Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Autism & Work: Poor People, Dropouts

A Dutch newspaper yesterday published an article about “working poor people”. For many people money is not the most important thing in their job. About shattered dreams, respect and meaningful ways to fill your life.

In Holland there seems to be a forgotten group of 1.5 million people . They work very hard in a very low paid regular job and earn just a minimum loan. An example of those working poor people is a Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam based cleaner . He was interviewed for the article and told he is sometimes just ignored as a human being during his job. He works 55 hours in 5 days, has two jobs and is often up to 16 hours a day from home. He is divorced and takes care of three home living children.

For many people interviewed for the newspaper article the thing they want to earn most is not money but respect and appreciation. During the past 15 years the general goal in the Netherlands was: Everyone who can work, MUST work . According to this idea people will make promotion in their jobs. This did not happen, a group of people did not make career and stayed in the jobs they do for years and years. The dream to give everybody a regular job with job opportunities shattered.

Autism and other disabilities often lead people to the lower fields of job society. We often stand on the lowest ladder. If we get a reglar job, it is unlikely we will have the opportunity to make career due to our autism features. Should we consider ourselves to belong to the working poor people?

What do you think is a better life? Working to the max and earning few money? Or the life of doing voluntary work and get a disability act payment ?

Recently I read a comment telling society now exists of 3 groups of people: The insiders, the outsiders and the dropouts. The insiders consists of the present elite with their power, tools and have the monopoly of well paid jobs in the government and industry. The outsiders consists of the people who benefit and facilitate the insiders. The dropouts are those who not belong to the insiders or the outsiders en who will never be a part of these groups. If an insider looses his job, or a part of his money, he is still a rich man. If an outsiders looses his job he will soon turn into a drop out.

Will we, people with disabilities be dropouts forever? Considering we belong to the group of employes who are likely to stay in the lower part of the job market, this is a thing what comes up? Hmm. I refuse to stay drop out. Wel lthat is the dream I have. I had a job, got a burn out, now I am a drop out I guess. Is there a way back to become outsider again? Or are we forced to stay Autsider forever?? What do you think?

And what about the dream to make your childs future a better one?
Many parents have the goal to make life for their children better than the life they have had themselves.


Socrates said...

In the UK we are just starting down the road to "everyone will work" - just as the worst recession in 70 years is brewing.

No good will come of it.

Traveller said...

This post is very telling... In the US, the situation is far worse with the lack of the safety net that Europe enjoys. We can be fired at will -- in short, when your boss doesn't like you, you are out of here. Additionally, many companies use "rank and yank" as a personnel policy: rank your employees from 1 to 10 and then fire the bottom 10% on an annual basis.

People get rid of the least socially acceptable first before they get rid of the socially acceptable people.

People are talking about self-advocacy... but how can you advocate or defend yourself when you do not have the capability for monitoring yourself.

Socrates is right about nothing good coming from this. We did the same thing to mentally ill people in the US during the recession when Reagan came into office. We had a huge increase in homelessness. Nothing has been done in 25 years for those people on the street.

I will be writing some more about autism and self advocacy in the workplace in my blog:
Stay posted

Long said...

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part-time job

Traveller said...

Thanks... We are looking at a bad economy in the next 5-8 years here in the States and I don't think Europe will be much better.

I think what we need to start to get a message out that we are all in this together and that those of us with "disabilities" have strengths that, if properly used, can actually help turn around an organization that is doing poorly. That is, if we are put in the "right place" and are doing the "right thing". It takes a lot of wisdom to know how to do this and an open mindedness.


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