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QuinnPRK
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29 Mar 2016, 4:39 pm


It was the summer after sophomore year of college. I had moved into my first apartment, a small basement level spot only a couple blocks from the western blue line stop. I was splitting rent with a friend, but if I wanted to stay in the city for the summer, I needed a job. I had been checking Craigslist, walking into every establishment in the surrounding neighborhoods, but I kept coming up dry. One day, I came across a small bakery and coffee shop near the bustling hipster neck of the woods, Wicker Park. The place seemed friendly, close knit, ...



kraftiekortie
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29 Mar 2016, 5:05 pm

This confirms my impression: don't disclose!

Maybe after you've been on the job a couple of years...who knows.

But within the first six months: don't disclose!

Also: the article quoted a most sensical statistic: 58% of 20-somethings who identified with having autism had jobs. While this is not exactly a heartening statistic, 42% unemployment for Spectrumites in their 20's obviously is extremely high, it is more heartening than the often-quoted 80% unemployment rate for people with autism.

You mentioned that you got the figure off an NPR article. Where did the writer of the article get that figure? I believe it is important to disseminate this figure to contradict the 80% figure. This means that most young autistic people HAVE BEEN ABLE to get jobs.

Wouldn't you think that this would give autistic people hope?



Wave Tossed
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29 Mar 2016, 5:12 pm

I'm a retired senior citizen now. But I remember way back when. I had a bachelor's degree in Fine Arts. Autism never occurred to me because I thought that it was an emotional disturbance -- Bettelheim's "Empty Fortress" had come out a few years before I graduated. I swallowed that theory, line, hook and sinker. But I had a lot of psychotherapy and I thought that I was cured.

Graduating from college and looking for a job, I found out that a Fine Arts degree was worse than useless; people thought that I was a "hippie." It got to the point that I was telling interviewers that I had majored in sociology. I eventually got a job as a substitute teacher in Chicago's inner city schools. That was the worst job that I had ever had.

Fast forward a few decades, I got a 2nd degree in Mathematics. I also took computer programming courses. I knew a lot of people with Liberal Arts degrees who were driving taxis, waiting on tables (I've done these jobs myself). One of the people I knew had a PHD in English Literature, and he was delivering pizzas. These days, just having a college degree doesn't cut it, I found out. I had to have specific skills.

Also, in some quarters, explaining that you have a disability, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder scares many people away. I once got fired from a computer programming job because my boss at the time was scared of any one with a "mental disorder." However, as it turned out, she did me a huge favor because I got a much better job with the US government. I worked there for 15 years and recently retired. But I never disclosed my autism, nor my other diagnosis (PTSD). Despite the Americans with Disabilities Act, disabilities scare manager-types away. It's too bad, but that's the way it is in the job market.



Triewd
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29 Mar 2016, 5:31 pm

I remember going for interviews....oh boy some of them where bad, The best advice I could give you Quinn - is make something really good and people will want it.

As to temporay Jobs

"Some job tips for people with autism or Asperger's syndrome:

Jobs should have a well-defined goal or endpoint.
Sell your work, not your personality. Make a portfolio of your work.
The boss must recognize your social limitations. "


Reshelving library books -- Can memorize the entire numbering system and shelf locations
Factory assembly work -- Especially if the environment is quiet
Copy shop -- Running photocopies. Printing jobs should be lined up by somebody else
Janitor jobs -- Cleaning floors, toilets, windows and offices
Restocking shelves -- In many types of stores
Recycling plant -- Sorting jobs
Warehouse -- Loading trucks, stacking boxes
Lawn and garden work -- Mowing lawns and landscaping work
Data entry -- If the person has fine motor problems, this would be a bad job
Fast food restaurant -- Cleaning and cooking jobs with little demand on short-term memory
Plant care -- Water plants in a large office building



(I don't think I can posty the link)



kraftiekortie
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29 Mar 2016, 5:37 pm

I don't believe it's good, in the vast majority of situations, to make it known that you have "social difficulties."

