I only need a chance…
It would appear that sustained unemployment is inevitable. Any autistic adult can attest – finding suitable work is near impossible with the barriers we experience due to the condition. Social interaction is so pertinent to success that those of us with substandard ability are left perpetually confused.
To declare or not to declare is the burning question that haunts my hundredth application. Can I hide it if I needed to? Pretending to be normal, when I am far from the measure of what is socially acceptable, is counter to all that I am trying to build. What do I do?
Liberty and equality are the foundation of my work – but no one will pay me to be an intersectional philosopher – especially in the current political climate. My autism is my greatest strength but society deems it a disease that desperately needs correcting. No one seems to understand that delusions are NOT a trait of autism. My perspective of my reality is crystal clear. Interpret it as you will.
Living in poverty is detrimental to anyone – combine poverty with autism and the cocktail becomes poisonous. It slowly kills you from the inside while society crushes you from the outside. Optimism and hope can be crushed in an instant leaving only desolation.
Here in the UK, latest research suggests that 32% of all autistic adults who participated are in some kind of paid work with only 16% of those in full-time paid employment. These numbers only include people who are fortunate enough to have received a diagnosis. How many long-term unemployed people are suffering from autism without any knowledge or awareness of the condition?
I came to my own diagnosis directly as a result of having difficulty maintaining employment. Most observers who know very little would argue that perhaps my autism is the cause of my loss of work. The truth is that I have lost most of my previous jobs because someone in a position of power disliked me.
This aversion manifested in childhood but instead of suffering a loss of income, we lose social skill amongst others. The way society treats those who are different has a perpetual effect that can be genetically determined in subsequent generations. There is biological, psychological and sociological evidence that the life chances of people born on the wrong side of the wealth divide impacts on everyone’s existence.
The wealthy have deluded themselves into thinking that the poor are deserving because they do not work hard enough. The middles classes have deluded themselves by implying that because they have earned relative wealth, that the poor just need to keep going because it will work out, as it did for them. The poor are deluded into believing that simply working harder for longer will solve the problem.
The central problem here is the work. The wealthy work the least and the poor work for the longest. The vulnerable are placing their autonomy in the hands of cruel overlords who cut the supply as they please while filling their own bellies with luxurious meats and wines.
Is the miracle I am searching for a special solution to social inequality or simply the wealth to pursue my talents? The truth is I am searching just for the chance to have a Christmas this year and be able to eat in the weeks leading up to it.
I don’t need a chance to prove myself – I can work on that in my own time. I just need a chance to work so I can live. For all the criticisms that the wealthy have for the poor, it is easy to believe that success is anything other than pure random chance that is determined by birth.
One day, I will be able to look back at this experience with a fresh perspective. Until then I must simply keep moving forward.