real advice for those who want to socialize at work.

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dustintorch
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21 May 2010, 1:48 am

There is a lot of advice going around this website that comes across as very bitter. It sort of seems sarcastic to me and gives me the impression that many people here don't care to socialize and find it ridiculous. Though I find this perfectly understandable, the fact is, you need social skills for at least one reason...a job. If that's the only reason, then that's enough for me because I want to contribute to society and not burden it (or my parents). So if anyone wants to socialize for real and get better I want to start this thread. Particularly for those who want a job and the ability to have better social interactions at work. Feel free to add on things, please:

1. First and foremost, I want to say that if you go to an interview MAKE EYE CONTACT!! Or at least pretend to by looking at the mouth or nose or in between the eyes. I got my first job at 14, as a bag boy at a grocery store. The lady who hired me said, "You were the only interviewee who made consistent eye contact and that's why I hired you." I'm not kidding that's the only reason! I did that because my dad told me to before the interview and he was so right. It's something I've remembered for every interview since.

*edit*
1a. This is actually first and foremost for when you actually get the job. It's probably the most important piece of advice on this list. HAVE GOOD HYGIENE. At least for work. Tony Atwood said in his book that the most common reason for people on the spectrum to get fired, is hygiene issues. Make sure you don't smell bad, wear deodorant, brush your teeth. I forgot deodorant one day at work and a co-worker literally told my boss she didn't like working with me. It was a terrible first impression and we got off to a bad start. That job only lasted 3 months.

2. A trick I use for emotions, is to tell myself I'll deal with them later when I'm feeling overwhelmed by them. I got this advice from a NT recently. I have trouble with being too emotional at work, so now when I feel overwhelmed, I imagine my bed. I say I'll deal with these emotions when I get in bed, not now. It works. Most of the time I forget what it was I wanted to deal with anyways, so that shows how important most things are that upset me.

3. A big problem for me is oversharing. Really avoid this at work. It's one of MSN's top ways to bomb at work. That's a list geared toward NT's so it should be emphasized even more for us. Keep personal problems to yourself at work.

4. When someone is talking to you, especially your boss. You should respond with a nod of the head or some kind of response to let them know your listening. This is a big one, because myself and many others tend to stare blankly when people are talking to us. We may hear every word, but the person talking to us needs to know that.

5. Thing's like saying good morning with a smile on your face every morning, seem ridiculous to me. You would be surprised by how far they go. People will treat you differently if you don't say good morning or good night. They want to feel liked and that's the easiest way to do it. My advice is to just make it part of your routine, even if you don't feel like smiling do it. It's just for work, not everyday life.

That's all I can think of right now, but please feel free to add on. I'll add too when I think of more. These things work for me and I think they can be applied to any job.



Last edited by dustintorch on 21 May 2010, 11:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

dyingofpoetry
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21 May 2010, 1:59 am

Thank you for sharing that; it's all very useful.


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bee33
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21 May 2010, 2:50 am

One suggestion I have, which is a problem I've encountered in the past, though I haven't had a job now in a long time, is don't try to improve the practices of your place of work (unless that's part of your job description). You might think your boss will be glad to hear about a more efficient way of doing something, but what he/she will hear is "The way you've set things up to work around here is stupid and wrong." Unless you're in a position of authority, just follow the instructions you were given even if you think they're poorly thought out.

A related issue is don't get into arguments, especially with your boss. Even if you know you're right, just say, "Okay, I'll keep it in mind" or even, "No problem, sorry I misunderstood" etc.

(For me this is easier said than done...) :)



Apple_in_my_Eye
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21 May 2010, 3:31 am

*Firm handshake. It's a cliche, but it does matter.

*First impressions last forever. It will color every future interaction with a person. So make the best first impression you possibly can.

*Use enough vocal volume. Too loud is better than too soft, but don't be at shouting-volume.

*Be polite (but not stiltedly polite).

*Use vocabulary and grammar appropriate for a work environment (not too informal, but also not too 'stilted.').

*Try to make an interviewer feel "engaged with." Hard to explain, but just taking in the information isn't enough; you need to send some signals and interject occasionally to make them feel 'engaged.' Maybe that was already covered.

*Pay attention to the hierarchy. More casual with co-workers, more formal with superiors.



DemonAbyss10
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21 May 2010, 9:45 am

Heh, at my last job, I hardly followed any of that. that stuff isnt what got me fired though.

Lets see what I did....

I did the basic interview eye contact. luckily the person turned away to punch in stuff on the computer constantly, that way I had my breaks,

Was polite, albeit in a sarcastic, I dont care, sort of way...

I really didnt smile even once while working there, unless I was on break and something starts to amuse me. Yeah, I gotten the whole 'why so serious' speech, but I can definately say management questioned me only one, my response was that id rather focus on the job at hand instead of little things like that. Management didnt bug me bout it afterwards. Regardless though, its the Female workers that will constantly be annoyed by it, as I have noticed that and the fact the other male workers wont bother either.

I did let people know I was listening, usually just my say yeah, or k..

now as for what got me fired was me going into a very severe meltdown because I was getting stuck doing everyone elses work but nothing was ever done about it. Kicking a heavy steel door off of its hinges is easily when you have a very easily triggered adrenal system...


but yeah, for some reason though, for most people I came off as the grump, but not really treated negatively for it. It all depends on the people you have for coworkers IMO. IT could have sometyhing to do with the fact that I did have some people there I eventually got along with really well, so I had my circle of peope to talk to. Another funny thing is that I am very much missed there, rest of the workers want me back, but I am not allowed to ever work for sodexo anymore. They recently changed management though, so I dunno...


