for you and your fellow gang rapists at MetLife and the EEOC.

Figurative or not, it was a total mind-fuck of an ordeal, and it’s still fucking with my mind and the minds of pretty much everybody who cares about me.

To summarize briefly: I began working at my dream job in late October (2017) and everything started off wonderfully. It was like my family and I had won the lottery. I actually started to lose interest in you, MetLife, and what you had all done to us. I even considered withdrawing my EEOC charge against MetLife, but I was stopped by the idea that doing so would leave you all free to do again to others what you did to us. But by the middle of November, six months had passed since I filed the charge, so I reached out to the EEOC investigators to see if any progress had been made and they sent me that libelous tall tale you wrote for them instead of a legitimate EEOC position statement. When they then turned around and believed your lies, dropping the case and issuing me one of their so-called “Right to Sue” letters, a.k.a. the “Right to risk total bankruptcy by trying to sue a billion-dollar, global multi-national insurance company, that’s when I began to lose my marbles.

But at first not so bad that I wasn’t able to work. At first I was able to compartmentalize well enough to get my work done, but as the weeks passed my job performance began to suffer, and then back in March I could see that I was headed toward complete meltdown again, so I reached out to my doctor to see if she could help me get my head under control with meds. The good news is that she actually succeeded in doing just that, but it took several weeks, and in the meantime I continued to botch things on the job. So then about a month ago I started calling in sick. At first one day, then the next, and the next, until more than two full weeks had passed. Then finally when I was able to get back to work, they fired me under that hackneyed pretext companies always use when they want to fire someone illegally without getting caught, “…we’ve decided to go in a different direction with this role.”[2]

Holy shit, man, is there anybody that is still actually fooled by this nonsense? I seriously doubt it. Somehow we have accidentally gone and built a civilization where it is paradoxically legal to fire people illegally. All you have to do to enter that particular Twilight Zone is utter the magic words “the company has decided to go in a different direction with the role”. Somehow a sentence like that is all that is required to undo 50 some-odd years of Civil Rights legislation. Let’s soap-box that:

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Corporate America’s naked emperor.

HEY, CORPORATE AMERICA, YOU’RE NOT FOOLING ANYONE ANYMORE WITH THIS “GOING IN A DIFFERENT DIRECTION” BULLSHIT! YOUR EMPEROR IS NAKED!

Fritz, you need to tell your clients to stop using this pretext — especially if they’re not actually using it as an excuse to fire someone illegally. Sure, I get it, sometimes a company really does have to make changes and lay people off. But especially in that kind of situation they should never, ever blame the layoff on those changes. Why? Because when they do that, they provide cover for the bad guys — the companies that do fire people illegally and by using the same pretext.

Anyway, I figured you might like to know you have competition now — some new company vying for my attention. I won’t forget about you, though. No, you and I still have work to do together, but my thought furnace is only so big. To the extent that it is cooking one problem, it’s just not available to cook another.

And for now, my thought furnace is cooking this new problem.

Sincerely,

Daniel L. Scholten, a.k.a. “The Walrus”


[1] I don’t believe I have written yet about this on this blog. I did, however, tell Fritz about it in private emails I’ve sent to him. Also, so as not to balloon the text of this letter unnecessarily, I don’t explain that the position was actually a 1 year contract with the company in question, and that I had been recruited for the position by a well-known independent consulting firm. So I was not actually a full-time employee, but was in fact a consultant working for the consulting firm. These details, however, are mostly irrelevant to the events being discussed in the letter. There is another simplification that I make regarding the events in question, explained in footnote [2].

[2] That’s actually the short version of what happened. The long version is that while I was out on leave, I began to feel self-conscious about all the time I was taking, so I promised my employer that if I didn’t pull it together soon, I would resign and allow them to find a replacement. I did that to reassure them, thinking that my new medications would take-effect and I wouldn’t have to resign. But 5 days later, when they still hadn’t really kicked in yet, I decided to make good on my promise and resign. But then a few days after that they did start to work, so I quickly told by employer and asked if I could come back to work, which is when I was given the “going in a different direction” pretext. So, yes, I didn’t actually get fired, per se, but I resigned on good terms with them (or so I thought), they hadn’t yet filled my position, I was ready, willing, and able to work, I asked to come back, and suddenly out of the blue they’re “going in a different direction” with the job.

I call bullshit. The fact that I resigned is irrelevant. I resigned on good terms, am ready to return to work, and now the company won’t take me back. Why? Because they’re “going in a different direction with the role”? Is there anyone who actually buys that nonsense?

I know I don’t.

Towards a Manifesto for a Minimally Intolerant Civilization: Part 2

For context, please see Towards a Manifesto for a Minimally Intolerant Civilization: Part 1.

Note: the notion of diversity (i.e. weirdness in layperson language) is fundamentally subjective. One person’s weirdness is just what another person considers normal. Because of this, one must be careful with phrases like “my diversity” or “your diversity”. When I say “my diversity”, I could be referring either to what I judge to be weird about myself, but I might also be referring to what you judge to be weird about me. Similar remarks apply to phrases like “your diversity” or “her diversity”, etc. Because both interpretations are valid, I will take care in what follows to qualify which interpretation I’m using, unless either it doesn’t matter or is perhaps clear from the context.

