Sunday, 22 December 2013

My work-related social skills

As mentioned previously, I have completed the Asperger Syndrome Employment Workbook. The third part of the book (the biography) is divided into chapters. The first chapter contains a variety of facts about the three jobs described, I won't summarize that here, as its main purpose (for me at least) was to refresh my memory.

The second chapter is about social skills. Again, I had to go through the three selected jobs. The first job was my first job out of college, the second was a job I held 14 years ago, and the third is the job I am holding for another 9 days (a.k.a. my current job).

In my first job, almost 20 years ago, I was good at greeting, I was considerate of others, good at helping others and doing favours. I was good at offering thanks and at being honest/frank. My personal appearance was good, and so was my awareness of other's physical space. I was good at staying on a topic, including staying too long on a topic. I knew who to ask for help, and I was able to request change to conditions and procedures. I had a good choice of work associates.

On the other side of things, I was poor at showing respect to my superiors - they found me arrogant. My expression of emotion was poor, and biased towards negative emotions. I also had a poor awareness of how safe people felt around me. I failed everything in the not-so-honest department: social lies, making up stories, factual lies. My humour was poor (except with one co-worker who shared my interests). I had no physical contact with others, poor eye contact and voice level. My choice of words and phrases was poor. I was not good at knowing how and when to ask for help. My response to criticism was poor (and dramatic). I was poor at social conversations and discussion of personal and intimate matters, both during work and during breaks. My attitude fitted poorly in with others and I was poor at socialising both on and off the job. I had poor understanding of the unwritten rules and a poor etiquette of reporting problems.

Note about the social conversations: I managed to have lunch break with my co-workers every day for 14 months and I never uttered a word.

Six years later, in my second selected job, I had improved in showing emotions, my humour was better, my voice level had improved, and so had my ability to know how to ask for help. The most significant improvement was in the field of social conversations at work and during breaks. I did talk to my co-workers! The thing is, I am introvert and I feel insecure at times, but I am not actually shy. In my first job, however, I must have appeared very shy...

My last selected job, my current position, is difficult to describe using the book. Because it was almost two jobs. One before the merger and one after. In the category of asking for help, I found it easy to ask for help before the merger, while it became extremely difficult after. My own skills don't appear to have changed over the 14 years.

The impact of the merger on my ability to know how, when and who to ask for help is important in understanding my social skills, in particular my lack of social skills. It appears that my social skills are much better when I feel secure, when the workplace enables my social skills. When I fail socially, I fail because I am not in an enabling environment. So my social skills are not always poor, their weaknesses are only exposed by dysfunctional environments. This is a very important message to myself, also in my next job.

1 comment:

  1. This is great! Besides sharing your own employment development experience, it also gives an idea about how to go about writing about the 3 workplaces, what to focus on.