Diagnosed Yesterday Unsure What This Means For the Future

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CelticSwords
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Age: 38
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31 Jan 2024, 3:24 pm

Hello there,

I have just discovered this forum, and this is my first post.

As the title suggests, I have been diagnosed yesterday, and I am really not sure what to do with this information.

I was doing a PhD in Robotics for 4 years or so, until 2016, and dropped out of it, because of a confluence of circumstances. What happened after, is that I joined industry, and started working as a Robotics Research Engineer in Spain, then a Machine Learning Engineer in Norway, then a Software Engineer in Canada (fired), then another Software Engineer in Canada (fired), and now currently a Senior Software Engineer in Norway.

I left Canada, because I felt that I was so removed from family and friends during the pandemic, and every company I worked for, I just ended up getting fired each time. It felt clear that Canada didn't want me. I worked hard to obtain my permanent residency there, but in the end it was to be discarded, because I just didn't think I could ever survive in such a place.

On moving back to Norway, I started the job as a Senior Software Engineer, but the company is truly poorly managed, without the support for most common employee needs, let alone someone with this diagnosis. However, living and working in Norway has been very beneficial for my sense of security, as the job security is excellent, the protections of those with disabilities is excellent, and the healthcare is excellent. So, in many ways, living in Norway has reduced my stress levels immensely, but difficulties working in an office with others remains.

I felt that working in the office my mental health was degrading significantly, and I ultimately said enough was enough, and requested that I be referred for psychological evaluation. During the evaluation, those responsible for me, suggested that workplace accommodations be discussed with my employer. A representative, working with the institution performing the evaluation, communicated with my employer, and my employer looked to discourage any accommodations, and aggressively looked to isolate me from the rest of the staff, and questioned my employment going forward. Their behaviour during the ordeal, has left me unsure about what I should do, or where I should go, but couple that with a final diagnosis, I am truly lost in what I should do next.

If I talk to my psychotherapist, my doctor, my friends and family and former colleagues, they are all of the mind, that I should be going to a physical office as part of my job going forward. However, I am unsure of this. I am in agreement, that social isolation is not something I want or they, but when it comes to working, and not feeling stressed as much, having control of my own environment and working at home is probably something that I will have to do. There can be a case made, for a hybrid arrangement, where I would attend in person for some days or meetings, but largely speaking it is understood that I would work from home when my diagnosis calls for it. This is something I would really appreciate your input on.

I am Irish, and I have chosen Norway as my home, and I don't look to leave it. I am currently in Trondheim, but have long considered moving south to Oslo, such that I can gain access to more opportunities, be in a more international setting, as well as have cheap direct flights to friends and family in Ireland and vice versa. I just really don't know on where I should work, or what I should look for, and perhaps if there are any places at all that are compatible with me there, as my main barrier to entry is that I am still learning the language and many government positions that would be open to someone of my disposition remain closed off to me.

Anyways, the long and short of it is, I just don't know what work setup I should have going forward, and what companies I should consider looking into, and whether I have any business being a Software Engineer anymore? Does anyone have experience in the Norwegian market?



autisticelders
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01 Feb 2024, 8:55 am

congratulations on your diagnosis. It means better self understanding, at the very least! The diagnosis summary can be very useful for starting to sort your best strengths and your worst struggles. Knowing those things it is possible to build in better ways of doing things in every day life and understanding the jobs or things in life that might be the best fit for your future. Take your time sorting it all out, the past and everything up til now will make better sense now you have this new perspective. As a young adult, the future is going to be a bit murky, but it will get clearer as you sort everything from this new way to see and understand literally everything. Stick around and ask lots of questions, many members here can give good insights based on lifetimes of experience.


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CelticSwords
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Joined: 31 Jan 2024
Age: 38
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Location: Norway

01 Feb 2024, 1:03 pm

autisticelders wrote:
congratulations on your diagnosis. It means better self understanding, at the very least! The diagnosis summary can be very useful for starting to sort your best strengths and your worst struggles. Knowing those things it is possible to build in better ways of doing things in every day life and understanding the jobs or things in life that might be the best fit for your future. Take your time sorting it all out, the past and everything up til now will make better sense now you have this new perspective. As a young adult, the future is going to be a bit murky, but it will get clearer as you sort everything from this new way to see and understand literally everything. Stick around and ask lots of questions, many members here can give good insights based on lifetimes of experience.


Thank you very much, I really appreciate your response.

It is funny to me, to be called young, because I spend so much time and energy beating myself up for being "old". I think the disorder has caused a lot of instability in my life, and I feel so behind on so many fronts.

Today, I have started to apply for PhD positions, as I dropped out from my last PhD programme, and ever since, it has just been constant stress. I think to myself, perhaps it is best, if I returned to academia, or I worked remotely for companies going forward. It is just a lot to process right now.



Stormyweathers
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16 Feb 2024, 12:19 pm

Try Texas. There's no such thing as an accommodation for autism here.

Doctor or not, don't let a neurotypical tell you how much social isolation you need. Decide for yourself, and tell your therapist to pound sand.

Your job experience is not uncommon. I started as a Chemist then ended up in IT, and it wasn't the straightest of lines. Now I'm a senior architect who solves "impossible" problems. The key to keeping a job and not losing my marbles is to only take jobs where the work environment and my manager are well suited to working with me.

I simply cannot take just any job if I want to provide for my family. Working from home works for me because it neatly avoids office issues. If I do work in the office, I need my back to a wall, headphones to control sound, and understanding people who can deal with me even without a mute button.

