How Autism Greatly Limits My Ability To Work A Job
By the time this blog goes up, my hearing would have already happened. And I will already know whether or not I got it. I schedule my posts ahead of time.
Spoiler alert, I was approved. I think it would have been harder if I didn’t have my school notes and notes from the doc. Socials workers did evaluations and reported the results. Sometimes teachers reported incidents etc. This was before anyone knew.
Unemployed autistic adults are not lazy. Ablest employers are what keeps us from gaining a job or keeping one. Work environments that aren’t autism-friendly keep us out of jobs. You don’t get autism by itself. Some of us have epilepsy, some have autoimmune disorders. News flash, you can have more than one disorder
Not all disabilities are visible. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean the person is not affected. If they had nothing wrong with them. No physical illnesses, no mental illnesses and they’re getting benefits, I can see it. Autism is a SPECTRUM for a reason. Everyone is different. I am better at explaining myself here where I can properly organize my thoughts. I will have a blog on how adults with autism struggle with employment.
Be patient. As I said, my posts are planned ahead of time. I like to plan my blog posts for the month. Our issues are different from a guy in a wheelchair. Therefore anyone with an invisible struggle will be seen as ‘lazy’ or ‘collecting handouts.’
Cannot Follow Verbal Instructions
When someone with autism tells you they have trouble processing information, they mean your explanation is hard for them to understand and you may have to explain it differently. I need to see the action physically to understand the job.
If the boss does not physically show me how the job needs to be done I will not understand it. Depending on the job. When people give me feedback on YouTube, it’s useless if they don’t provide a guild I can refer to regarding what they are talking about. An example, if they tell me my thumbnails need work but don’t provide tips on how I can make them better. When someone explains something to me with no visuals, it’s like their speaking another language. An example I have to back this is I went to the eye doctor, this was a different place. I was not familiar with their testing system. The doctor was just telling me what line he wanted me to read and not say ‘read the line that starts with XWSA.’ Or ‘the second row from the bottom.’ When you just leave one-liner instructions with no extra details, I won’t get it. The doctor did not provide more instructions as to what line he wanted me to read. Imagine a job if someone starts to get annoyed by repeating themselves. So I cannot do jobs where they teach you your job verbally or with written instructions. I need visuals to get a better feel of how the job needs to be done.
This disqualifies me from jobs already because most employers will get annoyed having to constantly repeat themselves. Sometimes they don’t have time to do so.
I think disclosing my autism will be a bad idea due to the misinformation and stigma. Some employers will get the wrong idea.
I Need Direct Instructions
I need direct instructions when giving me a task. There were times that my mom did not give me direct instructions and got mad that I didn’t do the task(s) how she wanted it.
Not all employers are willing to make it work for us. One time my mom told me to bring her some chicken but didn’t tell me what else she wanted if there was not a lot of chicken left and got mad that I only brought her one piece of chicken. Most people with autism cannot read between the lines, therefore they need these extra details when giving a task. Another thing is when we are going out, my mom just says get up early. not giving me time like ‘at 8’ or ‘at 9.’ And she’ll go off on me for not being ready in time. That disqualifies me from jobs where employers think it’s ‘common sense’ to know the task or jobs that require efficiency. Sensory Triggers.
Most autistic people have sensory triggers, these can vary from light, smell, hot, cold, crowds, noises. Mine are heat, cold, fluorescent lights, noises, crowds. Retail jobs will have these triggers.
Therefore it will be hard for me to function on a job with 10 different things are happening at once around me or if I am in or near a sensory trigger. When I am around so many people I feel trapped. Say, I want to go to Six Flags, I’d have to go through the work week because the park isn’t as busy. I went to Great America as part of a class trip when I was in Jr. High, when we normally would wait 2 hours depending on the ride, we waited for a half-hour due to the park not being busy. If I go on a weekend or near a holiday it will be too crowded. The moral of the story is I have control over my schedule. On a job, I won’t have control. Yes, you can pick your schedule when you apply, it will not be permanent if you get hired. Some companies have a system that sets your schedule. So I cannot do retail or anything with a lot of people coming in and out.
If I cannot be around a lot of people, that disqualifies me from retail and fast food. practically any job with swarms of people.