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j0sh
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21 May 2010, 10:25 am

Good topic and great advice!



CockneyRebel
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21 May 2010, 10:31 am

That's very useful information. Thanks for sharing that. :)


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Kiley
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21 May 2010, 10:40 am

Great topic and great advice.

So far what's been mentioned are all the most important. The only thing I can think to add would be to avoid using profanity. Even if other people use it there is probably at least one person around who is offended by it and certain contexts where it's never acceptable. There are so many rules about when and how to use that stuff for someone who's already challenged in the social skills area it's probably the best thing to just avoid the whole thing. Be good natured about other people using that kind of language, just don't do it yourself.

Keep your work space, self and your clothing clean and neat. Unless you've got the kind of job that requires you to get pretty dirty, it's important to stay clean. Food smears and so on disgust most NTs. You can be the most competent worker in your place of business but if you're sloppy with yourself people will assume you are sloppy with your work and you will not be respected as you deserve, you will get blamed for other people's mistakes, and your mistakes will be more likely to be noticed.



dustintorch
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21 May 2010, 11:47 am

Kiley wrote:
Great topic and great advice.

So far what's been mentioned are all the most important. The only thing I can think to add would be to avoid using profanity. Even if other people use it there is probably at least one person around who is offended by it and certain contexts where it's never acceptable. There are so many rules about when and how to use that stuff for someone who's already challenged in the social skills area it's probably the best thing to just avoid the whole thing. Be good natured about other people using that kind of language, just don't do it yourself.

Keep your work space, self and your clothing clean and neat. Unless you've got the kind of job that requires you to get pretty dirty, it's important to stay clean. Food smears and so on disgust most NTs. You can be the most competent worker in your place of business but if you're sloppy with yourself people will assume you are sloppy with your work and you will not be respected as you deserve, you will get blamed for other people's mistakes, and your mistakes will be more likely to be noticed.


YES!! be clean! I can't believe I forgot to add that. I'm going to edit that in acutally, because Tony Atwood said in his book, most people on the spectrum get fired for hygiene issues. Thank you for reminding me.



Sparrowrose
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21 May 2010, 7:21 pm

dustintorch wrote:
YES!! be clean! I can't believe I forgot to add that. I'm going to edit that in acutally, because Tony Atwood said in his book, most people on the spectrum get fired for hygiene issues. Thank you for reminding me.


I wonder if that's why I got fired from some or all of my jobs? I've been assuming that there was something wrong with my tone of voice or facial expression or way I responded to statements and questions -- something that I'm not in complete control of and not always able to manipulate properly for the comfort of other people. But maybe my hygiene wasn't up to snuff. One more thing to think about in the big picture of hoping for employment after I graduate. Thanks!


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katzefrau
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22 May 2010, 8:35 pm

bee33 wrote:
don't try to improve the practices of your place of work (unless that's part of your job description). You might think your boss will be glad to hear about a more efficient way of doing something, but what he/she will hear is "The way you've set things up to work around here is stupid and wrong."


:idea:

thank you for another piece of the puzzle


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Sparrowrose
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22 May 2010, 8:47 pm

[quote="bee33"]One suggestion I have, which is a problem I've encountered in the past, though I haven't had a job now in a long time, is don't try to improve the practices of your place of work (unless that's part of your job description). You might think your boss will be glad to hear about a more efficient way of doing something, but what he/she will hear is "The way you've set things up to work around here is stupid and wrong." /quote]

Different but related:

I once made the mistake of laughing when I saw the menu for the restaurant I had just been hired in. In my defense, it's hard not to laugh at a menu riddled with typos, especially when one works out to offering a "chicken beast dinner."

"Kind sir, I would like to sample the flesh of the exotic chicken beast!"

As it turned out, the owner had designed and made the menus himself and was extremely proud of his desktop publishing skills (this was back in 1987 or so when not just anybody knew how to layout and print a menu fromt heir home computer.) Luckily for me, the owner wasn't there when I made the mistake of laughing at his menus and no one told him I had laughed about his poor spelling and multiple typos. But it was a Very Big Mistake and I realized it as soon as I was told about the menus having been made by the owner who was very proud of his work.

So in addition to not trying to change how things are done, be very careful not to laugh at the names of the products the business sells or point out typos on signs or menus or otherwise speak poorly or jokingly about anything to do with where you're working. even if you're humiliated by where you've ended up having to work, pretend you are proud to work there (without going overboard) and carefully keep your mouth shut about anything that seems silly or ignorant because you never know who is responsible for the silly or ignorant thing and you don't want to come across as ungrateful for your job or too good to work there.

And if your co-workers or even your manager mocks things about where you work, just give a half-smile and keep your mouth shut. If things go badly, you don't want to be one who was remembered for having joined in the mockery.


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CockneyRebel
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22 May 2010, 9:00 pm

I've been using the tips that you've shared in this topic, and I've been very succesful, so far. Thank you. :D


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dustintorch
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22 May 2010, 10:46 pm

CockneyRebel wrote:
I've been using the tips that you've shared in this topic, and I've been very succesful, so far. Thank you. :D


:D You're welcome! Glad I could help.