Modern Hipster Workplaces and Me

I'm 44, having worked in computers and technology all my life my Aspie traits have never really stood out very much from the norm, actually I've been okay at communications providing I know what I'm supposed to be talking about all my life. I've enjoyed working on really complicated projects in quiet and supportive environments for the first 12 years of my career. Worked more or less alone for 10 years with variable success but overall successful enough to keep a roof over the heads of my family.

Generally speaking, I've very logically literate and I can learn new things very quickly, I can program computers in 22 different languages and understand business processes, I excel at diagnostics of any kind. Being alone all day was not without it's problems and eventually I kind of crash landed into depression and decide to learn more about Asperger's which overall has been extremely helpful to me in terms of self understanding and also allowed me to forgive myself for various stupid things I did particularly in my teens. Mostly I accept that my problem solving ability is very inversely proportional to my anxiety levels.

This new found resilience gave me the inspiration to return to a normal workplace, where I can contribute to bigger projects while having less admin to deal with. I eventually took a job in a relatively new technology startup based about 4 miles from home. I've been there for 2 1/2 months and I'm now off sick for anxiety, I've melted down in the office twice, the company is very warm, accepting of my problems and I'm far from being the only Aspie there. 

But, this modern accepting workplace has these traits:

 - There are 100 or so employees
 - There is a philosophy of self management and self managing teams.
 - Unlimited holiday
 - Food is served at lunch every day
 - Nobody has a job title, or a job description.
 - People start opening beers in the office at about 4pm and by 5pm it's pretty rowdy.Ople can thrive and all those things. I actually like the people, but the environment is my idea of pure hell, I've gone through all my life being pretty happy with myself if I manage a face to face conversation with 10 people in a week. What have i done!

My perception of this workplace is this, only extroverts can succeed, and my overall analysis is that the majority of the valuable creative work is done by Aspies or near-spectrum in some way (INTP-T types) as it is in all of technology and always has been. There are many many meetings... none of us talk, we are asked meaningless questions like "How are you feeling" almost as though it's a tactic to ensure that everybody replies "I'm feeling great"... Usually when somebody other than a doctor asks me "How are you feeling", that's my brain toasted for at least 1/2 an hour trying to recover from the answer "I'm fine". 

Should I just quit and get another job, where there are normal things like a chain of command and a normal level of engineering rigour. Or should i be brave and try to evangelise aspie's. There are people in this company who I can converse with at a level that I guess non-aspies will ever be able to understand especially related to data-science issues. We'd all be much better of without the normal's holding us back with the touchy feely work avoidance. 

  • Like you...Aspie and a tech geek

    i also need a structured workplace, clear guidelines, expectations, I need to know my role. Currently working with no contract and just a bullet point list of my job scope (which I had to ask for) and very woolly management and vague communication of expectations ... your skill set is very valuable out there in industry they seem warm and supportive and probably want to keep hold of you... can you ask for reasonable adjustments? ... a quiet place to work.. etc... might be worth a go before you chuck in the towel.

    best wishes.