Who Else Can Relate? Got An Office Job, Hell!

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bluecountry
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29 Apr 2013, 7:43 am

I got my first full time office job (if you don't count a paid internship) 3 months ago and have been miserable.
It started out great, I was pumped and excited to be like other peers, earning a living, having a place to go.

By month two, 60 days, it hit me and it hit me hard. I am not an office person. I have my own office and work 40 hours a week, so it is not like being in the corporate world with overtime, but it doesn't matter. Being around people all the time, having to put in face time 8 hours, five straight days, I never had to do this before aside from the internship, which was hell too!

I thought working outside the corporate world and not in a cubicle would help, but it didn't help enough.
I never feel comfortable unless the office is empty, when people pass by I fear I have to look busy.
It is not school where you have split time between the classroom and your quiet, solo private study.

My AS is not severe, it's mild, so I am afraid if I quit I would be seen by my family as a lazy bum.
But I just can't take it, I cannot take the internal pressure I feel being around people all the time, I need my space.
I can do the office 3 days a week, 25 hours a week, but need some downtime to myself.

1) Is this common with AS? Even "high functioning" people (I do have OCD and General Anxiety).

2) Can any of you:
-Relate your stories
-If you coped
-What other alternative are out there for work in a more independent setting....like school!


I like seeing people but there is a fine line, I need my breaks, time alone, to reflect and collect myself, if not I wear down and become lost in a sea of anxiety.
Right now, I hate myself and my life and have never been this miserable, I have so much anxiety I can't even cry or think deep enough to myself.



Fnord
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29 Apr 2013, 8:06 am

Look at it this way: (1) You have a regular income, and (2) poverty sucks.

Welcome to the working world!



Greatsharkbite
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29 Apr 2013, 8:11 am

I have time for a quick post. Mine is not an office job, but its retail.

I have a very difficult time with it, I generally have a likable enough persona that I can put on an act and customers are able to appreciate me the first time around. The second time, I just feel like i'm totally boring them and the huge amount of downtime in between working with customers makes me feel i'm boring my co-workers to death.

I hate feeling like I have to talk to people and yeah it sucks. I'm not sure about you but in school my mom always said to look busy and work and people will leave you alone: false.

People don't just leave you alone if you're overly productive--they make it personal, even though it should be a work relationship first and a peer to peer relationship second, third and fourth.

They even get in the opportunity to say off the wall crap to you once in a blue moon, when you'd think the downtime in work could be yours to spend--it DEFINITELY isn't. Its a drain on you because you're with them and listening whether or not you actually want to and then-- you're isolated even at times you don't want to be. "Oh man, let me stand here awkwardly and expect you to not only be good at your job, but amuse me with watercooler talk. Oh yeah and that energy level you don't quite spike to, let me throw that in the mix, so your work day is affected permanently. You're welcome."



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29 Apr 2013, 8:31 am

You might look for an evening hobby activity that will reduce the anxiety of day to day work.

I find that playing darts or gardening is a good stress reliever. It isn't just us Aspies, when we first got married my NT wife would complain about work in the evenings!



bluecountry
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29 Apr 2013, 8:36 am

Fnord wrote:
Look at it this way: (1) You have a regular income, and (2) poverty sucks.

Welcome to the working world!

I was thinking of quitting.
Finding a part time job which can fit my temperment, and working with a life coach to see what career can work for me.

I think being 5X8, 8-4:30 person in an office all day is insuitable for me, unless that office is library-esque.
Is this reasonable?

I just have found myself so drained emotionally, so full of anxiety, I can't even stop and smell the roses. I am in a constant state of depression and confusion.

I find browsing the net and starting posts is relieving, but after a full day at the computer in the office I just don't even feel like seeing it!

1) Is my apporach reasonable?
2) What jobs are better, suitable, for people with my temperment?



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29 Apr 2013, 9:00 am

bluecountry wrote:
I got my first full time office job (if you don't count a paid internship) 3 months ago and have been miserable.
It started out great, I was pumped and excited to be like other peers, earning a living, having a place to go.

By month two, 60 days, it hit me and it hit me hard. I am not an office person. I have my own office and work 40 hours a week, so it is not like being in the corporate world with overtime, but it doesn't matter. Being around people all the time, having to put in face time 8 hours, five straight days, I never had to do this before aside from the internship, which was hell too!

I thought working outside the corporate world and not in a cubicle would help, but it didn't help enough.
I never feel comfortable unless the office is empty, when people pass by I fear I have to look busy.
It is not school where you have split time between the classroom and your quiet, solo private study.

My AS is not severe, it's mild, so I am afraid if I quit I would be seen by my family as a lazy bum.
But I just can't take it, I cannot take the internal pressure I feel being around people all the time, I need my space.
I can do the office 3 days a week, 25 hours a week, but need some downtime to myself.

1) Is this common with AS? Even "high functioning" people (I do have OCD and General Anxiety).

