My job so far has been pretty good for an introverted probable-ASD having person: I basically sit at a computer and figure out which bits of information I need to gather to show that things are being done properly. If there’s a bit I don’t understand how to do, I can call for help, and I can socialise with a couple of the other new workers doing the same stuff if I feel up to it. It’s good stuff!
But today the department head sent a round-robin email announcing a meeting and inviting everyone to have lunch afterwards (on the company’s tab) – dropping in casually that it was 40-plus people.
FORTY people TOGETHER having conversation over lunch?
Since the lunch is optional (the meeting doesn’t sound optional!) I replied to the person who seemed in charge of organising this, and explained that as an introvert with suspected ASD, forty people at a lunch sounds horrendous and while it undoubtedly is intended as a team-building and ice-breaking event, I would be exhausted and forced to retreat into my shell.
This echoed pretty closely the sort of thing that came up when I took their online “Equality and Diversity” training module in the first week (before they had anything useful for us newbies to do, they said “find some training” – I chose the equality, LGBT awareness and so on. A propos of nothing in particular…). When they talked about indirect discrimination and exclusion these kinds of problems were among the examples.
I feel bold enough to say these things, as bluntly as feels necessary to signify that what works for others is not necessarily what works for me and, if the aim is inclusion, then for me to feel included maybe a variety of tactics would help. I don’t want to take away from extraverted/neurotypical/”normal” types their big social events. It’s just that for me they are no-win: if I go then I am not a part of the event anyway because I’m too busy trying to survive/shut out the overload, and unable to hear what anyone says.
I feel like I ought to round off with some deep insight to be drawn form the anecdote. I don’t know that there is one, unless it’s just that I wish I didn’t have to be bold about it.