International Specialisterne Community

Specialisterne Canada

Specialisterne Canada Inc., a charitable not-for-profit Canadian organization, focused on building a bridge between neurodivergent job seekers and employers. We support employers to tap into the talents of a neurodiverse workforce and build inclusive organizations through education, training, and advisory.

Specialisterne Foundation

Specialisterne Foundation is a non-for-profit organization that works to enable one million jobs for people with autism and similar challenges.

My employer made an accommodation, and I’m thriving! Some might think that celebrating an accommodation request is silly because we all should have our disabilities accommodated. Unfortunately, when you’re a sales professional with dyslexia like me, the last thing you want is to find yourself not measuring up to the rest of your peers. 

Asking for accommodations can be scary. Much of our lives are spent working to overcome the shame of not learning like everyone else around us. Matter of fact, many people associate dyslexia with some form of retardation, which is completely inaccurate. What’s more is that data shows that a significant portion of the population has dyslexia, and most may not even know it. 

It’s my ninth year using a very popular CRM to perform my job, and most of that time, I have struggled terribly. At times, I have been unable to complete my work at all. I’m familiar with three different versions of this CRM and only one of those versions works best for me, the one we don’t use. 

Instead of keeping my disability challenge to myself, I spoke up to my leadership team. In transparency, this conversation didn’t happen overnight, it came up a few times. My goal was to explain this to the best of my ability and hope that I could get authorization to stay on the CRM version that I worked best in.

I’m going to be honest, at times I felt ashamed that I was not able to work like my peers. It was hard to perform at my best when I didn’t have all the same functionalities as the rest of the sales team. My entire childhood had comments from my teachers that I’m “smart but lazy” and “needs to try harder.” 

I love my job, and I know I must use this CRM. Locating an article from TechCrunch, I sent it to my leadership. Highlighting that most neurodivergent professionals have difficulty using “opinionated applications” like CRM’s. To quote Steve Jobs, we just “think different” and that is ok. According to TechCrunch, most top performing sales reps have trouble with CRM’s, often leading to not even entering data into it.

My leaders understood. I’m on the pilot program for moving the whole team over to the CRM version that works best for me soon. In 2018, Accenture performed a study that found employers that hired employees with disabilities had 28% higher revenue, and 90% increased employee retention. My hope for the future is that many more employers will hire and accommodate those with differences.