Wednesday, May 24, 2006

oh give me good news

For I want to crawl into a corner and shrivel up and die.

Y'know I've long known that I am different to other people (well we all are individuals, even the clown up the back who says "I'm not") but I am starting to really get my nose rubbed in it at the moment at work.

I'll try to illustrate what I mean.

Years ago I worked with a lady called Sueli. I believe it is a Portuguese name. I don't speak Portuguese or Spanish. I speak English. that is it. And understand a teensy bit of french and some written german and italian and stuff but I'm a native English speaker.

I could never say it to her satisfaction. I could not hear the difference between what she said and what I said. It was something to do with the e in it. It is somethign to do with being English and not havign that sound in our language. She never picked on anyone else and told them they were saying her name wrong in my hearing.

That is how I am at work at the moment. I am doing something badly wrong but I can't even figure out what it is. People tell me it isn't right but they can't tell me why and I can't hear or understand why it is wrong. Maybe I have asperger's and can't really relate to anyone or anything like normal humans do. I just thought I was an introvert and a bit shy but nope there's something more fundamentally broken than that.

I am not used to failing at anything I turn my hand to. I have failed classes but they didn't matter to me. This really matters. This is my job. This is the thing that keeps a roof over our heads and food on the table and yarn in the stash. This is what I do for a living.

I don't even know that I want to try to change it. In a way I do because because the bustedness annoys me and I desperately want to do the right thing, but in other ways I suspect it is likely to be fundamental to me, so much a part of me that I could no more change it than I could chop off my own arm. I've tried roleplaying being a model worker but that is so wearing and I still don't get it right anyway. How can I? I don't know what I am doing wrong.

I guess I should go find another job but I find other jobs that I think I am a great fit for and I try to persuade them that they need me cos I'll do a better job for them than anyone else, but I don't even get an interview. I leave the PhD off my resume and say I did research for five years instead. In my limited experience the PhD is more barrier than aid - I am not going for medical research jobs because my skills are not what are needed for most of the jobs I see (why no I can't do analytical chemistry or molecular biology, and no I don't have 5 or more years experience with them, and I will not bluff cos it is really obvious that I don't).

I am stuck. I really don't know what to do.

So give me some good news, please. Tell me good stories. Or give me your sob story so I can go and worry about someone else instead of me. OK?

Knitting content will return later. Knitting and spinning are good but they can't make my work situation better.

anon!

19 comments:

  1. I'm so sorry your going through such a time at work - maybe you need to just step back and get some perspective - not knowing what the problem is, that's all I can think of right now.

    I could take your mind off it all and tell you my woes - My DH was laid off two weeks ago and now his poor sister passed away this a.m. I have another infection and have to see a specialist. Um. What else. My youngest is failing at least one class and we're not sure he's moving on to 9th grade. That's all my woes for now.

    Now, as far as your job - what else can you possibly do to make solve that problem? Have you exhausted all possibilites? Then maybe it's not meant to be worked out? I wish you a solution soon and please, don't beat yourself up about it. We are just human, and can't be perfect all the time :)

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  2. Stop beating up on yourself! It may be that you have a fundamental problem relating to the work you're doing or the colleagues you're working with, but that doesn't mean there is a fundamental problem with you. It may just be that you don't quite fit with them personality-wise - that might make both you and them edgy, but if you're getting your work done at the same time, they might just have to deal with it. You can't become a different person because you think your workmates don't get you.

    You are allowed to have a personality, you know!

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  3. Oh, I feel your pain. My boyfriend, Leo, has been having the same problem. He's not a PhD but he went to an Ivy League college and studied "natural science" and can't get any work in the sciences because he didn't have a true focus and has a hard time getting work in what he does have experience in because he appears overqualified. Uhgh, worst...word...ever!

    Anyway, I don't know your work place or the people you work with, but I've had pretty good luck pulling aside bosses, when needed and saying something like "I really want to succeed and I'm willing to put in the work but I just need some guidence. Can you help me understand what I'm doing wrong and how to do it better?" I find that I don't always understand but if someone shows me what they want, I can usually get it. That's my 2¢, but your situation may be different than the ones I've had.

