Confused adult

Hi, I’m a professional but have thought for a long while and had strange behaviours as a child that I got a diagnosis as 57% Aspergers. Why have I be able to maintain my professional job for 17 years???

  • I don't quite understand, how can you get a diagnosis as 57% Aspergers? Either someone is Aspergers or they're not.

    Some people with autism are able to hold down a job. If we get a job that suits our interests and the way our brain works and that doesn't have too many stressors. Other people with autism manage to hold down jobs due to being able to mask but holding down that job can be very stressful and eventually takes its toll.

  • Hi

    I got to 42 before I was diagnosed and I'm a CEng.

    Some of us develop a mask that allows us to hide in plain sight - especially if our career is of the type where we appear to fit in.   Science and engineering seems to be our natural home so I excelled in my job until life got too complex and stressful.  I couldn't compensate so my mask kept slipping and allowing the inner autie to pop out at inconvenient times.

  • I got my diagnosis at 56, having worked all of my life since leaving school at 16 (apart from 3 years at uni in my late 20s, and some time off following redundancies or for ill-health). 

    I've often had struggles in the workplace, mind - mainly relating to working with others, to high-pressure environments, and to jobs with overtime or changing shift patterns.  For the majority of my working life, I've been in 9 to 5 Monday to Friday jobs - the kind of routine that I got used to in school.

    I've had a lot of jobs, too.  I'm currently on my 27th contracted job.  I hope it will last me until I retire in 7 years, but it depends on how things go.  If I can make it to 2 years, I should be alright (just completed my first month!)   My average length of time in a job has been 15 months.  Longest time in a job was nearly 7 years, and I only left because of redundancy.  Shortest time was 2 weeks.  The older I've got, the more frequent have been my job changes.  In the last 5 years alone, I've had 7 jobs (including my current one).  Maybe it's a sign of my tolerances wearing down.  Maybe I'll burn out before long if things don't go smoothly at work.

    I've never heard of someone being 57% Aspie.  As Binary said - you're either autistic or you're not.  Neurodiverse or neurotypical.  You can't be a bit autistic.

  • I received my diagnosis at 33 and after working as a teacher for almost 10 years. Being autistic doesn't mean I can't learn about a topic and teach it to others. It has caused me significant staff room issues though - esp my inability to make small talk is seen as me rejecting the pack and then them isolating me.

    You could have also worked in supportive teams too who made allowances for you. My partner manages a large team of engineers, one who everyone strongly suspects is autistic. His behaviour, including sitting away from the team and only interacting when necessary, plus his inability to break from routine if he's needed to support his team members on another project frustrates his colleagues - especially as they often have to carry out more work than him. However, they recognise he struggles and that he isn't breaking any code of conduct so they leave him to it rather than cause more upset at work. Despite this, its clear this guys career prospects are capped due to the issues he has, esp around communication. 

  • esp my inability to make small talk is seen as me rejecting the pack and then them isolating me.

    That's the one thing in my current job that's starting to irk.  I try to include myself with other staff, and join in with conversations.  But they're either talking about things I know nothing about (TV, football, Twitter, etc), or they just seem to exclude me.  Even when I speak up and say something as a conversation-starter, no one really seems interested.  I was sitting at a table on Tuesday where two other staff members - both of whom I'm on  good terms with and who know I'm autistic - started talking about autism as if I wasn't there.  One of them then looked at me finally and said 'We ought to ask ***** about this, because he should know better than any of us.'  I was at least pleased for that acknowledgement.  In the exchange that followed, though, two things happened: firstly, they both admitted they knew very little about autism; secondly, one of them said 'Well, we're all on the autistic spectrum somewhere.'  When I challenged that myth, it came back to me as 'We're all human.  We're all on the human spectrum.'  I had no idea what that was, and it pretty much ended the conversation as far as my inclusion in it.  Clearly, I didn't know what I was talking about after all!

    I also get a lot of 'That's not autism.  We all get blah-blah...' comments - and mainly from people who are self-confessed know-nothings on the subject of autism!  I've never met so many 'I know nothing about autism' experts on the subject of autism!

  • Hi NAS61815,

    Autism has a vast spectrum which means many people with the condition can maintain a professional job for a lifetime. Have a look around the NAS website, as there’s plenty of articles and information which will give you a better insight. 

    Heres a link you might find interesting. 

    Hope this helps,