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Mistakes at work

Discussion in 'General Autism Discussion' started by Raggamuffin, Feb 22, 2020.

  1. Raggamuffin

    Raggamuffin Well-Known Member

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    I've worked in office jobs since leaving college. There has been consistent aspects to these jobs - firstly, I'm good with computer programmes and I find that once I've learned a system or process I can work very swiftly and process a lot of work in a short space of time. On the flip side I make quite a lot of minor errors.

    Slow down and double check - this is the advice I've been told multiple times in ever single job when supervisors and managers notice a pattern in my ability to work quickly but making such mistakes. I find even with double checking these errors can slip through the net.

    In terms of success rate I'd say I'm making a mistake in about 1 in 30 jobs/tasks I do. However, the advice of slowing down or double checking can only be implemented in short bursts. I find double checking or slowing down is cumbersome and eventually I start to speed up again and work at my natural pace.

    The main issue I feel is the lack of passion for my career path. This isn't what I want to do, and as the years have gone by the stress and depression has increased. The desire to follow my dream of making a career from my art continues to increase as well. I'm still not at a point where I can give up full time work to become a full time artist - especially when I have a mortgage and bills to pay.

    I feel stuck in a limbo - working jobs I dislike, around people I wouldn't normally want to associate with. The work and processes are dull and uninspired. I guess I work fast to get through things quicker and hope the day goes by faster. Whilst I show a pride in my work and a friendliness and keen desire to help people around me - I don't think I can maintain this facade for much longer. I hide my tics and real personality in the work place, which is exhausting in of itself. Then I try hard to work well and efficiently, whilst also on edge about the possibility of making mistakes, and the fallout that occurs afterwards.

    The supervisor I work with is more understanding than most, but it's 7 months in and I've been pulled up on these errors over 5 times already. I'm not sure what to do at this point. I need to continue working, and I feel embarrassed and emotional when I mess up. I don't have melt downs or severe anxiety, but the fear of messing up is always there.

    I care about the work I do, but at the same time I resent being in the position I'm in with regards to my career. This job forces adaptability - we have a lot of admin and processing to do, such as purchase orders, invoices, reports and such like. Then we have reactive work such as phone calls, emails and breakdowns. The problem with the reactive work is that it can occur at any time. So if I'm in the middle of paperwork or admin work, I have to drop everything I'm doing.

    A change of schedule/pattern as I'm sure a lot of you are only too aware of can be very tricky. Now imagine this happening 30+ times a day and then being chastised when you make mistakes. I had been doing overtime to keep caught up, mainly because the workload is rather relentless. There were certain tasks I wanted to do at the beginning of the day. I'd give myself an hour or two before work started to get through processes and start my day on my own terms - without the phone ringing or other people at work chatting away and unwittingly causing all sorts of mental frustrations for me as I heard and saw them about the office.

    I've been told they can't sign off on the amount of overtime I do. Initially I got to work early to beat rush hour. My trip is 35 minutes. But if I left on time to get to work for when I start that trip can take 3 times as long. I'm better than I used to be in traffic, but I still feel drained and frustrated by the time I reach my destination. This isn't a good way to start the day.

    So I get to work 90 minutes early now, but I'm not allowed to do overtime? I don't want to work without earning, I don't want to set that precedent that I'm someone who could be taken advantage of like that. At the same time, I don't want to be sat at work twiddling my thumbs or going for long walks in the morning simply to get away from work before it's even begun.

    I said I'd do no more overtime this week and next and i'm already drowning at work. A customer of mine told me in an email there can't be any more mistakes. So what happens? I run a report, process an invoice, and sure enough there's a mistake. I email my manager as I finished before he got back to the office, so I have that to look forward to on Monday.

    Tiresome - that's all a job feels like for me. People in the office talk of "blue Monday", or Wednesday being a "hump day" or "happy Fridays" and you know what, I get it. Asides from the owner of the company, I can't imagine any of us are in our dream job. So we wish the day away and feel like our time off and away from work goes by too quickly. I tried to lie to myself many a time and picture myself working my way up and making a career of any of these office jobs I've worked. But I don't.

    I've been told numerous times I'm wasted in these jobs. I have also been told innumerable times throughout life that I'm gifted. What use is a gift if it's sat gathering dust?

    So here I am, overqualified in a stressful, poorly paid and ill-fitting job. Quietly seething at the realisation of my calling in life, and seemingly letting this calling pass me by each day. It's no wonder I've been battling depression and anxiety since school. I knew without a doubt I wanted to make a career as an artist and I was told when school was about to finish that I wasn't allowed to study art in college, let alone university.

    I suppose it had never occurred to me that my parents wouldn't support what I knew I wanted. And so a long path of incompatible subjects and careers ensued, as depression began to rise. A friend of my fathers waited until he was retired before he made a career as an artist, he implored me to not wait as long as he did.

