Well, here we are once more gathered around our various devices waiting to see what subject Nick McAllister will blog about this month. Well. Now hold onto your hats / scarves / hair!
This months blog post is about *shock horror* EMPLOYMENT!
Ok, so we shouldn’t be surprised at this because employment is an ongoing theme / daily occurrence with me and for others on the autism spectrum.
A few weeks ago my employment consultant *Gina (not her real name) took myself out for what she termed “Nick marketing”. This was a once in a lifetime event, never to be repeated, and of which occurred on one of the hottest days that week.
After being collected, I was driven to the city, whereby Gina parked and gathered up a printed list of addresses of businesses we would be visiting.
Bookshop #1. We met a lovely lady who provided us with the details of her manager happened to be up the other end of town in their second bookshop. We thanked her and headed on our way.
Bookshop #2. We arrived at the other book shop yet the manager was not there. However, the partner was. He has a coughing fit, raises eyebrows, doesn’t acknowledge me, won’t shake my hand, and doesn’t look me or my job consultant in the eye. He takes my resume begrudgingly and we part.
Bookshop #1. We head back to the first book shop to hand over my resume. The woman we give my resume too smiles and we leave.
For the next 3 1/2 hours we trek to every business on the list.
It’s hot, I’m tired and I can’t take the heat. Gina figures we will eventually wear someone down to employ me.
We visit 25 shops, the process going a little something like this:
“Hi, I’m Gina from ********, this is Nick. Are you the manager / owner / person who can deal with this request? He’s mildly autistic, are you seeking to employ anyone over the Christmas period? Can I leave a resume and my card? Thank you”.
By the end of the day I wanted to cry. I’d had enough. I just wanted to go home to shower and eat my lunch. I had taken all that I could take.
I understand that this is the process that everyone who is classed as unemployed must participate in, however I didn’t enjoy being rejected so openly and in such an instant, and personally found it to be a degrading and humiliating experience. I also feel hindered by my autistic traits which include but are not limited to significant problems with nonverbal communication skills, such as eye-to-eye gazing, facial expressions, and body posture.
Once again I find myself cast aside from the employment sector due to having a disability which doesn’t in any way affect or hinder me from doing a job but which is easily and quickly discriminated against because unwilling prospective employers are unable to see past the disability and see the person who would make a significant contribution to the workplace if given the chance.
About Nick McAllister:
Nick McAllister lives in Burns Beach, is a screenwriter, blogger, ABC open contributor and also attends the Saturday writing group at the Peter Cowan Writer’s centre. He also facilitates some of the digital media workshops run by Autism West. If you would like to work with Nick, you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.