June 14, 2012 Leave a comment
A “ Wicked” point of view for supported employment and self employment
The musical Wicked makes the case that it is the Good Fairy that is bad not the Witch of the West. An article in the June 2, 2012, edition of The Economist provides a similar perspective for individuals possessing characteristics found in Asperger’s Syndrome, ADD and Dyslexia. These characteristics have proven to be invaluable to successful businesses around the world. It has generated a positive prejudice in businesses seeking individuals with the mental qualities these symptoms produce.
To quote The Economist ,” …policymakers look to rule breaking entrepreneurs to create jobs. Unlike the school playground, the marketplace is kind to misfits.” An obsessive interest in narrow subjects; a passion for numbers or patterns; an addiction to repetitive tasks are behaviors required for a business to grow and thrive. It is that dedication, focus, addiction or whatever that aids a business in being successful.
The article also states there is a greater number of individuals with mental differences working as self employed than in the general population as a whole. A survey showed the self employed population had a 35% dyslexia group as compared to 10% in the general population. Individuals with these characteristics tend to gravitate to activities that require few formal qualifications and demand little reading or writing.
It has been estimated that individuals with ADD are six times more likely to own their own business than the general population. This behavior type is always on the move and generally seeks new ways to do things. Working as a business owner, responsible for multiple tasks, suits this population for whom boredom is anathema. A business that is driven by an individual with these example behaviors needs to have a management component that is more outreaching and broader in its perspective.
Employers need to reconsider their response to hiring individuals with these behaviors. Many employers are put off by a potential employer with a social or medical label. The economy still requires jobs that are repetitive or need someone with a sharp memory. These qualities are characteristic of individuals possessing the behaviors of Asperger’s, ADD or dyslexia.
In supported employment or self employment this way of applying a person’s unique behaviors may open the door to greater opportunities for self fulfillment and economic reward. We may be tempted to call this “wicked” perspective the realm of the “disorganization person” versus the traditional “organization person”.