Honest new doco series explores the spectrum of employment
FINDING a job can mean a lot more than just a steady pay cheque.
As viewers discover in the ABC's new factual series Employable Me, which debuted this week, for those with neurological conditions like autism and Tourette syndrome, a job can bring purpose, confidence and independence.
In the three-part documentary, nine subjects candidly allow cameras into their lives and their quest for employment. They represent a broad range of conditions on the autism spectrum as well as obsessive compulsive disorder and the genetic disorder Fragile X syndrome.
Sydney man Tim's job search hit a particularly emotional chord with viewers on Tuesday night.
"People sometimes ask me about working with vulnerable people, but I would say that a lot of these people are more resilient than the rest of us," director Cian O'Clery tells The Guide.
"A condition doesn't dictate who that person is."
Even though autism is now a mainstream subject on TV dramas like The Good Doctor, O'Clery believes more can be done to reflect the diversity within the spectrum.
"The representation of autism is out there at the moment but they're very similar characters - that male, high-functioning genius," he says.
"That's one of the things these guys are dealing with, whether it's being treated like children and people thinking they're stupid or the opposite, where people think they're geniuses and all these expectations being placed on them."
O'Clery, who also directed the ABC's acclaimed mental health series Changing Minds, hopes the series will inspire viewers and employers in particular to look beyond the condition to see the person.
"Empathy brings understanding," he says.
"Everyone's got skills and different specialities. Hopefully people will be more open to employing more diversity in the workplace. Not everyone in the series now has a job but hopefully they will."
Employable Me continues on Tuesday at 8.30pm on ABC-TV.