Autistic Survival Guide/Holding Down a Job

From Wikibooks, open books for an open world
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Holding down a job[edit | edit source]

This section comes from my experience working at a corporation that had a strong union movent which prevented me being fired for the 6 years I worked there. Instead, my boss's and workmates tried to teach me from the ground up about the things I needed to do to survive there. I tended to spend my spare time fixing many of the rather obscene problems occurring in the workplace, and succeeded in multiplying productivity within the organisation, but I was working with some rather sociopathic people who found ways to make me suicidal and eventually to quit. I didn't work in the decade afterwards due to the experience and lived very frugally, yet the corporation in question still earns money from my not particularly well remunerated work. So please understand that I had a lot of time to work this out and that I can't communicate the following things properly if the more cynical parts are removed. JWM.

Trust and Loyalty[edit | edit source]

  • A worker is someone who does tasks for another worker called a boss because the boss doesn't have the time or the capability to do all of their own tasks.
  • Workers are expected to be empathetic and loyal to the work related values and goals of their boss and their employer.
  • Workers are expected to diligently complete any tasks they have accepted responsibility for to the best of their ability, and to return with the results.
  • Workers are expected to not accept tasks they know they won't be able to complete and to be able to explain why to the best of their ability.
  • Failure to be consistent in these things can lead to a lack of trust in assigning tasks to the worker, and a worker with no tasks isn't doing work for the employer and might as well not work there.
  • The good news is that nobody is a perfect worker and that it is part of a boss's responsibility to deal with most of these problems.
  • The bad news is that social interaction unrelated to work or even outside of work hours can also contribute to trust or lack of trust.
  • It is nearly always a boss's responsibility to be higher in the pecking order. If they fail to do this, the workplace tends to fall apart.
  • A worker can sometimes be expected to be empathetic and loyal to the non-work related goals of their workmates. This falls into the realm of "social interaction", and those rules apply.
  • For example: small chats with collegues about all sorts of things (family, holidays) are common practice. Look at how long and often other chat, and don't exceed this.
  • Also chat with colleagues that you don't regularly work with, getting to know many people is often good.
  • The coffee machine or other places where people wait together are perfect places to chat up. If you don't drink coffee, there's probably hot water to make tea or soup, or hot chocolate. Take your time to look for a cup, a spoon, some milk and in the mean time see if there's a conversation going on that you can join.

Company Culture[edit | edit source]

  • Each company and organisation within a company has its own unique "culture".
  • This culture is basically a mixture of written and unwritten policies related to things such as quality, efficiency, communication and even social and cultural things. These are not entirely unlike unwritten social rules.
  • Members of the organisation are consciously and unconsciously evaluated by how well they follow these policies.
  • People who fit in with the culture become highly valued and are often given a bit of leeway in the way they are permitted to work.
  • People who don't fit in often suffer, no matter how good a worker they otherwise are, or how much they have achieved for their employer.
  • If you find yourself in the latter situation and unable to break out of it, you might consider seeking another job rather than letting your work record and self esteem suffer. These things are much more important than they may at first seem.
  • There are companies such as Google and Microsoft that have cultures that are dominated by autistic spectrum people. These companies are mostly in industries that autistic spectrum people excel at, such as the software industry.
  • The culture itself can ruin a company or organisation when it has to adapt to external forces which often makes culture of great concern to boss's themselves.

Workplace Change[edit | edit source]

  • Autistic people are often exceedingly good at customising their environment to suit their particular day to day wants and needs, however:
  • Rearranging the workplace is often a dangerous thing to do, even if the changes lead to significant ongoing net profits for the employer. Bosses often simply won't see the connection.
  • It is usually the boss's job to govern the way an organisation operates. Rearranging the workplace without their approval can be seen as a challenge to the pecking order. See the section about "confidence" for more on this.
  • All changes cause a temporary reduction in efficiency and quality while they are being implemented. Bosses hate this, and it is why change is often frowned upon.
  • Bosses often hire other companies for exorbitant amounts of money to implement change properly. If a boss realises that a worker has saved them having to do this, then this can lead to a boost in the value placed in that worker, however the worker will rarely see any of the exorbitant amounts of money.
  • Having realised this, it is easier and more profitable for a boss to accept credit for the change himself while rewarding the worker in less monetary ways. It is a boss's job to manage change after all, and credit and blame will naturally fall into their laps.
  • It is best to negotiate any benefit, bonus or pay rise BEFORE making a regular practice of implementing change, but don't expect to receive it without asking, or without having a track record of making good changes well.
  • Changes can often lead to less work, but no change will ever lead to working less, unless it is by being fired. A job in this society will always require doing tasks, whether it is necessary for survival or not.
  • Given all of this, it is often easier to simply not attempt to rearrange the workplace, and to just hunker down and do your best to ignore the stupidities happening around you.
  • If you use the last rule, be glad that there are people stupid enough to give people money to do silly things.
  • Rearranging your own workspace is often OK, so long as it isn't detrimental to your work or the work of others. Don't light camp fires in your cubicle.
  • Beware that the greater the changes to your workspace, the less someone else will be able to work in it. This can make eccentric people less replaceable, but bosses will often start trying when they realise this. Rogue workers tend to scare bosses.
  • If you find that you are constantly thinking of better ways to do business in your workplace, you may be better off in a research and development profession.

Formal Employment Termination Proceedings[edit | edit source]

  • Some large employers allow employees to respond to formal accusations before deciding whether to fire them.
  • If this happens, the people making the allegations will be different from the ones doing the firing.
  • Employers that do this usually allow employees to apply for other jobs within the company, and this may be the best thing to do if you succeed in refuting the allegations since the underlying problems that caused the accusations in the first place will still be there, and will have to be resolved if the situation is to stabilise.
  • In such cases, always consult with people you know and trust within the company before making any decisions. These things happen to more people than it may at first seem, but people don't often talk about it.
  • You may have union representatives too and these are normally people you can talk to about this, but if they are part of your workplace, beware that they may be part of the problem and as such, may have conflicting interests. In such cases it may be possible to talk with other union representatives from the same union.
  • One good reason to follow procedure and formally respond to the accusations is that simply quitting without doing so usually results in a bad employment record.
  • If you plan to defend your job, respond to the allegations that are easiest to disprove first and the ones that are hardest last. If you can succeed in exposing the malice in the easy ones, then the hard ones will need less, if any convincing.
  • Always get someone you trust to proof read your response. It needs to be as consise, clear and convincing as possible.
  • In all cases, avoid letting your boss, workmates and employer know that you're looking for another job or that you're going to quit until you do. Otherwise satisfactory jobs can turn bad this way.