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franklin.jr
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28 Nov 2018, 9:13 pm

Today my boss asked me on why I'm always alone, refusing to engage with my peers. He guaranteed me I could tell him anything I wanted (well I hear it so oftenly...) and for one moment I thought about telling him or not about my diagnosis as ASD.

Honestly, I ALMOST did it - I was dangerously close. My choice was to tell him some personal stories (mainly on harassment which led to personal trauma) that supports my choice to stay on my own. These stories were enough to impress him and he agreed with me - I cannot openly talk about it to anyone.

According to his account, he trusts me and my solid professional background, and my resume is truly impressive to my team. However, if I don't make any serious efforts to assimilate, I can be fired. Sure I do understand him, but at the same time it drives me crazy sometimes: why should I tell everyone on my personal background so they feel sympathy for me and my ASD. I want to have a normal, ordinary life, with no pity from others.

Could you please share any suggestions on how I can hide a bit of my lack of personal abilities at work? I do need this job and I cannot lose it.

At the same time, sometimes people think I am sleeping at work, when actually I feel something very abrupt that leads me to lose consciousness for some seconds. Is it familiar to you?

Your help is welcome.



BeaArthur
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28 Nov 2018, 10:23 pm

Just make some "friends" at work but don't tell them about your ASD.

I use quotation marks around friends because there is a distinct difference between workplace friends and private-life friends. You could think of them as professional allies if you prefer.

Learn their names, ask questions about their background ("Where did you grow up?" etc.) and their families, children, spouses, etc. Compliment them on their appearance or their work. Participate fully in company social affairs such as working lunches or birthday parties. Smile at other people at least 10 times every work day.

Losing consciousness briefly might be a petit-mal seizure. Go to your doctor and ask about this symptom. If that's what this is, it's probably more important to disclose that to your co-workers than your autism. Also, I do hope you are not driving a car, with that symptom.


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jimmy m
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28 Nov 2018, 10:33 pm

franklin.jr wrote:
At the same time, sometimes people think I am sleeping at work, when actually I feel something very abrupt that leads me to lose consciousness for some seconds. Is it familiar to you?

Your help is welcome.


I am not quite sure what you are describing.

Aspies experience a great deal of stress. This stress is cumulative. It builds up and must be purged from your system periodically. If the stress is to great, it can result in a meltdown.

A stressful situation sets off a chain of events. Your body releases adrenaline, a hormone that temporarily causes your breathing and heart rate to speed up and your blood pressure to rise. And in an Aspie that extreme stress can lead to a meltdown. One of the things that Bessel van der Kolk showed when he first started to do trauma research with functional MRIs is that when people are in the trauma state, they actually shut down the frontal parts of their brain and particularly the area on the left cortex called Broca's area, which is responsible for speech. When the person is in the traumatic state, those brain regions are literally shut down; they're taken offline. So in that state you lose your ability to communicate and also your ability to take concrete steps to get out of that state.

So this might be one explanation.

There is also a medical condition called narcolepsy that may be what your are describing. Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder that affects the control of sleep and wakefulness. People with narcolepsy experience excessive daytime sleepiness and intermittent, uncontrollable episodes of falling asleep during the daytime. These sudden sleep attacks may occur during any type of activity at any time of the day.



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28 Nov 2018, 10:34 pm

Why not tell them?
I'm stuck on that.


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29 Nov 2018, 7:43 am

Because there tends to be a lot of bias against people on the autism spectrum in the workplace. And I get the desire to want to have a somewhat "normal" life. But yeah telling your boss might be a good idea. If you're such a valuable member of the team, then he should be more understanding. Failing that, masking works but is draining and not easy to pull off well.


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29 Nov 2018, 9:53 am

The problem with telling him you have an ASD diagnosis is that you still have to explain what issues you have. Unless you are talking to someone who is extremely intelligent or knowledgeable about ASD they will typically try to fit you into some sort of stereotype, which doesn't work for most of us on the spectrum. Better to just bring up the issues as they arise. Though that might work if you just like that Sheldon guy on Big Bang Theory.



