Holding jobs with Aspergers



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Cezton
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Fri May 06, 2011 9:24 am

I might lose my job this week. Second this year.

I'm 22, I'm losing it.
My social problems and my anxiety problems seem to be killing any chance at living at the least, a straight forward life, but I can't even manage that. I work overnights, data management and cash at a grocery store. I'm a night owl, but these night shifts are depressing me. I did them for 7 months in the past as well. I just feel so alone. The days off are mainly spent sleeping, and usually sleeping in, leaving me weeks without any social interaction with my friends.

People sort of undermine or block out any mentioning of me having any mental disorder. I appear too normal apparently.

I realize now that this has been present my entire life. Hard cycles of spending time alone, then appearing confident and having many friends, making others laugh and being enjoyed as a person. Now I'm just anxious all the time and faking personalities to benefit others. I have this overridden guilt all the time, I feel worried almost like I should be bothered by something, anything, whatever is the next negative thing on the horizon. I've had this feeling for years. I don't know how I've lived with all of this. I would never wish to go back in time to school, not like I am.

In any case, I called in sick 3 times this week at my job, the last time, just like an hour ago actually, I got yelled at by my manager, she called me entirely undependable. I explained that I had a fever, I was real light headed and I wasn't in any shape to be near people, or food, and she did say that, I know that you can't help being sick, but we have a business to run and all of that.

I can't do this anymore. This is a big deal to me. I don't know. I can't lose my job, but I can't seem to be happy, AT ALL, if I have one. All of my happy memories are from times of school or unemployment. None really exist outside that. I'd always be thinking of my next shift.

Please share your experiences or comment.

Thanks,
Mark



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Fri May 06, 2011 9:34 am

Well, congratulations on making it as long as you have. The longest I lasted at any job that intense was one month. Same as you, always thinking about the next shift and it was horribly stressful, both when there and when not.

Is there a way you can take your skills and use them for a work-from-home, set-your-own-hours job?



Cezton
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Fri May 06, 2011 9:50 am

If I knew of any possible job, I would leap at it.

I'm skilled with computers mainly, networking, taking them apart too. I think that an at home job would make me much happier as a person, I just dunno where to look.



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Fri May 06, 2011 9:59 am

Cezton wrote:
I can't do this anymore. This is a big deal to me. I don't know. I can't lose my job, but I can't seem to be happy, AT ALL, if I have one. All of my happy memories are from times of school or unemployment. None really exist outside that. I'd always be thinking of my next shift.

Please share your experiences or comment.


I have held down two long-term jobs over the years the first one was at a restaurant where the management loved me but my fellow employees made my life a living hell. They knew I was in special education in high school many went to school with me. They could not make fun of me at school because I would have kicked their butts but at work they knew they could say stuff knowing I could not hit them without getting fired. I do not believe I last 9 years there. No one else would hire me I did poorly on at least 20 interviews.

My second long-term job was at a machine shop. At first they were going to get rid of me because I did not do well operating the cnc lathes. I have a fear of working around big machines and their vibrations made me nervous. A metal polisher got mad and quit so they tried me out on the job. Without being shown how to polish metal I did better than the metal polisher who was working there for a long time so they hired me fulltime. I worked pretty well in a room by myself from 2000-2005 until the polishing jobs run out so they had me run a saw working as a materials cutter for the machinists. I believe this change and having to work around the saw caused me to have high blood pressure spike every hour or so. I already had high blood pressure the added stress caused damage to my kidneys and caused me to have congestive heart failure almost killing me I was in ICU for five days and missed 2 months of work. Luckily my doctors after five months of playing around with different combinations of drugs finally found the right meds that kept my blood pressure down.

Stressful jobs can kill an Aspie in my opinion. Stress causes spikes in blood pressure, which is not good for your heart. At the restaurant I had a meltdown a day just about everyday so I guess that got the ball rolling for my bad health. So be careful you could be causing harm to yourself I was in my mid twenties when I was diagnosed with high blood pressure but I did nothing to treat it because I had a low paying job and could not afford it.


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Fri May 06, 2011 10:02 am

It seems to me the job folks don't seem to understand that you have a serious mental condition that could lead to a complete breakdown if your pushed to far or for to long, I could never have lasted as long as you.

I fear though that making it clear to them how difficult this is for you will just want them want to get rid of you quicker,.


