Opening up on WFH: from running mascara to dripping paint

by Gratia Joubert | June 4, 2020


The whitepaintlines on theroadcreptpassed ever soslowly, like my life trickingaway.

I tappedthe steering wheelwithmynails, tryingto release the pent up stress andirritationwhilethe radio mindlesslydroned on. Thenthetearscame, 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

Twoyearsago, I was diagnosedwithAsperger’sSyndrome or High FunctioningAutism. 50% of women are either misdiagnosed with depression, like I was, or go completely undiagnosed andit’ssuspectedthat 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-Mari Joubert

Gaming Support Agent, Gratia, works from home in Pretoria, South Africa. She completed her degree in Communication Design at the age of 19 and has a passion for all things creative, especially storytelling through gaming. On her off days, she enjoys curling up with a good fantasy action book and playing an RPG.