Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Autism Awareness month and #HAWMC Day 8! Just Keep Swimming! :)

Off to work! What advice would you give to those on the job search?
 How do you juggle your job and a chronic illness? Any tips for the interview?

I am likely THE worst person to be giving advice to others on the job search.

Its not for the lack of trying, not for the lack of resumes put out into the world.(About 100 since February when my last position ended, double that the last time I was looking for work, and ever ever more before the time before the time before that.)
I just can't seem to find or hold onto any job!
They're more slippery than the greased piglet in the ring at the fair, and thats saying something!

(I am not alone here, the last thing I read claimed that only 35% of all adults with autism have obtained and are successful in full time employment, and most of those I'm finding lie within the technology and sciences... hard for an artist on spectrum to swallow.)

Juggling a job and Autism? Its hard. NOT GONNA LIE. If you aren't in your element, the right job, it is DAMNED HARD. Not impossible, but holy goats on toast it ain't easy!

ADVICE # 1: Have a great resume, get others to look it over revise if nesessary. (I can't even tell you how many career/job counsillors/ friends/ collegues have reviewed mine)
Dress Nicely...
Remember all the rules.
Shower and wear antipersperant, NO perfume, dress nicely, nothing too short , nor too dowdy, cover tattoos (but remember to ask whether or not they are allowed to show)
no hair in the face, wear a bit of makeup, (but not too much! Or if you're a guy!) O.o
 No chipped nail polish, clean hands, keeping jewlery and peircings to a minimum, SMILE , MAKE AND KEEP MAKING EYECONTACT ,( but not too much or else its creepy.) Bring a resume, one for me one for each interview-er, pen and paper for notes. And then comes the tricky part. DO NOT repeat the question before you answer, take time to think, (but not too much), ((heaven HELP me if I lose my train of thought or forget words. )) Remember to keep body language open , and engaging.( DO NOT use retreating body language! O.o) Don't talk TOO much or TOO little.
Then, to disclose or not to disclose your disability?
Depending on how confident you are, how affected daily you are, and if you think it will help or hinder, you can either tell your interview-er that you're on spectrum or not.
I've done it both ways, had a really good interview *I thought!* and disclosed that I am on the Autism Spectrum, the person immediately started ennunciating bigger and speaking louder. WHAT?! Seriously!?
None the less to say, I never heard back from them and I'm kind of glad with that attitude that I didn't thankyouverymuch!
Anyways ENOUGH BELLYACHING and down to brass tacks,

My advice for anyone with ASD looking for a job
Play to your strengths (when and if possible), if you have a special skill in math, do something with math! Music? Try something in music, or working places like the NAC which will allow you to experience loads of music! Play to your talents. It will help you have staying power, and your incredible ammount of random facts about your interests will be put to amazing use in astounding your co-workers and customers.

Make sure you can start small. It takes time to get into and be comfortable in any environment! Especially for anyone on spectrum. Its ok to ask for part time with an opportunity to raise your hours when you feel comfortable.

Be willing to learn new routines. Differences in daily routine can be frustrating but you are the new person in the totem pole, so learn the way they do things where you work , and respectfully suggest ways they can be improved if you have ideas.. Don't reorganise anything without asking first! Other people have routines too and this tends to disrupt everyone else...even if your way IS more productive/better/color coordinated.... .... ..    
.. ..  this one is from experience.

Keep at it. It takes 3 weeks to really start to mesh well with your new work place, 9 weeks to form habits and be getting comfortable in your new work place. If someone says something you think is hurtful, remember they may not mean it the way that you feel it. Try to let it go and just go on being your awesome self. If someone IS seriously bothering you, you don't have to confront them, its ok to ask your higher up or another collegue their perspective, advice or help talking to the offending person. Don't be afraid to ask for help.

Never give up. If this job doesn't work out, thats ok. You still walk away with more experience than you had the last time. If it was a BIG BAD walkaway or if you are blue over being fired/leaving , Please take some time to heal. Take your time going through the steps of your own recovery :) Remember you ARE awesome, you ARE worthwhile, you ARE good at things, you MOST CERTAINLY CAN AND WILL FIND SOMETHING THAT FITS YOU JUST RIGHT SOMEDAY.
I have to keep giving myself my last advice. I hear it a lot, and I have to believe it , because if I believe it someday it will be true.
Till then, I'm working from home, doing illustrations and henna dates , just keeping myself floating along until the current in my river shifts. These are things I'm happy doing, and someday I hope that my illustrations will be my only career! I keep telling myself that someday that will happen, and so it will.
Someday :)

Love and a Spoon
<3 (___)=========


  1. I think this is an excellent list!! I can't fully empathize with the depth of struggle that looking for/maintaining a job entails when you have challenges like autism. I've watched your journey with amazement, both by the support of HoneyBee, and your dedication to "keep going." Inspiring.

    1. Thanks Pattie <3
      I have great people around me to look up to, and Dory has it right.
      Just keep swimming! Just keep swimming! :)
      *I'm changing the title of my post now XD