The real reason why Aspies are often unemployable.

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Jkid
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04 Sep 2011, 5:57 pm

It’s a truism that most people with Asperger’s syndrome are unable to find any employment. They can go to college all they want, they can have all the hard skills they want. But it’s a very high chance that they will never enjoy any employment. Not even McDonalds would hire them, and even then it is not recommended for anyone with that type of autism to work in the service industry. It’s a good chance they will be stuck with SSI (Supplemental Security Insurance) for a long time.

Throughout my 23 years of living on this earth I’m fully aware of this issue of not only unemployment but the real reason why people are unemployed. Some factors of unemployment are in their control, some factors of unemployment are out of their control, and some of those factors are from society itself. More specifically with people with Asperger’s syndrome it’s both things that our out of their control that they are born with, innate functions and society are the problem.

The first real reason why people with Asperger’s are unemployable because they at one way or another socially disabled. They can be socially disabled because of past experience dealing with people. They might be bullied and mistreated routinely while they were children. This experience will still affect them throughout adulthood without support to unlearn behaviors gained from childhood.
However the real reason why people with Asperger’s are unemployed because their difficulty of creating and/or maintaining relationships. When people go to college, they expect to get a degree and head off to a job thinking that they will be hired. But the sad truth and the reality of the situation is that it’s not the case: You need really need social connections in order to get a job and in order to get social connections you need to be more social with people. Especially with the recent glut of college grads finding out that they’re unemployable.

People with asperger’s usually have difficulty with aspects of social connection because of various reasons. They have difficulty or have no interest in small talk unless it’s something related to their interest. They may be more interested in college life than the social part of college life. In addition, they have interest more narrow than general people who have general mainstream interests that people with asperger’s have little interest or find them unappealing. Because people with Asperger’s can’t relate they often have difficulty having making friends or social connections.
Other reasons that are related are the lack of soft skills and prejudice and stereotypes of people with a people with asperger’s.

People who deny the existence of autism disorders will simply tell them to just “Get friends” or “Get a job”, thinking that it’s easy just like picking a pencil. But really it isn’t. It takes time. Sadly people with Asperger’s need real help in getting a job other than kneejerk relations or stock advice that worked for other people.



xenon13
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04 Sep 2011, 6:07 pm

I agree with what has been posted above but I want to add something that must be acknowledged as an aggravating factor.

I blame right wing neoliberal politics, economics and the infamous NAIRU, holy writ since about 1979 in most Western countries. In the 1960s, young people could "drop out" for months, even years, and could get work after. Today, you must account for every second of every year of your past and if you don't there's a big Reserve Army of Labour with other candidates. People with AS are not as likely to be quickly employed as a result of their social difficulties and lack of contacts, and they are more likely to keep to themselves and do their own thing and such things are frowned upon by the bosses whom they need to hire them. If there wasn't say a Reserve Army of Labour pegged at 5.5% the bosses would not have this awesome power to make such unreasonable demands.



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04 Sep 2011, 6:12 pm

Jkid wrote:
everything he said


QFT



Fatal-Noogie
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04 Sep 2011, 6:34 pm

Jkid wrote:
People who deny the existence of autism disorders will simply tell them to just “Get friends” or “Get a job”, thinking that it’s easy just like picking a pencil. But really it isn’t. It takes time. Sadly people with Asperger’s need real help in getting a job other than kneejerk relations or stock advice that worked for other people.
I hesitate to discuss the minutia of adversities confronting me in the job-hunting ratrace,
but I agree that the kneejerk stock advice intended for others is insufficient for me.
Things like how to "be polite" or "act confident" or "stay relaxed" sounds like abstract gibberish to me.
Does that mean I lean slightly forward in my seat? How far?
Does that mean I answer questions snappy, or wait 3 seconds after the question so I don't accidentally interrupt?
To speak "confident", do I modulate my voice down, or suppress my accent, or pace my syllables regularly? etc. etc. etc.
There are sooooo many variables I have to control by default just to make my presence tolerable to other people.
If I try to control any more, I go crazy.


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04 Sep 2011, 7:30 pm

I just consider the entire original post to be trolling.

I have AS, and I'm fully employable. I held the same job for three and a half years, without even once having a customer, a co-worker, or a superior bring a complaint against me. I'd still be working there if I hadn't relocated to a different state. I had both people's respect and friendship where I worked. Sure, it wasn't a great job; it was often rather boring and repetitive and didn't pay particularly well, but I got to work mostly independently, and got to listen to music while I worked, too. Sure, my social skills and executive functioning aren't quite up to par in some areas, but that never stopped me from doing my job to the best of my ability, (which was really all that mattered in the long run) and if I needed clarification on something, I'd ask, and my co-workers or manager would be happy to explain it to me.


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04 Sep 2011, 7:42 pm

Thanks for the post OP. You get it....we live in a world where social skills are valued more than anything else. I have a bachelors and masters degree, a high GPA in both, and earned scholarships for both (I have no student loan debt). I lose out on jobs to the guy with a GED who can carry conversations on football.

