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mjm8401's avatar

How do I find a steady job when I have high functioning autism?

Asked by mjm8401 (170points) September 5th, 2013

I am 27 years old. I have been unemployed for over a year. At this point in time I have noway to really prove that I have a autism spectrum except for my own personal life experiences. However I am pretty sure I do have some along the line of aspergers or some sort of social autism. I’ve always had a hard time keep eye contact, and keep conversations going . Growing up I didn’t understand social boundaries. Its hard to make and keep friends. I would hang out with the same people all the time till they go tired of me and told me to stop. I used to take everything personal and get upset like they hated me. I had to learn these sort of things on my own. As an adult I struggle to hold jobs, especially ones in customer service. I’m very introverted. So can anyone that knows they have a autism spectrum recommend a entry level job for someone like me? Its seems in most situations I am misunderstood and come off as cold when I look at people with a blank stare on my face. I’d like to be a mechanic or something like that, but for now I just need to get on my feet and move out of my dad’s house.

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15 Answers

LuckyGuy's avatar

I hired a guy like this. He is a brilliant microcontroller programmer. I tell him what I need and he goes off and does it. Check out Freescale, Cypress, Arduino, etc. I also have him do simulations in Matlab and Simulink.

Pluses and minuses for me, the employer:
Plus. He does what I ask him to do. And does it well.
Minus. I can’t have him talk to the customer. He is a disaster.
He is a PIA (pain in the ass – sorry) to converse with. Every number must have a unit attached to it no matter how many times we are talking about something. I can’t say “It is hot outside.” I must say “It is above 80 F.” I can tell the other guys a circuit is fast. He needs to know how many nanoseconds. (I want to scream “WTF difference does it make?” but I do not. Instead I will ponder the rise time and tell him the answer 15ns. That can be very frustrating for the uninitiated.

I can’t use sarcasm or make a joke. I can’t use simile or metaphor. I can’t talk about how I am frustrated. I can talk to him about the program and then leave him alone. That makes us both happy.

The plus outweighs the minuses even though it causes me some stress.

My recommendation to you is to learn something technical.

serenade's avatar

Contact your state’s department of vocational rehabilitation. They specialize in placing people with various disabilities into appropriate jobs.

geeky_mama's avatar

Like @LuckyGuy I also work in a technical field and have had colleagues (some diagnosed, some not) on the Autism spectrum. In fact, I suspect I myself might be somewhere closer to Aspergers than “neuro-typical” – but I’ve adapted with therapy, time and a patient spouse.

Here’s what I recommend:
1. Find a support group. Online or in-person. A good resource to use as a starting point is here.
Regardless of an official diagnosis, if you fit the criteria you can benefit from learning how others have coped and adapted.

2. Like @LuckyGuy suggests, find a technical skill. You may be eager to move out from your dad’s house – but you might first need to train in a skill. First make a list of your skills, likes and dislikes. Map the things you like best to possible jobs and then learn what sort of training you need to get the job.
For example, if you like video games or computers, consider being a QA tester for a video game development company. Get trained in a QA methodology and begin applying for positions in software testing.
A dear friend who is a diagnosed Aspie is a talented DBA. It’s a perfect job for her because she need not talk to other people (except by email) for the most part. She has occasional verbal outbursts (where she shouts expletives) but as long as she didn’t have an office in an area where people were likely to on a phone call with a customer or a high-traffic area—it was a non-issue. (She sat near me, and I didn’t mind it a bit. I found it humorous to a degree, and usually her frustration or rant was justified – just louder and less filtered than other people in the office.)

There are good jobs where human interaction is minimal – but it typically means working in a highly technical field (think: programming languages, software testing, engineering) so you might need to seek training as a logical next step.

rojo's avatar

Excellent answer @LuckyGuy I was going to suggest finding a job in the back, away from the public. Stay away from Sales, or fast food, or any other customer oriented field. Stick with paperwork and, as LuckyGuy said, technical stuff.

jerv's avatar

I’ve held my current job (CNC Machinist) for 3 years, and my previous job (same position, different employer) lasted over 7. My job involves little interaction with people aside from occasional short discussions of a purely technical nature; >90% of my day is me and my machines. And the visual thinking part of being an Aspie makes me good enough at my job that they tolerate my quirks.

gailcalled's avatar

I had a high school buddy who was very high-functioning Asperger’s. His sister, who lives near me, said that he had found a niche in the Army as a computer and IT expert (rank of major) doing the job of several people and being paid really well. He was not able to interact much with people.

Silence04's avatar

These are all great suggestions. The only thing I would add is that it’s great you’ve been able to notice these personal issues on your own.

Have you considered seeing a therapist? I’d imagine he/she could determine if its autisim or not, which would allow you to qualify for certain govt/state programs. Not to mention, they’d probably give you an even better support system for dealing with these issues.

mjm8401's avatar

Yes. I would love to see a therapist. However I currently have no health insurance and already owe a lot of money for being omitted to the hospital for having a seizure for the first time in my life. So I have to apply for charity care. I was also a little skeptical about doctors because rather then telling me what is wrong with me they like to just try to subscribe me pills which I will not take. I don’t need medicine, weed is my medicine. I just need a income and to work with people that understand me. However seeing a therapist might get me a medical marijuana card.

cazzie's avatar

having a ASD and smoking pot…. not anyone I would hire.

snowberry's avatar

@mjm8401 That seizure may rule out the military. They don’t like that sort of thing…

LuckyGuy's avatar

@mjm8401 Rather than sitting around smoking weed, your homework should be to build up your body and your mind. If you want employment you need to work for it.
You have a disadvantage – you most likely suck at interviews – so have a strength that employers can use.
I don’t know any employer who values the ability to smoke weed.
If you spend 2 hours a day reading and learning about Arduino or PSoC and 2 hours exercising, in a month you’d be a whole lot smarter and fitter and more employable.
You gotta’ work for it.

jerv's avatar

@cazzie Be careful as ASDs are covered by the ADA, and are often accompanied by anxiety that some states allow to be treated with marijuana (so long as it’s prescribed by a medical doctor). But if you’re willing to pass over a qualified applicant in favor of a less-qualified one, c’est la vie.

@LuckyGuy That’s how I make it; I’m damn good at what I do! Employers tend to be more forgiving to those with skills.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@mjm8401 You may want someone to help you assess your “splinter skills” and someone (a trusted someone, ideally) to help you work on “soft-skills” with you.

Like others have stated above, there are plenty of jobs/career paths for HFAs and Aspies. You may need help via mentoring in the beginning to gain the skills needed.

Finding a niche you fit into is much more ideal than taking a typical entry level job.

My husband, an aspie, has long been employed in the IT field. He has kept all of his jobs for great lengths of time and have moved forward in his career. He began his career at an entry level, not ideal for an aspie, help desk type job and moved forward from there. He’s now in a perfect position with very little need to juggle socialization in his work day :)

Since you haven’t a job, do you apply for social services? Have you looked into any services at all. There may be charitable resources as well.

Your local Autism Society should have a resource list available to help assist with Adult Services.

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