I am currently unemployed due to my autism. I have trouble finding a job that fits my needs and has the settings that I require. I will perform better if the job has no sensory triggers. If the jobs have these sensory triggers, it will be hard to perform a job at 100%. I will be showcasing how it will be hard for me to find and keep a job due to my autism. In fact, many of us struggle to find and hold down a job. Around 80% of adults with autism are unemployed. Why is this? There are several reasons as to why most of us struggle with getting or keeping jobs.
I will be posting autism employment-related blog posts until my disability case this month.
Reason Why Finding/Holding A Job Will Be Hard
No Jobs With The Settings I Need To Function, I need a job that doesn’t have a lot of people, no noise, where I can work at my own pace, with direct clear instructions, low stress, low anxiety, no lifting due to my shoulder injury and arthritis flare-ups. The list can go on. I can’t function without these settings. Retail jobs such as fast-food and stores get busy at specific times of the day. It will be overwhelming being around all those people for 4+ hours working a job. It’s different when I shop as a customer because I can leave if it’s too busy and go somewhere else, I can’t walk off the job. Walmart, for example, is just too busy and fast-paced. Sometimes a person goes over the speaker if an employee is needed. I would not be able to focus on who is on the speaker and the hundreds of people around me. I cannot function in fast-paced settings. I cannot function in situations that are stressful or anxiety-raising. I cannot function in settings that are too cold or too hot. Sometimes I am still cold even if I wear a jacket. I cannot function in settings with bright lights.
My mom can say I can stock shelves but what she doesn’t understand is retail changes your schedule a lot and/or position. Inconsistency burns me out. I’d end up quitting or my performance declines and I get fired.
The Way I Process And Learn Things, I feel the way I process and learn things can make it hard on a job. I am a visual learner. Just explaining what I have to do will not be remotely enough for me to understand the job. When I was little, this caused my aunt to hit me. I need to see someone do it to understand what is expected of me. Sometimes I can’t read between the lines and need direct instructions. I take things literally. I take my mom’s instructions too literally or misunderstand because she left out details and I get criticized for ‘not using common sense.’ Customer service is out of the question. For instance, If I can’t see what the caller’s problem is, I can’t help them. Even if I see them in person, if they don’t show me what is wrong with whatever they are returning, I can’t help them. An example I have to back this is a lady who was interested in buying an abandoned house. She rang the bell to ask about her lock. She was just explaining her lock but not showing me eg showing me a picture on her phone, I had no clue what she was talking about. It’s like she was speaking another language. I had to get my grandma because I just could not understand her lock situation. I would have had a much better understanding if she walked me over to the house and showed me whatever the problem was. On a job, I may not always have the option to get someone else if I can’t help the customer. I cannot filter information if given a lot thus I will forget easily. If it’s not short and sweet. I lose interest fast.
My mom had to go all over the Mulberry Bush to explain why she grew tired of the foods my grandma cooks. I lost interest super quickly. Had she kept it short and just said she ate the foods a lot when she was a kid, that would have been better. Long story short. I cannot work in customer service because of this or any job where it’s extremely likely I will have to help someone, answer questions, etc. People will get irritated repeating themselves after so many times.
When I was little when the teacher said ‘tonight for homework’ when explaining the assignment, I took that literally thinking I had to do my homework at night. Remember autistic people take things literally. I played a computer game to pass the time. My mom asked me if I did my school work and I said no the teacher said to do it tonight. My mom went straight to spanking me rather than explaining what the teacher actually meant.
No Programs That Help People Like Me, In the summer of 2017, I went through a program that I thought would help me find a job. Meaning they show you how to find a job based on your skills. Or show you how to rule out jobs based on your weaknesses. I feel as though the job coach knew nothing about autism, therefore she could not help me. You have to think that the program probably has not gotten a lot of adults with autism or none. The lady did not understand I have trouble filtering a lot of information, the lady did not understand I need to go at my own pace, that I need time to think, time to adjust. Overall, the lady did not understand how my disorders affect my ability to find a job. That my issue with employment was different than her other clients. The lady was on my back non-stop for not applying for jobs or not sending out enough applications when she never gave me a specific number. I need direct details. She didn’t say something like ‘I expect you to apply for 5 jobs before each meeting.’ If she gave me a set number I would have told her I am very limited. I departed from the club because the coach was not respecting my space and not helping me. I needed space from applying and she was not respecting that. There aren’t many jobs I can apply for and she was not understanding. I just needed a break and to destress and she was not understanding that. Another lady they gave me was ignorant. She invalidated my autism because I don’t have the same traits as someone she knows with the disorder. She refused to listen when I told her what settings I needed on a job. I can’t work with a company that can’t help people with autism.
We have difficulty filtering information because. Think about a busy highway and you can’t catch an opening to cross. The highway is how our brains are and the person not catching an opening to cross the street is the information unable to get through. Therefore lots of information was missed when I met with the coach in private before starting the program.
Won’t Be Able To Get Passed The Interview, I will have big-time struggles with the interview. I will take the questions literally or not know how to answer them. When I went through that program, the lady did a mock interview. When she asked me the ‘tell me about yourself question’ I did not answer it in a way that relates to the job. When she asked some follow-up questions I just could not answer them. I have done literally nothing related to retail jobs. But my mom wanted me to work retail so damn badly. If it were a real interview that would have cost me the job. My anxiety will eat me alive. It’s crippling sometimes. Interviews/people asking me questions just raises my anxiety. My anxiety can be read differently by the interviewer. He/she could take it as not being interested in the job or that I’m hiding something.
I decided that working from home is better for me. I feel it may be the only job I can get with all the settings that I need.
I think even if I wasn’t so limited, at this point it would be hard to even get an interview. Employers won’t even pay attention to something I did back in 2011-2013. That’s too far back. If I had something from 2016, maybe I would have had a chance of getting an interview. I have no contact with the teachers I had for band when I helped out at a Jazz Band fest. NO contact with the lady I helped out over the summer in 2013. At this point, they won’t remember.
Ways I Can Work From Home
Freelance Writing Work- I’m pretty passionate about writing about something I feel that matters. If you know any autism/mental health websites looking for writers, feel free to let me know. I made a Portfolio/Freelance blogging site.
Art Commissions- I do 3D renders and looking for people to do commissions for. I just need an idea of what you want to be done. I use the XNA Posing program and blender. Make sure your request works with these methods. I made an art portfolio. I also do photography and can sell you some stock photos to use for your blogs, YouTube videos, etc. You can check my portfolio here.
Patreon- I created a Patreon account to help my YouTube channel so I can get better gear for my videos such as a computer for gaming or a camera for photography and vlogs. On my Patreon I made a video to give you an idea behind the account. I am only plugging this information in this article only. If you think you may want to come back I suggest you bookmark this or pin it to your Pinterest.
Writing eBooks- I will write eBooks. Each time I write an eBook it will be months before I publish another. I wrote my first eBook about autism and how autistic adults struggle with employment either getting a job or keeping it.
Selling My Art- I do photography and renders and I will be selling prints. Wanna decorate your room? Or maybe a friend’s birthday is coming up and you want to give them a gift? Or maybe you like hanging art in your room. Wouldn’t it be cool having some art on a mug or a phone case?
I feel at ease when I can work from home and not have to face the stress and pressure of a real job. I rather do something that will help my mental health. Working from home is the right choice and it will be better for my mental health and health overall. If my mom or grandma can’t accept it, then they’re the problem