I lied to my son when he was 10 years old, and I still think about it. I thought the circumstance made it the right thing to do, partially hoping things would change by the time he reached adulthood, but I am unsure all these years later.
While working at a company years ago, my employer told all employees they were required to work 12-14 hour days, including weekends, for the next eight weeks. I went to my supervisor and only then revealed a medical condition due to a childhood injury and the impact it has had on me. I explained I would be unable to work all the additional hours without it adversely affecting my health. Rather than reaching a compromise that would accommodate both of us, I was treated poorly and ultimately let go.
My son was old enough to understand what happened and began asking me frequently where he would be able to work because “businesses don’t like people with disabilities.” Our family has been part of the speech-language community since he was born prematurely and we learned he would have a communication disorder that will cross his lifespan, but instead of telling him that hiring biases exist, I lied.
A Long Way to Go
Not enough has changed since that day. Human Resources and hiring managers continue to focus on certain attributes, unable or unwilling to consider the positive qualities candidates from the neurodiverse population offer. In our case, my son graduated with a master’s degree in statistics. The vast majority of employers ‒ when rejecting him ‒ say he is not a "culture fit" even though he passed the phone interviews and pre-employment testing, and has professional certifications. As a result, he believes these rejections are due to his communication style.
No doubt, companies have made advances in hiring since my experience but not enough. We believe the best qualified employees are assets to companies, as well as their clients and customers. That's why we started Iterators.
Iterators provides high quality software testing with employees best suited for the job. Our goal is to be a good example of a company that embraces the strengths we all have, and that diverse groups work better because they have different talents and experiences that complement each other. We believe that maintaining these standards is what builds community and contributes to a better world.