Day 5. Talk about employment and your career. What do you do to support yourself? Are you on disability? Was it hard to get or maintain?
My employment up until a year ago was completely non-existent. I’d done voluntary work and work placements, but they never lasted very long.
Then last summer I was offered a job stewarding. I had always wanted to attend a music festival (namely Download) but had never had the money/transport/confidence to go. So the idea of going to these festivals and getting paid for it was one that definitely interested me.
I’ve been told I’m a hard worker, you give me a job to do and I will do it (or at least attempt to do it) … the problem due to my autism is that I require very specific instructions. I found this out quickly.
At the beginning of my first shift I was told to walk around the field patrolling, checking for any issues or breaches in the fence. Hours later when I returned I was asked what I’d been doing. So I explained that I had been patrolling the field, checking for any issues or breaches in the fence. Apparently doing that job for several hours was not what my boss had expected me to do.
I really enjoyed my time working the festivals, the only downside was the noise of the music, and the blisters (because of my strange pain threshold) I don’t feel blisters when they are forming, I feel them afterwards, maybe days after. Also turns out I developed clots in my legs whilst doing the job (Hours of walking and varicose veins don’t mix well) , luckily they were not dangerous but still its something a non-autistic probably would’ve noticed.
I also don’t like violence which can be quite problematic as most the security guards or stewards you meet are quite happy to engage in a bit of violence. Me, not so much. I’d usually attempt to talk my way out of it, but of course my socialising skills leave a lot to be desired also. So sometimes I did end up making people angry without meaning to.
I plan to go back to the festival circuit this year during my summer break (students need to eat too) sadly its not with the same company as last year. This is causing me a little bit of anxiety, but its still mostly the same guys that were working them last year so it should be okay.
To be honest until recently I didn’t even know autistics could apply for any form of disability. I don’t consider myself disabled so that’s why I never thought about it really.