Desperate for Advice (Working in Fast Food)

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5harkb0y
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18 Sep 2019, 11:13 pm

Hello, I will try to make this as brief as possible, but I ask that you bare with me.

I was recently diagnosed with autism and it’s been quite a complicated process, I’m still trying to find ways to explain it to close friends that I care about.

I’m 18 years old and I’ve been working at a barbecue restaurant for a little over a year. When I first started I was immediately overwhelmed by the constant beeping of timers, the rude customers, constant changing of tasks, etc. Over time I forced myself to stay strong and push through my anxiety and general sensory overload, so much so that I’ve made it this far.

But as of late due to trying to explain my overwhelming feelings to coworkers, I’m beginning to realize that this job might be a dead end. I’m constantly stressed out and often find myself in tears because I can’t explain what my senses are going through to others, and when I tried to explain it to a coworker he said “You’ve made it through a year, quitting now would be stupid.”

In general, this was my first job and I suppose I’m afraid to look for anything different. Change can be scary.

Do any of you have any job suggestions that you’ve found don’t trigger sensory overload and would be obtainable for someone just out of high school? Thank you.


_________________
Your neurodiverse (Aspie) score: 174 of 200
Your neurotypical (non-autistic) score: 46 of 200
You are very likely neurodiverse (Aspie)
AQ Score: 36/50
EQ Score: 80/200


darkwaver
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21 Sep 2019, 4:21 pm

Perhaps receiving and stocking in a store? It can be physically demanding, but could get you away from customers and sensory overload.

Welcome to Wrong Planet, by the way.



BTDT
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21 Sep 2019, 4:26 pm

I think your co-worker is right. You really should hang on until you have another job, as it is much easier to get a job when you are currently employed versus being out of work. It is very common these days for young people to get a job and leave for a better one.



kraftiekortie
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22 Sep 2019, 6:32 am

Kudos for you for being autistic, young, and able to keep that sort of a job for a year.

What about college?



Dial1194
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23 Sep 2019, 3:29 am

I've heard good things about nightfill (evening/night store stocking) jobs. While the individual workplaces vary, they tend to be a lot quieter than fast food kitchens, especially past closing time. The things you have to work with aren't hot, are rarely sharp, you're not crammed into a tiny space with five other people, and your deadlines tend to be more along the lines of a couple of hours rather than every 90 seconds.

With the calendar coming up to the 90-day countdown to Christmas, a lot of hiring's about to start happening.

For those interested, I've run across other jobs here and there which seem very specialized, don't require much in the way of training, and seem to pay reasonably. I met one guy a couple years ago whose job was purely to assemble kids' bikes for department stores. The stores offered a service whereby they sold bikes in boxes by default, but customers could pay for preassembly. This one guy went from store to store, doing the assembly on the pre-orders. He'd just show up, take over one of the back offices for a day, assemble a couple dozen bikes, test that everything was tight and wouldn't fall apart, then adios into the sunset, barely speaking to anyone the whole time. Kind of a cool niche.

I suspect that jobs like truck drivers and people who refill drink/snack machines might have much of the same experience, too. Go from place to place, do the thing that needs doing, repeat.



hannahjrob
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23 Sep 2019, 2:12 pm

I noticed that you're in Alabama...so am I! Do you have a Publix in your city/town? If so, they hire people with autism and other disabilities and are usually pretty accommodating. Or if you don't have one where you are, maybe you could still try working at any other grocery store. Like others have said, perhaps stocking shelves would be a good fit for you. You will likely have customers asking you where stuff is in the store, but that's probably about all of the interaction you'd typically have to engage in with them. Or you could maybe try being a bagger, if you're okay with having simple interactions with customers. I'm a cashier (but still get scheduled for bagging shifts quite a bit) and customers really don't get rude with baggers very often. There might just be the occasional one that's really particular about how they want their groceries bagged. And even cashiering isn't so bad. My interactions with customers are fairly routine, and if any big problem comes up, I can just send them over to the service desk. I've had some people get rude and impatient when the lines get backed up which isn't so fun to deal with, but it could be worse. One thing about being a bagger at Publix though is that you're expected to offer carry-out service to every customer. You are supposed to offer twice, and if they still say no after that, just let them go. If they do accept your help then you have to take them outside and load their groceries in their vehicles. It can be a little awkward trying to make small talk for those few minutes. I usually just ask how they're doing, how their day is going, and maybe make some comment about the weather. lol. But if you're a bagger at some other grocery store, you probably won't have to do this. Publix is one of the only ones anymore that offers the carryout service.



jimmy m
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23 Sep 2019, 3:08 pm

When I was growing up 50 years ago, I held several jobs that did not overwhelm my senses that did not require a college degree. These were

Working in a post office: as a mail sorter, as a postman delivering mail
Parking lot attendant
Working in a large warehouse as a warehouseman.
Constructing outdoor metal storage sheds



FletcherArrow
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09 Nov 2019, 11:04 pm

5harkb0y wrote:
Hello, I will try to make this as brief as possible, but I ask that you bare with me.

I was recently diagnosed with autism and it’s been quite a complicated process, I’m still trying to find ways to explain it to close friends that I care about.

I’m 18 years old and I’ve been working at a barbecue restaurant for a little over a year. When I first started I was immediately overwhelmed by the constant beeping of timers, the rude customers, constant changing of tasks, etc. Over time I forced myself to stay strong and push through my anxiety and general sensory overload, so much so that I’ve made it this far.

But as of late due to trying to explain my overwhelming feelings to coworkers, I’m beginning to realize that this job might be a dead end. I’m constantly stressed out and often find myself in tears because I can’t explain what my senses are going through to others, and when I tried to explain it to a coworker he said “You’ve made it through a year, quitting now would be stupid.”

In general, this was my first job and I suppose I’m afraid to look for anything different. Change can be scary.

Do any of you have any job suggestions that you’ve found don’t trigger sensory overload and would be obtainable for someone just out of high school? Thank you.



I think that one of the reasons Aspies have problems in situations like the work place you described is because we attribute the same priority to every noise we hear. I suggest identifying different noises and giving them higher or lower priorities. if you push the low priority noises in the background and only attend to the higher priority noises, then you might not be so overwhelmed.