Autistic job-seeker Cain Noble-Davies bemoans prospective employers’ reliance on job interviews:

From what I’ve been able to discern, first impressions are kind of a big thing for most people.

Well, I certainly hope employers don’t hold onto that too closely because, for pretty much every encounter with someone I’d never met previously, I become incredibly withdrawn.

I’m lucky to get any words out at all, and while I’ve always managed to bounce back on repeat encounters, job interviews don’t work that way.

Were Noble-Davies truly aware of the importance of first impressions, he’d ditch the weird under-chin fuzz.

Face fuzz


3 thoughts on “FIRST IMPRESSIONS

  1. I am in two minds about this issue. I am autistic and much prefer to be alone – I actively avoid people, but was trained [as was my equally autistic brother] to ‘present’ myself to others in a civil and polite manner much as an actor or actress learns to act a role in a play. [It helped that my very old fashioned and formal parents believed in actively training me and my brother in formal ‘manners’. My father was a radio and TV personality/presenter/public speaker of the 1950s and ’60s so we had him as a model to copy.] Being taught to act a civil role in the company of others means one can ‘pass through’ society without drawing undue attention to one’s autistic traits. It is tiring to do, but necessary if one is to operate in the world of sentimental people. Having chosen to be a teacher I found being ‘on the stage’ in front of school children initially terrifying, but set about learning to present professionally by practising communication skills copied from the best of my own teachers in front of a mirror until my presentation – especially eye contact – was sufficient to survive the worst of middle high school louts intent on destabilising my lessons. Indeed they soon learned that I took no prisoners and word soon got around not to trifle with me. In a sense I have two ‘faces’: in private I am classically autistic, but in public I present as a very polite and formal senior adult. Both are ‘real’ which is probably why in years past we were often seen as schizophrenic.

    I have sympathy for Cain as an autistic, but he must learn to operate in the mainstream world and that will take an effort – by him. No one else can help him master the skills. If he doesn’t try, he will always be on the fringes of society or even outside it wondering why and feeling pity for himself.


  2. Depending on the job for which he is applying he might want to clean up his image. Face-fuzz might be alright for certain jobs, but it makes him look scruffy as far as I am concerned and employers need to be convinced by him he is worth having. He may be ‘carrying’ the ‘fuzz’ to try to make himself look more mature – many autistics look far younger than their actual years, though none of us know why we look up to 10-12 years younger. Starting out clean shaven is best I believe, especially when one is ‘different’. He would not be employed to ‘be autistic’ but to be a productive employee and fit in. That is not to deny his autism, but is about him meeting any requirements of prospective employers who are running real-world businesses, not therapy centres or sheltered workshops.


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