Some Basic Principles Of Diversity Acceptance

For now at least, and until I encounter the sort of evidence that might change my mind, I hold at least these principles to be reasonable:

  1. Genuine diversity acceptance can only begin with genuine self acceptance of one’s own diversity. The better I can genuinely accept what I judge to be weird about myself, the better I can genuinely accept what I judge to be weird about you. I assume that you could affirm likewise, but please let me know if you think I’m wrong to assume that.
  2. Therefore, if I would like you to accept my diversity (what you judge to be weird about me), I should encourage you to accept your own (what you judge to be weird about yourself).
  3. Some forms of intolerance are necessary and good (e.g. intolerance of murder, rape, theft, pedophilia, etc.)
  4. The very best form of intolerance would be that which minimizes the need for any sort of intolerance overall.
  5. Intolerance is always on trial, and should never be given the benefit of the doubt. Intolerance is always presumed wrong unless proven right.
  6. One should always remain vigilant to the possibility that what was once a good form of intolerance has somehow turned bad.

I would love to know what you think about the above, especially if any of it rings false to you in some way.

Note: I’m not sure yet if there will be a part 3, but in the event I will post a link to it here.


Image Credit: Pixabay

Towards a Manifesto for a Minimally Intolerant Civilization: Part 1

I Hereby Protest!

What do I protest? Well, most things I think.

Do I really need to clarify that I’m not protesting the alleged “oppression” of White Men?If I do, then I protest the fact that I actually need to clarify that. Of course I’m not protesting that!!! And if there is anything else that you’re seriously worried that I might actually be protesting even though no sane person would protest it (e.g. the alleged oppression of pedophiles? Cannibals?), then let’s just assume that I’m not protesting that either, but that I am protesting the fact that I might actually have to clarify that.

But aside from the stuff that no sane person would protest anyway, I am definitely protesting everything that all sane people do or should protest. A few examples to make the general point:

I protest the persistent, cross-cultural delusion that women and children are somehow not quite real human beings; I protest the stark, raving folly that skin color or texture has moral significance; I protest the criminal notion that in many parts of the world homosexuality is still criminalized, and the shameful fact that most everywhere else it is still viewed as somehow shameful; I protest the embarrassing belief that ignorance is embarrassing; that a lack of education is something to feel embarrassed about; that a score on an IQ test can be viewed as embarrassingly low; and I protest the profoundly stupid belief that some questions actually are stupid, despite all of the fragile but otherwise true and admirable claims to the contrary.

I could go on, but I hope that gives you an idea of the breadth and depth of my protest. In short, I protest the generally dehumanizing stance taken toward pretty much every human being who is considered somehow “not normal” in some way that always works out to be irrational and arbitrary — ranging from the color of one’s teeth to the decision to wear a condom. I protest all of that nonsense — we might call it the sanctification of the norm,  or the demonization of the weird, or simply the excessive rejection of human diversity.

Whatever you want to call it, I hereby protest it.

To summarize:

I hereby protest the excessive rejection of human diversity.

[When part 2 is published, I’ll post a link to it here.]


Image Credit: Pixabay

Autism: Best Excuse Ever

I love being autistic! It’s really the perfect excuse for everything!

–Whew! Sorry about all the farts. It’s this new anxiety medication I’m taking because I’m autistic.

–Whoops! Didn’t mean to grab your pussy like that. I guess autism made me misunderstand President Trump when I listened to that recording of him saying ‘grab’em by the pussy!’

–Your honor, the defendant is autistic, and thus cannot be held accountable for the collapse of civilization that ensued when every autistic person on the planet believed his bullshit about autism being the best excuse ever.

Now, we autistic people are just terrible at figuring out what everybody else is thinking, but I’m going to go way, way, way out on a limb here and randomly guess that you are just furious at me for calling bullshit on the idea that autistic people really have two kinds of problems: those that are “really” caused by autism, and those that are caused by a lack of that special kind of abuse that you seem so good at providing.

Well, I call bullshit! Come on, folks. Who do you think your kidding with that? Clearly you’re just envious, right? Or — whoops! — did  the autistic guy misread that?

Oh, come on, just admit it! Really, who wouldn’t want the perfect excuse for absolutely every possible situation in which a good excuse is sorely needed? Certainly not just those of us who constantly need one to survive, right? I mean, doesn’t everyone get to use the ramps and automatic doors that have been installed for folks in wheelchairs? Why should only autistic people be liberated from the burdens of personal responsibility?

Look, face it, you’re just envious because I get to do whatever I feel like doing and if anybody complains — BOOM! — out comes the “A” card, my personal licence-to-weird. Yup, you are positively ready to puke because I get to indulge all of my whims and desires, like getting fired from yet another job; or forgetting to give my daughter her seizure medication because I’m fucked up in the head because I got fired from yet another job; or botching up the new job I finally found because, yup, I’m still fucked up in the head because I got fired from yet another job!

