I live in Canada, so this doesn't seem to be available to me. But, I still have a year or so until I graduate, so I think I still have time to sort out my plans.
More on the similarities and differences here, namely aspects related to empathy:
It seems of no coincidence that so many of Google's social products have misfired - due in part to this interplay - influenced by the empathic dissonance found in managers from both sales and engineering departments.
I suppose it is another way of saying that Google (insert other SV giants here) employees are not only demographically dissimilar to the customers they serve, but that they cannot hope to represent them faithfully due to this empathic dissonance at senior decision-making levels.
Perhaps this is part of the fate that befalls most large and successful companies.
1. Facebook was social at the core, and succeeded while still small.
2. Their efforts in this space were proactive
3. Google tried to add social much later, while already massive.
4. Their efforts were reactive.
I was referring to large companies initiating projects in response to perceived market conditions.
What I saw in 5 years at Google was engineers who didn't know what people wanted, and managers who didn't care what people wanted, hence my crude allusion to these comparable spectrums of behaviour.
Of course there were countless exceptions to this, however there were enough impactful examples of both for it to be noticeable and troublesome to me.
Buzz is the ultimate example.
https://alanhogan.com/buzz-is-already-dead (About the UI/UX nobody wanted)
https://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/13/technology/internet/13goo... (Failure to respect users and imagine any blowback from violating trust and privacy)
The network effects statement is both true and relatively unimportant, considering prior social and chat networks had periods of extreme dominance before Facebook and Whatsapp, and that others will in future.
All despite network effects.
Apologies if I came across somehow invoking autism as an explanation for business failure. I certainly applaud initiatives such as Dell's, and we can easily find examples of brilliantly successful products and services created by those on the spectrum.
I mean to suggest that psychographic profile differences between the large tech workforce and their potential customers may be enough to contribute to product failure. This is particularly so if the products require empathic understanding, a known problematic for both the autistic and psychopathic spectrums.
Intuitively this sounds like many programming tasks (I still like programming, but admit that many tasks in programming are quite repetitive) - thus good questions for neurotypical candidates, too.
I like the "supply questions ahead of time" - everyone should do this!
Be on the look out for the holy-grail... the undiscovered Asperger's engineer. (usually found on open source forums)
* They have no social skills
* They generally marry the first girl they date
* Can't make eye contact
* Resume and educational background is a mess... because they have no social skills
* They work like machines, don't engage in politics, don't develop attitudes and never change jobs
It's a subtle difference, but the first one encourages/enables the employee to function in spite of their disability or perhaps one day overcome the shortcomings, or simply work in a way / environment where it becomes irrelevant. (Software development already gets us 90% of the way there)
The other, well, that one doesn't really give a shit as long as you're productive, i.e. it will probably still exclude a large portion of autists and never really help anything. Hell it probably expects to never give them upward mobility with that last remark either.
Is that what this is?
I guess it's no more exploitative than employing anyone else.
I think it’s way more exploitative because you’re not leveraging a person’s (by average definition) “strengths” to your/the company’s benefits, you’re using their weaknesses (and weaknesses are relative, but I’d say the list of traits above most people will probably think might complicate or hinder the persons long term success or happiness - in fact it could easily lead to one sided exploitation).
Show me an office without politics and I’ll show you one with unlimited vacation time
Climbing the corporate ladder is something many employees seem to enjoy.
And, an office "without politics" with more than two persons maybe doesn't exist, but there is certainly more "office politics" in Paradise Hotel than in my office, so it's not like anyone that stays out becomes a pawn in some scheme.
Strength: Gets trampled cause no social skills
Sounds pretty horrible.
(spoiler alert, it's the first one)
“We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.”
— Kurt Vonnegut 
I think the "key" is finding people who deal with their problems by diving deep in to technical tasks and becoming absorbed in minutiae. An unnaturally small interest set combined with a lack of interest in people.
I am very dyslexic, the other day I misspelled the word TAB as TAP when implementing an event listener in a codebase +100K lines. It took me half a day just to find this bug.
At LastCo I heard the project manager and scrum master joke behind my back "we'll just have the autist with OCD do the programming" while referring to me. In their mind lacking a "theory of mind" also includes not having any peripheral hearing.
