Trying to figure out the future is challenging enough for young adults. Add a disability into the mix, and things get a whole lot more complicated. After all, when you’re neurodivergent, you always have to ask yourself whether or not a particular career will be feasible for you, if accommodations will be available or effective, and what kind of prejudices you’ll have to overcome from the very start.
Questions like these can shy neurodivergent people away from careers that they might be surprised by. For example, many neurodivergent people are intimidated by the idea of starting a career in business. However, there are more ways to thrive in the business world than you might expect. Neurodivergent Rebel is dedicated to helping people figure out how to pave their own way in the world and, in that spirit, here’s a guide to starting your career in business:
Studying That Works For You
Earning a degree in business is, generally speaking, the first step toward starting a career in the field. However, there are many reasons why this may not be the right option for you, whether due to finances, a disability, or simply because you don’t have the desire to obtain a degree. Keep in mind that there are many paths to business success, so if going back to school isn’t a fit for you, don’t be discouraged — we suggest a lot of other great ways to succeed in this article!
If you do decide to pursue getting a degree, pick something that naturally leads to a career that speaks to you. For example, if you think you’d enjoy cybersecurity consulting, then a bachelor’s degree in IT is a great place to start. People who enjoy math might want to study accounting or finance. If you’re drawn to art and creativity, marketing might be a good path. Think about your strengths and go from there.
Unfortunately, however, college can be an intimidating prospect for neurodivergent people. Those with autism, as well as people with ADHD, often struggle to thrive in a traditional classroom setting. And although colleges are required to offer accommodations and disability services, these don’t always solve the larger problem: A classroom that simply wasn’t designed with neurodivergence in mind.
In this case, online universities might be a better fit. These allow you to create your own studying environment, free from distractions or unpleasant stimuli that bring you out of a studying headspace. Many programs are also asynchronous, so you can set your own schedule and work at the times that make the most sense for you. However, online school also comes with the drawback of little outside accountability — meaning it may be wise to explore different organizational schemes and self-motivation methods to see what works for you before you dive in.
It’s no secret that networking is often the key to success when it comes to a career in business, but the prospect can be pretty daunting for neurodivergent people. Since networking often relies heavily on successfully navigating social situations, people who have trouble interpreting social cues might decide they’re better off avoiding the arena entirely.
That said, there are ways to network that don’t rely on face-to-face communication and which can instead play to your strengths. For example, many people find a lot of success networking online through sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. These social media sites give you the chance to get in touch with people in your field and connect with others in a setting that gives you time to process and plan responses at a pace that feels comfortable for you.
It’s also useful to reach out to other people in the neurodivergence community and network there. After all, there are more neurodivergent people in the business world than you might imagine. This can help you find resources and tools to push your career forward, as well as point you towards opportunities that will truly suit your needs and elevate your skillset.
If you’re interested in advocacy for other neurodivergent people, entering the business world provides a ton of opportunity. Most prejudice and bias are based on unfamiliarity. When neurotypical people meet and work with neurodivergent people, they’re far more likely to leave with an accurate — and less damaging — idea of what neurodivergence is and means.
Moreover, companies that have neurodivergent people on staff are more likely to be open in their hiring practices and have better accessibility than those that don’t. By simply existing at any given company, you open doors for others. The business world is becoming more and more accessible over time. The choices you make today can bring about a brighter future for neurodivergent people tomorrow.
Check out Neurodivergent Rebel’s services to gain a better understanding of neurodivergence and the autism community!
Guest Post by Linda Chase:
Linda Chase created Able Hire to help people with disabilities build rewarding, successful careers. She hopes Able Hire will be a resource for people with disabilities seeking jobs and for hiring managers seeking a better understanding of what people with disabilities have to offer.
Photo Credit: Pexels
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