This puts a red flag in prospective employers.

Yes, they have to accommodate you under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

But...de facto.....they won't accommodate you. They'll think of any reason to fire you (should they hire you) or to refuse to hire you.

I understand that it's politically-expedient to disclose. But if you have to make a living, I wouldn't get political, until I have experience under my belt.



TheBadguy
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29 Mar 2016, 5:55 pm

kraftiekortie wrote:
I don't believe it's good, in the vast majority of situations, to make it known that you have "social difficulties."

This puts a red flag in prospective employers.

Yes, they have to accommodate you under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

But...de facto.....they won't accommodate you. They'll think of any reason to fire you (should they hire you) or to refuse to hire you.

I understand that it's politically-expedient to disclose. But if you have to make a living, I wouldn't get political, until I have experience under my belt.



But then the issue that comes with this is if you don't disclose and need major help in the working environment. I am nowhere fast enough. I get anxiety and stressed out when people yell at me. When I get too stressed, it's super embarrassing to have crying meltdowns and I have no control over them.

I need comfortable environments. I need managers who don't yell, tough love doesn't motivate me. It scares me and makes it hard for me to work.

I'm not fast enough.

I'm not strong enough.

Tall enough.

And I'm horrible in social situations as well.

So, if I don't say anything, I'm going in the same direction I have been for the 3 years. I cannot hold down a job. I can't keep them. I can't hold onto that kind of stress.



xenocity
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29 Mar 2016, 5:56 pm

I don't disclose it during interviews.

Though I can account on how hard it is, in this practically jobless economy.
I mean the recovery has mainly only hit California, NE and New York.
The rest of the states are struggling with unemployment that is under reported.

I mean I haven't found a job and my disability counselor is running out of options.
There just aren't many true entry level jobs around here in Metro Detroit.
Everything demands huge amount of specific industry experience and other stuff...

I guess there are things far worse than unemployed.

Edit: I only went to the disability counselor because I think it is evident that I am "unique" and that has been hurting me in interviews since I don't respond the proper way (I can get the final round).
Also my leg problem also is noticeable as is my neurological issue.


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kraftiekortie
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29 Mar 2016, 6:00 pm

Thebadguy: I believe you are in a location which is more progressive when it comes to autism. So it's possible that it would be more expedient for you to disclose. Perhaps your anti-discrimination laws have more "teeth" than ours do.

Here in the United States, we have what is called "at-will employment." This means, absent a union contract, one can be fired for practically any reason.



Triewd
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29 Mar 2016, 6:09 pm

kraftiekortie wrote:
I don't believe it's good, in the vast majority of situations, to make it known that you have "social difficulties."

This puts a red flag in prospective employers.

Yes, they have to accommodate you under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

But...de facto.....they won't accommodate you. They'll think of any reason to fire you (should they hire you) or to refuse to hire you.

I understand that it's politically-expedient to disclose. But if you have to make a living, I wouldn't get political, until I have experience under my belt.


Well ok

Theres really only one way round it I suppose and thats to be very good at what you do.

Its one of the reasons why I am seriously considering entering programing



TheBadguy
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29 Mar 2016, 6:11 pm

kraftiekortie wrote:
Thebadguy: I believe you are in a location which is more progressive when it comes to autism. So it's possible that it would be more expedient for you to disclose. Perhaps your anti-discrimination laws have more "teeth" than ours do.

Here in the United States, we have what is called "at-will employment." This means, absent a union contract, one can be fired for practically any reason.


Oh no I don't.

I live in Colorado Springs. There's nothing progressive about this state.



kraftiekortie
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29 Mar 2016, 6:13 pm

Programming is where many autistic people gravitate to.

It's possible that even your boss will be on the Spectrum.

IT is probably one of the fields where autistic people are most welcome.

