Is there a suitable career choice for someone with Asperger?

Sometimes, the risk of revealing you are autistic is that people make wrongful assumptions based on the characteristics they know of people with autism. In an employment context, your co-worker may even define or limit your abilities by these characteristics.

(1) People on the spectrum have difficulty making eye contact. 

If you can make eye contact, you are not autistic.

(2) Autism is marked by deficits in social communication and poor executive functions.  

You can’t teach because you have to communicate with students and deal with administrative matters.

(3) People on the spectrum get social anxieties.

You can’t be an actor because you have to perform in front of audience.

(4) People on the spectrum have poor motor and coordination skills.

People on the spectrum are poor in sports.

(5) People on the spectrum prefers routine and dislikes sudden changes.

If you can accept a last minute change in schedule, you are not autistic. 


Each of the above statements in black and bold describes the common characteristics of people with autism. Unfortunately, these characteristics often result in the impression or erroneous conclusion by others that we can’t do anything which requires social interaction/eye contact/flexibility/coordination etc. (pretty much everything in life!) This isn’t true of course. Like every other human beings, people on the spectrum learn (albeit perhaps at a slower rate)! But before everyone starts throwing stuff at me and expect me to learn everything, I really hope that people also acknowledge the efforts that people on the spectrum put into learning things that neurotypicals take it for granted. (I am amaze to read that social skills such as making friends, eye-reading etc. come intuitively to neurotypicals whereas for me it is something that I have to learn and process intellectually.) Yes, there are some things which makes it difficult for me to do because of my autism but I may have other strengths in an area that is sufficient enough to compensate for that deficit or my interest in an area is strong enough for me to be willing to compromise and challenge myself to work on my weakness. I read that people on the spectrum tend not to be competitive and I do hate to compete with others but that doesn’t make me any less determined or motivated. The way I see it, my biggest competitor is myself and I will challenge myself into doing things I think are worthwhile. Is there a suitable career choice for Asperger? I like to think the answer is no because everyone on the spectrum is different so there isn’t a one job that fits all autistics. Whatever career choices, there will be some aspects of a job that make it extra challenging and demanding for a person on the spectrum but at the end of the day, if it is something that you are interested or keen on doing, then nothing will stop you from advancing towards that goal.

I concede that people who draw wrongful assumptions about the abilities of someone on the spectrum may be simply due to not knowing how to react to people with autism and not knowing what kind of support they need, in which case, either I am careful who I reveal to or I am assertive to explain that “I’m telling you because I need your understanding and I hope you can support me (by doing this).” I think there would be more happy and confident individuals if instead of “no (you can’t do this or this can’t be done)”, there is more encouragement, support, understanding and accommodation from people around, at least, that would make me a more happy, confident and positive person.

The following statements describe the common characteristics of autism but in no way do they define the abilities of people on the spectrum.

(1) People on the spectrum have difficulty making eye contact. 

I find eye contact uncomfortable however, people with autism can and do make eye contact. As a matter of fact, I was legally trained to make eye contact.

(2) Autism is marked by deficits in social communication and poor executive functions.  

I accept that any job comes with the social aspects and handling of administrative tasks and I can live with that. There are professors in the academia and people in the caring profession such as psychologists with Asperger. People in these professions are valued for their knowledge, which people on the spectrum tends to take pride in. 

(3) People on the spectrum have anxiety issues in public.

There are autistic people in the acting and performance industry. These people may be good at imagination and having a script means that they know in advance what to say and expect, which is good. 

(4) People on the spectrum have poor motor and coordination skills.

My ball skills are weak but my motor clumsiness does not stop me from engaging in walking and there are people on the spectrum who excels in sports such as surfing. 

(5) People on the spectrum prefers routine and dislikes sudden changes.

I hate sudden changes but lets face it, change is part and parcel of life and when the power is not in me to reject, what can I do but to accept? Things and events like last minute change in appointment, delays etc. happen on such frequent basis, I’ve learn to live with it or if not, will remind myself not to fret over it. 

Featured image credit: http://blogs.cardiff.ac.uk/wiserd/2014/08/04/what-do-you-want-to-be-when-you-grow-up/

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2 thoughts on “Is there a suitable career choice for someone with Asperger?

  1. Haha … did i ever told you that when you told me about your autism …. i felt relieved in different ways …..

    (1) You told me you had depression before you told me you had autism …. then I was trying to find what was bothering you without being intrusive …. but then once you told me you have autism ….. I get why you get annoyed and distressed with certain things (like apartment noise), to me it was kind of a relief that it is nothing “serious” to cause the depression. Not that I am saying autism is not serious but it is “a part” of life.

    (2) Haha, did you noticed that once you told me you have autism, i stopped socializing during hiking and turned back to my real self. 😀 ….. I was like YES YES YES, i don’t have to talk when I don’t wanna talk. In the past, I felt like the norm that I have to socialize, but when there is a “good” reason for me not to do so, I felt more than comfortable. Hahaha.

    (3) sometimes I also find myself very weird, i.e. like it too much being alone and don’t want to hang out with people, believe it or not, I am not so comfortable hanging out with people unless they are like really close friends that I have known for too many years …… sometimes even very close friends, I avoid so I can get my me-me-me time. LOL, good to know I am not the only one on that strange spectrum.

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    1. You have the best of both worlds LOL. If u wanna talk, u can hang out with your social friends; if u just want a company but don’t wanna talk, u can hang out with me 🙂

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