When it comes to our working lives, the stories we tell ourselves, and more importantly the stories the world tells about us influence not just the jobs we get, but also how we feel about ourselves and our work. The statistics about neurodivergent (not just Autistic or ADHD, but the entire neurodivergent umbrella) people and employment are both dim, but also reassuring. Hearing that a large percentage of neurodivergent people are under or unemployed might be infurating, but also, if you’re one of those under employed people it can help you feel like you’re not alone.
The truth is that in this world, as it is now, we have to find some way to make money to pay for the essentials. I won’t say “earn a living” because that’s a myth of capitalism that somehow people need to “earn” their right to live. Food. Housing. Transportation. All of these things cost money in our world; they’re just more expensive some places than in others.
Therefore, regardless of where/how you work or where that money comes from, it’s imperative on all of us to rethink our stories about work. It’s not just enough to decouple our sense of worth from our job, something that’s vital to maintaining our mental and physical well-being. We also need to really dig deeply into our own stories around work and then think about our cultural stories around work.
We need to rethink, well everything. And then share what we’re thinking about. Begin to think about ways in which we begin to advocate for ourselves and if possible, for others as well. It’s slow work. It’s unappreciated work. But I think, in order for neurodivergent folk to thrive, it’s also very vital work. Let’s talk about how we can do this together.