• Welcome to Autism Forums, a friendly forum to discuss Aspergers Syndrome, Autism, High Functioning Autism and related conditions.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Private Member only forums for more serious discussions that you may wish to not have guests or search engines access to.
    • Your very own blog. Write about anything you like on your own individual blog.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon! Please also check us out @ https://www.twitter.com/aspiescentral

Abused Amoebas and Career Correlations (First published Nov 2017)

I was reading an excerpt from a zoological textbook the other day about the reactions of different types of amoeba to stimulus. (Yes - this is the sort of thing you will find in my web surfing history. Shut up.) It seems that amoeba, generally, rarely move because of a positive stimulus. (Towards things.) It follows that most of the experiments described involved annoying the amoeba with various negative stimuli and provoking movement. (Away from things.) After I stopped feeling sorry for the amoeba, it struck me that I had something in common with them.

It's been a long time since I had to start a new job. I began my current employ at the end of 2009, and so, this is as long as I have held any job. My length of employ in my various jobs has depended on all sorts of things in the past: from the effects of global financial crises, to dodgy contractual practices by employers that left me significantly out of pocket and on the end of a long list of creditors. Only twice in the 11 jobs I have held, (As a graphic designer, Photographer, Technical illustrator, Administrator, Office Manager, IT Technician, Technical Author, Marketing Manager and Cover Supervisor,) have I chosen to leave. And then, only because the stress of the situation has begun to effect my health.

It is in the nature of people with Asperger's to work hard. After all, most things about everyday life are hard for us. By most things, I mean all the stuff that is relatively easy for NTs. (Chatting, socialising, networking, building relationships, finding advocates, friends and allies, navigating office or organisational politics.) The things that most NTs find hard: being focused on work; wading through piles of boring, difficult or unsavoury tasks; learning new and difficult procedures and skills, staying motivated; is relatively easy for us.

Where people like me come unstuck, is that point where we need some support, help or recognition for our work and we look up from our narrow focus and find there's nobody there. Because we haven't spent our time socialising, building those relationships, finding our allies and advocates, we have to rely on the formal organisational structure, as is. As anyone can attest, this alone is rarely adequate and sometimes even, shockingly, not always in the employee's favour. It reminds me a little of what it was like during my maternity leave after having my son, Charley. Finding myself alone with a new baby... just the two of us, music, the park and a bunch of books: (The idea of going to 'new mums groups' or 'baby massage classes' filled me with absolute terror.)

But this seems to be a fate shared by of many of the people I have since met who have managed to secure regular employment, and who are on the spectrum. Their remarkable skills and work ethic go unnoticed, simply because they don't know how to get them to register with their colleagues and employers... The widely proclaimed CPD programmes seem in principle to be diametrically opposed to the 'one-size fits all' mentality of their actual content... and the forms! They are anathema to the logical mind of an Aspie. The whole thing actually works against us, making us appear 'difficult' and 'unhelpful', when nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, I think this is probably the most hurtful thing I could be accused of, simply because I try so hard to achieve the opposite outcome.

After discussions with several of the people I will be working with in my new job, I have much more confidence that they understand this. They are aware of my Asperger's, the skills and strengths that it affords me, and the accommodations that they will need to make for me (some flexibility when it comes to CPD and conferences (large, noisy gatherings in strange places). For many of us, our work is really our only 'social' contact, and what we do there is how we reach out to people. It is up to our colleagues and employers to notice that, and accept the offer. They would certainly not be disappointed if they did.

I digress, and do so because I have to go and write the obligatory 'goodbye email' to fulfil my social duties. It seems awkward and pointless... I have no wish to rant about my reasons for leaving, or single anyone out for particular thanks - this I have already done, in person. I see no purpose in throwing out more of the bland and meaningless platitudes that litter the daily lives of teachers. I expect no card, no presentation, no celebration of my contribution of the last 7 years, which does sadden me, but it's a dusty, old and familiar sadness. No, I'll leave quietly as usual. After all, haven't I heard somewhere that it's better to speak softly and wear a loud shirt?



Amoeba Proteus, formerly known as Chaos Diffluens (I wonder why the change...? Perhaps it was in Witness Protection....)

Comments

This stinks. I am at a new job and trying to make the social thing work, it's getting harder and harder as I just want and NEED to focus on my work rather than interrupt it with the most boring kind of fishing-talk socializing that others routinely do and expect me to do. I really need to keep this job.....not sure how I will fare socially though, and it is a large factor in how long I can hold onto a job.
 
This stinks. I am at a new job and trying to make the social thing work, it's getting harder and harder as I just want and NEED to focus on my work rather than interrupt it with the most boring kind of fishing-talk socializing that others routinely do and expect me to do. I really need to keep this job.....not sure how I will fare socially though, and it is a large factor in how long I can hold onto a job.
I understand your sentiment entirely, Ambi - I will never be convincing in the usual office chat or gossip, and would die of boredom long before I got proficient, anyway. What I have learned through Aspie TA has made a massive difference - without it, I would not have had the language to explain to Employers what they were missing... It's scary, but I recommend finding one person you can talk to, without all the game-playing, and go from there.
 

Blog entry information

Author
Chris Russell
Read time
4 min read
Views
1,668
Comments
2
Last update

More entries in General

  • Self-assessment struggles
    You know. I always mention how there are clues in our wording, when we are down on ourselves...
  • Anglo Saxons
    I am looking to do a thesis at the end of my history degree ie: when all the coursework has been...
  • Feelings
    The feeling Of rain inside, the storm, the cold, the darkness. The need to keep the lights off...
  • Executive functioning
    Not that long ago, I found out what executive functioning means. Once I understood what it was...
  • I have an idea
    I have started looking into the idea of a dual layered system. Masking and a psychological...

More entries from Chris Russell

Share this entry

Top Bottom