Zokk wrote:
I just consider the entire original post to be trolling.

I have AS, and I'm fully employable. I held the same job for three and a half years, without even once having a customer, a co-worker, or a superior bring a complaint against me. I'd still be working there if I hadn't relocated to a different state. I had both people's respect and friendship where I worked. Sure, it wasn't a great job; it was often rather boring and repetitive and didn't pay particularly well, but I got to work mostly independently, and got to listen to music while I worked, too. Sure, my social skills and executive functioning aren't quite up to par in some areas, but that never stopped me from doing my job to the best of my ability, (which was really all that mattered in the long run) and if I needed clarification on something, I'd ask, and my co-workers or manager would be happy to explain it to me.


I've held down jobs in the past too, but they weren't good ones. So maybe not all Aspies have an UNemployment problem, but many who don't have an UNDERemployment problem instead. A disproportionate number of Aspies are stuck in dead-end jobs despite finishing college and in some cases, grad school as well.



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04 Sep 2011, 8:03 pm

You need references to get a job and that is my road block there. They always ask for references or recommendation letters or a cover letter. I have difficulty in those areas so those are my road blocks. I know other people can struggle with this too such as social anxiety or other conditions that will cause someone to lack friends. Plus normal people fake their reference by paying someone to pretend they know them or have their relatives pretend they are just a friend, not related.


I don't understand why work wants small talk. I never had that problem. I just went to work and did my job and don't bosses want people to be serious and just do their job than talking to others? However if you work as cashier or teacher or whatever, you end up talking to parents about their children and as a cashier you will end up talking to customers and doing the small talk. Same as if you work in retail, you are to ask customers if they need help finding anything. I think I can do that because it be all scripts but I bet it be exhausting.


Even telling me to just get a job or get friends isn't helpful for me either.



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04 Sep 2011, 8:59 pm

Yeah, it’s bad and getting worse… Social skills and abilities are considered more and more, even in jobs where they should have little bearing.

I was really confident going into the interview for the last tech job I applied for. The position was at a small packaging equipment manufacturer and involved installing/upgrading/refurbishing control systems—something I have YEARS of experience doing.

After a short tour of the shop, I had a “team interview” with the other techs in the department. Right then, I knew I was doomed!

It seemed as if they were more interested in my ability to fit it than in my technical skills… I guess it’s some new HR BS theory about team building or something.

I always do great in one on one interviews with greedy owners or grumpy supervisors who only care about getting results because I seem cold, arrogant and confident in my abilities.

I don’t do so great convincing potential coworkers that I’ll be a fun guy to work with because I seem cold, arrogant and confident in my abilities.… :roll:

Needless to say, I did not get the job.


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04 Sep 2011, 9:30 pm

yeah, like on job applications for supermarkets etc: "we are looking for someone who is 100% honest and trustworthy to join our friendly team blah blah blah"

first question they ask is: why do you want the job?
my answer: because i need the money. (im being honest...)

they wanted someone who is "100% honest and trustworthy" yet expect the same person to bullsh*t their way thru an application... wtf?


secondly, i have a degree and experience working with high voltage and lifting heavy objects, yet im not qualified to lift light boxes in a supermarket or pour a drink in a pub? they would much rather hire a school dropout who quits the job 2 weeks later, thus requiring more training time for another dropout - ad lib, ad hoc, ad nauseum...



if someone would like to explain this to me, go ahead. im all ears.


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04 Sep 2011, 9:38 pm

SadAspy wrote:
Thanks for the post OP. You get it....we live in a world where social skills are valued more than anything else. I have a bachelors and masters degree, a high GPA in both, and earned scholarships for both (I have no student loan debt). I lose out on jobs to the guy with a GED who can carry conversations on football.


i think having a masters degree makes u a bit overqualified to flip burgers :P


one thing i suppose you could do is go into a business partnership with someone (possibly an NT)
that way, the NT would do more of the accounting/finding customers side of things ("hey, we need to make x amount this month, buy this etc")
while you handle the more creative side of things thus playing to ur strengths ... just an idea.


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04 Sep 2011, 9:40 pm

Zokk wrote:
I just consider the entire original post to be trolling.

I have AS, and I'm fully employable. I held the same job for three and a half years, without even once having a customer, a co-worker, or a superior bring a complaint against me. I'd still be working there if I hadn't relocated to a different state. I had both people's respect and friendship where I worked. Sure, it wasn't a great job; it was often rather boring and repetitive and didn't pay particularly well, but I got to work mostly independently, and got to listen to music while I worked, too. Sure, my social skills and executive functioning aren't quite up to par in some areas, but that never stopped me from doing my job to the best of my ability, (which was really all that mattered in the long run) and if I needed clarification on something, I'd ask, and my co-workers or manager would be happy to explain it to me.


