Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Breaking in the New Boss (Part 2)

I’m so glad I have therapy again this week. Two weeks ago, I talked to Dr. L and explained what had happened with my new manager. She said I was right to let the first instance go and to give him a month before worrying about the micromanaging because that was probably just his way of learning the ropes. I said I would.

Then today he wanted to meet with me about what I do. I went in with an open mind and a desire to be accommodating as possible. Regardless of my first impression, he’s my boss and life will be easier if we get along.

First he scolded me for not answering the phones enough, though I was told before (by previous managers) that I shouldn’t have to answer them because it isn’t my job. I still help with them, but I don’t answer every call.

Next we went over the list I had made, a loose summary of my day to day job. I am busy all day nearly every day. There are times of the year when business is slow for other people I work with, but not for me. I’m busy year round. I even work from home, off the clock if I have to. Yet there he was, smug as can be, telling me “it’s not 40 hours worth of work.” He’s going to give me more to do.

Then came the final straw. He may be taking away my office and putting me out on the floor with everyone else. The noisy, chaotic floor that makes my head spin and my heart race. Where I can’t focus enough to carry on a conversation, let alone be productive.

I tried to explain why this won’t work. (You’d think that the fact that I had to get up and close his office door just so I could understand what he was saying to me would have been an adequate demonstration) He said “the company is committed to following ADA guidelines” and then added “if we can.” Then he launched into how he used to work in a really chaotic environment and he learned to just push through it. I said “Yeah, it’s great that normal people can do that. I’m not wired that way.” I know “normal” is the wrong word, but I was too upset to express myself properly.

Anyway, he also gave me a hard time about not being social enough with my co-workers….after I started crying (yes, crying…I’m so embarrassed) about not being able to function the way other people do in an environment that overloads my senses. I’m going to ask Dr. L to write a letter, but I’m so scared right now. I don’t want to lose my job because I’m forced into a situation where I can’t function.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Breaking in the New Boss

My new manager finally arrived on Monday and I’m not a happy panda. I’m not always great at reading people, but my first impressions are usually spot on. My first impression of the new guy? Fake, creepy and desperate to climb the corporate ladder. It only gets worse from there.

When he came in to learn what exactly I do here, I decided to give him the basic “here’s what’s weird about me” speech so he’d know that I’m not your typical social-joiner, ass-kissing corporate drone. I explained my RA and how it means I have to go to the doctor a lot. I told him about my standing Thursday afternoon therapy appointment. Then I hit him with the Asperger’s bomb.

Most people fall into four categories. Either they have no idea what Asperger’s is so they just change the subject, they have no idea what it is and politely ask for a definition, they have an idea of what it is, but it makes them uncomfortable so they change the subject or they get it and are totally cool about it. New guy gets his own brand new category. I’ll call it “Knows enough about Asperger’s to know what buttons NOT to push and pushes them immediately because he thinks he’s funny, thereby making me super uncomfortable.”

This genius literally said, “Oh, so I guess I shouldn’t get too close then?” and made a move like he was going to lunge at me. Naturally, I backed away (I don’t like strangers in my personal space…hell, I barely like having people I know in my personal space) so he did it AGAIN. I was floored. I know, in retrospect, that I should have told him that was unacceptable and qualified as harassment. At the same time, who wants to accuse their brand new boss of harassment on his first day?  I spent the next hour trying to get work done while rocking in my chair.

I’ve had bosses I didn’t like before. This is a whole new level of ick, though. Guh. I have a therapy appointment tomorrow. Hopefully she can give me some guidance. This is a first for me.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Things You Should Know

You should know I’m not stuck up. I have overwhelming social anxiety that makes it difficult for me to be around people and I don’t know how to make small talk. A simple, “Hi, how are you,” can cause me enormous stress if I’m not ready for it.

You should know that my mood swings don’t mean I’m crazy. I just have a lower melting point than most people. It takes very little to overwhelm me. My arthritis makes it worse. Being tired and in pain on top of all the other sensory attacks makes me even more vulnerable.

You should know that it isn’t personal when I turn down your invitations to socialize. It’s not that I don’t like you; I just don’t have the capacity to function in the typical “Hey, let’s catch up over drinks,” situation. Parties are even harder to deal with. Just know that you can always talk to me online. I’m more comfortable in cyberspace than I am in the “real world”.

You should know that simply trying harder won’t change anything. It doesn’t matter how much I want to be cool and friendly and popular, because those things aren’t me. I’m learning to like myself the way I am, quirks and all.

You should know that I care about whatever you may be going through. I don’t always have the words to express it and I may even seem to pull away from you when you’re suffering. Sometimes the empathy I feel for you becomes more than I can handle and I withdraw into myself. When you hurt, I hurt and sometimes it’s too much for me.

You should know that I’m just like you. I want to be loved and I want to be happy. I want to enjoy my life and to be accepted as I am. Most of all, I want to be understood.