If you have been checking out auticon’s social media at all, then you have already met Louise. She is one of our non-technical autistic employees, and this is an interview sharing her path to success at auticon.
What is your role at auticon and how long have you been there?
My official title is Executive Assistant, but my longer less official title is Executive Assistant and Social Media Manager who is also a member of the leadership team and does a lot of random stuff too. I started in January of this year, so it’s been about 7 months.
What were you doing before auticon?
Immediately before auticon I was working at a property management firm full time as an administrative assistant mostly managing day to day operations and property-based projects. I was also working a few hours a week at a biotech start up doing interal operational things. Before that, I held a total of I think 5 other jobs in 4 years, some full time, some part time, ranging from cold call sales at a major tech company, to a marketing internship.
The statistic we see a lot is that as many as 90% of autistic adults are under or unemployed, did this statistic apply to you before auticon?
On paper I think it could look like I was gainfully employed but was just a typical millennial job-hopper, but in real life I would say I was struggling with under employment and keeping a job. One job I lost because of start-up layoffs, but others I had to leave or got let go from for unknown reasons and one I was let go from immediately after disclosing my autism. I also don’t feel that in any of my previous roles I was fully utilizing my skills or ability.
How did you first hear about auticon and why did you want to work there?
I was living in San Francisco and I was planning on moving to Los Angeles within a couple of months. Having had the struggles I had, I decided to start looking into the autism-employment route. I found an autism job-readiness organization in the SF Bay Area and reached out to them to inquire if they knew of a company like them in Los Angeles and they connected me with auticon.
When I looked up auticon I knew it was the company for me. My contact said to think about it for a few days, but I just instantly said please put me in contact. What I loved about auticon was the mission and an energy I got from seeing their videos. Another thing that I really liked is ironically what people try to criticize, which is that it’s pretty much all autistic (80%). What put me off of other autism hiring programs was that since they were part of a larger non-autistic company, I felt that I would be part of this little token autistic pod and be actually more segregated. I also had mostly worked in start-ups or smaller companies and wanted to continue that, and auticon has that start-up feel.
What are your favorite parts about working at auticon?
My favorite parts about working at auticon are the people and the work itself. The people are the most supportive and collaborative people I’ve ever worked with. There is a real team mindset. We often need to call on people last minute or to do something outside of their job description, and it’s always done without questions happily. I attribute this to everyone, like me, truly wanting to work here and grow their career here and being happy here. The other thing I like is the work itself. My role is really varied, and even though I’ve been here less than a year, it’s already grown so much. I know that if there is an area that I would like to do more work in, I could just ask and as long as there is work to do there, I can try it out. No day is the same, and the work I do is really having an impact on the company. Though my role isn’t typical for the company, I see the technical roles from the management perspective and how much thought goes into placing each person into a portion of project based on what they like to do, or what they excelled at last time, it’s all very personalized.
How do you see your career at auticon growing?
I hope to have a long career at auticon, so to me that would mean getting into a management position of some sort. Right now, an area we’re building is an external advisory service. This is for companies that want to start adapting their hiring/interview practices or their workplace environments to be more autism-friendly, or to start actively offering more careers for autistic people. I’ve been part of the team launching this effort, and I think it will become increasingly popular as more and more companies see the importance of taking care of their neurodiverse employees, so I would love to maybe someday lead this arm of the business. However, I am really open to wherever my career here takes me.
What would you recommend to someone who wants to work at auticon?
I would say first look at our website and see what we have available. If we don’t have any jobs available now that fit your skills, I would recommend to email your resume anyways to firstname.lastname@example.org. We keep all of our resumes on file and we actually do go back and look at them when we have new openings to see if there is a match. This actually saves us time on all those technology job sites because we have our own database to look through. I would also say be patient. We may seem like a big company because we’re international, but we are actually very small because each local office operates individually. I think that’s pretty cool because when you’re applying to auticon in Ohio, it’s not to this massive company, it’s to a small Ohio company, but that also means that things can take more time. I first contacted auticon probably 5 or 6 months before I started working here.
To see what jobs are open at auticon click here.