Employment, Open Topic

13 Years of Work

Today, I celebrate 13 years of being employed at my current employer and while 13 seems like a superstitious number, I am proud of that number as I know I am lucky to be able to reach this milestone.

While I often discount the fact of being employed during periods of loneliness and high anxiety, in reality I know I am lucky to be able to have been employed for the length of time and that I am valued for my vast knowledge and skills I bring to the table. It is those in higher powers 13 years ago that wanted me to come work for them while at times I second guessed whether I wanted to follow through with it. There are times that anxiety and issues with transitioning to going to work can play a role in making me feel different about being employed although I know that it is a very beneficial activity.

It has been learning and honing in on the skills necessary for the job while understanding the value I bring to the table as one who can advocate for what is needed in my community. I have also come long strides from beating the factors of my anxiety and improving the quality of my work over the years and continuing to be valued for the hard work that I do.

It can go without saying that the autistic unemployment rate is 85% and that working does not make me a part of that statistic. I also understand that working is not in the cards for all autistic individuals, however if there is an opportunity for one to have something to meet their needs as it has for me the past 13 years, then it is deeply valued and best to do what you can to retain it as much as possible.

It is looking past the flaws of autism or any other challenge one experiences and as long as they can be created into learning experiences, then you build on them and move on. Believe me there were many times I thought I would lose it all due to several factors but it was through the understanding that I can improve, do better and move on that makes it a more manageable situation. 

It is having an understanding of the value of being employed or being included in a community as that is allowed. Sometimes that cannot happen due to various factors and that too needs to be understood. That is where at home or more individualized entrepreneurships come into play and therefore in those instance where one cannot be in a non-inclusive situation comes into play because the world is not set up for all autistics and there need to be a continuing understanding of this factor when looking at all perspectives through the lifespan.

Regardless, I am looking at making the 13th year of employment a more enjoyable year so that I can better conquer the anxiety and transition struggles I have long been facing over the past few years and be better grounded mentally. It is being grateful for the opportunity to be able to hold down a job for so long and be my best as I continue to do so. I must also remember that I do not want to be a part of the 85% of unemployed autistic adults or become mentally and physically unwell by not going to work continuously. It is understanding that work is beneficial and is a part of life, at least for me and it needs to be continually valued more and more. Here’s to beating the 13th year from being superstitious and being one of the best so far.

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