When to Go Corporate

I have read dozens of articles on what people with ASDs should or shouldn't do for a living.

The reality? There is no set group of "best" professions or paths for anyone, including those of us with unique dispositions. We might share some traits, but the notion that we can assume that all people with ASDs are similar professionally is incorrect.

Science and engineering workplaces can be as social, political, and emotionally draining as any other workplaces. Likewise, I have worked in creative settings that were exceptionally calm and ideal for someone like me. Knowing that a workplace is "technical" or "creative"doesn't tell you much about the working environment.

In November, I started shifting my job hunt to corporate possibilities. I had determined that a corporate job might be a better match for my personality. Maybe that won't be the case, but it was starting to seem that the educational positions were too political and ideological to be a good fit.

All organizations, including both corporations and universities, have personalities. Some are more social than others, and social is a problem for me. Any company in which social networking and cheerfulness are keys to promotions and success is not the company for me.

What people don't always realize is that many tech companies are social beehives. Yes, your skills matter, but so does your personality.

But, I found that humanities departments at universities were more social, more political, and more homogenous in several ways. You really do have to be like everyone else to stand much of a chance professionally.

I know I am not a "suit" destined for middle-management. My mind never stops working and I'm not the best at following external rules and routines. I like to establish my own routines. But, there are companies that don't care how you finish tasks, only that you do finish them on time and with excellent results. In general, I've done better in senior positions because they have some flexibility.

The reason I'm interested in corporate settings is that I don't have to be politically identical to my coworkers. I don't have to adhere to any certain beliefs in a corporate setting, short of not being anti-business. In education, I would need to locate a post that doesn't judge me on traits unrelated to teaching.

For now, I don't know if I will end up with any particular job. I had one corporate and one academic interview in December.

The only advice I can give: Going corporate is not good or bad, it is a matter of finding the right place for you as a person. The same can be said of any academic job, as well.

Comments

  1. It's that way for everyone. I can relate to what you said about doing your own thing. I'm like that too but I had done very well in an office setting.

    I worked in logistics and became really bored with number crunching but then I transferred depts. and worked in claims. I loved it. A lot less structure.

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  2. The only advice I can give: Going corporate is not good or bad, it is a matter of finding the right place for you as a person. The same can be said of any academic job, as well.

    Well said!

    Your post tangentially reminded me of the old quote "The reason academic politics are so vicious is that the stakes are so small."

    Joe

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