There’s a lot said on autism and work. A lot I recognise. So I thought I’d chuck down my current thoughts. This one’s a positive entry. I like my job. I don’t love it, it’s not my vocation, but I can manage it. After a very very long time working in jobs that had seriously adverse effects on my health, this is a massive plus.
I work because I need to get paid to live the way I do, with my own (cat and boyfriend shared) home and money to spend on very important things, like climbing shoes, fags, chocolate and books. Obviously, if I didn’t need to work, I wouldn’t. Because my time could so much better be spent doing more lovely things, like reading, writing, meditating, yoga, climbing, walking up big hills, watching the birds, poking the cat, stalking Chris Packham across a range of social media in a hopefully non threatening way. (I try not to stalk Chris Packham too much, as I realise this would be a bit weird).
What works for me with work? I work in an office. I am employed to write reports, bids, strategies, summaries, policies etc. It is not difficult, as I am very good at writing. Because I work for a general consultancy, every few weeks or so I change client and subject. This is interesting. I have learned exciting things about green tech, bioscience, arts funding, oral history projects, conservation. Most of it is close to my heart, as I am quite a fan of conservation, green tech, arts. I am paid a salary and bonuses on completion, which is very handy for my concentration as there’s a pretty good incentive for me to work, rather than peer at Twitter all day or go on a loop of wiki, blogs and nature writing.
The massive pluses are: I sit alone at a bank of desks. Mostly, to talk to people, I have to get up and go over to them. I get huge swathes of the day where I am uninterrupted, private. I don’t have to do that much tricky small talk. I work from home one or two days a week, which is vital recharging calm time. We work on flexi; unless I roll in after 10 (I never do), I’m not late. This is excellent for someone who can occasionally find mornings difficult, and can get overwhelmed by the number of things that need to be sensibly achieved before leaving the house, like washing, dressing and feeding the cat. There’s no LATE LATE CRISIS PANIC if I find myself standing blankly in front of my dressing table wondering what it is I actually do next. (This happens, my short term memory is garbage, my brain is flighty, and some days when it’s all been a bit full on I just blank out). The flexi is a bonus, the routine (on the days I am in the office, I have to get up and go) helps structure me. Structure is good, I like structure. I get a bit panicked without it.
Unlike my last job, I don’t have to go to that many meetings. Thank GOD. Occasional client briefings. I’m always in my comfort zone, because I know my subject. No networking. Is there any greater hell than networking? If Dante were writing now he’d put a Business Breakfast in the seventh circle.
Extra plus: the office is mostly quiet. There’s usual several people in, but we’re well spaced. There’s afternoons where all you can hear is the occasional rattle of keyboard and the hum of the various electronics. Because my job requires proof reading, on noisier days it’s perfectly acceptable for me to take a sheaf of papers and go and sit in a meeting room, away from people.
I appreciate I am lucky. Luckier would be the freedom not to work. Lucky here is now having a job that doesn’t wipe me out, take my anxiety to flooring levels.
I changed jobs last year. In September. After I started reading about autism in February and identified things that work for me. If I can add to a compendium of Things That Might Work for others, I hope to maybe help.