On my strengths
My work ethic and diligence are probably my biggest strengths. I also have great attention to detail and I’m able to concentrate on something for very long periods of time. I’m innately able to absorb large amounts of information and retain it. I’m very logical and objective, direct and straight forward; honest to a fault. Putting all of these attributes together enables me to excel in my field. Apparently, many engineers are autistic.
On my challenges
Earlier in my career, I worked in large offices with lots of people, often with a long commute to get there. I found travelling on public transport and working in open plan offices exhausting and I couldn’t understand why others didn’t feel the same. I now know that my sensitivities to lighting, glare, noise, temperature, clothing and even smells aren’t something that most other people have to deal with. But these things deplete my energy levels rapidly, to the point where I can’t think straight.
Growing up, I also learnt that being myself wasn’t socially acceptable – I was viewed as odd, aloof or stuck up, although in reality I was bemused and confused. I could see that naturally I didn’t act and appear like those around me, although I didn’t know why. My solution was to suppress and mask, both at work and at home – I tried to hide my social interaction difficulties by copying how others behaved in an attempt to fit in.