Patterns for Success – Beware Your Instincts

So I asked my boss for a quick chat. I came right out and asked if I’d done something wrong, if I was going to get fired on Friday.

Not knowing what was going to happen to me, in light of all of these routine changes that I saw, had me thinking very bad things were coming for me. I just wanted to understand: what did I do wrong? Should I be job hunting now?

My boss clarified this for me. He’d moved the meeting to another time slot to give us a full hour instead of a half an hour, to go over my performance review and explain my bonus and pay raise. He’d moved the meeting to another room, because he’d taken to heart the very real problems that I have with bright lights and loud HVAC, so he scoped out a room with darker lighting and low ambient noise.

Moreover, I start a new role in the company this week. I’ll be reporting to my old boss’ boss, seeding a very new role that is likely at some point to become a team, likely with me in a leadership position in that team. It’s not a promotion, but it’s a serious investment in me on the part of my employer, one that carries great and realistic hope of a promotion in the foreseeable future.

Left to my own instincts and perceptions about what these changes meant, I thought for sure I was in the dog house. The old pre-diagnosis me probably would have rage quit before learning of all of these great things that were happening for me and around me. Just asking my boss what his intentions were for the upcoming meeting shined a light on everything, and helped me to realize that everything is actually going really, really well for me right now in my career.

I share this story with you for a number of reasons. First, it’s my apology for not sharing a new story with you last week. I was in the throes of this colossal miscalculation and frequently in a shutdown state when I should have been writing. Second, it’s to share a valuable lesson that I’m still struggling to apply as well as I could: our instincts as autistic people may well lead us to worst-case speculation when peoples’ intentions are opaque or otherwise in doubt. Acting on these speculations is likely to cause great social hardship. Getting the nerve up to ask someone what they had in mind when they made some change to your routine can be very rewarding.

May my little misadventure be helpful to you in your career, and may success be yours!

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About Magnus Hedemark

Magnus has been in the IT industry for over 20 years, and a technology enthusiast for most of his life. He’s a verbal autistic professional, father, and husband. In his spare time, Magnus enjoys photography and riding motorcycles.