If you have any kind condition, any employer mainly wants to make sure, you can improve upon that condition
If you indicate to any employer that you are constantly working to improve your personal quirks and improve yourself, that's one of the best arguments that you can give. You just indicated that you DO NOT GIVE UP.
To tell you the truth, many I have met with ASD, especially ones that got diagnosed late in life, have simply accepted it. This diagnosis is not a death sentence an excuse or a sickness. It is, if anything a revelation. You now know how you and your mind works, take it as a tool not a limitation.
Considering the rest of your text here's some insight, tools and possibly help:
Having been diagnosed with Asperger's myself, as well as recently moved into a new job with a vastly different culture than i'm used to, I have learned the following:
- It's okay to be seen as a bit wierd, at least the first few days: It happens to everybody. A new job requires a lot of time and energy to adjust to new procedures, new people and a new workplace culture. It's a lot to take in, even for neurotypicals.
- Even neurotypicals don't have constant control over their behaviour and emotions: this is a very important thing for autists to know... basically everyone has a condition or quirk according to modern psycology, from the manipulative and psychotic boss to the shy programmer. If you have an otherwise normal life that doesn't interfere with your work, don't think too much about doing a wierd thing or having a tic.
- Be wary of using history to fall back on: While in many cases it's our best option to gauge social cues and reaction, it can also be a hindrance. If the workplace culture and procedures are vastly different, most of your experience will be moot. You'll have to stand tall and adjust the best you can.
- Your main power is your skill: If you have a record of excellent work and learning new skills rapidly, keep it up in the new job. If your work shines, at least the people that are higher up in the hierarchy will be more likely to accept your quirks. Remember that as a basic rule, company leaders focus on _money_and that quality work, as well as high productivity gets them more money and more customers. As long as you deliver that, no proper leader will have any reason to fire you. My own special interest (everything computers and IT) ended up being my main asset. I ended up, not only being a skilled programmer, but also a skilled self-taught IT and network technician, which in turn got me a job as a system administrator.
- Learn to use your weirdness constructively: In my case, I trained my sense of humour (which many autists have a hard time to get a grasp on) and learned to integrate my own quirks into it. While I don't consider myself to be a funny guy to be around others, including my colleagues and friends have commented that I have given them some of the best laughs ever! This also brings up:
- Challenge your diagnosis and train yourself: Don't let the diagnosis hinder you. Constantly work on making yourself better and train your interactions with others. Push your limits of what you can take before having a meltdown (if you get those). In my case, I was forced by society to do this, as my meltdowns often ended in violence when I was a child. On the ther hand, I have grown so good at cloaking my autism that most people wouldn't know I had i dagnosis when taking to them. Remember that it takes time and patience.
- Find out whether or not you can legally get fired on the sole basis of your condition in your state or nation
- It may not be you that has a problem: Humans are naturally and instinctually inclined to sort out people that are different from themselves, this goes for ASD quirks as well. Some are better than others in ignoring it. In your case, because you have a better ability to focus on a task, you should know that other employees may see it as a threat to their position (which is the bully trigger).
- Learn to ignore: Ask yourself, when you get called out on your weirdness, whether or not that person's opinion is actually important or valid. For example if your boss comments on your behaviour at an important meeting or during a phone call, that may be reason for an apology, as well as training and self-improvement. On the other hand if there's no valid reason for being called out (eg. you're not in a social setting).
In addition to the last point i'd like to point out that it, of course, depends on your job. If you service customers, you often can't get away with rudeness or hostility. If you "service" coworkers (like an IT dept), you're not expected to be polite.
In my case (Software develeoper and system administrator roles, even in a leading role), I have been called out on being rude or hostile to coworkers numerous times, however in the majority of cases it was their fault because they started trying to boss me around without valid authority (even to the point of calling up and harassing my boss if they weren't satisfied with my "service" or prioritization). Numerous times i've been called to drop very important work that could affect tens of thousands people (eg. a crashed server) because little "Ms. Important" couldn't read a dialog box. For that majority of times, I have ignored "Ms. Important", but accepted and used input from my boss to handle further cases from "Ms. Important" better.
This bring up the very final point:
- Learn to differentiate critique from bullying: This is a point even many neurotypicals fail at. But remember that critique is calling out your weirdness (or other problems) in a constructive manner.
Personally, I have never told an employer that I had a diagnosis, and I have never had to reveal it down the line legally or by query, as it has never interfered with my job If anything, the gifts of my autism has helped me perform better, to the point of impressing my peers and my superiors.
The other reason is that a revealed ASD diagnosis severely limits your chances of getting a new job (especially in my country). In most cases any apparent psychological diagnoses or problems will indicate to the hirer that:
- It's just a bad excuse; I haven't experienced this with employers, but I have experienced it in cases where I had to explain my condition to government workers...
- You'll become a problem down the line.
That is not to say that there are no companies out there that are tolerant of people with ASD... in fact there is at least one Danish company that mostly hire autists (Specialisterne). I strongly suggest you read the story of how the company came to be.
The same company has, especially in the US and Denmark, made great effort to help other companies to hire, train and accommodate employees with ASD.
While a highly social job (like sales) is not suitable for most autists, these guys (and others) are making progress in making sure that an incredibly valuable work force is not going to waste.
However, there are ways to subtly indicate that you may need special accomodations without instantly pointing to your condition and diagnosis.
For example, if a hirer queries you about your weaknesses in that particular job (a question you should always prepare for), you could mention that you have a few problems with large crowds and social gatherings. Improve your chances of getting hired by showing that you can at least mostly accomodate yourself. It enables some freedom down the road to find the middle ground, but make sure you indicate that you are working to push yourself forward and improve on the quirks you have.
Remember, you got this far without help or special treatment for your condition! You can still adapt, and you have done so for years already.
Be proud of yourself, you deserve it!
Also remember, that many out there will call you out on your wierdness.