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The Challenges of Working Customer Service as a Man With Autism

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I’ve worked in customer service as a person with autism for a long time. It had its ups and downs. I have good customer service skills, but it’s one of the hardest jobs in the world.

This is my day job while I’m working towards being a self-employed full-time author and motivational speaker. A lot of customers come through the door every day. And they often don’t understand me. They tend to think I don’t want to do my job. They are sometimes impatient with me.

As a person with autism, I have trouble processing language. If they talk too fast, I can’t process what they’re saying. At times I need them to explain what exactly they’re saying to me so I can understand how to help them. At times I also need them to repeat themselves. At times I repeat myself so I understand what I’m doing for the customer. A lot of times I get awkward and don’t want to be social with the customer. A lot of times I need to get my supervisor to help me with them and what all parties don’t understand is that I’m trying.

I get nervous when a customer yells at me. All of that is because I have autism, which I don’t want to tell the customer, and they don’t understand because they don’t know. I never yell back, but I don’t take it lightly when I can’t help a customer and they start yelling at me over it. Then after work is over, I come home drained. My mental health starts to decline almost every night when I come home. I try taking my medicine and watching YouTube videos as a coping skill, but it doesn’t work all the time.

My suggestion to people with autism working in customer service: don’t overthink things. Ask your supervisor about what you can do to improve your job. Be patient. You should not get fired for the majority of things you struggle with. Don’t be rude to the customer or yell. Make sure you’re doing things right. And most of all, try to enjoy your job and go to work.

Getty image by Minerva Studio.

Originally published: June 8, 2020
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