The Cultural Value of Employment

In the article, “Increasing Autism Employment: An Anthropologist’s Perspective”, Michael Bernick talks about three shifts in workplace culture regarding neurodiversity employment:

1.      The fact that businesses are becoming more aware of neurodiversity in our society.

2.      The movement to recognize the economic value of neurodiversity employment.

3.      The movement to support neurodiversity employment for reasons other than the economic value it brings.

When the author discusses the third point, he brings up an idea that has been discussed in the Mind Shift offices, and especially relates to the topic of Anthropology.  It’s the point that so much of who we are, how we spend our time, and how we define ourselves is written into what we do for a living. 

How much time do we spend with people, and in activities, that are directly or indirectly related to employment?  How much do we think about work and talk about work?  For all of us, the answer is probably a lot.  Employment is a large part of life.  It’s who we are.  When we are asked “what do you do?”, it’s how we answer, even though we do a lot more than just what we get paid to do.

Every organization that employs neurodiverse individuals should remember that they are not only making great hiring decisions that will positively affect their organization’s profitability, but are also giving their neurodiverse employees an opportunity for a cultural experience that they may not have had access to previously. 

The link to Mr. Bernick’s article is posted below for those of you who would like to learn more about the Anthropology of Diversity Employment: