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DoniiMann
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09 Jun 2021, 5:51 pm

I didn't get diagnoses until about ten years ago, so my youth was well and truly over by then. I find myself thinking about the work advice I received in my younger, presumed NT, days. Basically I was taught to be prepared to take any available job. Be flexible.

So I've worked on a dairy, in factories, cafes, mowed lawns...

But now I'm almost 54, living in a small town at the bottom of the world, and I haven't worked in a decade. And I refuse to give up and retire.

As I look back, it occurs to me that better advice might have been to develop a career rather than to just take jobs wherever I could find them. And I wonder if it might be good advice now, at this age, in this location, after this much unemployment...

What are your thoughts on career vs jobs as it applies to our ASD brethren and sistren?


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1986
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09 Jun 2021, 9:39 pm

Well, I was pushed into a career by my parents since I was a child, and while I'm still there I've kind of made a sideways move in order to have more spare time.

While I don't have any passion for the career in itself, at least it has provided me with a clear path in life and a more or less guaranteed future income unless I lose both my arms or something. One drawback is that it landed me in heavy debt after graduation, and while I could technically repay that soon it's something I could've avoided if I had approached adolescence in a smarter way. I've entertained the idea of a career move at times, but I'm most likely going to remain where I am. Not perfect by any rate, but good enough.

Compared to my friends in high school and uni, I'm doing quite terrible though. I'm sure they all earn twice or thrice what I earn and have great flashy titles on their business cards. But hey, maybe it'll come in handy one day to know 4 doctors, 2 lawyers, and 1 psychologist, among others.

EDIT: By career I assume that you mean sticking to one field or profession for your entire working life.



DoniiMann
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09 Jun 2021, 11:31 pm

1986 wrote:

EDIT: By career I assume that you mean sticking to one field or profession for your entire working life.


If not all, then a significant part of a working life. I guess that by focusing and reducing one's career field, one increases work by decreasing the number of competitors.


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1986
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09 Jun 2021, 11:46 pm

I don't know, since I've always worked in the same profession. On one hand, the more experience you gain in a particular field, the more "valuable" you become to your workplace. On the other, in some fields like aforementioned doctor, lawyer, etc. the competition is stiff so it's easy to get knocked out if you don't keep up. But maybe it's comparatively rare for autistics to get involved in such careers ...

I tried hard in the beginning to build a career, but I've more or less given up since I found things outside work which interest me more. My wife keeps saying "it might change", and who knows? At least committing to one profession gives you a sense of stability and also opportunity. If I ever feel like throwing myself seriously into my career again, the road is open.



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DoniiMann
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10 Jun 2021, 12:47 am

This place needs a like button. And a laugh button.


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Fireblossom
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10 Jun 2021, 9:01 am

Well, having a steady career in one field that one likes would be ideal, but it's not that simple. One can't just decide to get a good career; other people play their parts in it too, like if you get hired or not even for the most low paid bottom job. Building a career on something one likes is the best option, but if one can't do that, it's better to find some other field to build a career in or do low paid dead end jobs while looking for a better job. Low paid dead end jobs may not look good in one's CV, but they sure look better than being unemployed.



RadioDog
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10 Jun 2021, 11:17 am

DoniiMann wrote:
Basically I was taught to be prepared to take any available job. Be flexible. So I've worked on a dairy, in factories, cafes, mowed lawns... But now I'm almost 54, living in a small town at the bottom of the world, and I haven't worked in a decade. And I refuse to give up and retire. As I look back, it occurs to me that better advice might have been to develop a career rather than to just take jobs wherever I could find them. And I wonder if it might be good advice now, at this age, in this location, after this much unemployment...
What are your thoughts on career vs jobs as it applies to our ASD brethren and sistren?


I'm in a similiar boat, at a similiar age (though a little older). I've worked in all sorts of jobs, and never finished any college. But I was also old enough that "back then" if you were good at something and stuck it out there was a good possibility you could move up or make more money at what you were doing. The expectation for most jobs was that you would stick it out for years, if it was anything at all decent. I even managed to move up at the fast food job I worked in high school.

However, the world changed and suddenly jobs I had done before I was no longer "qualified" for - even though the actual work was exactly the same (or even less than what I was doing). The fact that I didn't have a college degree meant I wasn't even able to apply, no matter how many years of previous experience I had.

This worked against me even more in that my (then unknown to me) ASD struggles often made it difficult to keep most jobs (the others I tended to lose because I had to move across country, for example, and had to reapply but without that college degree). So what happened is that the kinds of jobs I could get went lower and lower down the socioeconomic scale (like working in a group home). Not that there's anything wrong with those kinds of jobs -- there isn't! -- but the lower you go on the socioeconomic scale, the more physical the jobs tend to get, and the less ASD-friendly the jobs tend to get.

All of which means it's been getting harder and harder to remain employed, and I have zero financial ability to just stop working.

Looking back, I wish I had either completed college in something (anything), just so I had that piece of paper -- or -- I wish I had completed some kind of apprenticeship program. Those weren't needed when I was a young person to make a decent financial living, but they definitely are now.


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shortfatbalduglyman
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10 Jun 2021, 7:31 pm

Monopolistic competition

"Your ideal job is someone else's ideal job. What gives you the edge?"

