Patterns for Success: #HighFunctioningMeans Career Challenges3 min read

For those of you who are active on Twitter, you may have witnessed an uprising of tweets from actually autistic people over the last week with three very poignant hashtags:

The gist of this movement was to express the damage that functioning labels have done to many autistic people in setting certain expectations of ability or limitations that have, by and large, done a disservice to those who carry them.

For this article, we’re going to focus on the high functioning contingent because a number of the tweets were cathartic expressions of frustration with career-related issues. Rather than opine from my own perspective, I’ll give you some highlights right from the source, without further narrative. This is, I think, more powerful than anything one writer can or should try to digest for you, the reader.

#HighFunctioningMeans getting yelled at and fired, because you hid your autism too long and couldn’t function anymore. — Black Key (@Semilocon) March 15, 2015

#HighFunctioningMeans if you express your struggles, you’re not fit for work, but if you express your abilities, you don’t need support. — Gail (@appleshoelace) March 14, 2015

#HighFunctioningMeans your sensory sensitivities are dismissed as “being picky” rather then actual irritants that need removal for function. — Cisco Buitron (@AskCisco) March 14, 2015

#HighFunctioningMeans if I’m underemployed in an unsupported NT job, I’m “not disabled enough” for support to get a better job. — Jayne D’oh (@generdic) March 14, 2015

#HighFunctioningMeans “You’re so intelligent, you’ll be fine!” Like you’ll have no problems surviving school/getting a job/surviving the job  — The Fires Of Helen (@HelenDamnationX) March 14, 2015

#highfunctioningmeans Being fired multiple times because employers refuse to accept we have special needs, no matter how minor the needs. — That Nutty Kevi (@MaddameKev) March 14, 2015

#HighFunctioningMeans Job, after job, after job.  — PaladinProject (@SirMikeTheGeek) March 14, 2015

#HighFunctioningMeans there is no support for employment or housing because you do too well fitting in. — Siobhan Travers (@abilityNezPerce) March 13, 2015

#HighFunctioningMeans your career stops dead, and you can’t see why — Nick Walton (@nwalton2502) March 13, 2015

#HighFunctioningMeans you might be able to get a job. Well, so long as you don’t actually disclose your diagnosis. — Gail (@appleshoelace) March 13, 2015

#HighFunctioningMeans “you have skills useful to capitalism so we’ll vaguely tolerate you if you try your hardest to be neurotypical” — FeministAspie (@FeministAspie) March 13, 2015

This, my friends is a mere sampling of the outpouring of life experiences and frustrations. And mind you, I’ve only selected some of the career-oriented highlights. I encourage you to follow the #HighFunctioningMeans hashtag and drink from the firehose so to speak. And, if you feel so moved, contribute your own thoughts and experiences.

And may success be yours!