When some other Autistics see my recent success in employment, they sometimes jealously think “he got lucky.” or “he’s one of the lucky ones.” and guess what? They are right…I got lucky. And that’s the problem.
Of the 15 years, I was legally allowed to gain employment, less than 7 were spent actually employed at all, and that was with years of unemployment and jobseeking in-between. Most of those jobs were luck too. Either my mom begged them to hire me, I knew someone who worked there, or they were desperate, all of which involved a string of luck. It wasn’t until I had proven myself in a field that I didn’t want to be in that I was able to get a second and third job in that field. Which brings us to my current full-time job in Multimedia.
Luck. I have a huge skill set, a portfolio, I have a degree, I have work experience, but none of that panned out for me since my graduation from college in 2008. I got turned down for internships, for jobs at my college, (even with 2 letters of recommendation from 2 heads of 2 different departments. one of which was in my chosen field) I had trouble getting “any job” and there was no chance at breaking into my chosen field in sight.
But I lucked out. I had just gotten married, got laid off from my job with Microsoft, and was running out of unemployment after looking for months. But they had a need, the last guy botched his chance, I had a hiring company vouching for me (Even if they had almost burned the bridge down with the last guy) and I was deeply determined to get this job. The right things fell into place, and I got the job.
It helped that the person who interviewed me saw something in me, thought better of his hesitations (due to issues with the last guy) and gave me a shot albeit with a somewhat comedic string of stipulations that would see me losing the job if ever triggered. This string of lucky breaks gave me the shot that ended in me becoming one of the most important parts of this team.
It was luck. And that is pathetic. Nobody should have to beg for a job, endlessly apply for thousands of jobs hearing nothing back, and get to where they do a background check on themselves just to make sure nobody is using their identity. Nobody should have to wait years for the right string of events to take place to get a single job. I’ve read countless articles, taken countless classes, rewritten my resume a hundred time, and it was LUCK that got me the job almost 7 years after receiving my degree.
And the fact that I flourished into one of their best, most competent, most innovative employees tells me that it was never my fault. It was society’s fault. Whether interviewers knew I was diagnosed or not changed nothing. If they didn’t know, they felt like something was wrong with me and wrote me off. If they did know, they were not educated enough in what Autism meant, still felt like something was wrong with me, and wrote me off.
According to The National Autistic Society, 15-16% of Autistic adults have a full-time job. 32% are in any kind of paid work at all which in non-disabled people is 80% and yet 77% of us want to be employed. In total, the combined unemployment and underemployment for young adults with autism has been up to 90% in some places. Society…you are failing us.
We as Autistics have done our best to meet you half-way. When that didn’t work, we met you all the way. When THAT didn’t work, we kept trying endlessly until we either gave up, went on disability, or became homeless. You are judging us on face value, purposely blocking us from employment, then subsequently judging us for our inability to find and keep work. We learn the rules, we play the game, we go through the proper channels, but after that, we are not in our way. You are.
So…Do you want innovation at your company? Hire an Autistic. Do you want to find the answers to questions you didn’t even know existed? Hire an Autistic. Do you want someone who craves structure so much they follow the rules to a T? Hire an Autistic. Do you want to be the part of society that finally gets out of its own way by getting out of ours? Then you need to hire an Autistic. Because you can’t survive on luck. For that, you need a job.
While i try to get back to the blog, I wanted to ask for a little help.
I’m trying to get a job at the animation industry,
but I have no professional experience yet, and that makes it really hard to take the first step… An company to hire you for the first time XD And i sadly lack the contacts inside the industry…
I’m trying to send my portfolio and data to all possible companies. If you know of a cartoon/animation company with a hiring page, or that is looking for people, can you let me know? I was only able to find a few so far… And I’m sure there are more out there >>. I DON’T CARE WHERE IN THE WORLD. I’m willing to relocate xD So don’t worry for that.
I don’t animate, i am more of a prop/character designer… and self taught story artist. (rough layout?)
Studies in Spain suck a lot xD So there is a lot i have to learn yet. But that’s why i want to get my experience from a company, rather than keep on studying here…