Why are AS/ASD people encouraged to try for sales jobs?

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Edenthiel
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27 Dec 2015, 12:25 pm

My entire working life has been with companies whose first priority is sales. I learned early on that just surviving in any position that involves direct customer contact requires skills and innate abilities that are beyond me. Abilities such as instantly reading the other person's body language, facial expressions, voice intonation and meanings beneath their spoken words. And shifting my outward self to align with theirs. In other words, the *exact* weaknesses that played a big part in my being placed on the autistic spectrum prevented me from being successful in those positions & careers.

My earliest jobs required a high degree of people skills. I was able to mostly survive, but just barely, and only because I excelled at the parts that didn't require any contact at all (like saving hours during inventory by calculating rather than direct measurement, or unloading brick trucks quickly, or having a knack for creating nursery displays that sold more plants). But it was incredibly stressful, and often made me question if I had any worth as a person at all because I thought that job was all there was. In the worst cases, I hung on to the job only because the companies had a local reputation of being horrible to work for and were desperate. They kept me on, but made it clear every day that I was one mistake away from being fired and they didn't really think I was even adequate for the position. I was never allowed to consider myself successful.

Eventually, I found myself at the worst suited job of all. A tiny part of it involved what I'd loved to do since I was nine or ten, but I wasn't allowed to do it because my solutions made the person they'd hired for it look bad (he was actually ill suited for it and would've done great in my position). So I was determined to start shifting my career to that area. It took years but I eventually did so. Had someone initially helped me assess my skills, abilities - and most important, my weaknesses - to a type of job where I would've been at least baseline successful, those first two decades of work could have been very different.

I'm not bitter about it; when I was growing up autistic people were still institutionalized and shamed to the point of not being allowed out in public. My early adult years could've been much worse. But I cringe when I hear of people on the spectrum today being pushed into high customer (internal or external) contact jobs by vocational/occupational and other counselors who really have no idea what they are doing when it comes to helping autistic people get a job, build a career, find self-worth and be happy.


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pineapplehead
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27 Dec 2015, 9:43 pm

I hate how for most of my life, I've been relegated to doing customer service jobs that I both hate and am bad at. I think it's because most low-level jobs are customer-service oriented and they're desperate enough for warm bodies that they don't really care if you suck at it or not. A lot of us here have too much trouble passing an interview for a good job, even if we're qualified to do it, and the low-level jobs that aren't customer service-oriented (grocery store stockers and such) become extremely hard to get into, because every other introvert (spectrum or not) holds onto those jobs like gold in fear they'll be pushed back to customer contact otherwise.



Alejandro890
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27 Dec 2015, 10:09 pm

I feel u. I also was pushed 2 try out roles that dis not go in accordance with MA autistic traits/personality or had 2 work in environments which may have had 2 much sensory overloads 4 someone in the spectrum, most recently the newest aquarium in MA town, which 4 da 1st half year & holiday time, was hecticly busy & crowded and extremely noisy @ times(screaming kids primarily). It was a lot 4 me 2. And feel incompetent for any failure I endured . :( . Warm regards from ur fellow friend the ASD spectrum from Toronto, ONT. BTW, I love ur city, got 2 visit it 4 years ago ;) :wink:



cberg
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28 Dec 2015, 1:18 am

Probably because others would strongly prefer to only ever respect us on the basis of money. Bind that to a structure of commissions and there's a good recipe for total objectification IMO. I've spent quite literally half my life on my work in technology learning to manage everything. Sure I have my preferred languages & no-gos at which point I just delete the email nibbles but I'm a very serious generalist. I've spent exactly 25% of this year working in geospatial imaging, the remaining 75% is a near-perfectly even split between gearing up for I.T. consulting for businesses who demand ALL THE APPS and my own programming challenge I had set myself prior. No breaks save for working as a mechanic to ramp up to a point where I can reinvest in myself as a business partner.

And so I have a very difficult time being taken seriously. Either I fix something for somebody or they assume everything I say is BS. People rationalize to no end the merits of "entry" jobs but ultimately it's just patronizing. Entry jobs are subjugation plain & simple, either everyone in them is underpaid & overworked or employers are just looking for a steal on contractual work they only pretend to know anything about. Eleven years is a whole helluva lot more experience than they're going to get from anybody with a fresh CS degree but people just have no clue. Eleven years is furthermore an extremely conservative estimate on my part; I started learning DOS 2.0 when I was three. My very existence threatens other programmers so they form cliques and act like I don't exist, which of course is beyond pathetic so I've been considering work pretty much anywhere but tech companies. You know who I mean, those dudes walking around your favorite coffee shop with five of the same buzz cut who won't even look at you unless you're on a MacBook. I'm just focused right now on eating as much consulting market share as I can because otherwise it gets taken back by people who never gave themselves to their craft. Sooner or later I'm bound to show up at the brogrammers' secretaries' desks & recruit all the secretaries into my hacker army.

Everyone's been told corporations are people & people are for sale & they just lap it up. cberg out...


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Ruby45
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29 Dec 2015, 9:07 pm

I have numerous people working for me in sales positions that are on the spectrum. Some of my most successful sales people at that! Not being able to "read" people is sometimes a plus because they don't take no for an answer. I've learned to be able to tell when an overload is coming and I'll switch them to a merch job for awhile. It's a fine line but it can be done.



cberg
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29 Dec 2015, 9:19 pm

I could see honest, upfront sales being a job I could do if I needed the cash. I may have boatloads of HFA symptoms but that's not to say I really mind talking to people at all. That seems way more direct than being coerced to sell me... Sales only becomes a societal ill when skilled work is distorted into a commodity & contracts identify highly trained individuals as 'vendors'. Some people really are bottomlessly stupid enough to treat just about anybody exactly the same way they would a soda machine. You can't imagine what I would've done to have you as my last boss Ruby, you wouldn't have to know anything at all about computing to do such a job better. For all I know that guy we had instead sold out an entire office of ~45 inveterate software developers, hardware architecture specialists, I.T. experts from around the globe and digital artists. I sure would not put it past him.

People came from as far as Britain, India, Russia, Vietnam and so fourth to work where I did, then they had it thrown back in their faces just so maybe twelve people could get a leg up where none was needed.


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Homer_Bob
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05 Jan 2016, 4:06 pm

It depends on the sales job. There could be some that can appeal to someone's niche like the one I have. I ended up landing in a sales position for a major soda company where the product basically sells itself. I found it to be a great fit for me personally because I usually get to make my own work schedule, work by myself, and have no boss over my shoulder. I deal with some managers at different accounts when it comes to sale item and display space but for the most part, I find the job to a niche for me because I am in complete control, I write the orders and service the stores myself and the backrooms are organized exactly the way I want them to be, that's the way to do it. I can sometimes work a whole day without having to say a word to anybody.


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