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29 Nov 2018, 9:56 am

If I were a manager, I wouldn't ask an employee why "he/she is alone." I find that people should be able to have their privacy.

As long as the employee isn't unfriendly, and is able to relate to his/her co-workers in a professional manner, I would just leave the person alone, as long as the work gets done in an efficient and expeditious manner.

If the employee is always snapping at people, then I might make inquiries.



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29 Nov 2018, 11:18 am

kraftiekortie wrote:
If I were a manager, I wouldn't ask an employee why "he/she is alone." I find that people should be able to have their privacy.


A good manager cares about his employees. If something is off, he/she might try and figure out what is wrong and help the employee. The manager might even become a mentor for the employee, if asked.

Quote:
My choice was to tell him some personal stories (mainly on harassment which led to personal trauma) that supports my choice to stay on my own. These stories were enough to impress him and he agreed with me - I cannot openly talk about it to anyone.
It seems like you gave him a small glimpse of what was inside you. This helped him understand you a little and he agreed with you to not disclose this to your fellow employees.

Your boss may not be showing sympathy but rather efficiency. All the wheels and cogs need to fit well together for the machine to function properly.



kraftiekortie
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29 Nov 2018, 11:20 am

Didn't I say I would make inquiries if I sense there was something "troubling" going on?

If a person seemed depressed to me, I would make inquiries.

I feel like many people just like to hang out on their own. I like to hang out on my own.

As long as the person is able to get along with the other people, why make inquiries?



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29 Nov 2018, 11:43 am

The OP has made the decision not to disclose to his employer and we need to respect that and we also need to respect that it is a matter of keeping the job or losing it.

Faking it to make it or "passing" all day is going to be stressful and obviously, you are going to have to "try harder" making it more stressful. Something has to give and that should be your nonwork life ie letting your guard down, "stimming" etc away from the office.

As far as at the office what you need to do or try is stressful, more eye contact, more small talk, and especially more participation in meetings possibly going out to the pub with your fellow employees after work. Try and find out what your fellow employees and especially your bosses are interested in, research the topic and discuss it with them. Ask about their families, how their families are doing etc.

You do not have to do it all at once or do it particularly well especially at first which is fortunate because learning how to pass won't be easy, there will be progress followed by frustrating, depressing mistakes followed by progress. You will never become an NT or a social butterfly but hopefully, if the boss sees you are making the effort and you are able to pass well enough you will keep the job.

As always feel free to discuss any issues that arise either in this section or in the Work and Finding a Job section.


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jimmy m
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29 Nov 2018, 3:52 pm

kraftiekortie wrote:
Didn't I say I would make inquiries if I sense there was something "troubling" going on?

If a person seemed depressed to me, I would make inquiries.

I feel like many people just like to hang out on their own. I like to hang out on my own.

As long as the person is able to get along with the other people, why make inquiries?


kraftiekortie I was not attacking you, so no offense intended. If his boss asked the question, then his boss sensed (or his fellow employees sensed) something "troubling" was going on. That is why inquiries were made. This is deeper than just a person wanting to hang out on their own.
"At the same time, sometimes people think I am sleeping at work, when actually I feel something very abrupt that leads me to lose consciousness for some seconds." In many companies sleeping on the job can get you fired.



Last edited by jimmy m on 29 Nov 2018, 6:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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29 Nov 2018, 4:20 pm

To the OP: Did your boss have any concerns that your lack of fraternization with coworkers was negatively impacting the team's production or effectiveness?

Example: If a successful team requires regular group meetings and a team member doesn't show up to the meetings, the team's productivity and synergy could suffer if that absent team member didn't know about changes, updates, etc.