But still....unless your interviewer talks about Temple Grandin, or otherwise makes it be known that he/she has advanced knowledge of autism, I still wouldn't disclose to the interviewer. If your boss has this advanced knowledge--by all means. But if he still believes Rain Man is very high-functioning, I would avoid disclosing.



kraftiekortie
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29 Mar 2016, 6:15 pm

Sorry, sir. I thought you were Scottish....Because you say you're from "Clyde."

Yep...it's really a Catch-22 for us autistics.

Many people who are not autistic are "slow" in their work, it should be noted.



xenocity
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29 Mar 2016, 6:22 pm

kraftiekortie wrote:
Programming is where many autistic people gravitate to.

It's possible that even your boss will be on the Spectrum.

IT is probably one of the fields where autistic people are most welcome.

But still....unless your interviewer talks about Temple Grandin, or otherwise makes it be known that he/she has advanced knowledge of autism, I still wouldn't disclose to the interviewer. If your boss has this advanced knowledge--by all means. But if he still believes Rain Man is very high-functioning, I would avoid disclosing.

I hate to break it you, most companies outsource mid and lower level program out to Indian developers, making it quite hard to get into programming and IT these days (myself included).

Engineering experiencing something similar as well.

Companies in the U.S., UK, and others don't want to hire mid and lower level employees when they can outsource to India and others for pennies on the dollar.


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TheBadguy
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29 Mar 2016, 6:24 pm

kraftiekortie wrote:
Sorry, sir. I thought you were Scottish....Because you say you're from "Clyde."

Yep...it's really a Catch-22 for us autistics.

Many people who are not autistic are "slow" in their work, it should be noted.


Oh no that's a personal Joke.

My real name is J.P.Clyde and I'm normally one of those assholes on writing forums, who use my real name as also a pen name. So I just mess around and put my name on all of the requirements for gender, location, etc. To mess around.

I pretend to be a bit more narcissistic than I am normally.



QuinnPRK
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29 Mar 2016, 6:24 pm

wow, what a response for my first article! thanks!
Wave Tossed, where did you study art? I'm trying to gain a better understanding of autism's representation in the avant-garde art scene.

and in response to some issues being raised:
No, as for representing your identity, the job market isn't ready. I've been thinking a lot about the autistic rights movement, and further discussed it with my friend who I mentioned in the article, and all movements before ours have used some platform; gay marriage, voting equality, etc. as a symbol for enacting societal change, and it's clear that the autism rights movement needs one as well. Accommodations in the workplace, acceptance in hiring policies, could be one of those symbols. But, like with many movements, it puts those trying to enact the change at the most risk.
At the same time, don't let your identity define what job market you place yourself in. Let your strengths, weaknesses, and interests as an INDIVIDUAL define that. We especially need more representation in creative fields, the same way hollywood needs more non white and trans actors and writers.
As for my cited statististics, the NPR article was written by Maanvi Singh, published April of last year. It seems I cant post the link though, since this is a fresh account.
there are also some scientific articles, which I've only read the abstract for.
The source for my information on the ADA (which I confirmed online) actually came from an in class conversation with a deaf artist. The class was on relational aesthetics in reference to disability, and the visiting professor talked about his struggles with the same issue as a deaf artist. He gave me the absurd example of a black man working in a gun shop that sold to white supremacists, vs a disabled employee of the same store. It's interesting, the deaf community thinks about identity in a way very similar to autism rights. If anyone can find and cite the actual legal documents, I'd be very greatful.
Also, if we want to move forward as a community trying to enact change, stop saying that these employers were "scared" of your disability! We talk about islamiphobia and homophobia as bigotry, but for some reason, when someone isn't hired for their disability, it's because the business was "afraid". NO. If you can confirm that this was how they thought of you, you were discriminated against, be angry.
xenocity, (and anyone who has something to say, really) I would love to discuss with you your experiences in "pro-autism" job markets.
Next week, I'll probably write about autism and pop culture. If anyone has something to say on what I've written, or what I'm going to write about, by all means, MESSAGE ME!
see you all around,
Quinn Koeneman