Job hunting with autism in a non-autistic world

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I’m currently searching for a part-time job. I do make some money off my writing and art, but let’s face it, it can be hard to make a living off those things alone. I hope someday to do so, but right now we need some extra money. However, hunting for a job isn’t easy for me. First off, I have some health problems. I can’t work long hours, especially if I need to be on my feet for long (due to severe Plantar Fasciitis) and I can’t lift much of anything that is heavy, which has ruled out many jobs. Add to that, the fact that I have Asperger’s Syndrome and the job market is awfully slim.

Although Asperger’s doesn’t make me unable to work, it does cause some real issues. First off, I have social anxiety which can become overwhelming if I work a job with too much forced socialization. Secondly, although I have a great eye for detail (a gift from having high-functioning autism), I am not very good at multitasking. In fact, it can cause a lot of anxiety if I have to do too much at once all the time. I also need a job that is relatively predictable every day. Too much change in environment or job duties can actually induce panic attacks, which isn’t at all uncommon among those with Asperger’s Syndrome.

Then of course you have the problems with job interviews. First off, do I be totally honest about my physical problems and the issues caused by autism? If I do, I know it may ruin my chances of a job. I hate to think someone wouldn’t hire me just because I have health problems and was born a little different than everyone else, but I know it happens all the time. They may not say that is the reason, but they can still choose not to deal with the restrictions I have. Also, interviews are hell for people who feel socially awkward and nervous to begin with. Often, I can’t tell what someone thinks of me when they first meet me unless they directly tell me, so I often sit there the whole time wondering if I am bombing the interview or if I am doing ok. I am naturally bluntly honest, which can be an issue too.

All of this stress and confusion really makes me wish there were job placement services to help people with high-functioning autism. Unfortunately, almost all of the services around here require that you have a low IQ, which I do not have. In fact, my IQ is quite a bit above average, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t still struggle with issues from the autism. Overall, job hunting feels like an alien world to me. One I just don’t get and will probably always have to “fake it to make it”. Unfortunately, I’m not good at faking things for long.

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3 thoughts on “Job hunting with autism in a non-autistic world

  1. Maranda, you sound a lot like me. I have ADHD and signs of dyspraxia, and probably Asperger’s too, since I have trouble with eye contact. It’s interesting that you mention severe Plantar Fasciitis, as my mother and I both have that. I wonder if there’s a connection between that and the dyspraxia. Maybe the foot structure is related to gross motor skill difficulties.

    I can’t multi-task, either. I’ve read articles that it’s actually very unhealthy to force ANY employee to extreme multi-task, but that is unfortunately the world we live in.

    Did you ever find a decent job? Please keep us posted.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Amy! Thanks so much for reading and commenting! Yes, we do sound a lot alike. I actually just recently got approved for SSDI disability because my health issues have worsened so much in the past few years. I would rather be able to work, but the last job I had, which was only 2 days a week, was still too much for me to handle and I was missing work too much due to health problems and hospital visits.

      Like

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