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Tim_Tex
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04 Apr 2021, 11:37 am

As many of us on here probably know, we often struggle with finding work, and the unemployment rate is very high for people on the spectrum. Discrimination against us is widespread.

However, the Americans with Disabilities Act (or equivalent in other countries) explicitly bans discrimination against us. But it still continues, because employers don't want to pay for accommodations or deal with legal risks. Those of us over 40, such as myself, have to deal with double discrimination (ableism + ageism).

How can we prove if we've been discriminated against, or if we simply "didn't get the job" or "weren't a good fit"?

This is my situation: I have about 5 years of experience in GIS (geographic information systems), and a BS in geography/urban planning. I graduated in 2009, but was only able to procure two contract jobs, only to be let go after 2 weeks in both cases. The last job was in 2013.

Meanwhile, I have been studying new programming languages and database technology, trying to enter more mainstream data technology fields. I took a couple of bootcamps from Udemy, one for data science and one for Tableau (a data visualization software).

Other technologies I have studied: Python, Java, Oracle SQL, and I am trying to teach myself MongoDB (a "NoSQL" database). Java was in a classroom setting, but Python and Oracle SQL were self-taught. Is it possible that the non-traditional path I have taken in learning new technologies is hindering my job search?


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shortfatbalduglyman
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05 Apr 2021, 8:11 am

Lawsuits sometimes take two years, lawyers cost 600 bucks an hour, the outcome is not guaranteed

Many states "at will" employer

Some people won discrimination lawsuit against some companies

But the petitioner had a lot of cash

Discrimination per se is hard to "prove"

Even if you are the highest scoring candidate, nobody has to hire you

They don't have a demographic quota

And even if they did it would not include autism



Tim_Tex
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05 Apr 2021, 10:42 am

I am able to work with little to no accommodations, but people assume I am a potential financial burden.

I thought mentioning I had a disability would protect me *from* discrimination, but instead, I opened Pandora’s box.

And Texas is an at-will state.


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Double Retired
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05 Apr 2021, 10:54 am

Does anyone know much about Auticon?


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uncommondenominator
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05 Apr 2021, 12:47 pm

Out of curiosity, what makes you certain you've been discriminated against?

To prove it, one typically has to demonstrate that they are qualified for the job; that the other persons hired are not, in fact, more qualified; and by proxy to argue that since you are both qualified, and performative, that the reason you were passed over was for purely discriminatory reasons.

As for your "non-traditional path", yes, it likely is hindering your job search. Jobs are mostly interested in one thing: Can you do the thing that makes them money, as good as or better than the next guy. They want to know that you can in fact do the things you say you can. They're not just going to take your word for it. Learning things on your own doesn't mean much if you can't prove that you know them as well as you say you do. It lacks 3rd party validation. Certifications, awards, real world experience, etc. They all have a cumulative effect - no one thing is the key winner.

Especially in the tech world, it's typically relevant that they be recent or current as well. Being certified in Windows 3.1 and OS/2 doesn't carry much weight today, for example. 5 years ago, while working on a cybersecurity degree, I had to take a class on windows 7. We were using windows 8 computers. Windows 10 released half way through the semester. CompTIA certifications are only good for 3 years. Tech advances FAST. Some knowledge and experience has a shelf-life.

You can say "well, they should give me a chance, then they'd see I can do it!" - but hiring people is expensive. Like, just the act of taking on a new employee after you've decided to hire them, is expensive, not including everything that goes into getting to even that point in the hiring process. Firing people is also expensive. Hiring the wrong person, having to fire them, and then having to rehire a new person again, typically costs more than that position's annual salary. Hiring the wrong person is a huge financial expense, to the extent that some businesses fail simply because, despite how much revenue they generate, they burn it away towards high turnover rates. It may not seem like a big deal to ask a business to "give you a chance", but it's actually akin to asking to borrow a brand new expensive sportscar, as a total stranger.

As a result, they're going to want to be as certain as possible that you're going to be able to do the job, and that you'll be there for at least a year. Remember that part about hiring and firing costing more than the annual salary for that position? By staying there for over a year, you've made it more profitable to hire you, than to not hire you, all else being equal. At that point, even if you quit or get fired after a year, you were around long enough to generate more income than you cost between labor and turnover expenses. If you quit or get fired in 6 months, they spent 6 months salary on you, plus another year's salary to fire and replace you, even if you generated income for 6 months, which may or may not cover your expense. If you quit or get fired in 2 weeks, they lose a year's salary of money in a matter of two weeks, bam, instantly, and you probably didn't make much of any income for them in 2 weeks, because it was only 2 weeks.

And the law knows all of this. The ADA takes this into account. So it all comes down to whether the other applicants were in fact equally or better qualified than you in matters relevant to the job. This gets harder the more applicants there are. The ADA does not require businesses to hire a less qualified candidate over a more qualified candidate. That's your first hurdle: "Did they hire someone less qualified?" If the person they hired was more qualified than you, you've got an uphill battle making a case for discrimination.



funeralxempire
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05 Apr 2021, 12:53 pm

This is a trap that lots of groups that face discrimination encounter. Sometimes you really just didn't succeed do to merit, other times the game was rigged.

