Saturday, 30 June 2012

Me and Asperger's - communicating with staff in a large office

When the college merged with another one, with it came more students and more staff, so the dept had to expand.  We moved to another building, and took up the whole floor.  The counter area where I worked was at least twice the size of the one I had been used to.  We had to have more staff.  Over the years, staff came and went.  This was hard for me anyway - getting to know someone, only for them to move on. In the time that I was there, I got to know some people really well and others not so.  I believe myself to be a friendly and approachable person (and I'm sure that was what I was called by the interviewers for the p/t jobs I didn't get).  There are a couple of people whom I will mention here by initial only that I remember it took me a while to get to know.  I don't know if it was him or me, but it took me a while to get to know and talk to chattily to D, who had taken over as one of the Assistant Registrars.  Once I did get to know him and talk to him, he proved to be a nice man, and an approachable one.  The other person, who is still there today, was C.  She is a very nice lady.  It took me a while to get to be friendly to her.  She did say to me before I left and I suspected I had Apserger's, that she did wonder if something like that was up with me.  She had previoulsy dealt with people with special needs inc autism, and so had seen how it affects people.  C is a very nice lady, and she helped me at the end to see someone about possibly having Asperger's and I talked to her.

There were a few people in the dept that I didn't really talk to that much.  Again, I don't know if it was them or me, but the person I am thinking of to me didn't seem that approachable to me.  Maybe I didn't get the chance to find out.  Others in the dept were all nice to me, esp the two ladies I was v close to, M and G.  M was my team leader, and she was v supportive to me in times of crisis and when our other colleague wasn't nice to both of us.  Both M and G came over from the other campus when the colleges merged.  I think that I got on with them so well because they are both genuinely nice people, esp M, and are definitely friendly and approachable.  I still keep in touch with them.

There is one other person that I will briefly mention here, and she was my other colleague at the counter area, and I shall call her R.  I had known her from before when she worked in another dept.  She was transferred to us, when temps left.  At first she seemed to be OK with us, and got on with us. But over time, it came to light that she had issues with her past and she didn't forget them.  I feel that this really affected the way she behaved to us in the end.  It took a few years for her to start showing her true colours, when she first started to shout and be nasty to our managers.  Then the nasty (and what I call bullying) behaviour turned to me and M.  I won't go into it here (prob in my biography later) but on one occassion we had miscommunication and she had a go at me and I ended in tears.  At the end of my working life there, she had turned really horrible, going against what M said to do with documents and doing her own thing.  On the last day there, she showed her true colours to me, and I knew she would do this, she phoned in sick. She didn't want to see me to say goodbye.

So after writing all this, I have come to one conclusion: that is I can only get on with a few people at a time and not a big dept of staff. 

Next time, I shall write about how I communicated with staff before the merger and when we were a small office.


Nell Dixon said...

Hugs, the fault lies with R not with you. Some people struggle to have understanding and empathy for others, perhaps someone who is 'different' scares them.

Julie Day said...

Yes, I knew the fault was with R. She just didn't forget her past and took it out on us.

Henriette said...

There is way more tolerance and understanding of Asperger's now than, say, 5-10 years ago, and most people are, thankfully, very accepting. Sadly, there's always 1 or 2 who can't or won't understand it, and can be really horrible. I'm sorry you had to go through that, but at least you know that the fault lies with her, not you. Hx