As we know that there are many times that when it comes to applying for jobs that it can be really difficult for not just us autistic adults after finishing our schooling. This can happen to anyone that has any struggles as am sure that neurotypicals do too. Am I right?
Over 80% of autistic adults are unemployed. And, there is only a small percentage of us working full-time or part-time, casual or other job types that you can think of. You may be questioning to yourselves, why is this?
There are several reasons why we autistic adults struggle with jobs. The lack of education, lack of awareness and acceptance on autism makes it difficult in our everyday life. Many of us autistics see the world in black and white, sometimes we misread body language and other perspectives. It’s like people are speaking a foreign language that we don’t know. The way others teach us is not how we learn, and it’s very difficult to thrive, learn and to grow in a world we don’t fully understand. Most of us struggle with adulting. Let’s be real. You want to know the truth, I know I sure as hell do. A few people in my life has come into child shame me for it all the time. They should know to not forever shame me and guilt me over traits I have tied to a disorder that I never wanted in the first place. Instead of listening to me and trying to understand my perspective, many of them brush it off as real lame ‘excuses.’ Everyone pulls the “excuse card”, or as some may call it a “jail free” card because they don’t want to understand or see what our world is like in our eyes.
Let me tell you something that it’s not that we cannot do the job or even want to do the job or some form specific task to do in the first place, hell no far from it. I know a non-aspie will say ‘well if anyone can’t do the job, of course, they will be fired.’ In fact, we are more than qualified or even skilled for the job. It’s just a matter of fact, our differences aren’t accepted by the neurotypicals and that we have to be doing it to a set standard or some form of expectations from the world of the NeuroTypicals. Most of us autistics when that happens will then try to blend in or mask our feelings and thoughts, just to fit in and blend into society. The workforce that we are working for is running on neurotypical standards and we are not like the neurotypicals. We are far from it! As I said that we are wired differently and that we work on a different operating system to the neurotypicals. Yes, we are all different and unique. We all have gifts and talents to share with the world yet it’s up to us how we should go about it and how we should be treated also can come into affect.
Some of the key points made will vary from person to person who is autistic or not. Not all autistics will be the same when they have their personal struggles with these but some do to an extent. How we handle our everyday struggles is truly up to us though in the long run based on the choices that we make at the end of the day- good or bad as it will bring consequences to it.
There are several reasons why job hunting is a challenge for autistics and for many others. But, before I go on here I want to make it clear that this is all about how the autistics feel through the way of trying to work in a neurotypical world of expectations, rules and their norms. There is no set reason why we struggle with job searches, landing a job and keeping it. I am just pointing out the most common reasons. If you want, you can comment on your struggles with employment that I did not talk about on this blog. The issues from some personal responses from autistics that are as follows from a survey that was made:
- The Application Process!
If you are looking for a job, the first step in the process is you have to apply. You cannot just walk in and ask for a job like the movies. Hell, would it be great if we could be able to have the courage to still do this today to meet and greet with the employer?
Application screening is the first struggle for autistic adults. Most applications have a questionnaire where it gives you a scenario and you have to pick the best answer. I believe also when it comes down to the application screening process with the questionnaires that they give you that it’s not always accurate. I shared more about this in one of my videos which you can watch here titled Job Hunting with Disabilities:
Yet, let met share a bit more to how I feel about this. You see, an autistic person or just anyone may misunderstand as to how the assessment will determine if they’re right for the job. For example, it avoids picking X too often. The applicant may not know how to answer the questions or know what the question is asking. They will not even consider you if you do not pass the questionnaire. I applied for a job a few years ago to work at a gym to clean their equipment and doing a database and with their application when I applied had the questionnaire. With this questionnaire, when I applied had a series of questions to answer about who you are as a person like your traits, your personality and so on and forth. It even said I had to pass to be considered for the job. I did not know how to answer most of the questions, I did not pass the assessment, therefore, they did not want me. I felt that I was being way too open about myself and I felt that how can the database with these questionnaires determine that this is the right person for the job. If that’s the case, I can’t get hired at places that do assessments on their applications. More than likely most stores do these sort of tests. Remember, neurotypicals don’t have the issues that we have.
