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TiredMom
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26 Jun 2014, 12:09 pm

My 17 year old Aspie daughter is depressed--she thinks she has no future, even though she is smart, talented, and will be able to go to college (with some accommodations). So I have two questions for y'all:
(1) I've been telling her that the work environment (sensory stuff, office politics, etc.) is just as important for her to think about as the job itself. Do you agree? If so, what would your ideal work environment be?
(2) I've also been telling her that she could do just about any job, if the environment was right. Am I correct about that? Could those of you who have managed to hold a job for a while (no judgment on those who haven't) tell me what you do for a living? Do you like your job?
Thanks for the help.



MissDorkness
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26 Jun 2014, 12:35 pm

TiredMom wrote:
My 17 year old Aspie daughter is depressed--she thinks she has no future, even though she is smart, talented, and will be able to go to college (with some accommodations). So I have two questions for y'all:
(1) I've been telling her that the work environment (sensory stuff, office politics, etc.) is just as important for her to think about as the job itself. Do you agree? If so, what would your ideal work environment be?
(2) I've also been telling her that she could do just about any job, if the environment was right. Am I correct about that? Could those of you who have managed to hold a job for a while (no judgment on those who haven't) tell me what you do for a living? Do you like your job?
Thanks for the help.

1) Most definitely. I HATE the noise in this cube farm, but, luckily, I fit in okay personality wise here (I know, I'm shocked, too), my sensory issues are the only thing I do not like about working here.
2) I'm a system administrator. Some training and customer support, but, a lot of programming, troubleshooting and data analysis, I love it. My previous job, I was there for over 13 years, I was an engineering archivist (title was cad manager, but, I didn't actually manage any drafters lol). I had my own office, so there were hardly any sensory issues, but, the political bs of the construction industry was a source of stress. But, I didn't work on the construction side, I did post-construction, so the tight schedules and stuff didn't apply to me, and, yeah, I loved my work. I got to help the engineers track down badly performing systems (air, water, steam lines, etc), it was cool.
I also do freelance work from home (which I do prefer), I tried being a writer, but, that's not my strong suit, so I work as a technical editor. When an author writes a software textbook, I go through and correct anything technically wrong, and ensure they're using consistent verbage throughout. I LOVE the work, wish I could do it full time.
Maybe the work would be smoother if I could pay attention to the political aspects, but, it is what it is and I seek out advice from my direct managers about how they need to tell me if I'm inadvertantly missing something in that regard.

There's a thread in this forum asking if folks thought they'd be successful when they were growing up. I NEVER did. I was depressed and thought I had no prospects because I wasn't obviously smart and outgoing like my big sister. Everyone expected HER to be a success at whatever she did; family, teachers, our church family.
~shrugs~
There's all kinds of work out there, I don't know what will spark her imagination to think she could do something, but, best of luck to her for finding her way.



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26 Jun 2014, 1:16 pm

1) Absolutely! But, it isn't just Aspies or Auties who suffer from office politics. I know of highly skilled computer and software experts who are blind or deaf/hard of hearing. One deaf man in particular has asked employer after employer to require all communications with him to be in writing (e-mail messages, texts, or even "the printed memo" from the 1940s). All failed this simple request (which the federal American with Disabilities Act probably requires) and eventually terminated his employment with each of them.

As with any worker, Aspies and Auties must learn to work within the rules of "office politics" (I say "must" because the alternatives are much, much more difficult; yes, it is unfair, but, like the deaf worker who got fired for his "attitude" by asking for written communications, employers can usually create a reason for termination instead of the real reason which would be illegal).

While I would say that treating the workplace like a science experiment where the Aspie or Autie is "researching" the co-worker "subjects" (a twist on the idea of seeing your audience naked) where accommodating them yields better data results, I admit that this barely worked for me. Insults are insults and the resulting anger is anger. It is incredibly difficult to overlook such things when all you want to do is get back to work in privacy. But, "office politics" is an axiom of most jobs.

2) A truism about work is the quote from Confuscious: "Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life." I wish I had followed this advice. I could emotionally have just as easily become one of those retail shop managers who keep their jobs until they retire. All the customers know them and they are almost always happy. Instead, I pursued jobs for their salaries, locations or career advancements. Don't do that.

Good luck!


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BobinPgh
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27 Jun 2014, 9:31 pm

Tired mom has your daughter gave you any idea what work she would like to do? I was just thinking of industries I had a hard time with and I think most of us would, such as food service (noise, loud people, chaos, back stabbing coworkers), allied health (again people, back stabbing), nursing (odors, chaos, sensory stimulation) and though I have no experience with it I heard anything to do with aviation was bad (noise, cannot get away, people). These professions also have long hours and not enough rest and constant demands which NTs seem to deal with better.



kdm1984
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30 Jun 2014, 6:54 pm

TiredMom wrote:
My 17 year old Aspie daughter is depressed--she thinks she has no future, even though she is smart, talented, and will be able to go to college (with some accommodations). So I have two questions for y'all:
(1) I've been telling her that the work environment (sensory stuff, office politics, etc.) is just as important for her to think about as the job itself. Do you agree? If so, what would your ideal work environment be?
(2) I've also been telling her that she could do just about any job, if the environment was right. Am I correct about that? Could those of you who have managed to hold a job for a while (no judgment on those who haven't) tell me what you do for a living? Do you like your job?
Thanks for the help.


1) Yes, you are correct here. Every field of work I've ever been in has "sensory stuff" and "office politics" that are unavoidable. Work itself is only part of work, which, of course, is more difficult for Aspies, who would prefer that all the other stuff beyond the work objectives themselves didn't matter.

