Not worse, just different

Growing up without a diagnosis, and with an ever-growing awareness of the differences which seemed to separate me from everyone else I could see, may have left me with a chip on my shoulder; an axe to grind; a bee in my bonnet; a pet peeve.

My problem is that aspies, and anyone who is introverted, seem to be easily overlooked in the workplace. If you’ve seen people climb the career ladder ahead of you because of their amazing people skills and ability to speak up in meetings, you’ll know what I mean.

Almost without exception, managers I’ve had when I worked 9-5 office roles were vocal, socially confident, and loud enough to get their own way. Quieter team members were ‘listened’ to, and their ideas quietly forgotten soon after.

My own lack of people skills prevented me from moving into several roles and, until I went freelance, the prospect of advancing my career seemed an impossibility. I always got the same response, that they were impressed with my intelligence and the work I did, they just didn’t think I’d be ‘a good fit’.

Now, there is a surge of interest in the characteristics of introversion. People are beginning to consider the merits of introverted employees and managers. By extension, this is good news for people with Asperger’s too. There is an overlap between introversion and Asperger’s characteristics and, while each person will be affected to a different degree, a general change in attitude will work broadly in our favour.

Perhaps most significantly, it will make us (the introverted and aspies) reassess our own skills and options. We can look afresh at our personalities and see, not malfunction, but valuable difference.

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