Due to my mental illness, I have an extremely poor memory. I also cannot absorb the tasks I am given especially when given 5 tasks at once otherwise I’ll forget. It happens all the time when my mom tells me to do something and gives me 5 other things to do before I can even get to the first thing. I end up forgetting and it doesn’t get done. I also forget really quick. Othertimes I have blanks and will have no memory of what occurred. One time I wanted to try contacts and I could not get them in my eye. The place charged my mom a fitting fee and she said she told me but I literally have no memory of it. Nothing.
Won’t Be Able To Pass The Interview
Most people with autism can’t pass the interview. Hence the reason the unemployment for autistic adults is so high. It can be for several reasons. I cannot make eye contact for very long. I can only look you in the eye for seconds and look around you, look at your shirt, etc. The interviewer can read not making eye contact the wrong way. They could see it as disrespectful.
The ‘tell me about yourself” question will surely get me. When I went through a program that helped people with disabilities get jobs, the coach asked this question. I did not answer it in a way that it relates to the job I am trying to get. When the coach asked some follow-up questions, I just could not answer. I just did not know how to answer. I take things literally, therefore, I will take the questions too literally. I will miss non-verbal cues. You have to think not everyone is the same. It may be off-putting mentioning my autism right off the bat at an interview. Although the program I went through was useless, they advised against mentioning my autism at an interview.
Therefore, I have no way of getting to them that I need the questions asked in a different way. If I mention my autism they can not offer me a job and just say I didn’t qualify as an excuse. The program also said this. They may be right, they may have had clients who were denied jobs for mentioning their disorder. I think it would only be appropriate to mention accommodations for an interview for instance if you are not a native English speaker and request a translator. Or if you are mute and need someone who knows sign language.
It shows how ableist employers are. I think interviews are pointless and do zero to show how you can prove you are qualified for the job. Say you’re hiring a chef. Having them bring in something they can cook would better show you if they’re fit for the job than a stupid interview.
Mutism is apart of social anxiety where the person cannot speak at a specific time. I get bouts of mutism and my mom makes bold assumptions that I am lying or hiding something. When I went through that program, where the coach asks people what jobs they applied for, I had a misunderstanding about a position I applied for and the coach was asking questions and the mutism hit me. To an outsider, they may think I am lying or hiding something and won’t tell them. If you ask someone a question and you feel they are hesitant to answer, you would think they are hiding something, don’t ya think? One time, my friends’ mom offered to buy me a sub sandwich. I missed when she told me to get a 6″ and got a foot long instead, making the bill higher. I had forgotten this shows my memory was poor from the get-go. When she asked me about it, the mutism struck me and I just could not answer. Imagine on a job if the boss addresses something to me and I don’t speak. I surveyed some autistic adults and one person mentioned they were fired for their mutism bouts. This rules out jobs where I have to talk and have good communication skills.
I am disqualified for any job where the employer may possibly question me. Which is I don’t know, all of them.
Anxiety, Depression, etc
Most people with autism don’t just have autism by themselves. They may get depression, anxiety, OCD, etc. My anxiety can be a problem on a job. Being around a lot of people makes my anxiety skyrocket and my anxiety will not stop until I am out of the situation that’s causing my anxiety. Getting yelled at, unexpected changes cause me anxiety as well. I feel I should not put myself in situations that will not help my anxiety. I am easily startled and my mom said her grandma says an easily startled person means they are guilty of something. You have to think about how my behavior can be seen by someone else. Most autistic adults are scared of disclosing their autism in fear of being mistreated or fired. No one should be discriminated against for a disability they probably wish they never had. Anxiety, autism has been a thing since forever but stigmas and misinformation are the reasons why people go untreated.
When people talk about their job, why they were fired etc. My mom doesn’t believe it because ‘they didn’t tell the whole story.’ Someone told me all states in the US except like 5 have ‘at will’ laws which allows them to harass you, or fire you for no reason. They can fire you and make up a reason why in these at-will states. Some companies are notorious for firing their employees for no reason. This would be bad for someone who can’t afford to get fired.