Since you don't have enough information to be certain either way it just becomes another 'what-if' that you'll never know the answer to.

Like Tim mentioned these things can stack so if there's several things you might be discriminated against you'll also never know which one it was or if it was the combination or if it really was just merit.


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Tim_Tex
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05 Apr 2021, 4:21 pm

I have a portfolio of some of my projects, and I am working on more things to add.

Even then, I worry that I can only get hired through a quota system. I can never be a company's "perfect candidate".


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Tim_Tex
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06 Apr 2021, 4:41 pm

Here is a timeline of my experience:

1998: graduated from high school

2002: graduated from community college, did a GIS internship

2003: rehired at the company where I did my internship, stayed until 2007

2007: went back to college to get my bachelor's degree

2009: graduated from university, began my job search

2009-2011: looked for work, but got only rejection letters

2011: volunteered at a local museum for one year, got first contract job, let go after two weeks

2011-2013: looked for work, but got only rejection letters

2013: second contract job, let go after two weeks

2013-present: looked for work, but got only rejection letters

2015: took Java class at community college

2019: took my two Udemy bootcamps, created a GitHub account for my work portfolio.

Footnotes:

(1) I had a few interviews here and there in the times I was looking for work, but aside from the two contract jobs, I only got rejections.

(2) Until 2015, my job search was strictly GIS only. I started applying for more mainstream IT positions after I completed my Java course (got an A in the course).

(3) Rejection letters were the usual: "While your credentials are impressive, we decided to pursue candidates who more closely matched the job description". In reality, this could be anything.

(4) Also, I am trying to relocate from Houston to Seattle, so I need something that also pays $112,000+/year, the minimum required to afford a house there.


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Double Retired
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06 Apr 2021, 5:41 pm

Double Retired wrote:
Does anyone know much about Auticon?
Or Daivergent?


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funeralxempire
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06 Apr 2021, 7:17 pm

Apparently Meticulon is now the Canadian division of Auticon.

https://auticon.ca/


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Tim_Tex
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06 Apr 2021, 10:11 pm

How do I get my foot in the door in the data analysis field with my current background?


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Double Retired
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07 Apr 2021, 9:13 am

Sigh. I'm too old to contribute much more than comic-relief to this thread.

I know "$112,000+/year" is a plausible number in IT today but in my first full year of full-time employment I made $8,408.70. (Well, there was also extra money for housing and subsistence, but that wasn't taxable. And I got to dress funny.) :salut:

The moral here is "When planning your financial future, allow for inflation!"


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07 Apr 2021, 2:55 pm

Tim_Tex wrote:
How do I get my foot in the door in the data analysis field with my current background?


What IS your current background? You mentioned an associates and bachelors degrees, what are those degrees in?

Hard truths - if you plan to make $100K+ in data analysis, working in seattle, you're probably going to need an MBA, or at least extensive CURRENT formal training / experience in statistics, critical thinking, and a fairly intimate knowledge of the data you're hoping to analyze. Seattle is viciously competitive, and if you don't have those qualifications, someone else will, and that's who's gonna get hired for those jobs.

You don't have to be THE PERFECT ideal candidate, but you do have to at least be in the running, or at least in their league. No company is going to hire a "token" that costs them money, or doesn't make them money. Even "affirmative action" policies don't require unqualified candidates to be hired or accepted.

You said you got let go from your last two jobs. Why did they let you go?



Tim_Tex
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07 Apr 2021, 4:22 pm

All I know is that if you make less than $112,000/year, you can’t afford to live in Seattle.

GIS and urban planning, the fields I am already trained in, do not pay that much.

Neither contract job told me why I was let go, but I do remember other co-workers being let go at the same time.

My BS is in geography and urban planning, and my job experience is almost entirely in GIS.

I have heard of people getting into data science/analysis through bootcamps and certificate programs, and I see them frequently advertised. I have also noticed several colleagues working in that field with training and experience similar to mine.


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Tim_Tex
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11 Apr 2021, 1:15 am

Why Seattle, you ask?

1. Far more culture than Houston.

2. Marijuana is legal.

3. More secular.

4. No death penalty.

5. No voter suppression.

6. Tons of Simpsons and South Park fans (because it's more liberal and secular).

7. Winterized power grid.

8. A governor who actively tries to fight climate change.

Even if they did pay $112,000, there aren't very many GIS jobs in Seattle (not many in Houston, either). (Apparently, Miami is the big GIS "hub" nowadays)


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Summer_Twilight
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13 Apr 2021, 11:54 am

Tim_Tex wrote:
I am able to work with little to no accommodations, but people assume I am a potential financial burden.

I thought mentioning I had a disability would protect me *from* discrimination, but instead, I opened Pandora’s box.

And Texas is an at-will state.


I think contacting your department of labor and speaking to someone in the disability department. Also, I think getting a petition signed against the At-Will law and contacting your state legislatures. Disability rights are civil rights