Bernard and Burnett Interview: Barriers

Updated: Jan 29

This is a video interview with Bernard and Burnett, the Grant siblings, discussing their barriers to employment and thriving in the workplace. Below the video is a transcript for those who would prefer just to read the interview.


Video Transcript: Edited for clarity.


Tiffany:

Oh, good. So then we get into barriers. So you talked a little bit about the interview process, but that's one barrier. Do you guys have any other barriers than just the way organizations are running and hiring and retaining you that you think are making it difficult because you're neurodiverse to get and keep and sustain employment?


Bernard:

I'm concerned that I might have deadlines if they're too tight, I can do them, but it results in a lot of impact of things, especially when I'm, I have to learn new types of technology. I'm concerned about like moving out of academia into a place that's requires more socializing. So like if I skipped work parties or things, things that there's a lot of socializing, is that going to make me make people make up stories about me? And then eventually they're gonna want me to leave the job because they don't know who I am and they have all these stories about who I might be, that kind of thing. So it's even just like, not just very interesting, getting a career, but barriers to sustaining it. Like, what is the work culture like? Do we have to socialize? Can you know my name? And we can talk about the project rather than ourselves, because I find myself to be boring as a topic to talk about. And so I find most people to be boring as a topic. I'm interested in topics and things.


Tiffany:

You want to take it a little, a step deeper. Okay.


Bernard:

I’m concerned that people will say, Oh, you're too serious. Is what people say to me. I mean not academia, but before I went to academia, people would say that all the time, that's not concerned about going back to that and then getting maybe fired or something because people think I'm too serious.


Tiffany:

I understand. How about you, Burnett?


Burnett:

That's the biggest thing, is the social performance aspect. It's been a big problem for me in the past for keeping jobs and I've lost jobs because of that people just didn't like me, people have said that I wasn't fun to come to work, to be around. I don't know what that means. I didn't know I was supposed to entertain people at that same job. There's a manager to come around and say you're not smiling, you don't smile and say, who is this? How come whenever it asks how you're doing? You don't state your graves. You don't have your smile. I said, I said, Oh, I said, because I'm, I think depressed lately and I'm very tired and then they'd say I wasn't fun to be around. And they fired me after that for no real reason, that that's happened before. And it hadn't happened in a while.


Tiffany:

Oh God.


Burnett:

Yeah, it's ridiculous. And definitely just trying to get the job. People want to know that you're fun to be around, but people on the spectrum typically don't make a good first impression to neurotypicals, but also it's the other way around. I don't think neurotypicals make a good first impression on autistic people either, but I just don't understand me. I just don't understand the point of placing all this value and judgment on that. And yeah, it's the social performance stuff.


Bernard:

If you're at work as it is, but it's not, if people want to talk about things that aren't work related, then I talk about something I try to, but then I say something offensive. I don't understand what we're allowed to say anyway. So that's my, I like to avoid the personal stuff, too.


Tiffany:

You just said, if I don’t say anything instead of getting in trouble,


Bernard:

Well, what is the social? Can you give me a social rule book, but there's a thing, but there isn't one. So


Tiffany:

Because every single person you interface with is going to have their own rule book.


To see Bernard and Burnett's interview on Challenges, click here.

To see Bernard and Burnett's interview on Enablers, click here.

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