    It's not for lack/want of trying - I just feel exhausted at this point. Nearly 20 years with depression, 10 with anxiety and a persistently growing discontent with being stuck in the rat race.

    Ed
     
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  2. Aspychata

    Aspychata Serenity waves, beachy vibes

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    Yup, job burn- out and over-worked and under-paid. This sounds cold but this comes to my mind.
    You have to be more grounded at work or move on, it comes down to you waiting until you are fired or start looking for work elsewhere. You have to decide to stay unhappy or find some type of relief like swimming or martial arts (that helped my ex deal with 1.5 hour commute one way).
     
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  3. GadAbout

    GadAbout Well-Known Member

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    Hi, Ed. I identify easily with the plight you are in. Way overqualified for a dead-end, cubicle-bound, paper processing job.

    You could I guess pull a Paul Gauguin and run away to Tahiti.

    There are so many people in the arts in the same pickle you're in. It's not only autistic people. Your distress seems to have arisen when told you could not, as a young man, follow your desire to study and be a professional in art.

    I agree with Aspychata, you have tough choices to make, but they are your own choices. Either figure out how to cope better while improving your error rate, or start looking for another position. In my case, I decided "it's a job, not a career" and I lived as fully as I could outside of office hours.

    Good luck to you.
     
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  4. Raggamuffin

    Raggamuffin Well-Known Member

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    I promised myself this would be the last office job I worked. On the last day of my previous job I sold several limited edition prints of my artwork to co-workers. It was one of the happiest moments of my life. Shortly after I setup my own website and Facebook page and got business cards printed. I created and undertook various marketing campaigns online and spent hundreds - but no more sales.

    So I continuned on with my latest drawing, but I hit a brick wall. This happens quite often after a pro-longed period of creativity, I realise I'm stockpiling work and no originals have sold. I then cave in on myself and sink into depression. This can last weeks or months - nothing gets created and eventually it comes back round full circle.

    Thankfully this next pay cheque is the last where I have no spare money. I had always intended for this job to be a means to an end - to fund promoting my art and making my dream career a reality. I guess I hadn't taken stock of my financial situation prior to leaving my last job and undertaking this next steps. Whilst I undertook creating an online presence, I didn't have the money behind it to continue what I started.
    Feeling like a failure, I once again retreated back into my shell.

    I think next time will be different, as my March pay cheque will leave me with enough disposable income to fund purchasing what I need to start doing weekend arts and craft fairs in order to get my work seen by others. Whilst the online realm provides the ability to gather a huge following, I'm a little apprehensive about sharing what I've created but have yet to realise. I know how easy it is to save, or copy or share what you see online.

    Face to face conversations is where it's at. People say I'm friendly and polite, and when I get started talking about my art I draw people in. I know it's good to have a website, but I want my sales to be done face to face.

    I guess these stalemates get me sinking emotionally. Sometimes I forget that this job I'm in isn't the be all and end all to my existence. I know that with enough hard work and commitment I can make this my last office job.

    Sorry for the initial defeatism. The ups and downs with this sobriety can take it's toll. I'm on day 84 with no weed or alcohol at this point. I think it'd be beneficial to not do any more drawing until I fulfill my wish to sell an original piece before continuing making any more.

    Ed
     
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  5. GadAbout

    GadAbout Well-Known Member

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    I'm glad you recognize that personal contacts is where it's at. :)
     
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  6. Raggamuffin

    Raggamuffin Well-Known Member

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    I found the hit rating and the impersonal nature of online marketing and adverts a little lackluster.

    An advert reaches say 5000 people, of those maybe 1 in 200 will like the post, around 1 in 500 might comment or share and around 1 in 1000 will actually click the link that navigates to my website.

    True, adverts can be tweaked and made more enticing - but I'm also of the opinion that the western world is utterly saturated with marketing and media. It's tiresome at this point. At this point in my life I'm swerving off social media and marketing ploys etc. So it makes little sense trying to pursue these things with regards to my artwork.

    A lot of people I know implore me to get an Instagram account and seem quite shocked I don't have one. After MSN went down, I stuck with Facebook, but I find social media tedious at this point. The thought of creating an account on a new platform just to satisfy others doesn't seem like the best step.

    Ed
     
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  7. Wolf Prince

    Wolf Prince My future job title.

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    Advice. Exercise and music helps with creativity backlog.
     
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  8. Gracey

    Gracey Well-Known Member

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    Those weekend arts and craft markets sound exciting,
    and within reach.
    Your March paycheck isn't too far away :)

    I've been where your are so many times.
    In my case I'd find a new job and unknowingly repeat the process again.

