I have trouble telling people things they don’t want to hear. That can be a problem with my current job.
The week had been going ok until toward the end of today (Thursday). I got a call from the wife of a former worker at my company. The wife claimed that the worker’s boss had promised him after he left the company that he would take care of the worker’s mileage expenses when the worker used his personal car to drive long distance to work on a different company facility. However the boss had not yet approved the reimbursement for the worker and had in fact not responded to the worker and the wife’s efforts to contact him.
I promised the wife that I’d submit a ticket message to the boss to find out what was going on. Through the Jabber chat system, I asked my wisest co-worker whether I should classify this ticket as “open” or “closed.” Instead the co-worker, a woman named Ashley, told me that I shouldn’t have agreed to send a message to the boss. Our department isn’t supposed to get involved in financial disputes between bosses and former employees. Ashley added primly that “if you think an exception should be made in this case, run it by” our boss and team lead. She said I should provide the employee’s phone number and employee ID number so the boss and team lead can look into it. With about ten minutes left in the day I sent a message over the Jabber chat system to the team lead asking for his counsel. The lead’s Jabber status showed that he was “available” but he did not respond to my question nor did he e-mail an answer afterward.
I offered to write the worker’s boss on behalf of the worker because I couldn’t leave him and his wife empty handed. They had apparently been deprived of money and were upset about it. I couldn’t simply ask them to call the boss because they said they’d already tried to do that multiple times. I honestly thought I was doing an appropriate thing until Ashley told me otherwise.
I gave them a ticket number–the ticket I intended to submit to the boss to find out whether he would approve the worker’s mileage expenses–but didn’t actually submit the ticket because Ashley told me I had to run it by my leadership team. So perhaps the worker and his wife will call up tomorrow before I get to work and give one of my colleagues a ticket number to look up that doesn’t actually exist. I could not finish writing an e-mail to my boss and team lead before it was time to clock out. My boss is very stern about the impermissibility of working overtime or doing work off the clock. If I were to submit a ticket or write an e-mail to my boss after my clock-out time, she would see by the time stamp that I was doing company work outside of my official shift.
Today, after work, I had to drive my dad around to various stores so he could shop. He can’t drive because he had a small stroke a few weeks ago which messed up his left eye and he can’t see a specialist about possibly getting it fixed until August 17th. He complains of dizziness, lack of sleep and foggy headedness. After I told him about my troubles at work today, he muttered that “we’ll talk about this later” because he implied he didn’t have the mental focus needed to offer reflections on the matter. Apart from the mental complications of his stroke, I know he is quite tired of my laments.
He has recently suggested that this job would “toughen you up” and dismissed my laments about the issues I face at work as a product of me being too hard on myself and worrying about nothing. He has breezily said that my issues with communication will get better with more on the job practice. But some of the things I have experienced on this job have been quite traumatic, based on the interaction of these experiences with my neurological structure. I really don’t think it is simply a matter of changing my thought processes about the job, as he insists, though perhaps that is a bit of it.
Yesterday I interviewed for a produce clerk job at a major grocery retailer in my area. I found out today that I got it. The job seems to have certain virtues but only initially pays about twenty cents per hour higher than my state’s minimum wage. This is about $2.10 less than what I currently make. My dad, who is a junior partner to my step-mother in controlling my life, has stated that we will talk this coming weekend about whether or not I should take this job. He seems dubious about it because it offers substantially less money than my current work. I also got an interview offer from a major retailer that would offer better pay and benefits than the grocery store but accidently deleted the phone message. I shall probably try to find the phone number so I can accept the interview offer even though the job in question might be too fast paced for me.
In my current job, I lack the necessary capacity to be firm with callers. I get over-sensitized and shut down in any confrontation. I also simply can’t handle the need to be well spoken when dealing with the complexity that sometimes comes into play, for example in explaining the Concur expense report software to company employees. Last week, I spent nearly twenty minutes trying to analyze and then explain to a company employee what her issues were with her Concur account. After a while, she abruptly ended the phone call with a tone of cold disgust, saying she would get her manager to help her. I do well enough when callers ask simple questions or make simple requests; my boss and team lead have given me kudos for my handling of several of these calls. But I’m an abysmal solver of more complex problems presented by callers.
Interestingly, an aunt–a sister of my late biological mother–wrote me an e-mail yesterday after I told her I was contemplating leaving my current employer. She said she thought this would be a serious mistake. I would have better opportunities to climb the ladder at my current employer than I would at the grocery retailer. The problem is that due to such issues as slow auditory and mental processing, sometimes strikingly poor verbal communication skills, an often flat facial demeanor and a frequent inability to project an engaging personality, I have no real prospect of climbing the ladder at any company.
This aunt told me in 2019 that I was welcome to come live with her and her husband if I ever wished to escape from my step-mother. A few weeks ago, shortly after my dad’s stroke and after the step-mother subjected me to a tirade about how she envisioned me–in the event of my dad’s death–living in a group home with a caretaker or even being a ward of the state, I told my aunt via e-mail that my step-mother had spoken of the need to “make arrangements” for me if my dad died. It was too embarrassing to tell my aunt specifically what my step-mother had said. The aunt replied that she couldn’t believe my step-mother had said that and told me not to worry, that she and her husband wouldn’t allow me “to fall into her hands” and they would always be there for me.
Neither my aunt, my step-mother or dad can truly understand the extreme strain on me and other neuro-divergent persons as we put on a mask and struggle to find our niche in the neurotypical world.