Working in retail for some can be hectic, stressful and overall an unpleasant experience. Having autism and being in that busy, hectic environment can take a toll on some. But for me, despite the challenges, it has helped do the things I never thought I could do.
I work at a big-name pharmacy I usually do the checkout. I help customers make sure they have everything OK, and I work the register. Now, when I mention the register, that’s a big accomplishment because doctors and teachers thought that was a skill I could never do. But look at me, I’m doing it. Do I make mistakes? Yes, but instead of being hard on myself, I pick myself up and keep going at it.
One thing working at the pharmacy has done is helped me stay strong and not give up. One time I had a nasty customer who threatened to have me fired all because she wasn’t getting what she wanted. Now normally when people yell at me, I get red in the face, the tears start building up and I end up crying. But I wasn’t going to let that happen, and in that situation, I didn’t. I continued to have a good day.
Working in retail has really helped me remain happy but also be strong and not let negativity bring me down. I have a great group of managers who have taken the time to understand me as an employee with autism. Some I see more then others, and the two I see the most have really made a difference. One of my managers is so great. She reminds me every day that I should be proud to be me, and she really reminds me that working hard and having a positive attitude is the way to go. She also always tells me if you run into negativity, don’t put up with it. Instead, get rid of it because life is too short. She is just something special, and she brightens my days. She’s like my everyday hero, and she has helped me become a hardworking person. The next manager and I are total opposites. Sometimes I have trouble being around someone who is dry-humored because I don’t always understand it, but I do work on it, especially when I work with him. He is another who really wants me to be the best at my job, and he never wants me to be stressed out or unhappy. At first when I did start to work with him, I didn’t think he understood me as a person. One day, I asked him if he ever worked with someone who has autism. He told me yes, then he said he did understand me, he just treats me like everyone else. That really meant a lot to me. I realized that maybe having someone opposite of you in your life is a good thing. He’s become my everyday hero, too. Both my managers have taught me so much. I feel honored to work with two such strong individuals who do a great job.
Working retail has brought me so much happiness. By overcoming challenges, I have more confidence. Whether it’s working with different people or dealing with customers, at the end of the day I know I always put 100 percent in. This can be an example for others who have autism to try something outside your comfort zone. Working at the pharmacy has really helped me overcome challenges. I feel great being a retail worker with autism because I’m setting the example that I can do anything I put my mind to. Autism doesn’t define us; it’s a piece of us. We can achieve anything.
We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.