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Why I Chose Self-Employment as a Person With Autism

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Finding jobs on the autism spectrum is hard. Imagine going into an interview and telling your potential employer that you have autism. What are they going to think? Will they hire me? Will they reject me because of the word “autism?” Even if they hire me, are they going to treat me the same as all the other employees there?

I get the job and I show up to work every day, always on time, always well dressed, always have good hygiene, and perform to the best of my ability. But because I might not be able to read people as easily and perform tasks more slowly, I’m going to be judged at the workplace no matter what. What if I have to go to the mental hospital one day because my medication is off or something? Is my boss going to be supportive as well as my coworkers? What if I need to work fewer or different hours due to my disability for doctor appointments, self-care, and other things I need to do? Is my boss going to work with me?

I could get a warehouse job but I’d have to work long hours and not all of them offer benefits. I could get a customer service job, but I have trouble reading people at times. I could get a janitorial job but I don’t want to clean toilets and lobbies for a living unless I have to or else I won’t feel valued in the world. What are my other options?

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Well, here’s an idea some people with disabilities are taking. Self-employment! You’re the boss, you pick your hours, you have no co-workers to judge who you are, and you can make a decent living off certain self-employment jobs out there today. I took the self-employment route as a rideshare driver because I love to drive. I also do delivery driving once in a while. I’m working on a full time writing and motivational speaking career.

I did this because I struggled to find a boss who understands my needs, and I struggled to find coworkers who understand I have trouble reading people at times. I can work at my pace and not be judged, and I feel valued. If you seriously can’t find employment as a person on the autism spectrum, self-employment is an option!

Getty image by Tero Vesalainen.

Originally published: June 29, 2020
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