2) No, that is too pie in the sky and vague. Even non-Aspies cannot "do just about any job," and thus very few stay in one career their entire lives (let alone excel in multiple careers). The demands of each line of work, not to mention the politics, etc. you mentioned in question 1, are so highly varied and tap into so many different kinds of cognitive skills that it's unrealistic to think people can do anything. They can't. I'm sure you know your daughter as well as anyone - what are her strengths? Weaknesses? What sorts of jobs might be available to her right now, or after she finishes uni? Look in your Classifieds, too - see what jobs are actually available. After college, I really wanted to be an editor, for instance, but there was no market for that where I live. I didn't find a well-suited job until last year working as a direct support professional assisting the disabled, a position that is always in demand and has few qualification requirements. I work primarily overnight shifts because they are extremely quiet and give me time to focus on paperwork and cleaning. There is a lot of downtime and few distractions. I have really excelled at this line of work so far due to my precision in getting paperwork correct for my co-workers.



Awiddershinlife
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14 Jul 2014, 10:09 am

TiredMom wrote:
My 17 year old Aspie daughter is depressed--she thinks she has no future, even though she is smart, talented, and will be able to go to college (with some accommodations). So I have two questions for y'all:
(1) I've been telling her that the work environment (sensory stuff, office politics, etc.) is just as important for her to think about as the job itself. Do you agree? If so, what would your ideal work environment be?
(2) I've also been telling her that she could do just about any job, if the environment was right. Am I correct about that? Could those of you who have managed to hold a job for a while (no judgment on those who haven't) tell me what you do for a living? Do you like your job?
Thanks for the help.


The work environment can be BRUTAL. Being smart and talented is not what makes you or breaks you, it is the "water cooler" social environment. I have found that almost every work environment has that passive aggressive individual who spots your weak areas and knows just how to sabotage without bringing attention to his/herself. One ends up trying to force her square self into a round NT hole 40-hours a week. Its horrid and soul-sucking.

I went into home-based therapies: OT, PT, or SLP. I am an SLP who goes from house to house working with children. I can use my personal experience along with my education to help others. I have no office politics to figure out, and I see no one person more than 50-minutes a week. You can build this career step-wise: associates --> SLPA, BA --> ST, MA --> SLP (for OT its COTA, to OT and for PT its PTA to PT). One can earn a livable wage. Some "hyperNT" families can detect my "disability" and want someone "normal" to fix their child, but there's plenty of other families that are delighted to have a competent person help them to learn about their child.

Its not for everyone because you do end up having fairly intimate relationships with the families you're compatible with, but it is a well defined relationship with built-in professional boundaries. I think PT is the least intimate. I love working with OTs who have expertise in sensory. I know other autistics who are SLPs and OTs.


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14 Jul 2014, 7:46 pm

Generally the smaller the business the better. Less people to please. In the really small businesses no HR department with massive personalities tests designed to screen out non conformist, introverts etc. Just need to impress the owner and maybe a family member or two.


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Awiddershinlife
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15 Jul 2014, 9:25 am

TiredMom wrote:
My 17 year old Aspie daughter is depressed--she thinks she has no future, even though she is smart, talented, and will be able to go to college (with some accommodations). So I have two questions for y'all:


Radiology is also a good step program in which one can start with an associates and work ones way up to very high paychecks. I found it hard to work in institutions (e.g. hospital), but I think no one expects radiologists to be particularly social.

These step programs lets one sample the field to see if one likes it without a big commitment.

Also, at her age she might respond to listening rather than being told. 17 is a tough age and autistics have complex brains that need longer to maturate than typical brains as if there was a typical brain)


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Awiddershinlife
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15 Jul 2014, 9:26 am

TiredMom wrote:
My 17 year old Aspie daughter is depressed--she thinks she has no future, even though she is smart, talented, and will be able to go to college (with some accommodations). So I have two questions for y'all:


Radiology is also a good step program in which one can start with an associates and work ones way up to very high paychecks. I found it hard to work in institutions (e.g. hospital), but I think no one expects radiologists to be particularly social.

These step programs lets one sample the field to see if one likes it without a big commitment.

Also, at her age she might respond to listening rather than being told. 17 is a tough age and autistics have complex brains that need longer to maturate than typical brains (as if there was a typical brain)


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mattschwartz01
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18 Jul 2014, 11:53 am

AspieUtah wrote:
1) Absolutely! But, it isn't just Aspies or Auties who suffer from office politics. I know of highly skilled computer and software experts who are blind or deaf/hard of hearing. One deaf man in particular has asked employer after employer to require all communications with him to be in writing (e-mail messages, texts, or even "the printed memo" from the 1940s). All failed this simple request (which the federal American with Disabilities Act probably requires) and eventually terminated his employment with each of them.

As with any worker, Aspies and Auties must learn to work within the rules of "office politics" (I say "must" because the alternatives are much, much more difficult; yes, it is unfair, but, like the deaf worker who got fired for his "attitude" by asking for written communications, employers can usually create a reason for termination instead of the real reason which would be illegal).

While I would say that treating the workplace like a science experiment where the Aspie or Autie is "researching" the co-worker "subjects" (a twist on the idea of seeing your audience naked) where accommodating them yields better data results, I admit that this barely worked for me. Insults are insults and the resulting anger is anger. It is incredibly difficult to overlook such things when all you want to do is get back to work in privacy. But, "office politics" is an axiom of most jobs.

2) A truism about work is the quote from Confuscious: "Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life." I wish I had followed this advice. I could emotionally have just as easily become one of those retail shop managers who keep their jobs until they retire. All the customers know them and they are almost always happy. Instead, I pursued jobs for their salaries, locations or career advancements. Don't do that.

Good luck!


OMG! That's the mistake I've made over and over. I've chosen jobs for high salaries or perceived status. I should have looked at what might make me simply happy or doesn't elicit stress.