Beggars can't be choosers

It is good to work on a career, but unless you have great skills, personality, and/or luck, you have to be flexible about what jobs you take



auntblabby
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10 Jun 2021, 7:41 pm

never managed to get a career. just a relatively long uncivil service gig is all, after army.



browneyedgirlslowingdown
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10 Jun 2021, 7:50 pm

I chose a career. I did so because I wanted to have a for sure job, with a middle-class salary, good benefits, and retirement. I am working on a second career now as well, and potentially more. I don't know why I am like this, but it ties to my special interests and feels natural to me as well. I was always afraid of a job, it always seemed unstable, I like very clear rules and direction for work, so careers that have standard upward mobility or steps built-in, a couple of major downsides is it took like years to get here...ie finish school and I have a lot student loan debt.


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Diagnosed ASD 5/17/21
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Your broader autism cluster (Aspie) score: 153 of 200
Your neurotypical (non-autistic) score: 50 of 200
You are very likely on the broader autism cluster (Aspie)
Systemising Quotient (SQ) 78
Empathy Quotient (EQ) 41
CAT-Q 156 Compensation 56 Masking 48 Assimilation 52


auntblabby
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10 Jun 2021, 7:52 pm

i guess i was born lacking those [entrepreneurial] kinda genes.



Juliette
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11 Jun 2021, 7:32 pm

DoniiMann wrote:
I didn't get diagnoses until about ten years ago, so my youth was well and truly over by then. I find myself thinking about the work advice I received in my younger, presumed NT, days. Basically I was taught to be prepared to take any available job. Be flexible.

So I've worked on a dairy, in factories, cafes, mowed lawns...

But now I'm almost 54, living in a small town at the bottom of the world, and I haven't worked in a decade. And I refuse to give up and retire.

As I look back, it occurs to me that better advice might have been to develop a career rather than to just take jobs wherever I could find them. And I wonder if it might be good advice now, at this age, in this location, after this much unemployment...

What are your thoughts on career vs jobs as it applies to our ASD brethren and sistren?


Without having read anything other than your original post, my advice is to genuinely ask yourself “If you could start again ... what career would you pursue?”

From there, I would re-enter University or whatever natural path may lead to your introduction into that field. Under no circumstances would I listen to anyone who puts you off this path, as I’ve seen the good that can be achieved, even in late life, for those who have started life afresh at 40/50 +yrs. It’s all in your attitude and approach.



browneyedgirlslowingdown
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11 Jun 2021, 8:58 pm

auntblabby wrote:
i guess i was born lacking those [entrepreneurial] kinda genes.


I think for me, mom was blind and cognitively impaired, we were really poor and no one ever did anything for us, homelessness was pretty standard. I was too scared of that, I think it was fear more than entrepreneurial for me anyways.

I hope it was okay that I replied to your reply.


_________________
Diagnosed ASD 5/17/21
AQ 40/50
Your broader autism cluster (Aspie) score: 153 of 200
Your neurotypical (non-autistic) score: 50 of 200
You are very likely on the broader autism cluster (Aspie)
Systemising Quotient (SQ) 78
Empathy Quotient (EQ) 41
CAT-Q 156 Compensation 56 Masking 48 Assimilation 52


RadioDog
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11 Jun 2021, 9:01 pm

There's always a big divide between the ASD folks who had everything else together enough to accomplish a "career" or long term employment in an area they enjoy -- and the rest of us. I look for suggestions and inspiration or at least fellowship from the folks who were/are ASD enough that making it through school, a work day, etc., was something very difficult a good deal of the time. There's a huge difference in life and life expectations between those who had, for example:

* an engineering mindset but also had enough going for them that they could make it through school/etc to actually become an engineer and work in rooms full of near/full-on ASD people, versus,
* an egineering mindset but also struggled with all the focus and completion and sensory and so on and so on challenges that made it impossible to accomplish an engineering type job. And so either end up unemployed, or working a million garbage jobs, etc.

Look for the folks with similiar struggles to yourself but who seem to have accomplished some/all of what you are interested in. For myself, I've stopped listening to the ASD folks who can/have been able to "make it". I'm sure they are fine folks, but I have zero in common with them, really, and I've found they have nothing to offer me in terms of life wisdom.

But those who've struggled and then struggled because they didn't/can't "make it"? Those are my real people, and I learn from an appreciate them a lot. I used to be able to attend an ASD support group (where only real ASD people were allowed to attend, and caregivers, parents, spouses, etc weren't allowed in so we could truly be ourselves), and I was often struck at all the incredible brain power in the room -- even though most there were either on disability, or working sweeping floors, or something else that was not even close to what their intellect was capable of. I miss being able to hang out with them (group was taken over by non-ASD people who insisted they were because they were things like shy -- but didn't have any of the real positive and negative traits we share. And then I moved out of state and there isn't one here).


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auntblabby
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11 Jun 2021, 10:27 pm

browneyedgirlslowingdown wrote:
auntblabby wrote:
i guess i was born lacking those [entrepreneurial] kinda genes.


I think for me, mom was blind and cognitively impaired, we were really poor and no one ever did anything for us, homelessness was pretty standard. I was too scared of that, I think it was fear more than entrepreneurial for me anyways. I hope it was okay that I replied to your reply.

by all means, this is an equal-opportunity forum so please do reply to me if you feel like it :flower: i have found that it is precisely uncontrolled fear [weak frontal lobes] that hamstrung me. i couldn't figure out a way to strengthen my frontal lobes or at least weaking the shouting defectively functioning parts of my brain so my beleaguered frontal lobes could finally get a break and do their stuff as designed.