Tag Archives: aspie employment challenges

Employable Me – BBC documentary series: Review

The BBC documentary series “Employable Me” features a bunch of job seekers with neurological/developmental disorders such as autism / Asperger syndrome, Tourette syndrome and Down Syndrome, as they strive to overcome unemployment. The series aims to show the people behind the first impressions, and dispel the myth that people with neurological conditions are unemployable.

 

Photo from Employable Me: Ashley (Aspergers) handshakes potential employer in work trial in Auction hall
Ashley on work trial in auction hall
Credit: BBC

 
A total of 10 job seekers features in the 7 episodes*:

• Paul (52) has Tourette’s, and Brett (34) is autistic
• Tom (27) has Tourette’s, and Ashley (29) has Asperger syndrome
• Ellie (23) has Tourette’s, and Ben (27) has Asperger syndrome
• Thomas (25) has autism
• Louisa (40) has Asperger syndrome
• Zena (25) has Down Syndrome
• Matthew (27) has Down syndrome

The participants are all unique and different from each other, yet the conditions divide them into broad categories of shared challenges. Continue reading

Goodbye face to face interviewer job

My face to face interviewer job ended last year. Rounding off the saga, I’d like to summarise what it was about, and speculate about why, overall, it worked well.

I was quite good at the job, and feel I’ve learned a lot, even though the work was quite repetitive. My boss was happy about my work and communication, and I had plenty of positive feedback from respondents both directly and through the quality control procedures. My response rates were also pretty good – not remarkable compared to the average, but good factoring in that my home range was supposedly hard to get decent results in. I was praised for the quality of my submitted work – data forms and weekly reports – for high accuracy, good order, and entertaining weekly reports.

 
Australian road from front window of car

 
The job ended because my employer had lost their tender for the project, so they had to close the whole project department down and sack everyone involved in the project… That’s all the interviewers, the office staff, and even my lovely boss.

If was a much bigger collapse for some of the other people, than it was for me. The staff turnover was notoriously low among both the office staff and the interviewer crew, and some had been working on the project for  well over a decade – almost since the beginning.

The organisation is the best employer I’ve had, and they handled the close-down well too. There was a proper explanation of what had happened (as much as they knew), scenario-thinking and instructions for what was and wasn’t allowed if moving to the competitor, and there was the usual supportive attitude underpinning the process. My boss also gave everybody her personal email and phone number, so future employers could still contact her for recommendations when she would no longer be working there.
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Lost in Serenity

 
Thanks to Autisticook for sharing the above video track from the movie O’Horten (2007) in response to my review of my favourite movie, Moon 2009. I haven’t seen O’Horten* (in fact I had never heard of it), but I already love it based on the video and her description:

It’s silly and touching and it has some of the same themes about hope and social transformation and things not making sense but in a way they do. And the music just beautifully enhancing all of that.

Austisticook in comment on Memories (someone we’ll never know)

The comparison / similarity to Moon (2009) seems relevant too. Just like I find the musical-visual-philosophical sequences of Moon existentially meaningful and highly addictive, I find the above short video sequence deeply touching too. It hooked me immediately, and have to restrain myself from keep hitting Play to keep experiencing it.

Musically and visually, it taps straight into the pleasure circuits of my brain; and the existential undertones talk directly into my heart; about the tragic beauty of being a live creature, and how it has a deep meaning that can not be captured in words. How the act of staying alive for a while and connecting with the surroundings in any way is a mighty achievement, and a struggle worthy of great patience and compassion.

 

Movie poster for "O'horten": man lifts big old dog, in front of red train wall
Image from Cinema Enthusiast

 
Something about it remind me of my dad too. He doesn’t look like the man in the video at all, and he doesn’t drive a train. He is a retired ship Navigator, and has been sailing container ships most of his life. But it remind me of aspects of his personality and the work life he chose to live:

The serenity. The dependency on routine and predictability; the love of repetition, of familiar rhythm (a train is a perfect symbol of rhythm and predictability). The technology operation role as a work role and a way to belong in a logical, structured, rule-based branch of the world.

The pragmatic attitude to life: like the world is an insanely strange place, but there is nowhere else to be, so act the best you can. Find a corner of it that can be controlled. The unspoken acknowledgement that a human is just a tiny creature on a big planet, that we’re just a brief moment in the passage of time; dinosaurs and all. But that, luckily, we are free to enjoy our moments as long as they last.

 
(The rest are footnotes)
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