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What do I do about job requirements that may cause conflict with my autism? (vent/rant/frustration)

autism-and-autotune

A musical mind with recent revelations
Hi folks. I'm kind of going through a rough time of it now, and would appreciate some advice? insight?

Oh, boy. So retail is retail, and for the most part my autism doesn't affect my duties that much, other than I can only stand working for so long before I go into shutdown. I recently had my review, so this is where a lot of the conversation took place.

before anyone says anything, I've already expressed my concerns with my VR counselor.

The issue is that as cashiers, we are expected to have a ring-time of, say, 20 items per..whatever unit of measurement. I don't know how they calculate it. This regulation is by corporate, and it has to do with justifying hours on the front end, and pretty much saying "Oh, your cashiers are doing their jobs so we can give you the money to pay them." This is unfair pressure to the managers, which I expressed in sympathy. But I also expressed that the number of items required to be scanned may cause conflict with my disability, elaborating that I get overwhelmed easily and if I focus only on one task, all other tasks fall by the wayside. Should I become a fast, furious, quick-scanning monster (I use this term to describe myself accurately, as this was how I was years ago when overwhelmed, prior to my diagnosis) then it's exactly what I'll become.

My problem is this: I'm fast, but gentle and I like to help people. The black-and-white of the rules are thus: just scan, don't think. If stuff gets piled up it's the bagger's fault. But if people get overwhelmed, if there's too much to process and keep track of when I've got one task I must do, it takes a lot of self-control to not just lose it and go crazy. I'll be frantic and angry and it's not something I want people to perceive me as. I don't want customers to say "Hey, it's that masked, long-haired jerk who just throws around groceries. Let's avoid his lane." But according to my manager, 'keeping track of all those things and scanning around 20-23 items per whatever is possible." Maybe to a neurotypical.

During a quick goodbye with one of my shift leaders, he told me under no circumstances do I scan and bag if I've got a bagger. "Your numbers are pretty low, and they need to improve." I told him I heard him, but "I don't like to see people get overwhelmed. I like to actually help." "Well, those are the rules. Have a good day." I just shrugged and clocked out for the day. My numbers aren't even all that low; 15 to 16?

Is this an issue that I'm over-thinking? From a total non-personal perspective-let's just say the customer isn't involved and I can scan things quickly, without compassion or regard for anything else--it's possible. But I'm being watched. These are people's groceries. I don't want to crush things and frantically toss things like there's a gun to my head because I've gotta get that precious 20-23 items. Also, it's a minimum wage job. We simultaneously have too many people yet are under-staffed. What the frog. Corporate in no way is in harmony with being neurodivergent. What are they going to do--fire me for caring, and being friendly?

For example, I heard the complaint the other day that a certain customer 'avoids one lane because of the guy bagging. He just throws stuff in there without caring!" I don't understand how corporate expects us--humans--to perform duties in a robotic, super strict fashion. And I get that it's ironic with autism, because we're seen as somewhat robotic anyways. What's my point here? We make mistakes. Either the barcode doesn't work or we've got to look up the PLU. Who can memorize fifteen different kinds of fruit?

/rant
 
Maybe this is something that's as much cultural as generally social, i.e. different country (I'm uk based), different rules, different attitudes, but I think you're not overthinking at all, and I think this has little to do with ADS except for those people being considerably more effected by it on the whole. It's actually, in my view, just one of the many symptoms of a sick culture, that's come to value only slaves as the ultimate product or resource. I use the term slaves in a slightly abstract manner, but anyone who rejects that principle, I think, hasn't thought it through, but personal politics aside it's the gist that's more important.

In other words, what you're coming up against is the fact you're are unable to turn yourself into a human automaton as is expected of you by your employer. As far as the distanced people who own and run the company, your employers, are concerned if they could swap you for a machine that did at least as well, but was more cost effective (servicing and running it cost less than salary, leave and sick pay etc for a human), do you imagine you'd still have a job there (other than the most menial and demeaning position they couldn't automate)?
So that's the world you're in currently, while you have that job. It's discrimination without a doubt, at least in any moral sense if not the letter of the law (and when was the law ever there for you, other than by fortunate coincidence?)

