Autism and workplace challenges

James Kilgour

In this heartfelt blog post, James Kilgour reflects on past challenges in his work life due to undiagnosed Autism. Looking back at past experiences, he appreciates the struggles and expresses gratitude for the colleagues who supported him on his journey.


An Apology to my previous employers:

I’m sorry things didn’t work out. You probably think we had a good thing going on, but then I left all of a sudden. Perhaps we had a misunderstanding, or I didn’t agree with a new work policy.

I’ve just been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Condition at 37 years old. I’ve been like this since birth, but I and the professionals I’ve spoken to over my life hadn’t connected the dots.

Self-doubt and frustration

Before my diagnosis, I’d always beaten myself up about work and my seemingly frequent job changes (it has become a bit of a running joke). I was ashamed that almost overnight I could find a perfectly suited job to become overwhelming, and I’ve been so frustrated at myself for not being able to stick it out with promising opportunities. Especially not seemingly having the determination to put things aside and see the rewards for my efforts and justify other people’s faith in me.

Most of the time I took on a new position hoping that this would be the perfect fit for me and my skills. However, I’d eventually find that I’d get a feeling that I didn’t fit in, with the people, procedures or values. I’d always try to change the way I thought, as ultimately that is all we’re responsible for, but I’d inevitably end up feeling overwhelmed and have no choice but to leave the role.

Acceptance and relief

This diagnosis has been pretty tough to take on board – my initial thoughts turned to missed opportunities and regretful decisions, but I’m also feeling relieved. For the first time I’ve managed to draw a through line between events in my life, rather than just seemingly frustrating, unrelated incidents. With the help of professionals, friends, family and colleagues, I’m sure I can get a grasp on what makes me tick and how to approach situations from here on.

One advantage of this situation is that I’ve met many amazing colleagues, most of who are firm friends now, who I think like me for my quirks.

To any future employers:

Don’t give up on me or those with a similar story.

I have an excellent skill set, with incredibly high attention to detail, a professional attitude, exceptional punctuality and I’m great with animals! I just need routine, structure, and clear expectations, and we’ll get on just fine.

James Kilgour – Veterinary Sales Channel Manager at Fujifilm UK and RVN.



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