It’s been a little while since I have paid attention to my professional website here. To be honest, I’ve had to do a little work on myself before I felt like venturing back to this space. Now I have ventured back in to this space and put a fresh coat of paint on it to go with the beginnings of the fresh coat in life. There is a bit of a story that goes along with it. (Of course there is, or I wouldn’t be writing about it right now.) My career up to now can be divided in to two parts.
The first is what I like to call “finding my place”. Where could I plug in. Where could I make some money. Where could I learn how to handle a job. Frankly, everyone has that stage of their career. It’s called working your way up the ladder.
Like so many people do heading up this ladder, they start to become ambitious. So there is a little butting of heads and elbowing around while you jockey for position in your chosen area. The problem is that you need to be able to know yourself when you’re doing that. You may not have all the skills at this point, but you know yourself well enough to be confident that you can get there.
Well, this is where things came crashing down for me. I left two straight jobs earlier than I would have wanted to. In the course of the second one, I also learned that I am autistic.
“What? No. You’re too ‘high functioning’ to be autistic. You just haven’t learned these social lessons about how to act around people.”
Sorry, but you just made my argument for me. Autism can be accompanied by other conditions that make it sometimes impossible to function in the regular world. Autism itself is a different wiring in the brain.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve had to take stock of my career, as well as my life, given this new information. I only now am starting to feel comfortable with myself again.
Takeaways from this?
- More companies than not are not friendly towards true diversity. Yes, there is ethnicity and gender, but neuro-diverse individuals are often well suited for varying jobs. They have different skills just like anyone else.
- Companies stigmatize those with non-physical difficulties and disabilities. Sometimes it is intentional to save headache, paperwork, or money. Sometimes it is not intentional. This effect needs to change. Disability unemployment is higher per capita than normal unemployment, but there are so many people that are ready, able, and willing to work
- I am autistic. It doesn’t change who I’ve been. The difference is I know myself better now. I can make better decisions about myself now. I can have more informed conversations with others about reasonable accommodations.
- Please do not discriminate against me, or any other autistic person. We are kind and we are loyal. We work well within systems. But if you make snap judgments and don’t give us a chance, you will miss out on us.