Johan has been a system administrator in the European Parliament in Brussels since 2014. Diagnosed with autism in 2004, his disability is not visible at first sight. We asked him if he felt integrated in his team and whether his disability had ever been an obstacle in his work.
"I feel integrated in the team. I am quite extravert so I like the interaction with my colleagues. We often tell jokes and we laugh a lot. Most of my colleagues do not know I have autism. Over the years, I learned to hide my disability and in fact, in the sector I work in, autistic behaviour is not that uncommon. I’m maybe an atypical person with autism. Most people think that people with autism do not like socializing, which is really a misconception. True, people with autism think in a different manner, they are more focused on details, for example, and often they have problems dealing with sensory input, but when they feel relaxed they really enjoy the companionship of others."
Johan also encourages other candidates with special needs to apply for a EU Career and leaves his advice.
"The European institutions are a nice place to work in. The people are open-minded towards persons with disabilities. Also, the buildings have been adapted to accommodate for people in wheelchairs. You have to show the selection committee that you are of equal or better value as other candidates without a disability. So know your stuff and give it a try."