Sadly this is just the smallest reflection of a whole, and as more and more retailers (indeed most in the commercial sector) need to compete with each other, they too much adopt similar processes, or find some other way to increase profit above their competitors. Now we have globally sat down to pray at the alter of a clearly failed social system that's still kicking and thrashing in it's death throws (fanciful? 'pends on your p.o.v., and how good you are at overcoming social conditioning, and peer pressure, (and worse), and how good at picking up the important relevant and (as best as can be) truthful information about the state of the world (far far beyond climate issues for example, again just another symptom), and overcoming deeply engrained bias can be next to impossible for many people - personally I suspect those who are most different while being functional, are more likely to see these things if only because they had to apply critical thought to most everything in their life especially concerning people and their actions. Most 'normal' people have relied on their instincts and subconscious so much all their life, they rarely turn their thoughts deliberately to complex and otherwise misunderstood issues. Not, for want of a much much better phrase - "deep thinkers" (I hate that term, as it implies other are not, in a derogatory fashion; elitist without evidence, just misplaced bias and discrimination (mentally speaking), but still, I'm sure it has it's own spectrum of 'users'.

Poo! Sorry, gone soapbox (and a little abstract!) on yer ass! :)
What I'm trying to say is you're 'fighting' a whole social structure you can't beat! I suspect, and especially for those who are less well integrated into society, less well programmed to believe these things are the 'right' thing to do (with the now dead god of profit still being worshipped, for want or need of a replacement that's not there, or at least not acceptable) will always be the most noticeable loser, as they are the one's more perceptive and less well regulated socially (subconsciously and against their will) so if you've not yet reached an enlightened intellectual answer to why this isn't right, you at least know in your gut it's not for you, and you probably know why, in your gut if not intellectually, it's a toxic thing for all society, ultimately.

But an answer was what you wanted I think? Not me preaching on!
Not knowing your side of the pond, it's hard to know the range of possible but safe and morally sound (for yourself) actions open to you (not to mention your own part, which I couldn't guess at since I don't know you at all), but it seems to me, any solution or part solution you can find, will not last long, and likely only help in a limited aspect of your job. I can only suggest a long hard think about the root causes of the behaviour they apply to you, as their part-time slave, (you may get the feeling I may not like employers as a rule? Nah! Surely not!) so get a personal handle on what's acceptable to you and what goes too far, as the toxic behaviours can vary from job to job, but the root causes and paradigm's that create those environments are come from the same root.
Secondly, start a serious look at finding employment of some sort elsewhere, and hopefully in a location or field that has less of these pressures of profit vs. people & society.

Have no doubt though, these behaviours, ways of treating the people who make these businesses work, so as to produce the often huge profits that are so important to many nowadays. If you can find employment in another area than retail maybe, or maybe better, look for your familiar type of employment, but avoid big companies!
The best place to find a business owner who cares truly about providing a great service to their customers (e.g. having a cashier who cares for them, and helps them, while still being fast and efficient (yourself, I believe?), while also understanding the truth that if they care for their workforce, their workforce will care for them and go the extra mile for that in itself - a healthy and productive environment!).
This is a somewhat awful read it seems, I'm struggling to go through and repair it atm, so gawd knows what it reads like for you!, I hope it retains meaning, and maybe gives some ideas to follow in your mind?
Good luck and don't give in, even if it takes time to gather yourself to be ready to take action to improve your life.
This is not you! This is not about ADS exclusively! You're just more aware of the reality around you than most of the normals, because of your differences (which as an aside, should be revelled in, within yourself, what a gift, if painful, to see the world as few others can or do?).

["normals" - not meant as derogatory, btw, just my term for damn near everyone else in my world! It's almost a compliment in it's way! :D)]
 
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The issue is that as cashiers, we are expected to have a ring-time of, say, 20 items per..whatever unit of measurement.
:rolleyes:

So dumb.

