Monday, April 7, 2014

What Are You Working For? Forum on Autism/Asperger Syndrome and Work

For this discussion I hope to allow people with autism to share their experiences based on what I tell them, in the hopes that we can discover what challenges autistic people face in the workplace, and how they might be prevented or mitigated, and help share this with the public.  These questions are not meant to belittle or berate you but to give us a sense of how autism affects people in the workforce.  If you don’t answer, please at least consider these questions in your own life if you are autistic and see what changes you can make to it, or in the life of someone you know who is, but please do not answer these questions for them as your answers may not be what they would have in mind.  Let us know at the start of your response if you do not want your name or personal information to be revealed to anyone not on this page without a need-to-know basis for sharing and I oblige not to do so.  I ask all other people viewing or taking part in this discussion to do the same.  For this discussion I want autistic people who are employed or are of an age to be searching for work and for everyone to be completely honest in their answers, though feel free not to volunteer information where you feel it to be necessary.  Feel free not to use your name or use an alias name, but in any case, do not mention names of or identifying factors that are too closely tied to the people you mention in your comments, but rather identify people as say your boss, coworker, employee, or customer, and if the information shared about them or your work experience could lead to trouble with these various people, please do NOT share your name.  As always please be kind to each person on in this discussion.  Any insulting or abusive comments will be deleted.  Here is what I hope to find out:

1.       First off, are you in fact employed? 
2.       Have you looked for work?  How many job interviews have you been given, how many applications have you filled out, how many times have been asked for or given a resume?
3.       Have you been employed in the past, but are no longer employed or working for your former company?  If so why?
4.       Where are you from (your hometown, state, country of origin)?  Where do you currently reside? Where do you work (name of town)?
5.       Where (what company) do you work?  What is your occupation?  What job responsibilities do you have?
6.       What is your level of education and training?  Degree?  Alma matter?  Past experience?
7.       What interests do you have and how passionate are you about them?
8.       How long have you been working for your company?  What other work are you qualified for in terms of training and education?  What factors prevented or motivated you from taking other jobs?
9.       What does your salary afford you (new car, apartment housing, etc.)? 
10.   Do you spend time with coworkers outside of work?  How well do you know your coworkers and employers and how well do you think they know you.
11.   What is the most difficult or stressful part of your occupation?
12.   What do you enjoy most about your job?
13.   Do you commute to work? If so how long does it take you?  What sort of work is available in your town of residence?
14.   Are you married?  Divorced?  Separated?  Civil Union?  How long have you been married/divorced/separated/etc.?  Does your spouse or partner share your condition?  Have children?  What ages?  Any children with autism/Asperger syndrome?  How does your salary allow you to meet the needs of these dynamics?
15.   How did you get your position and how did you come by it?  Friend?  Newspaper ad?  Helped Wanted sign?
16.   Do you have any other conditions besides autism (AD/HD, bipolar disorder, depression)?
17.   Do your bosses and/or coworkers know of your condition?  How has this affected your ability to work with and get along with them and to do your job?
18.   What do you think could happen if you disclosed your condition to your employer as well as your managers, supervisors, and coworkers?
19.   What sort of supports have you had or are currently being given for your autism?  How were they paid for or provided?  What sort of supports have you had for any other conditions you may have?
20.   What are your ambitions for the next five years?  How have they changed and for what reasons over time?  What have been your ambitions for today in the past and what are they know?  How do you hope or plan to achieve them?
21.   What other factors not related to autism do you feel has enabled you or made it hard for you to do your job?
22.   Are you happy with your job?  Would you take it if other jobs were available to you?

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