In this blog, I will sum up why we struggle with employment, cover some things I forgot to add or missed. I also will share the results of my survey that I asked some autistic adults to take. I will sum up the top hurdles I feel most adults with autism have with getting a job. Remember, none of us are the same. It depends on the person.
The questionnaire that most applications have is definitely a struggle for some autistic adults. The questions can be worded to where the person doesn’t understand what the question is asking. If you don’t pass, they won’t consider you. Sometimes we have trouble makes decisions and most questionnaires are decision-based depending on the company. You will fail if you mark too many questions as ‘unsure.’ Also, for most fast-food places, you need references. We have trouble making or keeping friends, therefore we won’t have anyone to put down on the application. I applied to Culver’s last year because I had no references, they didn’t call me back. And fast-food places hire anyone. If Culver’s required references, then McDonald’s, Wendys etc most likely will require references. Therefore, we can’t get hired at places that do questionnaires or that require references. Example, my friend needed references to enlist in the Marines, he had some friends, teachers from school, and my grandparents. Maybe more even. Most of the friends I had from school left me due to my mental illness. They unfriended me on Facebook or blocked me. I did nothing wrong so I assume they left me due to my depression and anxiety. Moral of the story is he had people to put down, I don’t have that. Also, judgment is passed during the resume screening if the client has gaps in their employment or has had several jobs but only held them for a short time. The person could have been qualified to the tee for those jobs, but got fired due to complaints about their behaviors, for not doing the job ‘right,’ and so on.
Most ASD people can’t get past the interview. This can be caused by lack of interaction like eye contact. We struggle with that while a non-autistic doesn’t. Also, anxiety is a key factor, I can practice 100 times and my anxiety will bite me. In my blog post about why I quit being an aspiring musician, I told you how my anxiety for playing for people was so bad it cause me to do terribly at the solo and ensemble contest, even though I prepared ahead of time. This can happen to us at a job interview and we don’t get the job as a result. Someone said their granddaughter was more than qualified for the jobs she applied for but didn’t get it due to her anxiety and sensory issues. We will take the questions too literally, therefore not giving the appropriate answer. They may ask you why you quit your last job or why you were fired. The person will answer honestly. However, the answer may not be the correct one.
Can’t Hold Down The Job
Customer complaints are a major reason why we struggle to hold down a job. As I stated, we do not like physical contact from strangers. Customers can complain that they did not get greeted. Little does anyone know the employee is autistic and struggles with social interactions, is socially anxious and cannot communicate like the neurotypicals. The boss gets too many complaints and fires the employee. I am sure if you get fired from so many jobs it will only make it harder to find another. Another thing is, when you give us a task, you need to provide more context. ‘Take out the trash at 3.’ ‘Stack the chicken vertically.’ You also have to remind us because with so many thoughts running through, it’s very easy to forget. Most employers will fail to do this and will get mad that the employee did not do the job. Some of us are afraid to come out about our autism in fear of being treated badly or fired. It’s also hard for us to adapt to unexpected changes, you would think it would be hard for us to adapt to a constantly changing schedule. Also, the job can call you in on your off days if they are too understaffed, say the person planned to recharge and they get called in. I can imagine something so unexpected would give them anxiety.
I surveyed some people to get an understanding of what they struggle with on a job.
I asked if the person has ever had a job, these are the results
Survey says more has had a job than the ones who haven’t. This doesn’t mean the ones who have worked didn’t struggle. I added this question in later tho.
I got different results out of this survey. It’s clear to say that there are a series of things that make it hard for us to get or keep a job. Some of us go through bullying at school and just cannot go through it again on a job. I also think even if there is some autism awareness, you will be judged on someone else’s standards because your challenges are different or not talked about much.
At the moment, I am trying to get disability, I have trouble explaining how my autism keeps me from working. I can’t explain it verbally, I thought I try explaining it this way. I can refer to the results of my survey as a guild. If someone, where to say ‘how does autism affect your work ability?’ I can say, “well I made a blog post on this to better express myself, I explain how the structure of the job will make it hard to function, ex being around a lot of people in a busy environment.’ And so on. Also, some people like to say ‘get a job,’ when someone says they need money. Little does the person know that our struggles with getting or keeping a job are as hard as trying to tightrope walk without a net at the bottom. We simply cannot ‘get a job’ like you(neurotypical people) can. You don’t have the struggles that we have. You don’t have sensory limitations like us. You don’t struggle with socializing like us. You don’t struggle with the job interview like we do. You aren’t targets of bullying like us. You can work in a busy space, we can’t. We are not you. We are different. Our journey is harder than yours. The unemployment for us will not change until there are more educated people and more jobs for us without a college degree being needed.
I will start writing some eBooks to better express myself. I have one that’s already out to educate on how we struggle to find or keep a job.
My book ‘Autism and Unemployment: Our Journey is Harder’ is now out. Get your copy here. Feel free to let me know what you think about the book. Your helpful feedback will make my next book better!