How do you annoy a co-worker with Aspergerís Syndrome?

Everything on my desk is organized.  It bothers me if a box is crooked on my desk.  One of my co-workers would intentionally move something on my desk and wait for me to fix it. 

I had an “Angry Bird” stuffed animal on my desk.  The summer students would turn the “Angry Bird” 90 degrees to see if I would notice. 

I had photos and pucks of Calgary Flames players like Jarome Iginla and Miikka Kiprusoff on my desk.  The students would switch the pucks to see if I would notice they were in front of the wrong player. 

The students showed mea photo of The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali.  I told them the melting clocks bothered me because I don’t like abstract art.  As a parting gift, they gave me a functional melting clock from the painting.  The clock is supposed to remind me to relax and let the little things go.  It bothered me that the clock didn’t fit anywhere logical on my desk because the melting clock design was so unique.

For three straight years, every day I wore a dress shirt and dress pants to work.  The first time I wore a tie to work, my co-workers kept asking me why I was wearing a tie.  When I explained that I was going to the ballet with a girl from my hip-hop class, they made even more jokes.

On the plus side, I’ve found that the best teams that I’ve worked on are with people who aren’t afraid to tease me.  I prefer to work with people who are more direct and honest.  It’s more difficult to work with people who have a hidden agenda.

Some general qualities that I’ve noticed about the latest generation of summer students it that some of them are very impatient.  I had a summer student who wanted more senior projects immediately despite his lack of experience.  He thought it was easy to climb the corporate ladder.  I was surprised when he asked a senior vice president in a town hall meeting why a project was delayed.  He was impulsive and didn’t think about consequences.  I couldn’t figure out how his question would benefit him or other members of the audience.  For example, I think a better question would have been to ask if the company was planning further layoffs due to low crude oil prices (this question would be relevant from the perspective of an individual as well as for the collective group).  I found it difficult to mentor an impatient student.


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