Early this morning, I woke up with a thought in my head:
Why do people hate me?
I know that not everyone hates me. But I know that in the recent past I’ve encounter people in my worklife who are furious with me on one matter or another. Having autism means that work is already difficult and of course it shows itself at work. Most colleagues and supervisors don’t understand so they respond in anger telling you how you are lazy or uncaring. They never see how hard to you try to do your best and they never really acknowledge when you do good work. When it seems like everyone at work starts to yell at you, you start to wonder if you really are bad. You wonder if you are truly incompetent. You can feel the contempt for workmates or supervisors. Even worse is when people think you don’t shouldn’t even be doing what your doing. Maybe you shouldn’t be a pastor. This writing thing really isn’t for you. When you look for work, and see a job that you are interested in, you start to wonder if you should even bother trying. Maybe you should just work at flipping burgers.
But the thing is, I know that I am talented. All I have to do is look at my portfolio and remember my experiences. I know that I make mistakes. I know that I might not always meet people’s standards. But I also know that I’m not just a f*uckup either. Most people with autism or ADHD or dyslexia are talented. But people don’t understand, or don’t care to understand about hidden disabilities. They don’t have time to learn. But they do have time to criticize people and tell them they aren’t wanted in their workplace.
What I wish more people in work environments did is do more encouraging instead of looking down at people or letting them go because you don’t think they measure up. People who are neurodiverse hear that they are failures all the time, they really don’t need to have their bosses doing it. Maybe managers or coworkers think this holding someone’s hand who is an adult. Yes, it is. What the hell is wrong with that?
We’ve made work into some kind of Darwinian race where only the most talented or the best at hiding their problems are the ones that advance in their careers. Work is not some goddamn prize for the best people. It is a place that allows people to make their way in the world. If we can’t offer some help to those that need a little bit of help to get by, what kind of workplace are you?
I know I have my issues. I know that I can be frustrating to others. If you think you are frustrated, know that it is hard being in this skin. Start thinking about how the person you are talking to feels, because 9 times out of ten, they are frustrated with themselves.
I want to be in a place where I am encouraged and not always treated like I just murdered puppies for fun. So does a lot of neurodiverse people. We have a lot to offer if you stop thinking about yourselves and thinking about your wayward employee.
I don’t know why people hate me. And I’m learning to not care. I just wish I could hear more about why I’m valued and matter.