I was wondering as an Aspie myself. What jobs do those of you with Asperger's do for a living?
What jobs do you think would be suitable for someone with Asperger's like myself? Any ideas?
I work in IT as a web site developer, I can recognise asperger traits in my work colleagues. I remember talking to an employment agency specialising in this work who mentioned about how many people he had placed who had problems socialising, but were extremely good at their work. I think people on the spectrum are generally more capable at this type of work because of the in-depth analytical and logical thinking that is required.
Despite my reservations about assumptions made that an aptitude for computer games makes for a career in IT there is no getting away from the fact numbers of people on the spectrum find jobs in aspects of IT. Just I feel caution is necessary in computing degrees because you neded to pass in all the aspects, which does lead to lots of failures.
IT environments seem much more accepting of social misfits - as long as you can do your job that is what matters.
The problem is why so many other work enviroments obsess about you having to fit in with workplace social structures. If IT can do it, why not countless other workplaces.
I did quite well for 12 years as a systems engineer, even though I didn't have an engineering qualification I had scarce skills that made it possible. Such organisations involve IT and are similar, and you often hear of engineering as a good place for people on the spectrum. I certainly met lots of engineers who with hindsight probably had autism.
The trouble I had in engineering was with time-wasters. I appeared different. There were people who spent hours (when they should have been working) engaging me in pointless conversations trying to work out what was behind the difference. There were also people trying to make me make mistakes, and then complain about me. Engineering is full of such timewasters, and may be why this country is losing out to overseas competitors in so many areas of engineering we used to lead on. Maybe they need to employ more autistic people.....
Trouble is I'd always wanted to teach in a university. When I finally got there, in the latter and main part of my working life, I found it full of petty tyrants, cliques and bullies. They say that academia is a good place for people on the spectrum, but those saying so are blissfully unaware of the petty idiots who get most of the jobs (and are usually bad teachers as well).
But then a lot of working environments are like that. You aren't allowed to be different, and there are people around who will go out of their way to make it tough for anyone who isn't eactly like them.
This question was raised fairly recently http://community.autism.org.uk/discussions/health-wellbeing/work-volunteering/what-do-you-all-do-job by Sgt Romeo who is finding it tough going as a female in the police.
A lot depends on the lottery of who your manager and immediate colleagues are. I have worked in a number of places over the years and managers can vary from being genuine psychopaths to really nice people. The culture of the organisation also a=has a bearing. Large stable companies with well defined roles and processes can be good. Fast moving reactive companies that are always chasing the latest fad can be particularly challenging if one is resistant to change and multi tasking.
I've been surprised by a few people on the forum who have done jobs that I wouldn't think of doing - teaching which involves dealing with large numbers of kids seems to be possible if the school has appropriate atmosphere and culture of sensible discipline. Sgt Romeo is finding it tough in the police but it may be her colleagues or it may be the nature of the force that is making it tough.
Project management, or any role where you need to be negotiating or cajoling or being an intermediary would be impossible in my mind but I expect someone will be able to point out a contrary example.
Shop work could be suitable as this can be straightforward and rule based and often doesn't involve any greater understanding of human fellings than politeness (some might even struggle with that though)
I work in IT and also know a lot of engineers who are on the spectrum. In these areas your work can speak for you. If you do a quality job then people may give you respect and some allowance for being a bit odd. Working in an IT department can be tough though as people are often not very good at dealing with each other as humans! (Go figure!)
Some people have found success in self employment where they can do most of the work alone. This needs organisation and self discipline which is an area that many of us struggle with.
It not paid work but really wish it was but work quite well as a cleaner on my own in a Church. (I go to that church). I am not in a team. Just me doing it. It a town Church so people come in whilst I am there. This may have daunted me at the beginning if I had thought about it but not now. I don't know how much extra I would have to do it if was a paid job. But I love just being allowed to get on with it and work through it. I learned very early on not to look at it as such because it an old building and you can't really see what difference it is making after the first week I did it (september) because it hadn't been done for a long time before then. But I really like it as work. Even if voluntary. Wish it was paid work but I actually enjoy it and helps me feel a sense of worth.
I have worked almost exclusively in education or children's services since graduating. This has worked really well. My first job was actually in a secondary school (school data manager) and then I moved to the local authority, where I am currently working as school performance data manager.
I am really lucky to be in a team which is very supportive and actually values me for my "quirks" as well as the fact that I am really good at my job.
I do however think that the fact that the people I work with all have been teachers at some point (and therefore have all had to work closely with SEN - and most likely autistic children at some point) helps them to recognise and forgive my behaviour. So, in addition to IT departments which seem to be the commonly suggested areas of work for individuals on the spectrum, education isn't a bad area, because you're working alongside people who have been trained to promote inclusion.
Having said all of that, I'm quite a sociable aspie (in small doses) - I do like being around people that I like, I just do it wrong a lot of the time! And education does have a greater element of networking than IT does (or so I've observed) so education may not suit everyone.
The one job I had outside of education/children's services was in the corporate policy unit of the same local authority. It was awful; but I was perfectly capacble of the work, so I think it is about finding an environment you are comfortable in. I didn't last 6 months in that job!