Getting hired is undoubtedly a difficult process. Imagine going to an interview and swearing uncontrollably at the person you desperately want the job from. This is the sad reality of people suffering from Tourette’s syndrome.
When thinking of Tourette’s and autism, our concerns often revolve around their social relationships and the problems placed on their family. BBC 2’s new programme, ‘Employable Me’, focuses on the overlooked struggle that people suffering from autism and Tourette’s go through when trying to get a job. With moments of comedy, sadness and inspiration, Employable Me, effectively communicates all the hardships facing people with Tourette’s syndrome and autism, whilst also celebrating their unique gifts.
This episode follows Paul, who has severe Tourette’s and Brett, who has autism, on their journies to get a job. Paul’s Tourette’s came on as a result of trauma from his best friend’s death eight years ago, and since then his wife has been the family breadwinner. It is hard not to laugh along with Paul who often makes light of his situation – wearing a ‘Keep Calm I only have Tourette’s Syndrome’ t-shirt and warning people of his condition on the train before involuntarily shouting “we’re all going to die!” However, alongside this is a very serious undertone of the hard-hitting problems this syndrome causes. Paul’s ticking becomes worse under pressure and can sometimes escalate to a ‘tick attack’ where he is unable to control his condition, decreasing his employability. However, Paul’s natural gift for photography could land him a suitable job, although the competitive nature of the industry is another barrier he must overcome.
Brett’s autism has caused him to lose a lot of self-confidence and at 54 years old he is still dependent on his mother. He is unable to communicate properly although this does not discredit him totally from the workplace. Brett has a very visual brain, allowing him to teach himself piano and 3D computer modelling. Could this be enough to get a job in such a hyper-social world?
Overall, the BBC brilliantly presents how people with disabilities like Tourette’s and autism still want their independence and crucially, have amazing talents that are often overlooked because of their disability. In such a competitive world, it is a shame that our employability largely depends upon our presentation of ourselves in interviews rather than our skills.