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Adam's Blog: Employment

with Asperger Syndrome

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Handling Changes At Work

Constant changes can be very irritating for many autistic adults. I personally am not bothered by it. Desires for healthier friendships, romance, and to maintain my employment prevent me from getting irritated by constant changes. The quote in the pic is helpful for me, and I hope others find it helpful.

I admit I was nervous that I was going to lose my job when my position was changed. I applied to work at The Salvation Army for the very purpose of avoiding interaction with the public. When I was a Sorter inside the warehouse, I had zero interaction with the public. However, nearly unrealistic speed is expected in the Clothing & Bric-A-Brac departments due to the volume of those two types of goods received in donations. I could not keep up with the quotas in those departments. I remember a conversation in the conference room on 8/26/2016. That room was where my group interview took place in April of 2016.

Warehouse Supervisor: I really don’t wanna get rid of you guys. Me: Thank you.

Clothing Supervisor: That’s where we were headed.

At the time I had a coworker who was undergoing the same change of position I was. He took a three-week medical leave during his probationary period and came back with a doctor’s note saying he can’t climb up into the trailer which is necessary to perform all the duties of being a trailer attendant. He was laid off soon after a mandatory training that all of the trailer attendants from all the stores plus the two of us were required to attend.

Prior to my former coworker’s layoff, a schedule was created in which he & I both worked six days a week. I had Thursdays off, he had Wednesdays off. All other days we’d work between four & six hours. Four out of six days I would work the evenings and he would work the middays. Thursdays are the slowest day at the College Community Services Wellness Center Central in Orange and Wellness Center West in Downtown Garden Grove. So I would just isolate in my trailer because we autistic adults have limited energy for social interaction and I desperately needed a break.

Once my coworker was laid off, my boss told me he had to change my schedule. We simplified it to just weekends, Thursday-Friday-Saturday-Sunday. I liked it better so that I had more of a break from the social interaction. But I do so well at sorting the donated goods on the trailer that I was recently asked to work overtime for the holidays. I gracefully accepted the overtime, and I have the equivalent of a full-time schedule (39 hours a week, seven hours on Mondays and Tuesday through Friday are all eight-hour days.) After two weeks of this, it does not feel like too much.

When I was 17 I worked full-time doing data entry. I never made the quota, and was required to fill out paperwork at the end of each day stating why I didn’t meet the quota. I only lasted two and a half weeks. But now that I’m doing something different that does not have a quota, it does not feel like too much even if I do it full-time. So, if after the first of the year 2017 my hours are reduced to 29 a week as my boss says they will, I may actually begin seeking a new employer because I’ll miss the extra money, or see if I can work full time at Salvation Army.

I just keep in mind what I like about my job: I get to utilize my skills in arranging things. On a 20-foot trailer, I get two cages and six combo carts to sort the donations. I use the cages for large Bric-A-Brac items such as large toys and wall art that won’t fit into the totes. I use one

combo cart for electronics, another for media (books, VHS tapes, CDs, etc), another for linen, a fourth for purses/backpacks/shopping bags, and so on. Furniture goes down the middle, and once the trailer is full I have to go tell someone in Dispatch so that The Salvation Army’s only Class A truck driver is notified and comes to change the trailer. I guess it’s some DOT regulation we have to comply with that is the reason I can only have the Class A truck driver change the trailer.

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