We always have cheeky banter in our office, but never behind one's back or on account of their difficulties.
As an example, my first hire was an immigrant from Africa. He can speak English, but his spelling is not ideal - and because English is not his first language his naming structure for things like variable and classes needs improvement. To help with this I implemented specific standards for how naming should work and gave him a ton of concrete examples of how I would name something in a number of scenarios. Now that he’s been working for me for a while, I only actually have to give feedback on naming conventions maybe once a week.
Also, I am sorry you have to work in an environment like that.
It was maddening and took at least a day to notice. I started questioning my sanity. I never thought to just do a diff...
It's great, because you don't have to read the var name, you just have to see if there's any var in a function that doesn't have the same color as anything else and they tend to stick out like a sore thumb.
Not sure if that's the best explanation, but if you're using any JetBrains IDE you can try it by going to Settings and searching for Semantic Proximity and hitting the check mark. Easier to show than explain.
It won’t compile if I’ve done something like that and will happily shout the line at me that (paraphrased example):
545: someArray.srt((a: number, b: number) => a-b) - ‘srt’ does not exist on type Array
And good integration with an editor or IDE will produce these errors without needing to run the compile step which saves a lot of time and frustration.
I don't have to worry if I've spelled the variable incorrectly or (more frequently) used a synonym instead of the word I first used; autocomplete catches it.
At my old school, the worst of managers had just no clue how to dive in and help. Sometimes they'd try and it would make things worse. Their mortgage payments and continued relevance began relying on control, not capability.
This would have been okay of we were the appropriate size for so many manager types but we really needed engineers who could lead.
This whole discussion is in the context of people with autism being sought out by an employer because they are very good at certain skills. The fact you would take “autist” as a negative term about a person suggests some prejudice on your part against autism, rather than being someone who celebrates people’s differences
So programs of this nature are wonderful to see — they create the opportunity to learn from and work with people who think differently than the general population.
My, um, psychic powers for predicting the future tells me anybody with autism issues or even just introversion who goes there will be penalized heavily in the stack rankings (which they no longer formally do, but informally...) at performance review time for lack of "visiblity" year after year and eventually be washed out of MS as "good attrition".
A huge problem with Microsoft’s employee evaluation system (“//connect”) is the fact it’s still self-evaluation. If you’re too honest or self-critical regardless of actual performance then you will be pseudo-ranked lower than someone who knows how to bullshit their way through self-evaluations.
Let’s just say I learned the hard way. Being (constructively) self-critical in self-evaluations was drilled into me in Catholic school and it actually really helped me in university, but no-one told me it’s career self-sabotage when you enter the workforce.
I have ASD as well.
To whatever extent I’ve been disadvantaged (and the disadvantages are certainly there upon reflection, and have been my whole life) I’ve been much more heavily advantaged in life, in ways that I associate with autism. I do consider it a superpower, personally.
But I have multiple relatives for whom the scales clearly balance heavily in the other direction. That I do not consider it a disorder in my own life is in no way a denial that many people have a different situation going on. To add to that, as I understand it, nobody really knows what autism is yet — it’s an umbrella term, and perhaps what’s going on in my brain will someday be classified separately from what’s going on in the brains of those who experience more disability than I do. But for now, and possibly forever, it’s all the same label, and I gotta respect that there are many folks who have a considerable amount to offer the world but who could use more help than I’ve needed in that regard.
>Aspergers isn't either.
X-ray vision was never considered a developmental disorder, because it didn't put Clark Kent at any significant disadvantage during his development.
Asperger's, unfortunately, does.
(I don't count my wheelchair as a super-power because more often than not I have to push up-hill, not glide down. It's a net negative effect on my ableness to cope with normal life.)
Perhaps a better analogy is his super-hearing, which did make his early life on Earth very difficult until he learned to control it.
Sure, Aspergers is usual beneficial to techies from a performance perspective, but it can be a massive disadvantage when dealing with people within an organisation.
I used to work for a local authority in an sysadmin position and it was very fortunate that HR understood Aspergers, or my lack of social awareness would have got me sacked a few times.
The upside of having Aspergers is only part of the story.
People officially regarded as disabled are often treated as 2nd class citizens, with all kinds of bizarre things done to them. Including sterilisation in some countries, which there are reports of still happening to this day. :(
Yeah, I've heard of "official" places doing that. To me, it seems quite unfortunate they'd take that approach.