Frustrating that you are held to such cold and rigid standards. Protocols turning humans into automotons. Corporate is going to act corporate, but it’s a shame your immediate supervisors seem to have no care for unique character traits among the staff.
 
Reminds me of snowpiercer where the people are used to replace broken parts of the machine.

Corporate head office viewing the human being as just another cog in the machine.

Agh, I hate this kinda stuff. I feel for you.
 
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You're overthinking.

There's a simple principle for this kind of work: if you're measured, work to the measurement(s) as your first priority. That means don't even consider doing other stuff, including helping colleagues until you know your measurements are ok.

If the measurement interval is short, (like 20/ minute minimum averaged over 10 minute aggregation intervals, and going under in any 10 min block is an issue) remember to work to that. With very short aggregation intervals, you can't work fast to catch up or to store some "measurement units" for later.
If "storage" and catchup are possible, integrate them in your working pattern.

Also:
Try to work at 80% capacity, and don't ever go over 95%.
Except in exceptional situations, you should never feel you're close to your limit. Which also means not being close to your limit isn't a signal to take on non-core / optional activities

Take care of yourself before your manager, customers, and colleagues. This includes stress management.

BTW - I've just finished an IT project with a guy who's probably HFA/VHFA, and who was too interested in doing what he wanted to do rather than what had to be done. I couldn't control his priorities or time (we don't work for the same company), and he didn't listen to the IT equivalent of what I wrote above.
This caused a lot of hassle for our part of the project, and a lot of unnecessary work and stress for my colleague.

I don't know if he learned anything from it.
It taught me that I don't know how to get an HFA to change the way they think and act. And also reminded me I used to make the same kind of mistakes for the same reasons when I was his age /sigh.
Now I'm wondering if it's a common aspie characteristic.
 
You're overthinking.

There's a simple principle for this kind of work: if you're measured, work to the measurement(s) as your first priority. That means don't even consider doing other stuff, including helping colleagues until you know your measurements are ok.

If the measurement interval is short, (like 20/ minute minimum averaged over 10 minute aggregation intervals, and going under in any 10 min block is an issue) remember to work to that. With very short aggregation intervals, you can't work fast to catch up or to store some "measurement units" for later.
If "storage" and catchup are possible, integrate them in your working pattern.

Also:
Try to work at 80% capacity, and don't ever go over 95%.
Except in exceptional situations, you should never feel you're close to your limit. Which also means not being close to your limit isn't a signal to take on non-core / optional activities

Take care of yourself before your manager, customers, and colleagues. This includes stress management.

BTW - I've just finished an IT project with a guy who's probably HFA/VHFA, and who was too interested in doing what he wanted to do rather than what had to be done. I couldn't control his priorities or time (we don't work for the same company), and he didn't listen to the IT equivalent of what I wrote above.
This caused a lot of hassle for our part of the project, and a lot of unnecessary work and stress for my colleague.

I don't know if he learned anything from it.
It taught me that I don't know how to get an HFA to change the way they think and act. And also reminded me I used to make the same kind of mistakes for the same reasons when I was his age /sigh.
Now I'm wondering if it's a common aspie characteristic.
"You're overthinking.
There's a simple principle for this kind of work: if you're measured, work to the measurement(s) as your first priority."

Don't mean to be rude, but I think that, while in the context you use it, this is correct, it is only one view, one position, one context of many possible. Most likely (not knowing you, so going on generic principles) you're giving your view, as honestly and accurately as possible, but without all the hidden background explaining why you have this view, it's very hard to transfer to another peons (<= Ha ha! For a typo that's rather Freudian? - meant to say persons! :D) unique perspective.
For example, if I was presented with the option you've described - that of following the expected path (and it's implicit moral and social position, etc), personally I'd instantly know it was wrong for me, because it broke so many important rules on how people should be treated, and for that to come out of the company however it's distilled from the mass of rules and structures, it's just wrong, and I for one could not bend my integrity to it's will, whether I wanted, or needed, or even had to!
Just my personal view though, a local and (hopefully) constructive alternative view, not a global criticism.
 
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