I know this is my first autism-related post for a while but on the 27th October 2016 The National Autistic Society launched a new advert for their ‘Too Much Information’ campaign. The advert was made to try to close the employment gap for adults on the autistic spectrum. Statistically only 16% of autistic adults are in full time paid employment and this has not changed for just over a decade. The NAS have already made an advert as part of the campaign called ‘Can You Make It to the End?’ that depicts a young boy visiting a shopping centre with his mother and experiencing sensory overload (I wrote about this alongside other autism-themed films as part of my research for my MA major animation here) .
Here are the pros and cons of the ‘Could You Stand the Rejection?’ advert:
The advert is effectively shown from the perspective of a man with autism who attends several job interviews over quite a long period of time.
There are plenty of background elements to emphasise sensory overload such as flickering lights and telephones ringing loudly. There are several questions and thoughts running through the man’s head during the interviews.
The woman who says, “Really? You don’t look it” sounds patronising and not very understanding and the man is questioning if he should have told her he was autistic.
While the advert is affective in terms of outlining the sensory overload experienced by autistic adults I still feel that there is more focus on males than females in the Too Much Information campaign and females on the spectrum are quite often overlooked but according to the behind the scenes video, they chose Max Green who plays the role of the man being interviewed because his story “really moved” the people who were working on the advert. In his interviews Max tried to hide the fact that he has autism because he thought this could affect whether he’d get the job or not or if he is able to do it or not.
As for my personal experience I have only ever had one paid part time job in my life and that was as an Avon representative for five years although I cannot remember telling my Area Sales Manager and my Sales Leader about my autism during my initial meeting with them.
Earlier this year I applied for a Facebook-based online sales job but when I phoned the job coach to get started with the role, he saw on my Facebook profile that I had Asperger syndrome and he asked if it could affect me in the job role in any way but I couldn’t think of how it could affect me. I also feel that I should not have put my Asperger syndrome on my Facebook profile biography in case it could hinder my chances of future employment. I decided to resign from the latter job because I felt it was somewhat similar to Avon and when I contacted the job coach I found him to be quite forceful and asked if I wanted to give it a go for a bit longer but I refused, he said, “Okay, bye” or something along those lines and abruptly hung up on me. Afterwards I deleted him and his partner from Facebook if I no longer wanted to continue with the job role.
In October I went to the job centre and the adviser I saw informed me of a scheme called Work Choice that could help people with disabilities get into work. Two weeks later I met a man who works for Leonard Cheshire, which is a similar scheme to Work Choice, and he informed me he would contact the Job Centre adviser to see if I can get any work experience before joining any work scheme or applying for any other jobs, including those in animation.
At the moment I consider myself temporarily unemployed and I currently get money in the form of an ESA, the lower mobility rate of DSA (soon to be changed to PIP although I am waiting to hear if I am going to be entitled to PIP or not) and some extra from my parents. In addition to the money I already receive, I earn some more by taking paid online surveys, most notably with Survey Network, carrying out jobs at my house such as washing the car and gardening and occasionally selling my unwanted things on eBay. Hopefully when I get a job in animation I hope to earn more money for things I have always wanted to do such as go to Walt Disney World although I am worried this could affect my future entitlement to both ESA and PIP.