Still not settled into the workshop, but I am hopeful that in the coming week I will be able to set up more permanently there. I have some exciting personal news that could lead to more income – and paradoxically more time for working on my projects. I think the sheer amount of work involved in having anxiety is vastly unappreciated. It is an unpaid part time job. (Full time for many folks.)
In my experience talking with and reading about other people who have SA, I have noticed a trend towards un- or under-employment. It makes sense. If you can’t follow or understand the social rules at a workplace, it’s not going to take long for problems to crop up. Many folks with SA are branded as unfriendly, dour, rude, or just weird. Nothing that you want to be if you would like to climb a career ladder.
As far as I know, getting on disability with social anxiety is very difficult. Even though it is possible to get on SSI with a diagnosis of social anxiety, many people find getting diagnosed in the first place impossible. There is a financial cost that must be paid; and if you have very little income, there may be no money for that. Additionally, it is just generally difficult to get social anxiety diagnosed. The symptoms don’t lend themselves towards discussion with counselors. Even making a phone call to get an appointment can be too hard for some people.
I think there is some hope in at-home employment, as micro-working and freelancing sites have become widely available. Unfortunately, there is an additional problem here. The more lucrative positions require training or experience that a person with SA might not have. The problems of SA affect students as much or more as non-students seeking to be employed. A person with SA may be unable to complete classes because the social environment there is too much. Or the process of seeking financial aid and getting all signed up may be too much to begin with.
Additionally, any one who doesn’t have any kind of business experience at all can end up doing a lot of work for very little payoff. So otherwise enthusiastic and persistent workers might waste a lot of time without getting anywhere. Some sites, like Mechanical Turk, have plenty of entry-level jobs – but many of them pay poorly and it can take a long time before a new worker there is able to access anything worth doing. Without engaging in the rest of the community that works on Mechanical Turk, new workers can easily miss out on information to make that work worth doing.
Passive income opportunities, like affiliate marketing problems, can be great provided someone has a wide enough audience or knows how to advertise. People with SA can have great difficulty with either of these. Also, some ways to advance in affiliate marketing cost money in the first place, putting them out of range of folks who don’t have any way to save up money in the first place.
One of the larger goals of this project, beyond the book, is to help other people with SA get some kind of income going. I feel that a lot of talent goes to waste because folks who are otherwise able to do work are hindered by unnecessary social requirements. I’m still considering how this might be accomplished. Sometime soon I plan to outline some ideas here and seek feedback and suggestions on them.