If there is no issue of any kind with your lack of fraternization with coworkers in relation to your actual work and instead your boss is concerned purely from a social perspective, that can also be a legitimate issue if your desire to be solitary would negatively affect the overall morale of the team. In my opinion, this is unfortunately a fact of life in many work environments. I believe most NTs view work from an equally important social perspective as they do their home life. I personally don't. My coworkers are not my family and never will be. They also aren't my friends. I like to keep work separate from my regular life. NTs in a work environment, especially an office environment, seem to have a strong need to have everyone on the "team" be essentially like they are and if someone is different or not socially compatible, it makes them uncomfortable.

I see his concerns as one of three things:

1) He's concerned about your solitary nature because team productivity could suffer as a result?
2) He's concerned that your solitary nature could bring down morale of the team (ie "We're sad because we're not all friends. :cry: ).
3) He's concerned about your feelings and wants to make sure you're not actually wanting to be included but feeling excluded for some reason.

Which do you think it is?


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kraftiekortie
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29 Nov 2018, 6:44 pm

I get you, Jimmy.

If a person wants to disclose, then I'm not against it. I don't recommend it in many cases, though.



franklin.jr
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01 Dec 2018, 10:19 pm

I'm trying to answer each message in just one.

In fact I was able to find 2 or 3 peers with whom I think I can share some topics to a limited extent. One of them enjoys 80's oldies such as 8-bit computers, and other asked me some questions on old programming languages. I am also talking a bit with one or other colleague and so far I had no hostile reactions. Anyway I prefer avoiding lenghty conversations - I'm not in the mood for it anymore, after being rejected so oftenly in so many different moments of my life. And yes, I'm trying to exchange some words with people while I am enjoying a cup of coffee. I don't want to talk about ASD with anyone there - I remember some months ago I told my former boss I was ASD, being fired in a matter of days. :(

So for now I think the best approach is to 1) cross fingers, hoping to be minimally accepted at my job, 2) slowly introduce my ASD issue as long as I learn about the job, 3) try not to talk about it as long as possible, 4) try to put some theories into practice: how to address people, how to introduce myself, exchange some words with them, test some personal abilities... Not everyone understands about ASD and I don't want to be seen as an exotic animal at display.

About losing consciousness, I can differentiate between entering slowly into "sleep mode" and something (narcolepsy?) that usually happens so abruptly to me. I need to think about strategies in order to control it, I'll avoid doctors as much as possible because I don't want to spend so much of my time and health being controlled by medications, I'm afraid of becoming dependant on them. Taking my Velija to control my anxiety is more than enough for now. Anyway I don't drive cars and I'm not going to do it.

I preferred offering just a tiny demonstration to my boss so he would understand why I prefer silence and isolation, and for now it looks like he understood me. Stories I told him were all true - for example, being harassed by a real psycho, during 5 years in a row, it actually took place; worse than that, he was my neighbor in the first year, and moved to an apartment nearby where he lived for the other years. In the first year, he was used to hit me with kicks and punches, threatening my life, while telling lies on his daily routine: that he had a car, lots of girls, he was studing... He was basically unemployed, living at the expenses of his own family, so he could watch my routine anytime he wanted. Once he tried to ambush me and he almost succeeded. It was terrible. Overcoming such stories is difficult and I hope my boss will understand me.

Please notice I live in Brazil and things are much harder here. Few jobs, low salaries, political tensions, and the lack of understanding when it comes to ASD disorders. So I need to do my best and keep my job.

I don't know to which extent my isolation affects the team as a whole - I just entered it, will complete 1 month in a few days. But yes, there are team meetings on a daily basis where we update our work statuses. And probably my boss is concerned with my solitary nature because the entire team has noticed it, causing some smalltalk among them. (Anyhow I never learned how to engage with people, since I'm so much used to being shoved up and avoided while approaching people.)

Anyhow, thanks for your constant support, and I will keep you updated.

P.S. I'm an experienced (20+ years) Oracle developer, so please tell me if you need my resume, or if you know someone who could be interested.



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01 Dec 2018, 11:26 pm

Some jobs have a very low threshold as long as you're socializing, so I think workplace "friends" can be helpful, too. I can get by basically having some coffee conversation and a happy hour every other month without complaint.