I think the post is mostly worth considering, but I too held a job, two jobs, one for a year and a half and one for two years. I liked my coworkers and they liked me. But now, with everything done online, it's much more complicated then it used to be. Because everything is done in such an informal manner, it gives employers a false sense of security that there will be a better candidate that e-mails them, much in the same way that girls on dating sites get a false sense of security thinking that there will always be a better guy to e-mail them. At this point, the only things that matter anymore are A) references and resumes, B) writing skills for applications and C) interview skills with increased pressure, because the interviewer can always say "I can fill this position in an hour, why should I hire you?" Why take a chance on someone who appears to be a little different when there are a dozen other willing slaves that can fill in?



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04 Sep 2011, 9:47 pm

Socializing and dealing with testy individuals was probably my biggest weakness in a job where I was a supervisor. I liked being an ordinary worker better. Now my biggest weakness is networking. I tend to drift away from prior contacts and I find it very difficult to be pulled away from the work I want to do.


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Jkid
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04 Sep 2011, 9:52 pm

xenon13 wrote:
I agree with what has been posted above but I want to add something that must be acknowledged as an aggravating factor.

I blame right wing neoliberal politics, economics and the infamous NAIRU, holy writ since about 1979 in most Western countries. In the 1960s, young people could "drop out" for months, even years, and could get work after. Today, you must account for every second of every year of your past and if you don't there's a big Reserve Army of Labour with other candidates. People with AS are not as likely to be quickly employed as a result of their social difficulties and lack of contacts, and they are more likely to keep to themselves and do their own thing and such things are frowned upon by the bosses whom they need to hire them. If there wasn't say a Reserve Army of Labour pegged at 5.5% the bosses would not have this awesome power to make such unreasonable demands.


I'm afraid that is true. Because of the permanent recession anyone who is unemployed by more than six months are automatically removed from consideration for employment. They're doing this because it's more cheaper to removed unemployed entirely than to search for qualified people.

Fatal-Noogie wrote:
I hesitate to discuss the minutia of adversities confronting me in the job-hunting ratrace,
but I agree that the kneejerk stock advice intended for others is insufficient for me.
Things like how to "be polite" or "act confident" or "stay relaxed" sounds like abstract gibberish to me.
Does that mean I lean slightly forward in my seat? How far?
Does that mean I answer questions snappy, or wait 3 seconds after the question so I don't accidentally interrupt?
To speak "confident", do I modulate my voice down, or suppress my accent, or pace my syllables regularly? etc. etc. etc.
There are sooooo many variables I have to control by default just to make my presence tolerable to other people.
If I try to control any more, I go crazy.


Knee jerk advice is less effort than explaining the how to perform it. They don't explain why because they expect you to figure it out on your own. Most people with Asperger's don't have the same instincts as NT do. Worse, high schools don't offer these skills.

Zokk wrote:
I have AS, and I'm fully employable. I held the same job for three and a half years, without even once having a customer, a co-worker, or a superior bring a complaint against me. I'd still be working there if I hadn't relocated to a different state. I had both people's respect and friendship where I worked. Sure, it wasn't a great job; it was often rather boring and repetitive and didn't pay particularly well, but I got to work mostly independently, and got to listen to music while I worked, too. Sure, my social skills and executive functioning aren't quite up to par in some areas, but that never stopped me from doing my job to the best of my ability, (which was really all that mattered in the long run) and if I needed clarification on something, I'd ask, and my co-workers or manager would be happy to explain it to me.


Then how you got employed so easy?

Goonsquad also mentioned about soft skills again, which is also for people with Asperger's a hidden requirement. But there are also hidden requirements for those desperate for a job. You might be able to find a perfect job, but you're practically unqualified for it because of one little soft skill that you don't have.



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04 Sep 2011, 10:22 pm

Jkid wrote:
Then how you got employed so easy?

I picked a relatively simple, low-profile job, made myself presentable and friendly, answered questions simply and truthfully during the job interview, asked some of my own questions about the company and the job as well at the interview, and was subsequently hired a couple weeks later.

Of course, that was a general labor job that I was willing to do for the pay back in high school and college. Now, I'm looking to get hired by a local TV or movie studio, at whatever pay and position I can wrangle for myself. Since I like and have an interest in virtually every aspect of the film and TV production business, I'm not beneath working as a stage-hand, grip, gaffer, or even coffee-fetcher, if it means I get to work with industry professionals and maybe work my way up from there.


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04 Sep 2011, 10:50 pm

I posted this on another thread but I'll post it again.

http://www.irata.org/

If you are fit, don't mind heights and physical work, try rope access.

Most rope access guys are rock climbers, they are already on the fringes of society and more tolerant of weirdo's.

Colleagues judge you on whether on not you will get them killed not on your ability to brown nose or fit in.

You don't really have to deal with people, most of the time you are hanging off a rope some where inaccessible several hundred feet above them.

The view is great! :D



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05 Sep 2011, 12:34 pm

Does this mean i should give up hope of ever moving out of my parents house? and be content with bagging groceries for the rest of my life?