Don't try to be a different person to please a neurotypical tribe; over decades the stress will destroy you. Don't expect your job to accommodate you; they will only pretend while looking for a way to manage you out. Be who you are and find a place where who you are can earn a paycheck. It might mean, as it did for me, that you take a 40% hit to your pay to get into the right position, but you will be living rather than slowly dying.

Just my two bits. Good luck.



What_in_the_what_now
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16 Feb 2024, 12:29 pm

CelticSwords wrote:
Hello there,

I have just discovered this forum, and this is my first post.

As the title suggests, I have been diagnosed yesterday, and I am really not sure what to do with this information.

I was doing a PhD in Robotics for 4 years or so, until 2016, and dropped out of it, because of a confluence of circumstances. What happened after, is that I joined industry, and started working as a Robotics Research Engineer in Spain, then a Machine Learning Engineer in Norway, then a Software Engineer in Canada (fired), then another Software Engineer in Canada (fired), and now currently a Senior Software Engineer in Norway.

I left Canada, because I felt that I was so removed from family and friends during the pandemic, and every company I worked for, I just ended up getting fired each time. It felt clear that Canada didn't want me. I worked hard to obtain my permanent residency there, but in the end it was to be discarded, because I just didn't think I could ever survive in such a place.

On moving back to Norway, I started the job as a Senior Software Engineer, but the company is truly poorly managed, without the support for most common employee needs, let alone someone with this diagnosis. However, living and working in Norway has been very beneficial for my sense of security, as the job security is excellent, the protections of those with disabilities is excellent, and the healthcare is excellent. So, in many ways, living in Norway has reduced my stress levels immensely, but difficulties working in an office with others remains.

I felt that working in the office my mental health was degrading significantly, and I ultimately said enough was enough, and requested that I be referred for psychological evaluation. During the evaluation, those responsible for me, suggested that workplace accommodations be discussed with my employer. A representative, working with the institution performing the evaluation, communicated with my employer, and my employer looked to discourage any accommodations, and aggressively looked to isolate me from the rest of the staff, and questioned my employment going forward. Their behaviour during the ordeal, has left me unsure about what I should do, or where I should go, but couple that with a final diagnosis, I am truly lost in what I should do next.

If I talk to my psychotherapist, my doctor, my friends and family and former colleagues, they are all of the mind, that I should be going to a physical office as part of my job going forward. However, I am unsure of this. I am in agreement, that social isolation is not something I want or they, but when it comes to working, and not feeling stressed as much, having control of my own environment and working at home is probably something that I will have to do. There can be a case made, for a hybrid arrangement, where I would attend in person for some days or meetings, but largely speaking it is understood that I would work from home when my diagnosis calls for it. This is something I would really appreciate your input on.

I am Irish, and I have chosen Norway as my home, and I don't look to leave it. I am currently in Trondheim, but have long considered moving south to Oslo, such that I can gain access to more opportunities, be in a more international setting, as well as have cheap direct flights to friends and family in Ireland and vice versa. I just really don't know on where I should work, or what I should look for, and perhaps if there are any places at all that are compatible with me there, as my main barrier to entry is that I am still learning the language and many government positions that would be open to someone of my disposition remain closed off to me.

Anyways, the long and short of it is, I just don't know what work setup I should have going forward, and what companies I should consider looking into, and whether I have any business being a Software Engineer anymore? Does anyone have experience in the Norwegian market?


God damn Brexit!!

I'm commenting largely so I can follow this thread. I don't have specific advice and certainly know even less about employment law in Norway. But I too am OK doing my role in an office when I'm left alone, I can speak to people for work, its sort of what I do. But they keep moving me and my commute is horrendous and I cannot predict things well or indeed control them, then there are complaints of being late. One morning took 2 hrs and 10 mins to travel 34 miles by car. Unfortunately we appear to be in a world where being somewhere is more proof of effort than what actually does or doesnt get done



What_in_the_what_now
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16 Feb 2024, 12:31 pm

Stormyweathers wrote:
Try Texas. There's no such thing as an accommodation for autism here.

Doctor or not, don't let a neurotypical tell you how much social isolation you need. Decide for yourself, and tell your therapist to pound sand.

Your job experience is not uncommon. I started as a Chemist then ended up in IT, and it wasn't the straightest of lines. Now I'm a senior architect who solves "impossible" problems. The key to keeping a job and not losing my marbles is to only take jobs where the work environment and my manager are well suited to working with me.

I simply cannot take just any job if I want to provide for my family. Working from home works for me because it neatly avoids office issues. If I do work in the office, I need my back to a wall, headphones to control sound, and understanding people who can deal with me even without a mute button.

Don't try to be a different person to please a neurotypical tribe; over decades the stress will destroy you. Don't expect your job to accommodate you; they will only pretend while looking for a way to manage you out. Be who you are and find a place where who you are can earn a paycheck. It might mean, as it did for me, that you take a 40% hit to your pay to get into the right position, but you will be living rather than slowly dying.

Just my two bits. Good luck.


what is a "neurotypical" please? I find it such an odd oppositional term.



blitzkrieg
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16 Feb 2024, 1:50 pm

Being a software engineer, or a senior software engineer is a good job and you should be proud that you have held such a job for any length of time.



autisticelders
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18 Feb 2024, 7:25 am

"neurotypical" means the average individual in the population with "typical" neurology, Non autistic, every day individuals.


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BTDT
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18 Feb 2024, 8:25 am

I would say that based on what I've read on this forum, the biggest factor is having an understanding boss.
They don't have to understand autism.
You want someone who will make accommodations for your needs.
Some bosses are very good at that.