Meet Jordan B.
Jordan B., 27
Finding these opportunities has provided me with a sense of self-worth and a sense of belief in myself.
Jordan was 20 when his parents sat him down and told him they needed to have an adult conversation. They explained that he was diagnosed with autism as a young child, but they decided to wait until he was older to tell him so that he’d be better able to process the information. Jordan was rattled, confused and even scared, but ultimately, he realized it was an answer to many of the questions he had about his life.
“Hearing that I was on the autism spectrum provided so much clarity at a pivotal time in my life even though it was a bit jarring to hear at the time. It allowed me to start learning about autism and connecting the dots between some of my behaviors and potentially why I struggled in some areas of my life and exceled in others,” said Jordan. “Seven years after finding out that I’m autistic, I’m still learning so much about myself.”
Jordan graduated from Georgia State University with a degree in actuarial sciences and plans to parlay his passion for statistics into a career in risk management. He eventually landed a job at an insurance company working mainly in a sales role, which led to an overabundance of fast paced social interactions – something that didn’t mesh well with his personality. After just a few months in this role, Jordan knew he needed a change; a career that better suited his professional and social skillset. That’s when he found Autism Speaks.
“I was introduced to Jordan through one of our board members, who shared he was looking for some extra support in finding employment,” said J-Jaye Hurley, a specialist on Autism Speaks’ Autism Response Team (ART). Jordan was part of a limited pilot program to receive enhanced support from ART to navigate employment services, including those offered through Autism Speaks Workplace Inclusion Now™ program.
“From our first session, I could tell that Jordan was an exceptional young man - very smart, kind and funny,” Hurley added. “We worked on growing his community through employment and social support. He was always open to guidance and contacted every resource suggested during our navigation sessions, from connecting with local vocational rehabilitation services to finding local social and support groups for young adults with autism. Jordan is taking all the steps needed to make sure he has the tools in place for his future career and I couldn't be prouder of his personal and professional growth.
Learn more about Jordan’s employment journey and follow along as he explores various opportunities and narrows down the best career paths for himself.
What are some of your biggest challenges? What are some things at which you excel?
The biggest impact on me has been in the social aspect of life. I have been uncomfortable meeting new people, picking up on social cues, reading the flow of conversation. As far as strengths, I’d say my mind being able to process and retain information in detail.
How have support groups made such a profound impact on your life as an autistic adult?
The support groups have given me the opportunity to expand my social circle, ask questions about the different skills and challenges other members have and provided a sense of security that I’m not alone. Time with the groups allows me the chance to be in an environment where I can be the fullest, most authentic version of myself without shame or judgment. If you are someone on the spectrum that faces these same social challenges, support groups are safe havens.
How did you find Autism Speaks? How has the organization made an impact on your life?
I have an uncle who lives down in Florida and is on the board of Autism Speaks. They connected me with the Atlanta chapter of the organization where I met Ms. J-Jaye Hurley. She’s been instrumental in connecting me with opportunities for support groups and job boards including a camp where I live in Douglasville, Georgia looking for neurodiverse counselors to mentor other autistic kids. Finding these opportunities has provided me with a sense of self-worth and a sense of belief in myself.
Can you talk about your job hunting experiences prior to your connection with Autism Speaks compared to after? Please share a bit about the tools and resources that have helped you along the way.
My biggest problem during the process has been landing interviews. Most times I get hit with ‘thanks, but no thanks’ from companies and have even fallen prey to a few scam jobs.
Since being connected with Autism Speaks, I have completed work readiness training that has included improving my resumé format, drafting a cover letter, mock interview practice, diagraming social situations in the workplace and handling conflict professionally. All this has paid off in building up my confidence pre-interview as well as the outlook after where I can say I presented myself as direct and confident and live with results at the end whether I got the job or not.
Describe your perfect workplace environment.
The perfect environment is one which is fast paced with work because I like high activity and where co-workers have a bond that goes beyond the office.
Why would you encourage other autistic adults to reach out to Autism Speaks who might be looking for adult services, employment resources, etc.?
Absolutely. Autism Speaks is a valuable organization that can help those adults on the spectrum who are having trouble getting to a better place in life or who doubt themselves when it comes to finding a job that best suits their skills. Through it you can find experts who can help provide valuable training for interview prep, personal and professional social situations, opportunities to grow your circle of friends as well as volunteering opportunities to give back.
If you’re an autistic job seeker looking to access the professional development tools that Jordan used to become better career-ready, head over to Autism Speaks Workplace Inclusion NowTM. There you can sign up for our Navigating your differences in the workplace training course, download our newly revised Employment Tool Kit and check out other job seeker resources. If you are on LinkedIn, join our Autism Employment Network for autistic job seekers and employers looking to hire them.