Jenny Holt | , , , ,| By
Of all the work-capable disabilities, syndromes, and conditions, those with Asperger’s and especially Autism have the lowest employment rates. This is a startling fact, especially for those who know about their talents and worth ethic. However, the old, generally accepted, tradition of the face-to-face interview often shredded any hope of them getting a good job and quite often a good education too. Afterall, Albert Einstein, a famous Aspie, only found success in later life, while others relied upon personal wealth through the inheritance lottery, or that one person who saw their positives, and encouraged them.
Why Working from Home Suits Aspies
Not all Aspies are introverts — someone who recharges their emotional battery in solitude — but many are scarred by social interaction and their seen/unseen failures. Furthermore, Aspies prefer to work alone, are comfortable with long stretches of solitude, but are also hard working, moralistic, and approach problems in novel ways. They often have to teach themselves skills as they process information in a different way. In the past, this meant relying on someone finding them, and mentoring them to success. Most were not so lucky and ended up in menial jobs below their capacity.
Working from home suits Aspies because it plays to their strengths, while they are comfortable with the cons. The pros of working from home are the freedom to set your own schedule — to organize your own work and work at your own pace, no overbearing boss, no office gossip or distractions, the ability to work in a comfortable, safe environment, and to wear what you want. For the idiosyncratic Aspie, this is manna from heaven. The cons relate to isolation, which is no problem really, family disruptions, the need for discipline — usually no problem, and a lack of outside pressure. For the Aspie, self-motivation is relatively easy; especially when the task at hand is interesting and stimulating.
Unforeseen Benefits of Disruptive Business
The age of the Internet has allowed Aspies and Autistic people to thrive in a new world not reliant upon social norms, which they do not understand, or face-to-face, eye-to-eye contact. The proliferation of online work stations, tools, platforms, and the combination of the gig economy and remote working have broken down old job and business structures. For some, this is abhorrent. Activists worrying about the degradation of workers’ rights and stable income, etc… but for others, it has allowed them to gain access to the job market, and to thrive on a more meritocratic system for promotion and pay rises.
As much as any boss wants to pretend to be even handed and fair, the old in-office system often thrived on being seen to be working, sucking up to the boss, and oiling the social wheel as much as hard graft. These are social situations Aspies struggle with — they put their heads down, work hard, and prefer to do so alone if possible. The advantage of the current online system is that many companies base their hiring on metrics, tests, portfolios, and not on how someone speaks in an interview or which school they went to. Promotions and pay rises are based on in-work metrics such as work quantity, quality, and so on. In short, in the 21st century, not only are Aspies finally being recognized for who they are, they are able to take part in the job market fully on their own terms.