Monday, December 3, 2007

Aspies and Perfection

Aspies are often their own worst enemies in the area of self worth. They often set themselves unattainable or inappropriate levels of perfection.

It is not uncommon for an aspie to consider a B- mark, or anything below it to be a failure. They will often berate themselves severely after such a "failure", usually calling themselves failures etc, and sometimes resorting to self-harm.

On the positive side, this means that aspies are very hard workers who strive not only to do impossible amouints of work but also to do it perfecly.

The downsides of employing an aspie are that;

Sometimes they introduce so many steps into a process (striving for perfection), that the process ends up being overly long and complicated.

They will work themselves into the ground. Personally, I tend to clock 9 to 10 hours per day and have tripped off overuse injuries on more than one occasion.

They find it impossibly hard to delegate work because although they generally don't apply the same perfectionist standards to others, they are still responsible for delegated work and often find themselves completely redoing the work during the checking phase.

They are hopeless on team assignments and group work and often find themselves doing the work of the whole team.


JTsmum said...

I can't believe that you've posted so much on Aspergers and in such a great, easy to read and understand fashion and so few people have respond with commments. Your posts are great and I plan to copy them out and give them to my son's teachers! (crediting your blog of course as your disclaimer indicates!)
Plenty of people have Autism and Asperbergers blogs, but yours is the first that deals with alot of what others still don't talk about it when it comes to Aspergers.
My son is 12 years old with Aspergers, but will not discuss his feelings of depressions or anxieties or compulsions with me. But reading your posts shines such a light on all of these things that he seems to be going through.
Thanks so much for taking the time to make this blog.

PLANET3RRY said...

Luckily for me, I have never had the whole "grade" anxiety, but alot of the other examples are SO me. The part about the "introduce so many steps" is a common joke between my wife and I. So much that it's been dubbed the "Terry Way".

I think that the working long hours is that it becomes part of the routine of the day and so to break from work is a break in the short term routine.

I do okay on team assignments, as long as I am not in charge, then I have that "delegating" problem of which you speak.

Anonymous said...

That bit about delegating - that is me, 100%. I absolutely -cannot- delegate. It's impossible.

Damo said...

Ahhh perfectionism. A nice animal.
Essentially it is an extension of our rules and rituals. These then become fact. From these facts a recipe is constructed. Now the best thing about a recipie is to consider the audience of said recipie. If it is for yourself, you can make it as complicated as you like. If it is for others then you need to consider the "dumbproof" component. If the latter, then the most elegant solution is the simplest one with the fewest steps. A+B = C.

Delegation is a derivision of power and trust. Who holds that power? and what is the purpose of the task? I have learnt (the hard way - 3 days straight with a diet of coke and tim tams no sleep) that sometimes you have to let things go. I look at it this way, I could carry on and run myself into the ground or I can do the best I can with the time I have and pass it on. I then compartmentalise with I could not have done anymore in that time. I then have to trust that my work is either validated or implemented into the final solution. I can't control the world any more than a grain of sand choses which beach it is washed up on.

Anonymous said...

"and often find themselves doing the work of the whole team."

Or do nothing... Either one.

Andreas said...

Another post well done.
That speaks so true. I remember a summer internship of mine. I would spend 6-8 or even 11hrs in lab, whilst the other students often spent 4-5. I felt irresponsible if I took any breaks. Even breaks designated by the internship coordinators! (we had socials, lunches, and other activities that I skipped...)
If I'm not expressly told that I'm allowed to take a break, I will not. Even if I know that it is implied, I just can't bring myself to do it!
I do enjoy the work though, even if it will kill me :P

aspie sympathizer said...

You're so biased against aspies in that you sound like their bad people. How dare you lie about them.

Aspies aren't exactly bad people. They just have a hard time fitting.

You must be some kind of neurotypical who's stuck up and looks down on those who are different from him or her. Shame on you.

If I'm you, I'd leave aspies alone. It's not your job to decide who they are to be. They're the own person and you don't dare antagonize them. Sure, they can be difficult to handle. But they mean well.

Gavin Bollard said...

@aspie sympathizer,

I can't think that your comments would be directed at me - or at any of the commenters on this story.

It's nothing but positive towards people with aspergers and in fact most of the comments are from aspies.. and yes, I'm one too.

If you're not sure, you might want to re-read the post.

In any case, all opinions are valid and you're allowed to say what you think.