Theodore contacted Enna in 2020, after his search for employment so far had been unsuccessful. Emily (Enna’s CEO) met Theodore for the first time on a cloudy day at a coffee shop in Paddington. She could tell he was nervous, but incredibly bright and ambitious, so we wanted to do anything we could to help him gain meaningful employment, where he could thrive and live up to his potential!
Through one to one coaching, CV guidance, mock interviews and tailored advice, Theodore landed his dream job as a Software Test Engineer for SirsiDynix. They are a global company that produces software for libraries.
Fast forward to May 2022 and Theodore’s been in his job for well over half a year, so Emily was able to catch up with him, see how he was doing and learn more about his experiences.
Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hello, I am Theodore from Hertfordshire. I was diagnosed at the ripe young age of just 3½ with high-functioning autism, at a time when this condition was seen and treated very differently by society as a whole.
A walk around my local area always goes down a treat! Other hobbies include learning Russian out of all languages. In the midst of work I do pop on my headphones and listen to some good 80s or 90s music.
Why did you originally contact Enna?
For about three years or so before getting in touch, I was a bit stuck looking for work. And along the way I had many difficult interviews. Some of the mistakes I was making were down to, well, being autistic, but on other occasions, for as well as I thought I did, the rat race had no time for me. Then we were let in on Enna’s little secret…!
How did Enna help you find employment?
When I signed up I was invited to introduce myself in person, set out what my expectations were, and discuss how Enna could help me achieve them. From then on we kept at the job market, carving out those positions we felt best matched my qualities and skills, and making headway to apply for them each week. Practice interviews were on the cards when we felt we were getting close!
How did you feel when you got the job offer?
Well, ecstatic! I couldn’t say no to the security of a permanent, full-time job. And to think I got to this point with all that came before.
What does your job entail?
I am a Software Test Engineer. An educational product is being developed for schools and universities to use in collaboration with libraries, and my job as ‘tester’ is to make sure it is of the best possible quality. That means features are effectively implemented, as directed in coordination with variably stringent acceptance criteria, and the occurrence and severity of software bugs are kept low.
What do you enjoy most about your job and SirsiDynix?
The work is interesting and taps into my penchant for detail. That is not to say there haven’t been challenges!
The company with whom I work is very accommodating and even somewhat charitable in their scope. My supervisor is amazingly friendly and usually quick to approve paid leave. In my mind this is miles better than anything else, especially starting a business, at this time.
What are your hopes for the future?
I would love to have a girlfriend, and eventually set my sights on marriage. But seeing as this is a recruitment agency after all, I am excited by the provision for progression routes with my own job. I hope that one day I am able to use my experiences and knowledge to help young people who are in similar situations as I was once.
What would you say to other neurodivergent people looking for work?
Don’t give up, there is something for everyone to succeed in and enjoy! We’ve all been there. Go for it and show the world what you’re made of!
What would you say to employers that are considering hiring someone neurodivergent?
You have made a very sensible, forward-thinking, and even sustainable decision.
But don’t hire someone just because they’re neurodivergent, hire them because neurodivergent individuals are just as capable of doing the job and excelling in every regard!
What would you say to employers interested in learning about neurodiversity?
Reach out, be open, and devote your own time and resources where necessary. Take time to get to know real neurodivergent people, and better yet meet them in person, but be vigilant and never jump to conclusions about anyone in particular. There are all sorts of reasons and pretexts for how they are.
Is there anything else you would like to say?
I would like to thank the founder and CEO of Enna, Emily, for supporting me in the time of lockdowns. I simply did not think anything like this could happen. But Emily was on hand, as were others, to help me refocus on what was really going to help me succeed in this world – finding full-time employment. Weekly meetings with Enna were one of the staples of sanity I could use to claw back routine. It puts me at ease to know I do not have to feel 100% OK all the time.