“My Aspergers Child” has given us a very good resource: Best and Worst Jobs for Aspergers Adults.
It’s based on common sense: We Aspies are much more likely to be better at certain things than others. This is not a final answer to “What should I do with my life?” – any more than any other career guide is, for any Aspie or NT. It is a realistic assessment of strengths and challenges – as any other career guide should be.
Any Aspie may be able to do anything, just like any NT. And dismissing something offhand as a bad job for a whole group of people can be premature. It is, however, a good heads-up which you should seriously consider before going your own way. The harder path may involve more glory…but also more hardship, self-doubt and loneliness.
Remember that we – human beings in general – naturally tend to overestimate (1) our abilities – especially soft skills like leadership and socializing, and (2) our chances of beating the odds. We tend to assume we’re more able than our peers, and even if only a few people can succeed at something, we’ll be the ones to beat the odds. Especially (but not only) when we’re young.
Case in point: Your Obedient Servant. People assumed that I was headed for a teaching career. After all, I was so smart, and could discuss so many esoteric things. Like with many Aspies, people thought of me as a “Little Professor”. And I went to graduate school, blithely ignoring the fact that relatively few PhDs ever got tenure-track college teaching positions.
- Teaching – including college teaching, especially before you get tenured – involves a great deal of social skills, including empathizing with students and getting along with peers and superiors (and these days, pleasing students),
- Precisely because I lacked these skills, I did not know this – let alone that I was lacking,
- Over the last few decades, colleges and universities have radically cut back their full-time faculty, shifting much teaching work to adjuncts (who are hired, and paid, by the term), and
- I was far from the only one not to get the message.
Result #1: 20 pounds of PhDs seeking teaching jobs in a 5 pound bag of available slots.
Result #2: I was one of those who fell out of the bag.
This resource is a set of warnings, not absolute rules – but as with any warnings, do take them to heart.
What do you think?