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  4. Holey Cow You don't sound very good! I think I can repeat what Yarngirl has said, step back and look at it and get a nonemotive look at your situation!,you sound like you are panicking! I don't know what part of your job is a problem,whether its the work itself or the other workers, so it a bit hard to offer anything that is useful!Maybe talk to your supervisor or boss?
    I'm thinking of you and wish you a better day tomorrow!

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  5. Oh no - I'm so sorry you are having a crap time at work. Without knowing the specifics, I will say I think a successful working relationship takes effort on the part of both the employee and the employer. It sounds as though you have tried and put in extra effort and tried to figure out what's not quite right. Is your employer open to talking about such things, or maybe that's not the culture. Especially if it's workmates being a pain - there may be nothing you can do. Sometimes offices can be more cliquey than high school!

    If you do want to change jobs, it may take a while but you are so smart and unique - there has to be a perfect job out there for you!

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  6. I can relate - I sometimes seem to have that problem at work, myself, the sense of something being off with what I'm doing/how I'm relating, but not quite sure what it is or how to fix it. It's a very disconcerting feeling and I'm sorry to hear that you're in such a place...

    Have you ever talked to a therapist? Sometimes a trained eye from outside the situation can really help.

    *hug*

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  7. A good story, eh? Alright... earlier this month I was vastly and grossly ill requiring hospitalization (this gets better, I promise). I had to take a final exam (I work full-time and go to university part-time) hopped up on Vicodin for pain management, I don't remember what I wrote for the two-hour essay final. I then blew off a deadline for another course due to said illness (really, this does get good, work with me here). I was able to turn in my work five days late, knowing I'd suffer a letter grade lower for it.

    I not only aced the final, but the instructor commented, "This is one of the more thoughtful and provocative essay exams I've read in t a long time. Congratulations!"

    The final project was not only acceptable, but the prof wrote, "For the research alone you deserve an A for this project, but your writing was terrific as well! Fantastic job!" I received an A for the final project.

    And I just got the money to order my first "adult" stereo (read here, it's not a boombox from 10 years ago)!

    Now, as for your situation, perhaps the workplace can provide support/help/training to correct whatever is suppose to be wrong? I hope you find the answer that suits you best!

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  8. hmmmmmm, good story. it's a beautiful day here. summer is approaching (or is that not good?)

    i'm spinning like mad, because i'm going to start selling my yarns.

    ummm, both my boys passed and will go on to the next grade (that's always good, that means one less year to empty nest!)

    i'm making the t-twist from knitty, and i like how it's turning out so far.

    how's that?

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  9. Bah Humbug - Have a Georgette Heyer heroines' decline : take to your bed!!!! I don't know- I can't go to work anymore and while I was teaching most Principals were boogelly : they were on their way up and using us as stepping stones!! At least I was Queen of my classroom - according to one Principal!! I liked to be in charge - I was responsible so I had to be in charge : I was ready to throw myself between a child and a runaway bus - I deserved to be Queen!!
    Hope this is just an Autumn malaise on the others' part that passes soon.......

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  10. Everyone wants a job they love doing with people they really like. In reality this happens pretty rarely. All you can aim for is professionalism - be easy to work with in both a social and practical sense - and dignity - don't let others make you think you're a failure when you're not.

    Years ago I worked in a two person design team at a medium sized company. When the other girl in the team left I helped interview her replacement. The girl we hired was funny and friendly and enthusiastic.

    But pretty soon I realised that behind the friendly front was an insecure, unhappy person. She would be sweet to people, then as soon as they walked away she'd turn to me and say "what a b*tch".

    I wasn't stupid. I knew she must be doing this to me, too. But no. She was doing worse. She was going about the company telling people I was unqualified, made huge mistakes all the time and should be sacked.

    One of the other staff warned me about it. I told my boss and confronted the girl. It eventually blew over, but the lingering resentment and distrust I felt helped me decide to leave that job.

    Later I wrote a short story based on her character. It became my first published story. Then it won an award and that helped me attract a book publishing deal.

    So I can tell you the old saying is true: success IS the best revenge.

