Life of a neurodivergent Marketing and PR Executive.

Neurodivergent brain

Life of a neurodivergent Marketing and PR Executive.

This week is Neurodiversity Celebration Week which aims to bring about worldwide neurodiversity acceptance, equality and inclusion in schools and workplaces.

An estimated 1 in 7 people in the UK is neurodivergent, so why does it often feel like workplaces don’t cater to those on the spectrum? 

I’m Erica, a Marketing and PR Executive at Purple Riot, and I’m autistic – nice to virtually meet you. This week is Neurodivergent Week, so I’d like to share my experience as someone with autism working in this industry. I think it’s important that more transparent conversations around neurodiversity happen regularly in the workplace; so that people like me can feel less alone. 

I’ve always struggled to navigate my autism, I often got thought of as ‘rude’ or ‘blunt’ – but I never meant to come across that way. I don’t realise I’m doing it. 

Erica Botchway
Hi, I’m Erica.

Neurodiversity in the workplace

My experience in the marketing industry has been a whirlwind from the beginning. After graduating from university during peak Covid times, finding a job was pretty difficult. Interviewing was an interesting experience. Employers would either find my straightforwardness really charming or rude; there was no in-between. In applications, I simply glanced past the Equality Act that every employer puts on job ads; I just never honestly thought about the prospect of my autism affecting my work – which was absurd, as it impacted my studies quite a lot. 

When I got my first marketing job, I was getting used to the structure and post-graduate life as I voyaged into proper adulthood. Focusing on the task at hand was and still is difficult for me. The sound of an email notification, someone clicking their pen in the office, the office dog wagging its tail across the room would distract me from work and then lead to spending the next block of time trying to refocus and recentre myself. A part of my autism is suffering from extreme sensory overload, which is not ideal for someone working in the marketing and PR industry and living in the busy city of Manchester. 

In the past, former employers have found it difficult to be supportive and provide an adequate  working environment for me even though they were reasonable requests. I started to become very unhappy in my roles and felt like a burden often. Certain tasks I felt like I breezed through with ease, such as creative planning or strategy but other tasks, such as research, felt incredibly daunting as it’s like a never-ending pit that I couldn’t find the bottom off. I’d say it’s probably my greatest challenge…always having to see an end result to something before really being able to dive into it. I tend to work off logic, and as a result, anything that doesn’t put logic at the forefront appears to be a challenge for me. I’m still trying to figure it all out. 

Navigating my personal life as a neurodivergent person is hard, and navigating my work life is even harder. I was close to giving up a career in marketing, but then I got connected to my current role at Purple Riot. To my pleasant surprise, and have never experienced this before in my professional life, my manager is neurodivergent. I remember during my interview, we had a compelling conversation about being diagnosed and what it meant for us and how it affects us on a daily basis. She was very accommodating to my needs and gave me the full flexibility to work in a manner that suited me and allowed me to perform best. I understand that not every neurodivergent person is fortunate enough to be in this situation, but I never take it for granted.

This week I’ve reflected on how out of place I’ve felt in my previous roles, but I am embraced and welcomed here and wish more workplaces were the same.

To read more about life at Purple Riot, visit our news page here.

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