Another video I wish to add in here is when I shared about a topic called:
AS & Employment//Personality Profiles/ Are they Keeping us from Interviews or Jobs?
I have watched a video on YouTube a series called “Employable Me” where it featured someone on the autism spectrum who struggled on an assessment they need to take to be considered for the job, they did not pass because of a question they could not understand. It feels like most jobs are made for the neurotypicals and not us.
One thing that was a huge issue for me is all applications ask for your work history. The person may not know what to put down if they have never had a job. I just didn’t know what to put on the work history. Yes, some parts of my CV has got some spaces in between many years of which I haven’t worked for a time and that there is a lot of reasons to why this is which I will not disclose here. Most applications require you to have references, however, the applicant may not have any friends to put down. The person may not have anyone reliable that they can put as a reference. The job will call whoever you put down so the applicant can’t just put down anyone or make someone up and add a random number. You have to tell them you’re adding them for a reference. If they’re busy, they may not be free if the job calls them.
Some of the other videos that you can watch on my channel as series is based on why you should think about hiring an autistic and they are as follows:
* Why should you (the employer) hire someone with Autism and the Benefits – the link to this is:
* HIRING AUTISTICS in WORKPLACE/TIME FOR A CHANGE – the link to this is:
2. Resume Screening
I have recently been following some autism pages and one page posted a graphic about discrimination against us in the workplace. There are other issues that were discussed in my video called “Aspergers & Employment- Common Issues at Work” which you can watch here:
The graphics mention how gaps in employment or if the person had several jobs that were only held for a short time can cast bad judgment on us. Gaps in employment probably refer to the person’s struggle with finding a job maybe after quitting a job that didn’t work out. The several jobs refer to how we struggle to hold down a job and is fired after X amount of time. Most likely if the interviewer/manager sees the person had 10 jobs but only had them for a month or less, this makes the interviewer think the person wasn’t fit for the jobs. That person is qualified to the tee for the job. They were fired because their differences weren’t accepted or for other reasons. For instance, my mom refuses to accept that I need a time frame and direct instructions to better understand when I need to be ready or how something needs to be done. If you just say ‘get up early,’ that tells me nothing. How early? 7 am? 8 am? 9 am? As autistics need more information given to us so that we can be able to do the job for you and get ready for our day. As this comes into the territory for us to have a schedule in place as well as you communicating to us the right way. Some autistics will say it how it is.
3. The environment
I’ve mentioned that the setting of the job can play a big role in our ability to perform the job. People with Autism Spectrum Disorders have many different types of sensory issues. These can vary from person to person, however. Some are sensitive to light, cold, hot, unwanted physical contact, etc. If the jobs have a lot of people, it’s possible these sensory issues will be a problem. Take some supermarkets or retail stores or restaurants, it’s just too busy and fast-paced for me to work at yet I am willing to try and give it a go if given the chance to work in one of these places. I know that there will be too many people, too many things happening to be able to focus on the job. It would be possible for me to focus on a job and there is a kid screaming around me as I am sure that with the skills or experience that I have that I can cope or deal with it and that I have the patience to do so. Not all of us can afford noise-cancelling headphones. I feel some autism pages should have a giveaway for noise-cancelling headphones or if the aspie has a YouTube channel/ blog, the page should give them the headphones for free in exchange for a review/mentioning the headphones. In my opinion, retail jobs or any job dealing with the public is not for some of us autistics not all. This is just my 2 cents. Everyone is different. Jobs that care about efficiency I feel is not for us. We do struggle on the job for not being fast enough for the employers.