Maybe that's just my viewpoint though. ;)
It only implies a reduced ability, beyond the person's control, to perform in certain circumstances, to a degree that warrants consideration (from society, from the law, whatever).
Autism and similar conditions are by that definition disabilities.
Also, do you consider it a disability that my hearing is much more sensitive and I can hear the buzz from the old light panels and I need to wear noise cancelling headphones to be able to concentrate?
Why would you classify Aspergers as a disability?
It's like saying Superman's (yeah, fiction, but it's to highlight the point) x-ray vision is a disability, just because it's something most people don't have.
X-ray vision is clearly not a disability.
Aspergers isn't either.
Those without Xray vision shouldn't be expected to understand the downsides: imagine if you can always see what's inside a gift, or who is hiding behind a door?
Whilst it seems only positive, you lose out on something that's a fundamental part of ocular-typical upbringing.
Indeed babies learn, eg through "peekaboo" (a game in which an adult hides their face from a baby), about object permanence in part by not being able to see things and then to have them revealed. Peekabo also is the beginnings of parental detachment, learning to cope when you can't see your mother (or current favourite carer).
That sort of developmental difference could have untold social effects.
There are huge temptations to cope with, not just sexually. "I left the book in my locker" - well with Xray vision I don't have to accept the lie but can verify it for myself. "My sister's not home, sorry", well of course Supe-y can see she is, and [I think, with the Xray vision he has] see who she's texting "Superman can be a real jerk" to.
TL;DR -- One thing Superman may not see is the damage he's doing by not respecting personal boundaries, and by not playing along with people's white lies ...
Blue eyes are... blue eyes. They're not a "disability" either.
What would you call having blue eyes?
Will someone's comfort levels take precedence over the desire to employ someone with difficulty with social cues?
Or will we visibly "tag" employees who are neurodiversity hires so that you know that if they somehow offend you, that might be because they're on a different wavelength compared to you, so you should give them a pass? Do neurodiversity hires get to keep their status secret, or will the company need to disclose it?
On one hand, you don't want to fire them, that will look terrible for the company, but on the other hand, you don't want people to feel uncomfortable either, which creates legal vulnerabilities down the line. Curious how that conundrum gets solved.
So I imagine if you have a hidden disability, if you need accommodation, it's in your best interest for people to know that, so they can accommodate you. I can understand hiding it in the outside world because you never know how people will react, but at the workplace, people will figure it out, and if they treat you poorly because of it, then they get the boot, so it's probably a win all around to make it known.
An SO of many years had bipolar disorder, and it helped me get a deep appreciation for the amount of game theory that goes into disclosing one's condition to others, especially at work. Most of the "reaction" from people doesn't have to be explicit, nobody is going to call you "the crazy girl" to your face at work.
BUT, given the reputation and stigma that something like bipolar disorder has, you're never sure how exactly you're implicitly (as in, implicit bias) being treated differently by your peers.
Did your company pass on giving you a certain role because they're not sure you can handle the pressure with your condition? Are peers and managers looking at your behavior through the lens of someone who is not in control of their mental states? How many years will it take for you to establish a reputation of someone who's reliable and fight against the natural inclination of those around you to distrust your equanimity? Are people going to interpret your shortcomings through the lens of "she must be off her meds"? Will someone be able to use your condition as leverage over you in a competitive environment and how do you prove discrimination against you in that case?
In my experience, even if it is made known, people are less forgiving of non-visible disabilities and some that interact with the disabled individual less frequently may even forget that it exists. One may have to actively "display" their disability, even if they'd rather appear to be as normal as possible.
Honestly, I'd say it's probably an uncanny valley effect of sorts (as depressing as that sounds) where those who look 'normal' but don't act it put people on edge and arouse suspicion.
First, you can actually communicate with people who have asperger and tell them that this or that thing is insulting. They are able to follow the rules typically even is they don't understand them. They also won't be charming toward boss and manipulative toward peer amd then offending junior minority dude.
People with asperger take in feedback, just like neurotypical take in feedback, unlike jerks who refuse to accept being told they have done something wrong. You actually say to someone with asperger that his behavior is offending in specific way and you can expect him to follow. You can't expect him to know unspeaken or subtle rules.
