Autism And Getting a Job Part 1: The Need to be Authentic

Autism spans across all IQ’s and interests. If you have some of the autistic traits like I do, then you will have to really focus on things all the time, you would have a need to not socially fit in. Trying to read people would be a challenge. Your sleep schedule is all off track. You see the world differently than most. You’ll hate taking direction from mid-level mangers who do not want to try new things. There is probably much more as well that I haven’t mentioned.

If you try to hide it, these hidden traits will come through. You cannot escape them, even if you try. But you do not have to. These traits can be strengths in higher level jobs.

My first summer job was working for the City of Barrie’s Corporate Investment department when I was 29 years old. The following summer I worked for Ontario Music Cooperative Inc. In each of those jobs I started the summer by putting all the cards on the table. I told them about what my strengths and weaknesses were. A little secret as someone who now is organizing other people, everyone I look at has weaknesses, what I want to know is how aware are they of those weaknesses, so they can compensate for them.  The act of telling my boss upfront meant I had a boss who was looking for those characteristics. This meant that I could be myself all summer and that was celebrated.

The autistic traits I talked about earlier are what people look for in jobs, where the goal is to do what most people are not doing. These jobs are often linked to some sort of innovation. If you have one skill that you are really good at and suck at everything else, as hard as it is and it is hard, you need to spend time learning the softer skills. You do not need to be great at them, just good enough to survive the need to apply your strengths. At all levels of the spectrum, the need to do one thing can be enough to find people who need that skill. Do not be afraid to learn how to do what most people would not. The best jobs of the future are doing what no one has even dreamed of yet.

Part 2: The Future of Jobs Automation and Autism, will be out on October 31st.  

Edited by: Julie Mann