Wow! How to socialize in the new office and other nightmares

Okay, I’m still a little upset about this one, so it’ll stop feeling totally raw and unforgiving in about a year or so.

I knew that I was going to have trouble fitting in with this new office thing. I’m not good in offices.  Especially dealing with so many people at once. I never can strike that balance between too much interaction and not enough. Admittedly, a little bit of me goes a long way.  I try to save others from me.  I know it’s a lot to deal with me.  I am not exactly not affrontive most of the time.

I try to keep in mind Penelope Trunk’s hints for getting along in the office, but I am driven to be weird and it is difficult to not be weird.  And so….

People think that I should understand all of these dynamics and social staircases and mazes of etiquette. I look like I should.  Just know these things, I mean.  I look normal, don’t I?

But alas, it eludes me like always.  It’s always half way understanding and completely misinterpreting what is really happening with people and my interaction with them. The potential for making  social miscues and faux pas far exceeds my ability to either understand them or avoid making them at all.  And once again, by the time that I realise that I’ve even made the stupid gaff, I am on the outside. 

I’ve got this great reputation of something that I’m not now.  I hate navigating office politics.  So, now I have to figure out the rules that I need to invent to stay sane.

1) Stay in your cube .  You are supposed to be pretending to work, anyway, so it’s prolly best if you stay put and don’t leave.

2) Don’t interact with the humans. They prolly think you’re just going to throw feces with them.

3) Don’t talk about not work stuff.  This is always bad, although I’m not sure why.  However, it only seems to be bad when I do it, for some reason.  Other people can do it and it seems okay, but I can’t.  Weird.

4) Don’t do not work stuff.  This is another one of those weird things that is never okay when I do it, but is almost always okay if someone else does it.

5) Fit in.  Now I know this isn’t really going to ever happen for me.  I can be quirky and funny and charming in small doses, but then I must go back to my cube and see Rule #1.

6) Migrate away from the large herd and find a quiet patch of sunny grass close enough to be considered parallel play, but not close enough to do much more than just peripherally observe and chat.  This usually works out well, but better with alcohol.  Alcohol makes me seem so much more witty than I am.  And also seems to give me a filter.  Or maybe it’s an excuse for lack of  a filter, which is always much more acceptable than without the alcohol as an excuse.

7) Be socially acceptably quirky.  It’s okay to have a certain niche of quirkiness, but this can go to far. I never know when I’m over the top, but I find that just stopping at where I think is half is usually as much quirkiness as the outside world can stand in one sitting. 

8) Be good at one thing that no one else can do in the office. Or at least not as well.  This has almost always been my saving grace in office atmospheres. That I’m very tech-savvy and I’m not afraid to try things out on the computer.  It makes me pretty useful to have around sometimes.  It doesn’t always keep me in the mix, but it definitely does make me a little more valuable as a commodity in general.

Those are the ones that immediately come to mind.  I’ll probably come up with more as this experience progresses, scary as it is.  I’m taking big deep breaths and trying not to panic, but it does not work very well, sometimes.

Being an adult with Asperger’s is very confusing and very difficult to navigate most of the time.  I just keep chipping away at it and perhaps someday when I’m about 1000, I’ll be smart enough to put all the shit I’ve figured out together in one place to make the world a better place for the rest of the Aspies.

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