4. Workplace Bullying
Due to our social differences as an autistic, we are usually the targets for bullying along with many other people with different conditions. In fact, we have issues with bullying in school by kids and adults. I got bullied for being different and I just need an alternative method. I would get called names by the neurotypicals for not understanding their language. When if you explained it in a different text, I would have had that light bulb over the head moment. Kids I had never seen before hated me all of a sudden. I wasn’t given a chance at all because these kids listened to what people told them about me.
We can be bullied into quitting the job. Employers can even harass us. Someone posted in a group that their boss made a snarky mark about their autism. They could not quit because they had no other way to pay their bills. No one, I mean NO ONE should have to be treated badly so they can live. This is why I strongly suggest you create a savings account and put money away to have for backup. This is why I am all for self-employment for autistic adults. Self-employment for anyone really. No one should have to damage their mental health or health all together for a job that doesn’t give a rats hat about them. If you were to drop dead right now, they’d replace you in a week max.
Some links that you can watch based on workplace bullying series are as follows:
* Autism & Employment series- Workplace Bullying – Basics of Bullying Part 1 – the link is:
* Autism & Employment- Workplace Bullying- Why me? Office Gossip Part 2 – link is
*Autism & Employment/Tips on dealing with Workplace Bullying– link is:
5. Lack of Communication or being misunderstood
When it comes to us autistics, you have to add more context to us when giving commands or explaining something. For instance ‘Ben, needs the tape’ will not cut it. I saw another graphic on Facebook that explains if you just leave one-liners with no context it may seem like a passive statement more than a request. For instance, my mom mentioned helping my uncle in the flea market. She did not provide context, so I just saw it as a train or thought. If I didn’t have anxiety with crowds, helping my uncle at the flea market would be something I could do. She was actually suggesting it and I thought it was just a random thought. If you do not provide context like ‘please take out the garbage in a minute’ we will not think it’s important. Everyone is different, remember that. This can be extremely problematic if the boss were to give us a task but not provide those extra details. Say the boss says ‘Joe needs help in the so and so department,’ if the boss does not say now, at 3 o’clock, etc the employee will not think Joe needs help right away and the boss gets mad that the employee did not help Joe when the boss asked. Is it really a wise idea to put someone prone to hurting themselves or think about hurting themselves when they get yelled at putting them on a job where it’s highly possible is a good idea? This is the icing on the cake as to why I cannot handle the stress and hassle of a job. If we are not fast enough they yell at us which just adds fuel to the fire.
6. Workplace Discrimination
Closed-minded employers can also make the persons stay at the job short, or stop them in their tracks. The aspie tells their employer about their autism to request the accommodations that they need to function. In most cases, the aspie is fired upon revealing their autism. It does sound like a personal attack because the worker has autism. In other cases, the person is harassed and they quit as a result. I was on Reddit and a person posted that they were fired for being autistic. I feel it’s more of their autism habits being read the wrong way, being found annoying by other workers and the boss firing the employee due to too many complaints/reports. When someone says they were fired for being X, they are probably saying the traits tied to their disorder was seen the wrong way.
Not only autistic people have this problem. For people with certain disorders I saw an article where a Chrone’s patient who worked for Amazon got fired because of his illness. This was due to his frequent restroom trips. This is just to show when people say they lost their job due to their disorder, they were punished for traits caused by the disorder that they can not control.
7. Not working fast enough
As we know that no matter what conditions we have that sometimes we work better with no pressure or time constraints yet sometimes some of us do have that struggle to keep up with the demands at work. I believe that we should be able to still work in the environment that we are in as I believe that in some jobs we should be able to take our time and feel that we autistics especially if we take our time and are absorbed in our work we can get the work done more efficiently. The employee not being fast enough for the employer can also make keeping the job hard for many people. This is why we need jobs where people with Autism Spectrum Disorders can go at their own pace without being bashed for ‘moving too slow.’ Most jobs care more about efficiency than quality. Which is a messed up system. Customers can also complain about you not moving fast enough. That rules out fast food for us (or me at least) since you need to be quick. Hence what it’s called FAST food. Some of us can handle fast food, some can’t. I feel jobs that care about efficiency are not for some of us. I feel jobs that care about quality are for us. me personally, I rather someone take 2 hours to clean my room and it’s neat than for them to rush and do it in 20 minutes and it’s just as messy as when the person started. Not everyone thinks like that.
