Job hunting with Neurodivergence

My name is Alex, and in April 2024 I began working for Celebrate Difference on my Content Creation apprenticeship.

This came after a frustrating process and while I’ve finally found a company that acknowledges my abilities and differences, the road was a difficult one to take. 

I finished college in the summer of 2021 and felt the next step was to find employment as I didn’t feel prepared for university. 

I started slowly, applying for a few varied job roles; however, I never put much time or energy into the search. I was in a comfortable place and still trying to decide if this was the right choice for me. During the spring of 2023, I decided it was time to get serious and buckle down to finding employment. 

I began the search hopefully, as I didn’t realise the state of the job market at that time (I would quickly be shown how challenging it was).

I started applying for mainly retail and other entry-level positions. However, as I was hearing little back from the companies, I broadened my parameters and started looking into jobs I wouldn’t have gone for originally.

The effects on my mental health were catastrophic. I just wanted to avoid it all and hide in my room.

So there I was, applying for anything I felt I could cope with – even applying for jobs I felt I would struggle with as I was so desperate to find something!

Months went by and I had been getting very little feedback, let alone an interview. 

The dread started to form and thoughts of worthlessness and hopelessness began to get unbearable. Over the next year I applied to anywhere between 800 and 1000 jobs (and that’s not an exaggeration) and only came out with a handful of interviews.

This led me to doubt my abilities and feel like I was doing something wrong. 

I thought that my lack of success was coming from my CV and the fact that I had included that I was neurodivergent and struggled with EUPD (emotionally unstable personality disorder). This led to me feeling isolated from the world, as the only assumption I could make was that my conditions were holding me back as they had throughout other periods of my life. 

While this all seems very dreary, I promise it gets better. 

Through therapy and endless support from friends and my fiancé, I started to look at my situation more optimistically. Eventually, after much trial and error, it began to look up!

I saw a Facebook post about the British Heart Foundation needing volunteers, and while it wasn’t paid work, I felt it was a step in the right direction.

After a couple of months volunteering and applying for other jobs I came across the post for a Content Creation apprenticeship. I was familiar with celebrate difference and felt I could excel in that environment. I went for an interview, then a work trial, and eventually, I was offered the position. While I’ve only been here for a couple of weeks I am already feeling positive about the future and appreciated my work.

The journey to employment can be hard, but the difficult emotions can be eased through talking to friends and family, seeking help through government schemes, and persistence.

Although you may feel deflated there is always a way through. How your brain works is not the problem: there are so many wonderful things a neurodivergent brain can bring into a company. Luckily, more companies are becoming welcoming of different accommodations.

 

Alex Howard