2) Can any of you:
-Relate your stories
-If you coped
-What other alternative are out there for work in a more independent setting....like school!


I like seeing people but there is a fine line, I need my breaks, time alone, to reflect and collect myself, if not I wear down and become lost in a sea of anxiety.
Right now, I hate myself and my life and have never been this miserable, I have so much anxiety I can't even cry or think deep enough to myself.


It always mystifies me a bit if people say they have "mild Aspergers". Because you are verbal, not walking around banging your head and stimming wildly and can actually be in the same room as other people, doesn't make you necessarily "mild". You are forgetting that everyone has a different balance of traits, you may have some that are less strong but others that are stronger. This may make interesting reading for you, although it's about "low" and "high" functioning autism, the same can be applied to when people say "mild" Asperger's:

Credentials of author of this information:
Bill Nason, MS, LLP, Limited License Psychologist, Behavior Specialist

Here you can find more information about him:

https://www.facebook.com/autismdiscussionpage/info

https://www.facebook.com/autismdiscussionpage

Quote:
"Labeling - High and low functioning
We start this process when we seek a diagnosis to begin with. For parents with young children (1-3 years of age) who are seeking a diagnosis, I often recommend that they don't wait for the diagnosis. Forget about the label and begin supporting whatever developmental delays the child is showing. However, the diagnosis of "autism" doesn't say much about the degree of disability. There is too much variability in strengths and skills. When a diagnosis is not descriptive enough, people look for more specific ways to categorize the severity of disability. Not that high and low functioning are that descriptive.

In the medical field, diagnoses are categorized by symptoms and how much they impact the person's daily "functioning." It is the impact the disability has on the person's "functioning" that drives a lot of the services. For the most part, "high functioning" usually refers to good expressive speech, fair to good receptive understanding, and fair ability to function independently in their daily settings. "Lower functioning" is usually reserved to very limited verbal skills, often nonverbal, lower intellectual abilities, extreme difficulty understanding daily instructions, and needs a lot of assistance in doing their daily routine.

The confusion among parents and professionals is between "level of functioning" (intellectual ability), and "severity of autism." I know of children who are labeled "high functioning" who have severe autistic traits (very rigid/inflexible thinking, very resistant to change and uncertainty, and meltdown over simple snags in their day.) However, they are considered "high functioning" because they are very verbal, get good grades in school, and can do personal care independently. I have also met children who are considered "low functioning" because they are nonverbal, have difficulty with performing personal care, and difficulty with academics, but who's autism traits are less severe; more flexible in their thinking, handle daily transitions easier, can reference others better, and have fewer meltdowns. So, level of functioning doesn't also correlate with the severity of the autism. Just because a child is labeled “high functioning”, doesn’t mean he doesn’t have severe autism. Many people confuse the two, which can often exclude some from treatment, or lower the expectations for others.

We also have to be very careful when we equate “lack of verbal skills” with low intellectual abilities. The single largest characteristic used in labeling the child “high vs. low functioning” is the degree of spoken language they have. This also can be very deceiving! Although there is a strong correlation, there are many children who are nonverbal that have much higher cognitive abilities than we first recognize. They simply cannot express it in our customary ways. Once we find them a “voice”, whether through pictures, written words, manual signs, etc, we find they have much stronger cognitive skills, than we had anticipated. It isn’t until we find the right medium of expression do we begin to understand what they truly know. So, our best bet is to always assume “competence” to learn, if the right supports and teaching style can be identified. Don’t get too hung up on “low vs. high functioning” labels.


Quote:
Low/High Functioning vs. Severe/Mild Autism
The last post discussed the problem with labeling someone high vs. low functioning in regards to their diagnosis. The problem comes from the fact that a person can be high functioning (verbal, good academic skills, fair to good personal care), but have moderate to severe autism (rigid inflexible thinking, strong sensory issues, poor emotional regulation, delayed processing, and impaired ability to relate with others). Also, a person can be considered low functioning (poor verbal skills, limited academic skills, and minimal personal care skills) but only have mild autism (more flexibility, calmer emotionally, less sensory sensitivities, and more socially connected).

This appears contradictory at first, but when we look closer we see that these labels actually represent two different dimensions. The first, level of functioning dimension, represents the degree of cognitive functioning, or intellectual disability. The second dimension represents the severity of autism symptoms. You could look at these two dimensions as crisscrossing on perpendicular planes, with the dimension of intellectual abilities (high, moderate, low) running vertically and the dimension of autism symptoms (severe, moderate, and mild) running horizontally. The moderate levels of each dimension meeting at the intersection of the two dimensions. Consequently, you can have people who are very high functioning verbally and intellectually, and be moderately to severely impaired in autism symptoms. This can be confusing for many people who initially see the very bright, verbal child, and not initially see the severity of the autism. Or, assume that the nonverbal child is severely autistic. It is not that easy to diagnosis.