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  11. Gah, workplaces are annoying depressing places a lot of the time! It's some kind of corporate conspiracy to attempt to drag everyone down to their tedious mediocre level. My employer stuck me in a role 4 or 5 years ago that I had absolutely NO training for, apart from common sense and logic. Moved out of it after 6 months having at least got recognition from one of the leads (an external, not a company muppet) that I could do the job. The company in the form of the annoying project manager was attempting to tell me and the other poor souls they conscripted, that we were useless. It really upset me that we'd worked our guts out and made some progress, and were treated that way. Recently I've had a wobbly in my own head about my current role, I tend to put myself down way too much and it's so easy to get all introspective and self critical. You are way way better than the sad-sacks you work with! Any decent line manager would work through issues with you too, they have to be able to tell you specifics if you need to improve at something. Hope you feel more cheery soon, can't be helping that the days are heading towards the shortest!

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  12. well, I used to work in investment banking and did it for 10 years. I was good at my job UNTIL i came back to sydney from london, got what I thought was a dream job but it was new role to me, the all male team treated me like s...t, swore non stop (I mean the f word all day long), thought I was dumb blonde, would make me do long hours and crap jobs in the office and critise when I left work before 7pm, I tried to leave after 3 months but they offered me a promotion and pay rise, I stayed (stupid). I realised it wasn't for me, I left and started studying primary school teaching and got pregnant the first month I left work (after trying for a year).
    The biggest thing I learnt is that you have to ask them straight what is wrong and not just let it simmer in your head. Plus do some knitting to cheer up!

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  13. Well you certainly attracted everyone's attention here! I'd love to tell you to quit today but I know your personal circumstances and I know that's not going to work. Everyone else has given you good advice. I think you need to talk to your boss fairly frankly about your problems and what you want to do. Hey, if you have Aspergers, so what? Some of my favorite people have Aspergers!! Personally I do not think you are cut out for the corporate world, but I know you have to earn a living. Is there any retraining that might help? Good news - I am at last on top of my course work and no longer feel blind panic when I look at my desk, and the design piece I am working on for final assessment actually looks like I wanted it to, so far. NIL ILLEGITIMUS CARBORUNDUM.

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  14. Ugh, Lynne, I can sympathize. There is nothing worse than feeling like you're doing something wrong but not ever having any way to know exactly what the problem is... It is the old clichee of "If you don't know what is wrong then I 'm certainly not going to tell you."

    I just wanted to let you know you aren't alone. And offer hugs.

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  15. I'm sorry you're having a crap time and it looks like everyone has already said anything I would say. So all thats left for me to say is go and get comfy on the couch and knit!!!

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  16. Anonymous3:58 am

    Gaaah, how crap a time you're having. I went through the same sort of thing a few years back - kept getting bawled out for poor work performance, which was no wonder, because I was being bullied, which management refused to recognise. I took on another part-time job, which worked out really well. It helped me realise that the problem was not with me per se, it was either with the old place or with me in the old place. Anyway, the part-time thing turned into a full-time thing and I've been f/t there for a couple of years now and love it. It's up to mgement as much as up to you to help you be your best there - if they can't do that there IS another job out there for you. (What are your skills btw?)
    Chin up, just to spite them all!
    Darrow

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  17. Anonymous1:13 pm

    Some people might dispute that 'having' Asperger's is a bad thing or that it would make you "fundamentally broken".

    Best of luck with your difficulties though. The world can be full of people who misunderstand you, yet, as a certain Mr. Emerson once said, "to be great is to be misunderstood." So who knows what interesting, positive things may be yet to come? After all, no one ever did anything truly worthwhile while being like everyone else.

    If you wish to learn more about asperger's from a more accurate perspective than you'll find in most places, make a post in your journal about it. You'll hear from someone soon after. Good luck.

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  18. Sorry to hear that things arent good for you hun. Looks like the Job front isnt the best for a lot of people around at the moment. My DH keeps getting less and less hours. He really likes where he works he just wants normal amount of hours..So being that he likes the place he WONT look for anywhere else to work. Its really started to make budget hard.

    Katt

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  19. Good news? I LOVE YOUR BLOG! :)Isn't that all that matters? A bit of blog loving goes a LONG way

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