My depression makes me tired most of the time so this disqualifies me from jobs with physical movement. (eg long-standing periods, walking lifting.) I’d need frequent breaks. My anxiety gives my physical symptoms like diarrhea, stomach aches, headaches, chest tightening, etc. I’d say it’s’ mostly my anxiety and the physical traits I get with it. Like diarrhea. Employers act like it’s a federal crime to go pee when they complain about your bathroom trips. Imagine constantly going to the washroom to do #2.
I Need A Time Frame
I need a time frame and reminders when giving me tasks. If you need me to help you with something, you need to give me a direct date and time and I need to know in advance. For example, ‘ I need you to help me mow the lawn Tuesday at 10:00am.’ I also need reminders because my short term memory is horrible. If you need me to help you mow the lawn on Tuesday, I need you to remind me on Monday. People with autism/ADHD have trouble filtering their thoughts. I am one of them. Therefore it causes me to forget very easily and quickly. My mom asked me to help her hang something, she did not provide me with a set date and time and when it came out of nowhere, she got mad when I was not ready. I tried to reason with her that I need a time frame and she just said I am making excuses. Imagine if on a job I get tasked with something important and I forget because my brain cannot filter everything through like a neurotypical can. A neurotypical is someone who doesn’t have autism. Nts do not have the issues we have, therefore our issues may not be brought up and jobs won’t have a steady setting for us. This would be a problem to forget something important. Depending on how important it was. We are not like NTs which makes the workplace difficult.
Cannot Handle Being Yelled At, Pressure, etc
I used to be on the flag girls team for the marching band. There was one move I could not get down. The director lost his patience and screamed at me. I got deeply depressed and starved myself. I got sick and had to go to the ER. From not eating, I was backed up like a storm drain. There was literally shit backed into my stomach from not eating=not doing my business. I was lucky they did not see it as self-harm and put me in a mental ward. I am lucky because it could have been worse. Being yelled at causes me to self-harm or want to. It’s not healthy to put someone in a possible triggering situation. When you watch a TV show and they cover a serious topic ( like rape for instance) they warn you so if you feel you will be triggered, you watch something else, right? If there is a possibility a customer can yell at me or the boss, I should stay away. I should not work in retail if there is a possibility of a customer yelling at me. Argo, there is a strong possibility the employer will yell or a customer.This disqualifies me for any job dealing with the public.
I Don’t Like Physical Contact
I do not like unsolicited physical contact, this is another common trait people with autism have. Of course, working in a public place will be very discomforting. When my mom used to drag me to church. You know when everyone takes hands when praying. I tried so hard to resist. Imagine on a job I resist a handshake or resist one going into an interview. These points are going to count against me for sure. Another example I have is, my grandma ran into one of her church choir friends at the store. My grandma tells her friends about me which I expect. The friend walked up to me and hugged me and I was VERY uncomfortable. I feel like I may offend if I resist. I feel like I have to lie ( eg I’m fighting a cold) or say I have a disorder where I will hyperventilate if someone hugs me. I was watching Full House and this guy had this disorder. I feel like I have to lie and say I have that to resist a hug. Imagine if the job I have calls for me to greet people with a handshake and I resist. What if they complain to the manager?Disqualified from a job that calls for physical contact.
Will Be Unable To Handle The Stress, Demands Of A Job
I would not be able to handle all of the stress and demand of a job. I can just feel it in my chest when I am getting stressed and need to walk away. When I get too stressed I either gain weight or my hair falls out. I got stressed having to see my sorry ass doctor only for him to invalidate me and think my problems don’t matter and feel worse than how I did when I came to the office. As a result, my hair fell out fast. NO amount of care could save it. I ended up having to cut it (again). I lost cost on how many times I ended up having to cut my hair due to it falling out from stress. Stress will mess with your nerves that control your hair growth. I think I had a few stress headaches because I felt the back of my head hurt. I cannot do jobs that are stressful. I forgot I am not a teen anymore. My body has a very low tolerance for stress.Disqualified from high-stress jobs.
