Opening up on WFH: from running mascara to dripping paint

The white paint lines on the road crept passed ever so slowly, like my life tricking away.

Opening up on WFH: from running mascara to dripping paint

Opening up on WFH: from running mascara to dripping paint


Words by Gratia Joubert
Reading time 3 min

The white paint lines on the road crept passed ever so slowly, like my life tricking away.

I tapped the steering wheel with my nails, trying to release the pent up stress and irritation while the radio mindlessly droned on. Then the tears came, right on time, same as usual.

Gratia Blog

I hated my job. I hated the two-hour commute, the constant noise and all the distractions pulling my senses in every direction and causing me to eventually erupt with emotion into a meltdown. So, crying in the car on the way home became my new normal. Because jobs are difficult to find, and I was desperate to keep this one even though I detested it with every fiber of my being.

Being diagnosed

Two years ago, I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome or High Functioning Autism. 50% of women are either misdiagnosed with depression, like I was, or go completely undiagnosed and it’s suspected that 1 in every 250 people fit the Asperger profile.

I learned that it’s not exactly the type of thing you want to plaster all over your CV, and for the most part I tried to hide my social weirdness as much as possible from colleagues and fake the reactions I think people expect from me, trying to perform the roles that would make things easier for those around me, even if it was at the cost of myself. Acting and trying to decode what others wanted and thought proved to be exhausting.

Office life wasn’t for me

I was spending hours in traffic, then coming home and working on documents given to me by colleagues at the last minute who swore that they needed it the next day, dreading the socialization and mindless office chit chat and putting myself and my sanity on the back seat, till the point where I burnt out and gave up. I couldn’t act anymore and keep up the charade of smiling when I walked into the office and crying when I got out.

Working from home as a solution

My brother had been working for 5CA for a couple of months at the time, but I considered him to be one of the lucky ones because a job to work from home sounded outlandishly perfect. And if it’s too good to be true. it usually is, right? So when a spot opened up, I sent in my details but believed that there was no actual way that I could possibly get picked out of the millions of people around the globe who want to work from home.

I still remember the feeling I had when I got the news with my final interview that I was chosen for the position of Gaming Support Agent. I sat there stunned. My whole life changed from that day. I work with colleagues who share my interests. Struggling to make eye contact isn’t an issue with video calls. I’m able to control my environment and optimize it for myself to lower my anxiety, with my cats curled up and purring on my lap to help keep me calm and grounded, and headphones to keep me focused. But most importantly, with my lowered stress levels my creativity has soared, allowing me to create cosplays and paintings for the first time in years, feeling fulfilled, at peace and content.

No more running mascara for me.

Gratia Joubert


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