navigating a world which feels like gravity is working in reverse

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Getting a Job

The conventional means of getting a job will almost never work for those on the spectrum:

Unless you’re lucky and land a job right out of school your employment history is likely not going to have contiguous periods of full-time employment.  When you apply online to jobs, resumes without contiguous periods of full-time employment get winnowed out right away, usually by the software itself.  If they can’t tell you may get a phone interview where they will ask you more directly about your employment history.  Keep in mind hundreds, if not thousands, of people are applying for the same job as you so they can be picky.

Assuming you do land an interview your chances are generally dead on arrival.  Within the first minute of a job interview the interviewer has decided whether you are worth hiring.  I had someone who is now a CEO tell me this and read it in a prominent marketing book Selling the Invisible.  People call this “trusting their instinct”.  And naturally this “instinct” is informed by their prejudices.  If you are on the spectrum they are going to sense something is off about you right away.  They’ll rationalize that you aren’t a good “cultural fit”, a political correct way of saying they only hire neurotypicals and generally people just like them.

What about unconventional means?

What they generally mean by this is networking.  Never eat alone, always be having lunch with someone who is high status that can advance your career.  The problem is, networking is the thing those on the spectrum are very poor at.  This is particularly true because, in my experience, the high status people are the ones the most rejecting of those on the spectrum (or anyone different for that matter).  I can carry on a conversation with an Uber driver or an accounting major fine but anyone high status will be cold and shut down.

What can companies do to hire more people on the spectrum?

They can realize that the only word that means anything to us is PLACEMENT.  Teaching us interview skills is like teaching someone how to go up against an AK-47 with a butter knife.  If companies are truly serious about diversity hiring they’ll designate a point person that people far from privilege can go to to circumvent the traditional resume/interview process (someone on the spectrum applying online with a less than stellar employment history will just get their resume thrown out by the software).  I know this seems unfair but it’s also unfair that so many people on the spectrum with skills and smarts languish un or underemployed.