    I'd care very much about giving of my best whilst working. A personal pride, if you like,
    But couldn't get excited about the job itself. The bigger picture. Company dynamics, social aspects, promotion etc. My heart wasn't in it.

    Having bills to pay had me getting out of bed and showing up to work.

    A friend and I used to do the weekend craft fairs, up and down the country.
    I used to enjoy the huge buzz from those.

    I found I could work all week with much less analysing
    because part of my brain was given over to the organisation, logistics, anticipation, awe and wonder of the weekend (craft fairs) :)

    Maybe that's a way forward to help you through this current slump?

    Weekend craft fairs?
     
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  9. BlueSky Aozora

    BlueSky Aozora Well-Known Member

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    It's sad that the world is now filled with or 'controlled' by merchants/companies who only want cheap labors (slaves) that can do many things for them in a short time and with little pay. And that the interest system (in finance) made house price goes up, so rent price also goes up.. living is difficult in a different way than long time ago.

    Anyway. You're good at programming and want to do arts. Doing arts with hands/graphics are preferable, however, what do you think about 'programming the arts'?

    Lots of mathematical simulation or data analyzing can produce beautiful figures, or 'arts'. Like the fractal and oscillation. or even the heat maps of data. Somebody even made a dress out of this mathematical simulation art.

    Just a thought. Not sure if you like it or not.

    I'm burnout too after doing programming etc with admin jobs.. coping is tiring..
    but I dont have to deal much with phone calls, not to mention 30 times task-changing in a day... wow!
    You're so good that you can manage all those tasks everyday..

    Wish you a better today than yesterday, better tomorrow than today.
     
  10. Raggamuffin

    Raggamuffin Well-Known Member

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    I woke up feeling positive - my body wasn't aching and I got a good nights sleep.

    Then came an example of why I don't follow anyone on my Facebook, when I login all I see is what I've posted. Curiosity prompted me to visit a profile of a friend, and their latest post was of an artist who's got very big on Facebook in recent years. I recall how their page and artwork looked all those years ago with only a few hundred fans. Now they've got three quarters of a million fans.

    Something about seeing other people succeed causes a lot of internal despair. This can either be the realisation I haven't succeeded in what I'm supposed to be doing, or it's an envious sort of anger that also leads to depression.

    It wasn't a great way to start the day, and with the low mood persisting my body followed suit and started to ache. So now I'm sat here with the usual double whammy. I suppose one good thing comes from mood and a desire to do something - I went on the hunt for more new music. I came across something rather dark, but beautiful:



    I know I'll keep pushing to get where I want to be, and in 2 pay cheques time I'll have the money behind me to take the next steps. I guess I feel somewhat choked by a mortgage, the need to earn means I can't just throw caution to the wind and quit the rat race and hope I make ends meet with my art. For now it'll have to be money on the side.

    One thought was to get to a point where I could work part time to cover my bills etc. and that would free up more time for my art. That alone should reduce stress and improve mood, but it can't realistically happen for a few more years.

    Ed
     
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  11. Mary Terry

    Mary Terry Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Jobs don't define who we are. They are just a means to an end, as you say. If you do what you love, then it's not a job! :)

    Will your employer allow you to work flex hours? Since you arrive 90 minutes earlier than others and immediately start working, then can you leave 90 minutes earlier than the others? Then you wouldn't incur overtime and further burn yourself out.

    I don't see any way around your having to spend time to tediously check for mistakes. Maybe you can reorganize some of your work time to make it easier to spot errors? And did you get a better chair and a computer monitor at the correct height so you're physically comfortable?
     
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  12. Raggamuffin

    Raggamuffin Well-Known Member

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    I got a riser for my monitor. I unplugged the second monitor as I found the constant turning left and right was contributing to neck issues. I'm using a second desk riser for a newly purchased document holder/stand so that the paperwork I process is at the same eye level as the monitor. This should eliminate almost all the head turning and neck stretching I do at work.

    I'm not sure if they'd allow me to change my hours, but it's worth a shot asking I suppose. Thanks for the recommendation.

    Ed
     
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  13. Mary Terry

    Mary Terry Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Ed - Please ask them about changing your hours and make sure they understand the traffic issue is one of the reasons you are asking for the change, and as a way to avoid overtime hours. Maybe if you're at the office before everyone else, you'll have peace and quiet to methodically do some of your work and check for mistakes.

    Glad you fixed the ergonomics at your desk!
     
  14. Raggamuffin

    Raggamuffin Well-Known Member

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    I will ask tomorrow. An hour would make all the difference. None of the tasks take longer than that to get done, and if I could do it without the distraction of the phone ringing I think it could help.

    I'm debating using public transport to get to and from work. I'm a 10 minute walk from the train station and could get a bus from the station to work and back. It'd cost me an extra £100 a month, but if it removed the stress of traffic jams and delays it might be worthwhile trying out for a month or so and see how it makes me feel.

