Stories from a neurodiverse work environment: Jelle excels at details

Specialisterren has been in existence for over 14 years and in the past year we have grown rapidly. We now employ 75 people at Specialisterren, 60 of whom have a form of autism. Because everyone has his/her own story and we like to inspire others with our experiences, a number of employees share their stories in the series: ‘Stories from a neurodiverse work environment’.

This time the story of Jelle. Jelle has been working at Specialisterren since 2021. He started as a tester, but has since made the move to test analyst.


How did you end up at Specialisterren?  

Before this, I worked in geoinformation. There I checked databases and maps for errors. As it were, I was also a tester there. Eventually I got tired of just checking data and maps, but applying for another job was impossible. Mainly with government agencies, I encountered that people had a very closed attitude during job interviews. Because of this closed attitude, I found it very difficult to have a good conversation, which made it difficult to have a pleasant conversation with them. This is something more common in people with a form of autism. Because I really wanted another job, I kept looking and eventually ended up at Specialisterren. 

Did you find the challenge you were looking for? 

Yes, this position suits me well. I am constantly engaged in meta-thinking, that is, thinking about thinking. This allows me to see how testing can be done efficiently. In addition, this is very results-oriented work and that gives me a lot of satisfaction. You wouldn’t expect it, but what’s also nice about this job is that it has a creative side. After all, in order to find as many bugs as possible during testing, you have to be creative in thinking about what can break. 

You wouldn’t expect it, but this job also has a creative side.

What makes Specialisterren a great place to work for you?

At Specialisterren, when I mention that I am stressed or stuck, there is no pretense that I am acting out. That is respected. In my opinion, the world would be a better place if we focused less on understanding each other and more on trusting each other. For example, if a colleague says ‘I can’t figure it out’ you shouldn’t focus on the reason, but on how you can help someone. That’s what happens at Specialisterren.

The world would be a more beautiful place if we focused less on understanding each other and more on trusting each other.

Do you have any tips for people with autism who are looking for jobs?

Indicate in job applications that you have autism, but complement “non-autistic” colleagues well precisely because of this. They excel in helicopter view, we have an exceptional eye for detail. Explain what autism means to you as an individual. Talk about what you are good at and what you need help with. That way you can team up with others and strengthen each other.

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