The startup story #7: Chaos in my head: working in IT with autism
The startup story #7: Chaos in my head: working in IT with autism

The startup story #7: Chaos in my head: working in IT with autism

Friday, 11 November 2016

Every company consists of various kinds of people. Different worlds and different visions come together in an attempt to reach the same goal. This is often expressed by using Holland’s six personality types. Every person can identify themself most by one of the types. How do all these personalities fit together so well?

‘The startup story’ is a series of blog posts about the ins and outs of our startup journey.

In previous blogs we've talked about different personalities in Transceptor Technology and how well we all work together. What have we done to make this collaboration so great and what do the other employees at Transceptor Technology think about this? You've heard my story about not being familiar with the IT world, now it’s time for my colleagues to take the stage.

I’d like to give the floor to Koos Joosten!

Hello everyone, my name is Koos Joosten and I’ve been working at Transceptor Technology for almost two years now. I was intrigued by Pea’s blog about being a non-IT’er in the IT world and it triggered me to write my own story. My situation in a company is different from a normal situation and at the same time not so different at all. Having autism doesn’t mean you should give up on your goals, you can do anything you want.

Let’s get started.

When I was watching TV last week I watched a news/discussion program about working with a work-limited disability. I recognized my own situation and did not fully agree on some points with the program. The general view of working with a work-limited disability is cleaning up the streets or packaging boxes. However, a lot more is possible when you have an environment around you that accepts you and your situation. With a little help of the community and self-discipline I decided to join Transceptor Technology (they agreed of course ;) ), my interest for data and data collection has always been there and Transceptor Technology gave me the opportunity to do my job on my own conditions.

My workplace and experience

My workplace environment is set up to fit my wants and needs. Before I joined Transceptor Technology I, together with my jobcoach, talked to Rik about what I needed in a work environment. He was very open minded and put my mind at rest. I got the freedom to plan my days myself, since we’re working remotely it isn’t a problem if I start working a little later sometimes. For me it's important to have things like; supervision, expectations and expectation management clear. It's a comforting thought that nothing is expected from me, that’s why I can work well without this pressure. Together with Rik we often discuss what has gone well this past period and what we can change to make my environment better. This open communication is very helpful. Like any other employee without a work-limited disability I dream of having a job until I’m at my retirement age, a good salary and stories to tell when you’re coming home from work. That’s why I’m very content with my job right now, I think you should be content with what you’re doing otherwise none of the jobs out there can make you happy.

How I work (what my colleagues are dealing with)

Slack is one of the tools that helps me connect with my colleagues. For example when I have trouble understanding something, my colleagues will explain this to me patiently every time. Often when I need something but I’m not interested in it I have trouble remembering this, for my colleagues this is no problem, they accept it and help me everytime. Sometimes I can be stubborn and opinionated, Jeroen and Sjuul often motivate me to reinvent the wheel and not give up. When I need a little time to overthink what I have done this past hour, I’ll go outside and think about everything again. I quickly mirror myself with ‘normal’ people, this leads to narcissistic behavior occasionally, my colleagues know how to deal with this. Often I find it better to decide for myself how I’m going to handle something, afterwards I often find out that I should’ve asked my colleagues. Patience is a trait that I’m very happy with that my colleagues have, they explain theories, programs and code to me very clearly and as many times as it needs to be explained. I like my team, because they accept me for who I am and see value in me. They remind me of this time and time again. The general atmosphere makes me happy, we often joke together and can talk about cycling for hours!

Chaos in my head

In this blog I’m trying to give you an overview of my work and my work environment. I already told you that working at Transceptor Technology has been great for me and that unlike some articles and programs on the internet say, I find that much more is possible with a work-limited disability. Chaos in my head is one of the characteristics of autism, I used to have training for this like keeping a diary. This was not the right method for me. By working in IT I've made the chaos in my head more organized. For this job you need structure, this forced structure helps me to have a clear view of the world. Therefore, this work is very soothing to me, of course my interest in this subject helps me as well. I memorize information by means of a question. By looking up the answer to this question it's easier to remember this information than when I learn something without an immediate application. It’s called framing.

I have an example for you: how do I link a file / directory in linux? This seemed to be handy information to know and I looked up this information. This makes me remember the info, because I decided I wanted to know it.
A counter example is: how do I merge a git branch? I don’t see why this is useful. Therefore I don’t remember this information. That’s also why my colleagues are important to me, after two years they still explain this patiently.

Till next time!