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The Importance of Self-Employment

By: Margaux Wosk

As an Autistic person, I found that being employed by someone else is often the only way that employment is presented. This is especially true for those who may be neurodivergent or disabled.

There are entire organizations dedicated to helping disabled people find employment, however, they don’t talk about how self-employment could be a viable option.

It’s upsetting because being employed by someone else doesn’t always guarantee an individual’s needs will be accommodated. Employers can say that they are unable to continue to accommodate after a certain point, which means that some people can fall by the wayside if their needs are not being met.

For example, I was employed by a natural foods grocer and it was one of the least accommodating jobs I have ever had. The lighting was too bright and distracting. They had me go in and out of fridges and freezers which proved to be uncomfortable for me, and they had me climb up and down on ladders which didn’t go well with my poor balance.

As someone who has found their stride in self-employment, it matters deeply to me that others can be shown this as an option. However, there is a need to fight for more funding and resources to be able to do this.

There isn’t a single grant available for our demographic and it makes me believe that there are people who just don’t think we are capable of this.

Being self-employed means I can sleep and eat when I need to. I can go out or stay in – and do anything when and as I need to.  I don’t think someone else would be open to giving me these types of accommodations.

This is why it works for me. One thing I’d like to be able to do in the future is to hire neurodivergent and disabled people. But it would help to have additional resources so I can become just as noteworthy as the allistic/non-disabled people who are hiring disabled people and being rewarded for that.

Unfortunately, the system just isn’t set up for us to succeed and I hope I can be the one person who can help to change that narrative.

 

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