I hurt my shoulder when I was 14, I got arthritis in it as a result. I get random flare-ups and they are very painful. I have little to no mobility in my right arm. I can’t lift my arm past my head and it feels like cement is in my shoulder. It will be hard performing a job 100% with limited mobility in my arm. It will be impossible to focus on anything because of the pain. Over the counter pain meds are not strong enough and the doctor may not give me meds in fear I will become addicted. In fact, when I get my flare-ups, it feels like it did when I hurt it. Not when the injury was fresh, but after a while. I can’t stalk shelves because the repetitive movement will speed up the flare-ups or give me Carpal Tunnel. ( Eg when I have to reach high and when I get my flares I can barely lift my arm past my head). My flare-ups last 2-3 days. I would not be able to call off work this often. Lifting something heavy also causes my flares, extreme cold, etc. Taking pain meds and putting heat in my shoulder helps cut my flares down to 3 days. If I get a sudden sharp pain in my shoulder on a job, I can’t take a heating pad and lay down in the break lounge. Keeping my shoulder moving but reducing repetitive actions prevents my flare-ups. Not exposing my shoulder to prolonged cold helps. Things I may not be able to avoid at a job.
I also have Vertigo, the way to explain it is it makes you dizzy for no reason. Of course, performing a job will be difficult with the room spinning. Sometimes I get the dizzy spells when I wake up. Sometimes I get headaches. All the loudness of a job will just make my headaches worse. I got all this from a genetic disorder that I can’t spell. This is to show that most people with autism won’t just have autism by themselves.
I feel that working from home is best for me. Clearly, I cannot deal with the public. And I am extremely limited on what jobs I can do. I rather do what will help my mental health, not make it worse. Writing makes me better. I just wish I can find more writing jobs. I feel in control of having my own schedule. Most aspies prefer this as well. They want their own pace, their own flow This isn’t so they get what they want, this is because the function people with they’re own thing.
I tried explaining to someone that I couldn’t work and they judged and shamed me. If only she knew all of this. Never judge someone when you don’t know. There is more do it than what I tell you. I Am Unable To Do Something The Way The Person Wants It Done I just cannot do something the way someone else wants it. I have this issue all the time with my grandma. She is a neat freak. She is worse than Danny Tanner from ‘Full House.’ If it’s not perfect the way she wants it, she goes off. She complains. I am never clean enough for her. She can hire a housekeeper to clean up and it wouldn’t be good enough. If I can’t do things the way my grandma wants it then I wouldn’t be able to do the job the way the employer wants it. I cannot deal with her hovering over me watching my every move. I wouldn’t be able to handle an employer that is like this. Doing something in a way I cannot perform it feels like trying on a shoe 2 sizes too small. The Solution I don’t need toxic environments that will make my mental health state worse. I’ve already relapsed since that sorry excuse for a doctor. I don’t want it to get worse where I had suicidal intentions. I had trouble with my mom and grandma seeing eye to eye. I know talking about what I can’t do can be seen as negative to someone who is not on the same page as me. This way I can find a solution to the problem. I covered that I cannot be in crowds, my solution is work from home where I am not around anyone.
I feel alone in this world. My grandma can’t understand my disorder and just says it’s ‘making excuses.’ How can I be positive in a world that doesn’t understand me and won’t understand me? I did this to help others understand how some situations are like a race against time for us, all because we can’t hold down a job due to ableism. I make video versions and written versions to add information I may have forgotten to add or didn’t have time. These are just aspects of how employees will be hard. I have different blog posts covering the disability portion. This asshat judges me for getting benefits. This is why I talk about autism, mental illness, and other things. People who don’t know shit about you open their mouths on stuff they know zip about. It’s sad that people think the only disabilities are if you’re in a wheelchair or need a walker.
You want things better for autistic people yet you belittle them when you know nothing about the person? You, sir, are why I have trust issues. You, sir, are why I am like Survivor. Trust no one. I’d vote him off the island and play an idol block in case he has an immunity idol. If the doctor didn’t think I need it, he would not have supported it. I also have bipolar and other stuff that I didn’t mention yet and this asshole wanna act like he’s better than everyone. God forbid he gets sick or hurt and needs disability and people judge him. You wanna know what I believe in? KARMA. I am talking about if he gets a hidden illness and he’s judged as lazy for taking handouts. Then he’ll see how it feels. I wouldn’t wish death on my worst enemy. Do you really think I can hold down a job with chronic fatigue caused by mental illness and low iron?
Having to sit down for a break every 5 minutes. With bipolar where I can go from 1 to 10 in an instant? Where I may try to hurt myself if I am yelled at? If you can’t be nice, shut up.