8. Can’t get past the interview stage
For many of us not just autistics will find this as a struggle to try and get to an interview after applying for their dream job. Why do we struggle with interviews? We all get nervous and anxious when we do go through this stage of employment. Some of us autistics will get read wrong due to us being anxious, not knowing what to say and so on.
Well, there are several reasons why. The person can take the questions too literally. The question ‘tell me about yourself’ could be the reason why we struggle with the interview. This question most likely is, to sum up, your previous employment or how you feel you fit the job. The person will think the tell me about yourself question is, to sum up, some facts about them like where they’re from. When a friend wants you to tell them about yourself, they want to know some interesting things about you. We take things literally, therefore, we may answer the questions too literally. It takes us a bit to process and understand your question. If the interviewer sees the person taking too long to answer the questions, this can count against them. Sometimes anxiety gets to the person and it causes them to mess up the interview. Sometimes an unexpected question can pop up and the person does not know how to answer it. The interviewer will not know the interviewee has autism, therefore the interviewee’s behaviour will likely be read as they are not interested in the job. I know this is rich coming from someone who has never had a job due to autism, you have to think about how your behaviour can be read. We lack the skills to know how someone may read our body language, voice tone, etc. Of course, if the person is not aware of how their body language, voice tone, etc is being read, this can complicate things.
Some of the other responses to why autistics find it a struggle for interviews are based on some of the autistics that responded by a survey being asked:
A video you can watch based on this is called Job Seeking and Interviews and the link to this is:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=abaNnGKYZG8&list=PLD1nCoeovTZ4qAdWVBrLu9BOZrJAnwoG_&index=10 and another video to consider is called: Aspergers & Employment/Shall I disclose my Aspergers?
the link to this one is:
9. Can’t keep a job down
Why is it that we autistics can’t keep a job? It’s NOT because we can’t do the job, it’s because our differences are not accepted. It’s because of the employers’ or co-workers’ attitude towards us. The boss’s method of learning the job is too difficult for you to understand. You need to see someone do the action to better understand the job, depending on the job. However, there may not always be an option to have someone demonstrate the job for you to understand. You may need more clarity on the tasks you are given. We need a time frame when giving a request, otherwise, we will think it’s not important. The boss does not do this when he/she gives you your assignment(s). The person does not do the job the way the boss wanted to and the boss gets mad. You’re reprimanded for taking too long to understand the job, it’s not your fault you need a different method or take longer on some things than everyone else. Or you’re yelled at for not doing the job the way the boss wanted you to do it due to missing details as to how the job needed to be done.
Again, some responses to some parts of the survey are attached here to show the responses from the autistics.
End result, here is that the reason to why they can’t hold a job down or keep a job is due to having an autistic burnout or meltdown.
Endnote: I have mentioned a few solutions to these with giving you all some tips that may come handy if you are working with an autistic. We need to work together and be patient and allow us to show you what we can do with our talents and more. I am asking you to help us. Some of us struggle to find or hold down jobs. Think about how happy we will be that you decided to make it work for us when no one else did. For example: think about it for a second, solo/small game developers don’t have the tools that larger companies have, especially when it comes to promotion. Simply hiring someone to write articles promoting your game can really help you. Think about it, solo/small game developers don’t have the tools that larger companies have, especially when it comes to promotion. Simply hiring someone to write articles promoting your game can really help you.
So, what I am asking you all is to help us. Some of us struggle to find or hold down jobs. Think about how happy we will be that you decided to make it work for us when no one else did.