Wednesday, June 21, 2023


The statistic out there, by multiple sources, states that the unemployment rate for those with Asperger's is 75-85%! And, for those with a college degree, that rate is actually higher! These statistics rang through my head as I read my own work history in this chapter entitled, "Work", and, as you read the chapter, you may quickly realize the multiple reasons as to why.

That first job I had... the first week could've gone much different. Imagine if Carol the Terrible had actually lived true to her nickname. I hadn't, in the book, written, "whatever happens first always has to happen" but if I would've had a horrible first experience, what would the motivation have been to continue onward? This goes back to what I read the night of my diagnosis and the fail-set mindset that developed in that, if failure is guarantee, what is the logic of trying?

With each job I had, and even the job at the video duplicator that I glossed over, the job always meant more to me than it would appear it did to my coworkers. This, as well, often led to a sense of burnout and bewilderment as to why I cared, and others did not. For a person on the autism spectrum, and the difficulty in seeing things from another person's point of view, this was draining on me. I didn't understand why my coworkers at the videogame store didn't care about the sales figures as I did. 

As I got to the end of the chapter, I could still feel my yearning to have a true job. The chapter was written in 2005 and I had yet to have a full-time job. Only once had I worked a +40-hour week, and with each week that went by it seemed more and more impossible that I ever would have a job that I'd enjoy. A career in racing seemed impossible, and I had yet to ever imagine that the words I had been writing would turn into my career via public speaking.

If you don't know now, I'm the flagger for the NTT INDYCAR Series. All the thoughts, wondering, and dreaming of a job were for naught. Before reaching the Indy 500, I was a public speaker for many years, and still am. I've trained the top levels of the FBI and have even presented to the scariest audience in the world... kindergartners! While there have been immense successes, I still think back to the unemployment rates. It doesn't take much, and there are some out there that can use the weaknesses of those on the autism spectrum to make their lives miserable at the workplace. For those that come across those, the motivation to forge onward can quickly go away. My story, now, is one of success and it was each coworker I had that believed in me, gave me a chance, and gave me a stage to shine that has allowed me to reach the top of my craft. To those who helped, I will forever be grateful and it's the contrast from the words in the chapter of "Work", to the person I am now, that I wish those that just read the book would now understand and see the hope that is possible.

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