People with asperger are uncomfortable to all around in similar way and you see that in interactions that are not racist sexist or whatever jokes. If someones offending behavior shows up only in such things and only towards weaker people, then it is not asperger.
Aspies are often told they have done something wrong, only to find that others can get away with doing the same thing. This naturally leads to trying to discover the real rules instead of the ones people try to make others obey. That's where the friction really occurs.
It's not that it's impossible to understand, it's that is impossible to take seriously once you see through it. And the insistence on superficial token demonstrations of decency, instead of actually decent application of principle, makes it tedious af.
You absolutely can communicate about these issues with someone with asperger. Yes, highly charizmatic people can often skate rules due to knowing when and where to do it and making friends.
That does not make communication with aspies impossible as parent implies. Nor it creates some kind of unsolvable concordrums where one would be expected to take no action if aspie is in interaction vs firing if it I somebody else.
(Even if they're fully willing, the required exactitude for a rule to be followed by people who don't understand it is orders of magnitude greater and is seldom achieved by any rule except through painful and time consuming iteration)
They were treated unfairly due to not kissing right asses etc on occasion. But there we are talking about subtle issues, not the firing offences which tends to be easy to be on safe side of.
If it's a one-off, not part of a pattern of behaviour, and the person is willing to apologise, they can usually be forgiven.
(Doubling down on "I'm right and they were wrong to be offended", on the other hand, is a terrible idea)
If you want a visible physical disability analogy, imagine that someone with a wheelchair runs over someone else's foot.
"I'm sorry, I didn't realise you were there" = everyone's friends again
"I'm sorry, you shouldn't have been standing there" = probably OK in the long run but unpopular
"You should have got out of my way" = unacceptable response.
"If it's a one-off, not part of a pattern of behaviour, and the person is willing to apologise, they can usually be forgiven.
"(Doubling down on "I'm right and they were wrong to be offended", on the other hand, is a terrible idea)
This is true in almost any situation.
Then again, I worry that the current social/political climate isn't a good one for people on the autistic spectrum (or neurodiversity) in general.
Someone in this situation would already potentially be a whole lot of trouble (especially if the offendee goes on the internet with the complaints), neurodiversity hiring program or not.
I know a lot of autistic people, and a few of them are arseholes, but they are entirely ordinary arseholes. Their arseholery is very much the same as the arseholery from NT people, which makes me think it's not the autism.
We all constantly put feet in our mouths despite our best intentions (see the whole concept of micro aggressions) and being able to navigate subtle social situations when that inevitably happens is difficult for everybody. Much more so for someone who is worse at reading nonverbal cues and struggling with anticipating "how will this make them feel?"
There is plenty of room for offense and misinterpretation between the most benign accidental faux pas and giant asshole moves, and that's where I suspect most of the rope to hang yourself with lies.
There's a quote from He Who Shall Not Be Named here that is an interesting datapoint from a recent event, echoing my point: https://tech.slashdot.org/story/17/11/19/043243 . I suspect he wasn't a giant asshole, but maybe others would argue otherwise.
In reality I don't expect neurodiverse individuals to end up as cases on HR's desks: I would be shocked to see harassment anywhere near the top of the list of situations that might arise from this push for inclusion. Awkward situations in intra-team interpersonal dynamics? Sure. But real harassment, not likely.
However, once the company is making an explicit effort to be welcoming and inclusive to employees with a neurodiverse background, what do you choose to prioritize in that kind of stallmate?
I’ve worked with a lot of people with ASD over the years, it’s never caused any serious problems. You have worked with them too; once you know what to look for you see them all over tech.
Edit: actually seems they’re on pretty much all continents.
As far as the autism itself, what a diagnosis gives you is access to talk or group therapy, possibly accommodations at work or school, and maybe classes for picking up social and coping skills.
Workplace accommodations are a mixed bag: you have to tell your work about your autism and implicitly threaten a disability lawsuit against them to get them. If you're in software and you need to have a desk without rear-facing traffic, you often have the negotiating power to just ask for that as a thing that helps you do your job better, so the diagnosis isn't particularly useful. Oh also, the "just ask for things you need" works better for smaller accommodations at smaller companies, the diagnosis is way more useful for the more bureaucratized environments at large companies.
