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em_tsuj
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08 Jan 2014, 6:59 am

A little over three months ago, I quit my job. It was more than just giving up my job though. When I left that job, I made a decision to leave the substance abuse treatment industry. Ironically, since leaving my job, I finally completed my bachelor's degree in psychology. I pursued that degree so I could become a drug and alcohol counselor or possibly a psychotherapist. After completing my degree, I decided that I will never again take a clinical position. My history of severe childhood abuse and the fact that I am on the autism spectrum make me unfit to be a therapist. I pursued this path for 8 years with a passion, now nothing. I have a job but no career. I work at a factory making salad dressing, stacking boxes.

An idea came to me today when I was looking at one of the machines we work with. I am a problem-solver. I pursued my psychology degree and got into the treatment industry to fix people. I am very good at figuring out people's problems. Unfortunately, people can't be fixed. The one thing that helps people, I cannot do most of the time. I cannot build a positive supportive relationship with most people because of my AS. My history of child abuse makes me too emotionally involved with other people (people with a history of severe abuse or neglect). It traumatizes me dealing with their cases.

So tonight at work I figured that I can use my analytical skills and my compulsion to solve problems by working on machines instead of people. They have people at the factory whose job it is to figure out what is wrong with the machines when they stop working and come up with a solution. Those people get paid a lot of money and their jobs are not very stressful. I think that I would be good at doing maintenance on machines. I know that I am much better at interfacing with machines than I am with people.

All the other career things I thought about doing involve my special interest in the social sciences. I can't do those types of jobs AND be happy. It is way too stressful. Plus it costs too much money for school.

Are any other people here who do technical jobs? Does AS help with those jobs? What degree do you need?



nebrets
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08 Jan 2014, 10:56 am

I am pursuing civil engineering in traffic design, although I am unlikely to finish my masters in the subject and instead work as a land surveyor (because it is fun, practical applications of geometry, and I could get my professional license 3 years quicker, and the pay is not that different than civil engineers). I enjoy the technical aspect of the work. Although engineering is a very heavy "group work" field.

My fiance does more what you described (fixing the broken machines at a plant). He is being put through trade school to be a millwright. It is a trade school thing, but he works on the maintenance shift. Currently his work pays for is school (but not all places do that). He will be paid 23$/hr when he finishes school and takes the test for his certificate (and that is on the low end for the field). It is not super stressful, it is very hands on.


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michael517
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10 Jan 2014, 2:05 pm

Absolutely big time Asperger's and Engineering go hand and hand. Read Robinson's book "Be Different" if you are in doubt. Unfortunately I can't recall exactly which website or book it was, but one of the ways to determine if you are an Aspie was "Your father was an Engineer".

I am an Electrical Engineer, doing testing, and all day its solve some new problem or issue that has come up, something that has never been done before or find a better way.

One of the ways I figured out I was an Aspie was I was walking past a line of products at work ready for testing and noticed on one of them, some part was installed backwards, and I kept asking myself, how come I am the one to notice these things, and NOBODY else, not even the people on the line that do it day in day out, can't see its obviously installed wrong? Why? Why? What is 'different' about me?

Programming computers are another great field for Aspies. Many Engineers end up programming just because they have the mind for it.



em_tsuj
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11 Jan 2014, 2:31 am

I put in a claim with voc rehab. I am waiting to hear back. They are understaffed. I am going to see if they can help me. I would like to go to the local community college and take classes.

Because I was so smart, they tracked me for college. They tended to track the guys with average intelligences but an interest in machines into the technical programs because they are less prestigious. However, looking back on things as an adult (not an 18 year old with no life experience), a degree from community college in a trade is way more valuable than a liberal arts degree in terms of making money. That is when you look at how much it costs in time and student loans to get a liberal arts degree. I think the landscape has changed in the U.S. They keep trying to make everybody go to college, but the people who work with me at the factory are living better lives than me with just a high school education.

Sorry, I'm rambling. Societal trends are a special interest. I just wonder how much a college education is really worth, or how easy it is to get by without one. My experience is that you can only get a job if you know someone. You can have all the credentials in the world, but people hire someone who they are familiar with. That is how I got all of my jobs except one (family or friend referred me).



