Greetings Earthlings! 🙂
In continuation from my previous post, I’d like to discuss a very important question for autists in the workplace: should you tell your employer that you are on the spectrum?
This is a tricky one to tackle.
On the one hand, your employer can better support you and help to adjust aspects of your role to suit your needs; on the other, many employers are poorly informed about autism. As a result of this, you may be misjudged and your true potential overshadowed by the big bad ‘A’ word.
In my career, I have had both positive and negative experiences when informing my employer. One employer was highly supportive- my diagnosis was openly discussed and viewed as an asset. In another position, my abilities were overshadowed by my diagnosis. Having Asperger’s was seen as a problem, and my career was reluctantly diverted down an entirely new road (which thankfully was fruitful). As a result of this, I chose not to reveal my diagnosis to my current employer in order to allow my work to speak for itself without an autism filter.
So what should you do?
There is no right or wrong answer to this question; the answer is entirely individual. In my case, thankfully my needs are minimal (a bottle of water and some snacks go a long way towards managing my more eccentric behaviours, and the occasional cake will help distract from foot-in-mouth tendencies 😛 😉 ). I am in the lucky position where I can pass for neurotypical, however, there are many autists out there that may struggle in the workplace if not adequately supported by their employer.
Ultimately the “right” answer is what is right for you.
Assess the situation- Do you need the extra support? Would you feel more comfortable/uncomfortable if your co-workers were aware? Is this the kind of company that will support you if you choose to tell them?
At the end of the day, it’s up to you. You are under no obligation to reveal this information if you are no comfortable doing so.
And remember- whatever your decision, it will all come right in the end. If an employer doesn’t want you, then you don’t want them.
There are much better opportunities waiting out there for you 🙂