Like many people on the autism spectrum, I have always been very passionate about my interests. It started with dinosaurs and I dreamed of being a paleontologist when I grew up. Then I became obsessed with all kinds of animals and hoped to be a zookeeper one day. In fact, I was a teen volunteer at the Denver Zoo. I also attended many SeaWorld camps and hoped to be a Shamu trainer.
After high school:
After leaving high school, I learned that I wasn’t qualified for these jobs because they require college degrees and skills that I don’t have (like you have to be able to hold your breath underwater for 2-3 minutes to work at SeaWorld). I then started applying for a lot of different jobs and almost never heard back from any of them. After a year, I was finally hired at a grocery store. I worked there for 6 months and I really hated it. They changed my schedule all of the time, I sometimes had to work really early in the morning, and I never got to talk with my co-workers.
Luckily, my mom is an entrepreneur. She helped me look at things that I enjoy (reading and cartoons) and together we started a business called Unintentional Humor®. After writing down funny stories of my literal mind, we hired a cartoonist to draw pictures of them. A few of my favorites are “Frog in Your Throat” and “It’s Raining Cats & Dogs”. In addition to my 2 Unintentional Humor® books, I also do speaking engagements at schools and conferences talking about autism and the humor of my literal mind.
I have been working on my business for almost 10 years now, and I really enjoy it. I’ve done presentations in 17 states and talked to thousands of people. I have also helped my sister with Celebrate EDU. I have been involved in creating The Spark Program, Kindling Workshops, and I am the instructor of the Discovering Entrepreneurship course. My sister and I also are developing a podcast where we will interview entrepreneurs around the country (stay tuned for that!).
I have come a long way from wanting to dig up dinosaur bones and swim with dolphins. I never thought I would have this career, but if you are doing something you love every day, then it doesn’t even feel like work!