Making matters even more complicated, is the variable of verbal skills. Although verbal skills are highly correlated with intelligence, it isn’t always the case. Do not assume that the child who is nonverbal has poor intellectual abilities. There are some children who find it difficult to talk due to auditory processing and motor planning difficulties, not lack of cognitive skills. People often assume that the nonverbal child is severely impaired and place lower expectations on them. The same is also true for the child who is very verbal, but most speech is hidden in scripting and echolalia, and appears to have higher cognitive abilities then he actually may have. So, even for the two basic dimensions (intelligence and autism symptoms), the mixing in of verbal abilities can be deceiving.

The use of labels like high and low functioning, and severely and mildly impaired, are not diagnostic terms, but used more as descriptors when people try and categorize level of impairments. Hopefully the diagnostic criterion in the new DSM will be more descriptive and accurate. Until then, and probably for some time, people will be adding their own descriptive labels to the diagnoses.


Your problems at work are equally as valid as someone you may view as "more" (or more obviously) autistic than yourself.

I worked in offices, it is a nightmare for a variety of reasons. The average Aspie isn't cut out to survive that environment, which is a condensed microcosm of all the problems we face in society generally (and there is no "escape" in an office!). My advice is, ask for reasonable adjustments if your country's laws entitle you to them. Give it a settling in period. If it still isn't working, revise your opinions about the correct working environment for you and do something about changing job.


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MountainLaurel
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29 Apr 2013, 9:03 am

Quitting a job before being hired for the next one is a bad idea for your future employment. Doing so may very well result in an employment gap from which you may not recover in the workplace.

Employers are more favorable to applicants who are currently employed.

You will have to explain any significant employment gaps at future interviews.

Common wisdom is; when dissatisfied with the current job, look for the next job while still employed.



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29 Apr 2013, 9:08 am

Fnord wrote:
Look at it this way: (1) You have a regular income, and (2) poverty sucks.

Welcome to the working world!


I'm going to agree with Fnord on this one.

To Bluecountry,

If I read your OP correctly, it's your first job. Many people, Aspie, NT, fire-breathing dragon, don't enjoy their first job.


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29 Apr 2013, 9:12 am

I have had this problem all my life. When it got to where I couldn't stand it anymore in my late 20's, I tried looking for another job, but couldn't find one. I ended up on short term disability, during which time I figured out how to scrape by working out of my home, which I have done ever since. One solution for me was multiple streams of income, like getting a part-time job combined with freelance work. I also had to find ways to get free or low-cost housing. This is even though I graduated Magna Cum Laude from UCSD with a degree in computer science, and was a Mensa member. So yeah, high-functioning Asperger's doesn't mean you can deal with a regular job.


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29 Apr 2013, 9:16 am

I have an office job where I sit in a cubicle. It's boring but compared to retail it's heaven!



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29 Apr 2013, 9:25 am

Funny, - I have always bumped into the same problems. Even more funny, - most people I used to know, when I was part of an artistic community, had the same experience. They were, of course, ...artists, who created their own language/world. Introverts by nature :)


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Fnord
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29 Apr 2013, 9:54 am

bluecountry wrote:
Fnord wrote:
Look at it this way: (1) You have a regular income, and (2) poverty sucks.

Welcome to the working world!

I was thinking of quitting.
Finding a part time job which can fit my temperment, and working with a life coach to see what career can work for me.

I think being 5X8, 8-4:30 person in an office all day is insuitable for me, unless that office is library-esque.
Is this reasonable?

Not to me, it isn't! I'm not exactly in love with my job either, but I do love getting a regular paycheck.

The alternatives for me at my age are unemployment or Wal-Mart.



Last edited by Fnord on 29 Apr 2013, 9:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

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29 Apr 2013, 9:55 am

I would look at it this way: this is a learning experience for the rest of your career. You have figured out you are not an office person, and I think that is great. Now I would attempt to break things down to their component parts. What about your place of work do you not like? Is it a specific task or tasks? Is it the office culture? Perhaps it is just sitting all day.

Whatever you decide, I would take a week to think about it. In fact, I would suspend further judgement about your job for at least a month, and then reevaluate. In the meantime, just do your job and observe what is going on around you. I have learned that life is long, and there is always time to reorient your career.



Panddora
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29 Apr 2013, 9:57 am

What type of office work do you do? I have done horrible boring office work many years ago and I just couldn't do it long term. I have to be interested in my work or else I cannot function. I have been lucky because I have had several jobs that I have really enjoyed but put me in an office without being able to 'escape' and I can't do it. However, Fnord is also correct so somehow you have to manage at least until you find something you can cope with.



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29 Apr 2013, 10:12 am

Fnord wrote:
The alternatives for me at my age are unemployment or Wal-Mart.

If you are vastly OVER-qualified, don't count on working at places like WalMart. They seem count on their employees to be dumb and desperate. :( Guess they might be worried about someone who too closely observes their internal practices.