    Ed
     
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  15. Mary Terry

    Mary Terry Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Public transport sounds awful to me - you'd have to walk, train, bus, and walk to the office and to home. To me, that's a lot of stress. But you know your city and what would work best for you. Let us know what they say about changing your hours.
     
  16. Raggamuffin

    Raggamuffin Well-Known Member

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    I had to use the train before when my last car was in the garage for 2 weeks. Back then I walked from the train station to work - which was a 3 mile walk each way.

    I personally enjoyed it. Admittedly, after day 3 my feet and legs were in agony. But I pushed through the pain and by day 5 I was back to loving the walk.

    Whether it'd be as enjoyable relying solely on public transport remains to be seen I suppose. But I figure there's no harm in trying.

    However, if they agree to the change in hours I'd miss rush hour out entirely, so maybe it'd solve both my issues.

    Ed
     
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  17. Fade2black

    Fade2black Well-Known Member

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    OP, interesting because like you, I'm a male and I too can move swiftly once I've figured out the systems I'm working with. And like you've I've been called out for minor errors throughout my career. I'm 57, so I think I have a few decades on you, and during those decades I've learned a few things. The first is; Despite what I've been told, I don't make more mistakes for the quantity of work I do. I actually make fewer mistakes.

    Why do I say this? There is a difference between the number of mistakes vs the work produced. Example: A high volume person may type 100 pages a day with 20 mistakes, or 1 mistake per 5 pages. A low volume person may type 50 pages and have 15 mistakes, or 1 in 3.3 pages. On the surface and in the manager's eyes, the low volume producer makes fewer mistakes. But in reality, we've made 1/3 fewer mistakes.

    When I find my comfort in speed, I can't slow down. And, why should I if I'm actually making fewer mistakes? In recent years, I've pointed this out to managers in the most polite and nicest way I can. I have been known to ask for stats to support the claim they've made, in making too many mistakes. in the end, The first time I called out a manager, I remember how dumbfounded she was when she realized I actually fewer mistakes. She even wrote in my quarterly evaluation about the incident and pointed out my ability to make fewer mistakes than the others.

    I've concluded that many managers may be good with people, they lack spatial awareness, broad reasoning skills and the ability to easily calculate statistics in their head. We are pattern people, they are not. We know the truth.
     
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  18. Raggamuffin

    Raggamuffin Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure about you, bit I wonder if the speed with which I work is a stim of sorts? I feel the buzz of excitement when working swiftly and it makes me happy.

    I hide most tics and traits in the office, so working at speed is sort of a release for all that pent up energy and is a good outlet.

    I agree with what you mean about managers. As soon as I've opened up and touched upon depression and anxiety most looked confused and/or nervous. The problem I have is now I'm comfortable in this group I tend to be fairly sociable. It happens in spikes, but during those moments I'm constantly joking around with my surreal sense of humour.

    So when I'm feeling rubbish and I'm silent almost all day it is picked up on quite easily by my team mates. It sort of compounds the issue as I find that not only do I feel bad in myself, but I also feel bad that my mood is noticed by others or causing concern - or even bringing people down with me.

    I get it - depression is pretty selfish, I guess seeing it affect others or feeling like I'm not allowed to feel it at work without it being pointed out causes a good deal of frustration.

    What jobs have you worked out of interest?

    Ed
     
  19. Raggamuffin

    Raggamuffin Well-Known Member

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    I worked a lot slower today. The pace wasn't as exciting. The backlog continued to grow. I got the document holder and put it on the second monitor riser. I found my posture was infinitely better. Sitting up straight, neck and back aligned. I looked around the office and saw everyone doing what I've done all my life - hunched over.

    These days though I'm getting daily neck and back aches and I realise this change of working environment won't be an instant or easy fix.

    Started doubting myself about asking for a change in hours. I should probably send an email first thing in the morning to ask for a meeting and then it's done - less room for overthinking things.

    Even working slower I counted 7 mistakes made today. Still not great. I guess when you consider I had been working with over 200 jobs on the system that isn't a terrible statistic.

    Mood really hasn't been good today. I've noticed how my tolerance for things I dislike seems thinner these days. I guess being sober is making more alert than I used to be. Nursing a hangover most week days and getting stoned on weekends really dulled who I was as a person. I guess I assumed I'd feel calmer and more at ease as in myself when I went sober. If anything - I feel a lot more volatile and easily riled.

    My therapist reminded me that it's early days yet with regards to living without substances. Over a decade without a prolonged period sober is going to take quite some time to adjust to my mood and mindset. I do feel over-sensitized at the moment. I suppose I didn't realise how de-sensitized the substances had made me until I got rid of them.

    Ed