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11 Jan 2014, 8:47 pm

I'm finishing up a mechatronics degree. I can't speak for the other programs, but this curriculum takes a holistic look at manufacturing technology. They teach you how circuits (electric, pneumatic, and hydraulic) work, how to use PLCs, and lots of troubleshooting. I'll tell you about the job part when I get one, most people who graduate seem to get hired though.


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12 Jan 2014, 2:21 pm

Perhaps also consider in this day and age, crowdsourcing inventions is becoming a normal thing, in which you have a good idea, but lack all the pieces of the puzzle to put it into reality (maybe it requires a team, maybe you can help engineer only part of it, but need a different type of engineer to do another part, maybe you need to draw diagrams but you just suck at drawing). The goal is that hundreds of people can each pledge to do one small job on an invention idea, then everyone gets royalties for the rest of their life for the work they put in. The original idea man/woman most likely gets more royalty, but everyone involved gets a healthy income based on sales and the best part is no single person really invested a huge amount of money or time into it, so if such an idea fails in the real world, everyone shares a small bit of the failure, but nobody gets ruined.

I was reading the latest issue of Popular Mechanics last night on my smartphone. They talked about a crowdsourcing invention community called Quirky. A guy in his mid-20s had the idea of turning traditional multi-outlets/surge protectors into flexible designs which could pivot, stretch and turn into funky shapes and then they would hold their shapes. This is because he got sick and tired of oversized plugs covering up the outlets on the traditional designs, so with his design, the individual outlets are spaced further apart on a sort of flexible daisy chain, then the outlets themselves can pivot 360 degrees. Simple but genius improvement on something everyone in engineering or tech fields has probably complained about. The guy made nearly 500,000 dollars of royalty in the first year of sales and is projected to have earned around 2 million bucks by the end of 2014, this is on the royalties for this one invention of his. Meanwhile, he vowed to continue in the career field he went to school for, even though his royalties alone will continue to pile up year on year, he could technically retire on these royalties alone if he chose to do so.

You might say this is a success story that is atypical, but I am not so sure. The reason many inventions failed to hit the market in the past is that individual people who had a stroke of genius were lacking the means to do anything with their idea, but crowdsourcing solves those issues. Instead of struggling to put together a large design team, the designers find YOU and pledge their support to your idea. Even if someone can not code or design and has no engineering background, as long as they had a good problem solving idea, crowdsourcing their invention can be very lucrative!

You guys in this thread are all talking about your knack for noticing problems and coming up with ways to fix them. Being an inventor is the ideal thing for people like us. Quitting one's day job is not a necessary tradeoff either. I urge any of you who have good ideas bouncing around your brain to consider crowdsourcing. The best invention ideas are not gimmicks or big game changers, but small things which people typically overlook or just cope with. Like the guy's pivoting multi-outlet idea, for a long time, people just coped with covering up outlet spots and running out of room, or buying a second multi-outlet and plugging it into the other one. This guy just got sick of that crap and made some basic diagrams of improved designs, then Quirky helped him make it a reality, people came out of the woodwork, people who knew patent law, good artists to help design the packaging, good engineers to help get working prototypes, etc. They said in the article that about 830 people got involved by the end of it and every one of them is making royalty on each sale of the product.

Even as recently as 10 years ago, if someone wanted to invent something, they had to do many things on their own, and good ideas never left their brains simply because they had no way of making a prototype. Crowdsourcing changes all that and I think many many aspies come up with really great ideas for new inventions. If you consider yourself a problem solver, take note of problems in your day to day life and at your work, when you notice people struggling with simple tasks, you can then try to brainstorm an idea to remove the inconvenience. Voila, you're now an inventor :)

The best is that once these sorts of crowdsourced ideas hit the ground running, you won't become so busy and bogged down with your involvement that you have to risk your life with big investments or obligations. It's almost like "part time inventing". People are also now crowdsourcing mobile phone apps, so that even people who have no coding experience (cause you can be as logical as possible, but to learn to code out of the blue is like learning a brand new language, it takes a lot of time to even get to an amateur level unless you are a prodigy) can head their own app development!