Today I talk about Autism and work, now from what I hear and read about this topic is that the two do not click very well or in other words, many people with Autism struggle to get a job, let alone hold one down. I have had a few jobs from being a teenager and have had many different experiences through them all, some good and a few bad and I left a job because I got all too much for me to handle but that was for more than just handling angry customers.
What is it that holds so many people back from getting a paid job when they have Autism? The fear of dealing with people? A lack of understanding from an employer? Maybe it’s both in a way, I mean school was a struggle enough, why would going out into a working place be any different when you won’t know who you are working with? Every article I read, it says that a low per cent of adults with Autism will be able to work a full time job or even live by themselves, especially those with high functioning Autism and it can be a little frustrating to read stuff like this because it isn’t a confidence booster so many years ago, I fell of the wagon and didn’t think like that…I didn’t read the articles stating that everyone with Autism was the same, I didn’t even think about Autism and I got on with my life.
When I moved in with my wife in 2014, I needed to find a job so I took the first job that responded to me and that was a fast food restaurant on the edge of town, it was money and that’s all I was bothered about…at the time. At first, everything was fine and dandy but some of the rules the place had were very stressful and you had to be up and running all day long, you couldn’t slow down for a second and it was very bad for my health, I resorted to Kalm tablets to not lose control and snap because it was slowly bringing me down over time. An example was that you had to not be a pound down in your till or it’s a mark against you and if you got so many, they got rid of you but what they don’t tell you is that while your working and serving customers, another worker might take something from your till…to teach you a lesson! It’s busy as heck and when your focusing on 3 to 5 customers at a time, that’s what they are bothered about! A few of my tills were down and that added to my stress and not to mention the customers who would make you feel small and how they’d brag that they were successful etc You see that a lot in most jobs to be fair though!
I left that place after a month because I just wasn’t myself anymore, I wasn’t happy at all and people noticed my change in attitude, I just didn’t want to do anything whatsoever so for my health and happiness, I chose to leave and work a little bit closer to home. Working with the public has it’s up and downs but it’s fine most of the time yet you will get the occasional person who tries to ruin your day, mostly because they are already in a bad mood.
I have worked in a cafe before as well and that was on and off as you would occasionally get the angry customer who complained over the slightest detail, I even had one moan because I was Autistic…that was the last time I told someone I thought was friendly that I had it and they moaned because one of their neighbours has it and is always loud and throws things so they assumed I was the same and demanded someone else to serve them…it was humiliating, I’ll admit but I got over it in time but an experience like that can crush confidence because of the lack of understanding with some people can hamper a day and make you want to go home and quit.
Nowadays, I do just fine with a job and mine includes dealing with the general public on a daily basis! That sounds like it would be really tough for someone like me to have to talk to people all day long but to be honest, it’s fine most of the time! In a way, I just stopped letting people get to me and ruin my day, what’s the point of letting one or two people get to you if they think they are above you? I just shrug it off but I used to struggle to get over a comment made by someone, I won’t see them again anyway so why let it get you down? I mean I was once complained about for saying the following to a customer
”I don’t think Donald Trump should be president” – 2016
Now I live in England people! Yet someone got offended by my opinion on anothe countries presidential election…because you can’t have an opinion in this day and age because someone will be offended by it to the point that they have to say something…what a sad world we live in! I don’t remember this in the 90’s, just makes me realise why I’d hate to be labelled a ‘Millennial’ because everyone just moans about them…I can see why! I mean I heard that Britain wanted ‘Pregnant Woman’ to be changed to ‘Pregnant People’ because it is offensive to Transgender people, don’t believe me, look at the blue link by the Guardian the point being is that people get offended by the strangest of things and at work, you tread on egg shells as what to talk about!
Jobs are hard and having to deal with people has ups and downs but it’s not something that I dread anymore…I’m used to it because you will get bad customers but you will also get so many more good customers who brighten your day and make you smile, I mean I’ve had many customers come to me because of my smile or because I make their day and that makes me happy so it’s worth it, I have my regulars and some have even bought me a bottle of champagne before my wedding!
Sounds silly but I just stopped thinking about Autism when I’m in work, I know I’m capable and I don’t need a label to hold me back because it only holds me back via how others react to it, not me personally so I don’t think about it at all and yes I have moments where I come close to a meltdown and I over think everything to the point I’m told not to worry but that’s life, I earn all my victories by myself…in other words, I peeled my label off.
Jobs are hard and can be challenging but if you don’t believe the hype that people with Autism can’t handle very much and you just do your best, then no one can ask any more from you, don’t do anything that you will find damaging for your health, try something that will make you feel comfortable and an environment that will make you happy…preferably one that is good for dealing with people with disabilities but it’s not impossible for someone with Autism to get a job, far from it…don’t let what you have hamper or stop any dreams that you have, after all…it’s all down to you at the end of the day if you let it get to you or not…no one else is responsible for that so don’t let it stop you, let it encourage you and push you forward in this world, let it make you happy!