Ahhhhh, this is living. Yes, autism — best excuse ever.

 

 

Six Good Reasons to Blame Autism for All Your Problems

1. You are actually autistic.

This is pretty much the foundation for what follows. If you aren’t actually autistic, then please find some other excuse for all your problems. Tip: a lot of neurotypical folks seem to enjoy blaming shit on an autistic person. I’m not sure how they rationalize this, because many can see and will even admit that autism causes problems for an autistic person, but somehow they seem to think that it couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the particular problem they’re trying to blame on the autistic person they’ve chosen to scapegoat at that moment.

2. You need a polite way to tell someone to fuck off.

People hate it when you blame all your problems on autism and if you do it consistently in their presence they will eventually go away and leave you alone. I’m not sure what the real reason for this is, but if you ask they’ll say something like, “But what if you murder someone?” Now, if ever you find yourself trapped in this kind of conversational cul-de-sac, do NOT say anything snarky like “there’s only one person I’ve ever wanted to murder, but then I realized that I prefer to just watch you suffer.” Rather, calmly explain that you have never murdered anyone before, indeed have no wish to harm anyone at all, and are in fact philosophically opposed to violence. That probably won’t cure them of their irrational fears, but it will at least give your interlocutor the impression that you’ve taken the question seriously.

3. You botch things up royally in some way and have no idea what to do about it.

This one is tricky. In a situation like this, and if you’re anything like I am, your natural inclination may be to apologize profusely and to feel like a total loser. DON’T DO IT!!! Or at least, do not admit to doing this. Hide those guilty thoughts and feelings deep, deep down somewhere in the impenetrable fortress of your most private self. Look, if you pay close attention to neurotypicals (not too close or you’ll spook them and they’ll slap a restraining order on you), what you will see is that very, very few of them know how to take responsibility for themselves. Oh, yeah, sure, they talk a good talk, and will often appear to take responsibility for a mistake, provided it’s one of those small-potato mistakes that anybody might make. But as soon as they screw up big time — commit some really bizarre super-gaffe (a daily occurrence for some of us) — then suddenly they turn into scapegoat shepherds, and if you’re anywhere in the vicinity, you’ll be branded into their personal herd. This is why it is imperative in such situations that you fully avail yourself of that cornerstone of the U.S. Legal System: INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY!!!! And the simplest and most effective way to accomplish this (again, provided that you’re actually autistic) is just to blurt out “AUTISM MADE ME DO IT!!!” or something like that. By doing this you will shove the full burden of proof onto the shoulders of any witnesses.

4. You want to promote thought and discussion about autism.

When you start to blame all of your problems on autism, people are going to feel uncomfortable about it and want to talk about it. They probably won’t want to talk to you about it, but at least they will talk to each other. No doubt this talk will lead to additional conversation about autism in general, and perhaps other good stuff too like responsibility, ethics, equality, justice, and so forth. By the way, this is not why I’ve decided to blame all of my problems on autism, but it’s still a pretty good reason so I figured I’d list it. For my part, I’m just doing it because I’m sick and tired of being held accountable for shit I can’t control. I do realize that people will continue to blame me for whatever they want no matter what I do, but at least I won’t be helping them.

5. You’re sick and tired of being held accountable for shit you can’t control.

Yup.

6. You have problems.

Look, regardless of your particular problems, the fact is that if you are autistic, then at the very least autism exerts some sort of influence on all of those problems. Anybody who thinks that you somehow have two distinct types of problems — autism problems, say, and then “normal” problems — is just talking nonsense. Of course the actual effect of autism on any given problem will be more or less with respect to any other, but one way or another, you cannot escape autism’s influence on any of your problems, whatever it may be.

Now, one way in which autism can influence a given problem is through your own subjective judgments regarding just how much autism actually influences that problem. More specifically, any time you think something like “autism is 40% responsible for causing problem X”, you are most likely wrong about the 40%. Maybe you’re close — maybe the real number is 38% or 44%, but you’re almost certainly off one way or another. But really it’s quite likely you are way off the mark in these kinds of assessments. One’s feelings of confidence and especially certitude are notoriously unreliable in these kinds of judgments. Unless you have access to some objective way to measure the influence, you’re really just guessing, so why not guess that autism is 100% responsible for all of it? To the extent that a problem is trivial, the consequences of blaming it all on autism will also be trivial. And to the extent that a problem is serious — i.e., “not normal” or not the sort of problem that a normal person would have — then it’s quite likely autism truly is the root cause of the problem.

 

So, what do you think? Can you think of other good reasons to blame autism for all of your problems? Or maybe you can think of reasons not to do this. Either way, please share your thoughts in a comment below, unless of course you are seriously worried that I might one day use autism as an excuse to murder someone. If that’s the case, please know that I have never murdered anyone before, indeed have no wish to harm anyone at all, and am in fact philosophically opposed to violence.