In late 2016, I received a midlife diagnosis of autism, anxiety, and OCD, which helped me to understand aspects of my employment history.
This site is about using transparency to return to gainful employment, while maintaining my current responsibilities to The Belmont Goats.
© 2018 Bix Frankonis
More About Me
"Clinical evaluation and tests indicate that aspects of his functioning are impaired by his autism spectrum disorder, and related anxiety, cognitive and behavioral rigidity, deficits in social reciprocity, poor understanding and management of his own emotional and behavioral responses and his inability to tolerate distress, ambiguity and to engage in goal-directed behavior when he does not clearly see and agree with the method and purpose of the tasks and general direction of the activities."
—Psychodiagnostic Evaluation, October 2016
I am a twenty-one-year resident of the Portland of Oregon born forty-eight years ago in rural upstate New York, and project manager for The Belmont Goats, Portland's nonprofit resident herd, offering an oasis of rural community amidst the built, urban environment.
I once worked at Powell's northwest warehouse. Mornings were spent unpacking boxes of books sent in to their online book buying program. Afternoons were spent pulling online orders. No surprises. No deviations in tasks. Nothing to consider or prioritize. Nearly everyone with these duties came in, slipped in their earbuds, put their heads down, did the work, and then went home.
It remains the nearest thing to my Platonic ideal of employment, and the workplace most reflective of what I need to overcome the particular challenges I've had to maintaining consistent, long-term employment.
This isn't to say I can only do that job. It's to say that the closer on a continuum a job is toward those sorts of duties, the better. I once worked for a company called Quando collecting data from event calendars across the early web. It was similar in that you were left alone to do the work.
I do not do well with variety or unpredictability. Workplaces of consistency and structure are where I have succeeded most. Let me focus on and finish my work. I need a job with few moving parts; few variables and few personalities. I perform better not having to make judgment calls. I do not do well with "open plan" offices; I feel like I am on display and I cannot focus.
Oddly, I am good in a larger crisis but sometimes need to walk away for a minute to catch my breath when encountering smaller glitches or problems.
I have many skills that in the end are inapplicable to a work environment because they only surface for things I personally care about, in situations where I have the time to meander my way to a solution or a conclusion and the space not to be beholden to anyone but myself. I can write, but I cannot do it for you. I can handle the bookkeeping for my nonprofit, but I cannot do it for you. I can do basic graphic design work for my own projects, but I cannot do it for you.
The skill that's important to you as an employer should be this: I care about doing the work and doing it well. I can focus on a task until it's done if you leave me to it. I don't have to care personally about what the work is, or what your business is, to do that. I'm not looking for a career track, and likely am not capable of one. I'm looking for steady work that won't psychologically defeat me.
I can be perfectly pleasant and personable with coworkers, as long as they respect my boundaries, but do not do well with customer-facing work, where things shift too frequently (see "consistency and structure"). Behind-the-scenes only, please. I should be responsible for myself and my own work, not other people or theirs.
Your company culture and workplace should be free of abuse, disparagement, disrespect, and casual racism. I won't again work where this isn't true.
I am not looking for a social scene, or office parties. I am looking for (part-time) work that won't require abandoning my nonprofit. I live in the Portland of Oregon. Your business should, too.
Do these things describe the work environment of your business? Then we might be a good fit.
"He was referred to the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation Services for support and exploration of his ability to sustain employment in a structured, predictable part-time job with minimal social demands. Over the past several months of employment, his functional capacities have deteriorated due to the constant stress he has experienced in his job placement. Bix has made an adaptive decision to terminate his employment and allow some time for restoration of his depleted psychological/emotional resources."
—Summary, March 2018
So Apparently Autism Comes With Fatigue? (April 30, 2018)A Series Of Unfortunate Events (May 12, 2018)Today I Learned About Autistic Burnout (May 15, 2018)When The Helpers Don't Believe You (June 15, 2018)Hyperfocus Versus Task Switching (July 10, 2018)Communications Breakdown (July 15, 2018)