So, maybe it can be a strategic defense against getting fired for a bullshit cause around the time your options vest, or when you finally scrape together the cash to purchase your NSO options.
I’m asking because, if society provides enough benefits for people “on the spectrum” how do we prevent people from gaming the system?
When benefits are involved at all, people act funny. I’m reminded of people misusing handicapped parking placards, for instance.
I’ve also known people with perfect vision to wear eyeglasses because they found them fashionable.
The kind of autism most people talk, like the one that is so "good" that you could actually have a nice Job on Dell and others, maybe is hard to diagnose. That is the reason to say is a "spectrum"
But autism that is in the hard side of this spectrum? Is impossible to miss it.
Also, social security disability benefits for autism are difficult to obtain without a childhood diagnosis. Basically the thinking is that if you weren't disabled enough for your parents to need help getting you through school, you're not disabled enough to be unable to work. This really sucks for the edge cases that fall through the gap, but does have anti-fraud advantages.
My ex joined the military, where wearing a uniform was a requirement. His job before that was at McDonald's, where wearing a uniform was a also requirement.
Most people bitch about uniforms, but some people like not having to think about what to wear to work and wearing a uniform fits current recommendations to allow a person with ASD to have a limited selection of duplicates and wear similar or identical outfits everyday so as to not aggravate sensory issues.
I don't expect my ex to ever get a diagnosis. The label would be stigmatizing (and I think he would object to being so labeled) and he found his niche without needing a label.
My sons were never formally diagnosed in part because I began homeschooling them at an early age, when they were both in elementary school. I didn't need a formal diagnosis to accommodate their needs as a homeschooling parent. I just did the research and made the call as to what made sense.
If you can find a path forward that lets you do what makes sense for you without being diagnosed, that can absolutely work. If you want to do a particular thing and your quirks are interfering with that goal, I formal diagnosis may legally entitle you to appropriate accommodation.
Picking a job that happens to fit well with what works for you is one option.
Doing freelance work or running your own business so you get to have a lot of say in how things get done is another potential option.
Working for a small organization instead of a big one may give you more latitude to do what makes sense for you without needing a label and "a doctor's note," so to speak, to justify it.
No one complain about a blind man staring at them if they know they are blind.
Because they are literally not seeing you. If someone pinches your ass, but has autism they still pinched your ass. If someone is so disabled that they assault or harass people, that is a problem that won’t necessarily be forgiven. Instead it might lead to claims that the person is so disabled they require a more structured environment.
...And of course if it turns out that you lied about your disability or its role in your behavior, everyone will want your head on a pike.
I agree with the premise that acceptance would probably be higher for someone who comes across as awkward, or makes a social faux pas in an effort to fit in if they were on the spectrum, as opposed to just being "that weird guy."
The current article is about a special hiring policy for autistic persons in Dell. Luckily there doesn't seem to be a flamewar this time around.
Of course, I wonder why. To be honest, I don't understand why so many users were upset about the former article but not this one. It just seems dissonant to me.
I'm quite confident that the present comment will not start a new flamewar, btw.
Only a minority subscribes to the neurodiversity idea. Autism is considered a disability by most people, therefore this is not controversial.
Quotas for women can be, because we are taught they're equal to men.
From what I've seen in the other thread, most people complaining about "reverse discrimination" felt that one should get a job only based on their ability to do the job, regardless of gender or antyhing else.
It follows that if a person with a disability can't do the job then they shouldn't be hired over someone who can, but doesn't have the disability, in the same way that one who can't do the job but is female should not be hired over someone who can but isn't.
I would not hesitate to change genders, not for an instant, if it would free me from my disabilities.
I don't understand what this has to do with my comment. Are you saying that I'm comparing gender with disability?
There was recently in the news a lawsuit against Harvard I believe, because there is some evidence that a White or Asian (minority in US but not in schools as a lot of them attend school) student can have better admissions testing scores and a "underrepresented" minority with lower scores gets admitted instead.
Wikipedia: In other countries, such as the UK, affirmative action is rendered illegal because it does not treat all races equally.
"Eschew flamebait. Don't introduce flamewar topics unless you have something genuinely new to say. Avoid unrelated controversies and generic tangents."