What Working Means to Me as an Autistic Person
As an individual on the autism spectrum, I have found many benefits to having a job. I understand this is a position that not enough autistics are in. I hope one day in the near future, all autistics will be able to find fulfilling work that stimulates and captivates their minds. I believe the relationship between autistics and employment is symbiotic. Autistic employees can offer many benefits, things such as persistence, attention to detail, and a genuineness that can be difficult to find. At the same time, the ability to work can come with many benefits to autistic individuals. Working has become so many things to me.
One of the first things that working means to me is an increased level of independence. This is multifaceted. With any type of employment, individuals gain some level of financial independence. Autistics are no different here. Beyond financial independence, I have also gained more independence in my daily life. It is up to me to get myself ready for the day and to get to work on time while managing other household responsibilities. Perhaps the most important facet of independence, to me at least, has been the independence I have found at my job itself. I have a unique job, doing video breakdown and statistical analysis for basketball teams, which comes with odd hours, varying schedules, travel and lots of sensory overload. Through my job, I have proven to myself I am capable of more than what many people said I would be. On a daily basis, I work on my own to complete assigned tasks to the best of my ability, going beyond what is asked of me.
As a result of my newfound independence, working means an increased level of confidence. I have become very confident in my ability to do my job as well as, or better than, anyone else. My confidence in my skills has increased as well as my confidence in my ability to compensate for my weaknesses. For example, although I am not very good at eye contact, I am confident enough that my work will speak for itself. I let my work speak for me, rather than my social skills.
Working, overall, means happiness for me. I don’t “love” much in life, but I do honestly love my job. I get paid to do what I love — watch basketball! I love that I love going to work every day. I love that I come home every day from work absolutely exhausted because I did my best. I have become a much happier person since gaining employment. The doom and gloom is gone and has been replaced by happiness and positivity. I am very thankful for this change! I am happy with my job and with my newfound independence and confidence.
Within all of what working means to me is how I got to where I am today. Undoubtedly, where I am is a result of my team, my support system. I am so thankful to have so many people who believe in me, especially my co-workers and bosses. Without these people, working could mean the complete opposite of what I have described here. For this reason, I don’t just want any employment for autistics. Individuals on the autism spectrum are worthy of fulfilling and meaningful employment and should not settle for anything less.
Image via Contributor.
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