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Fri May 06, 2011 10:04 am

I know exactly how you feel, and I know also that normal people just do not understand. Things that they can do without a second thought leave us exhausted, sick and depressed.

I am self-employed now, and it's made my life so much better. It took a lot of work to get to this point though. I started out getting work through a temp agency. Eventually I was able to build up a reputation with my work (and definitely not my personality) so that people would recommend me to others.



JadeEyes
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Fri May 06, 2011 10:05 am

I held such a job for two years before i finally gave up on it. I would reccomend that you apply for social security if you live in the US, it wont make you much, but it will give you something to fall back on between jobs. And find a therapist or confidant to talk to about whats bothering you. And look for work in a field which interests you, even if it means going back to school first. If you are interested in animals, for instance, become a vet, a zoo curator, or an animal activist. If your interest is airplanes, become a pilot, or a mechanic who specializes in airplanes-you get the idea. My area of interest is medicine and psychology, so i want to become a psychiatrist who specializes in ASDs, for example.


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androbot2084
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Fri May 06, 2011 11:56 am

The problem with autism is that you can do great on a job and you are still fired because your boss discriminates against you.



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Fri May 06, 2011 12:10 pm

You could start your own business. Or look on craigslist (not sure how big it is in your area of Canada, but if you look on the New York site for tech/computer jobs that allow telecommuting maybe you'll find something)! It sounds like you have a very marketable skill.



AardvarkGoodSwimmer
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Fri May 06, 2011 12:12 pm

Cezton wrote:
. . . I work overnights, data management and cash at a grocery store. I'm a night owl, but these night shifts are depressing me. I did them for 7 months in the past as well. I just feel so alone. The days off are mainly spent sleeping, and usually sleeping in, leaving me weeks without any social interaction with my friends. . .

That schedule would be brutal from anyone. About circadian clock, that we're social animals. (and as a person with Asperger's outside the main flow, I don't really need things that make it about three times as difficult. The same might be true for you.)

Also the whole thing about SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). I know I feel a heck of a lot better if I can get out and go somewhere, anywhere, early in the day. And there really is a biochem dimension, something about the pituitary gland needing to be stimulated by sunlight in order to produce melatonin.

The job is putting you in a situation where your schedule is way different from that of most people you could be potentially socially interacting with.



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Fri May 06, 2011 12:32 pm

Zen wrote:
. . . I am self-employed now, and it's made my life so much better. It took a lot of work to get to this point though. I started out getting work through a temp agency. Eventually I was able to build up a reputation with my work (and definitely not my personality) so that people would recommend me to others.

And, as you point out, just does not come on any kind of schedule. As I've read, and my own experience with my new SAT tutoring business, It often takes a while to get those first clients, and get some 'buzz' going and for that buzz to get around to other potential clients. Or it might come very quickly, and one would find oneself telling new potential clients 'need to take care of existing client,' which they'll just eat up. That's rare. The slow building is much, much more common. There are just a lot of luck factors and external factors.



Chamber
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Fri May 06, 2011 12:44 pm

If you like networking, get your CCIE. It was a great special interest/challenge for me (I got it @ 23) and I work @ home and get paid plenty. Phone calls are easier because you can talk from an outline and concentrate on your words rather than all the people double-meaning distractions.



deadeyexx
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Fri May 06, 2011 12:59 pm

androbot2084 wrote:
The problem with autism is that you can do great on a job and you are still fired because your boss discriminates against you.


This is true. They do often have a reason to fire you, but it's usually for A LOT less than for most people. Your personality is no saving grace, and if someone proposes your dismissal, it's rare anybody will defend you.

I've seen unpopular employees get cut for simple, isolated mistakes while the popular slacker who messes up all year is kept around.

Luckly, I did get to see that popular slacker get cut. Our company had been bought out and had new management who only saw in black and white. His charm was useless toward them.



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Fri May 06, 2011 1:30 pm

deadeyexx wrote:
. . . I've seen unpopular employees get cut for simple, isolated mistakes while the popular slacker who messes up all year is kept around. . .

Yes, it's not what mistake is made. It's who makes the mistake.



72sprint
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Fri May 06, 2011 2:07 pm

Yep, workplace politics are a minefield that many of us can't negotiate. Gotta love it!



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