Lost in translation

Job interview anecdotes – I could write a book!

There was the one where an MP (I won’t name names) spent most of the interview discussing Nazi henchmen and his mother who shared my name.
Interviewers – banter is good, but please try to be professional and job specific at this point.

The financial tv news editor who wore a crumpled t-shirt and questioned where I was going so ‘dressed up’, in a suit anyone would wear for a job interview.
Interviewers – try not to alienate or be overfamiliar or personal at this stage.

My personal favourite weird interview was the company director who headhunted me and then in the formal interview later expressed condolences for my father who had died seven years before, whom he didn’t know and learnt of by ‘Googling’ me and discovering I once did a sponsored walk in his memory.
Interviewers – see above!

This behaviour is curious at best. But as an autistic, I find it really unsettling.

However, even if one gets through the traumatic interview stage, it is the hidden issues at work which cause people on the spectrum depression, confusion and in my case a nervous breakdown. Asking for physical adjustments is enough to be dealing with. ‘Can we dim the lights’? ‘Could I work alone in that corner office rather than in an open plan noisy space’? These are obvious.

On communication

It is the translation of neurotypical ambiguity which sends an Aspie into a tailspin. A new boss asked me to do something which I did by the end of the working week. I later realised he meant at any time during my employment! I thought I was being diligent. He thought I was odd, and the rest of the team thought I was showing off or after their jobs. The result was me being overlooked in everything and my eventual resignation.

I try to live by the maxim ‘say what you mean, and mean what you say’, and while I have learnt to live with the the inconsistencies of this in personal relationships, it is somehow much harder to cope with in formal settings, which nowadays are not so formal.

As a highly articulate and educated person with a high IQ it is not metaphors I struggle with, it’s hidden meanings or mixed messages and poor communication skills. None of which should even feature at work, but sadly do. Smiley faces on emails, leaping to WhatsApp from email, no emails at all keeping one in the loop!

I often wonder if there should be a standard qualification in communication etiquette!

Nearly every bad relationship or occurrence in life is caused by an underlying misunderstanding or lack of communication. Yes, a lot of human communication is about what is unsaid, but in a formal, professional setting there must be a standard unambiguous operation whereby no one is left out.

In the virtual and remote world this can for some prove even more confusing. In a world of endless ways and means to communicate, whether it be sign language, Makaton or learn