Autism and the workplace. What are your stories/experiences?

I have just been diagnosed with Aspergers. I’m fairly ‘high-functioning’. You wouldn’t know I had Aspergers unless you had spent a few days in my company. My main symptoms tend to be general social awkwardness and saying the wrong thing rather than being unable to understand the body language of others or others intentions.

i also have strong obsessions, anxiety, depression and ocd.

i am a qualified social worker and have done well to get that qualification. However I’ve chosen the wrong career for me. It’s stressful and requires team-work, social skills and good organisational skills.

i manage well enough though.

My experience, particularly in social work and health fields, is that I am bullied at work. Picked on by managers a lot, subjected to people assuming good unauthorised authority over me and being the subject to ridicule. I seem to offend a lot and get unwritten rules wrong. I have so far found being in the workplace unbearable overall and very stressful and I’ve worked in several offices now. I have only worked in one where I felt welcomed and understood.

im now unemployed but I want to make sure I minimise the chance of having the same problem again.

what have your experiences been at work? Anything that you found helpful? 

  • Since diagnosis, I have not been in employment, but given my experiences pre diagnosis and in work, I fear the return to work through fear the same things happening again.

    Comments such as ;

    '' If I had known what you were like I would not have employed you ''

    And ;

    '' I am just waiting for the right opportunity to get rid of you ''

    And the bittersweet one was ;

    '' I'd love to get rid of  you, but you're too good at your job ''

    But otherwise I have always been excellent at my job, to find new  unexplored ways of generating income, so much so, at one time I was made aware of the fact employers considered myself one of the best of five people in my profession in the South of England to have been constantly fending off headhunters due to one thing other I possess - loyalty. But despite my abilities I never could find promotion to describe progression and new things to learn, to after a few years and after I have worked everything out, to squeeze new money out of my findings and implement better practices , become bored and depressed to find opportunites elsewhere. Until the depression became too much and I broke down for the high functioning autism diagnosis to arrive, to have not worked since.

    To have learned, at least in the professions my skills revolve around one needs to be good with people to receive promotion.

    For it now to not just be about autism but also, well I am also transitioning, to consider myself doubly damned, to be abused by the DWP

  • My employer has been brilliant (large corporate). They put in place "reasonable adjustments" a few months after I was referred for diagnosis and the company's GP wrote to management and HR stating that a diagnosis wasn't needed for this as the test of "reasonable" is legal and not medical. As it turns out, my interim diagnostic report confirms the basis for those adjustments even though it doesn't (yet?) go the whole hog and confirm ASD.

    A good employer knows that treating staff fairly and according to their individual needs as far as is possible helps people perform at their best.

  • I worked for a large multinational.    I was removed from a department I'd been in for 15 years when a director witnessed the horrendous bullying from the manager.    It became a safeguarding issue.

    The new department's manager had some issues with me - I was older than him, I was more experienced than him, I was more qualified than him and my salary was more than his.   

    He also had unresolved 'dad issues' so wasn't able to manage anyone older than him.    He favoured younger, lower qualified staff which were easier to manipulate and bully.  

    He also liked to fake results and bodge evidence during audits.     He had difficulties with my unflinching honesty and integrity and openness because I could accidentally blow his entire game.   It was only a matter of time before it came to a head and I ended up being paid to go away with a nice package.

  • I was diagnosed with aspergers in April. I work in a primary school.  I haven’t had any adjustments made, just a few conversations with the head! (I am very awkward and struggle with change ha). I’ve been told I still need to be able to do my job which I absolutely can.