1

after two of my children came with a combination of neurodivergent traits and were diagnosed with a range of stuff like ADHD, autism, and Tourette. I decided on my own to undergo a psychiatric evaluation. The result was ADHD, Tourette, and dyslexia, and now I am in the process of an autism evaluation, which is not over yet.

I am highly skilled and intelligent when it comes to programming skills. I am an individual who very often executes the role of technical lead for a variety of complex and critical for society projects. I also very often end up in trouble with managers or colleagues. I am well known for my skills in delivering complex tasks, and once the complexity is over, I am moved to another project. On average, I switch projects every two years.

I am considering coming out of the closet with regards to my neurodiversity. Would it be beneficial for me to do it? What should I expect?

My company is a couple hundred people big. The country is in Scandinavia. I have worked for my current company for 7 years, but switch projects on average every 2 years.

13
  • 3
    To what end? This question comes from a parent of twins in their late 20s that were diagnosed at a very early age. Do you want/need/expect/require accomondations?
    – DogBoy37
    Commented Apr 28 at 13:32
  • 1
    @DogBoy37 maybe more patience and less missunderstandings ?
    – Pesho
    Commented Apr 28 at 13:35
  • 3
    These diagnoses are only useful for you, not for your employer. They can help you decide how to respond to situations and help you choose what employment opportunities you take. Knowing this about yourself can help ask the proper questions about the work environment before you accept a position.
    – David R
    Commented Apr 28 at 14:02
  • 1
    @Pesho How long have been at your current job (company). How big of company is it? What country? These things matter in understanding your situaction.
    – DogBoy37
    Commented Apr 28 at 14:09
  • 4
    @DavidR I disagree. At a previous company a colleague told me of his diagnosis and it explained his behaviour and helped us have a conversation about how to mitigate it Commented Apr 28 at 19:28

3 Answers 3

18

Here is my 2c.

Who Cares.

Now, this is not as unfeeling as you think it might be.

Firstly - let's look at your line of work: Highly technical. Those closest around you have probably already twigged that you are on some form of Spectrum or another. Those that aren't closest to you - well, it's not their business.

Secondly - why do you want to announce this to people? Is it that you want them to overlook some of your Quirks? Is it you want preferential treatment? Is it you want to feel special? Life has taught me that if you look at someone hard enough for long enough - you will find 10 different quirks and 10 different reasons why it could be justified giving them preferential treatment and 10 things that makes them special.

Giving people something to label you with just results in Labels being lazily used. I think it is better that we treat each other as individuals first and foremost.

Oh - and just so you are aware - I also work in a highly technical field and I also have a 'diagnosis' and only a very select few know about it - Be who you are, be awesome at your job - that should be enough.. for everyone

2
  • 3
    To be honest I wasn't aware that there were people in highly technical fields that couldn't have a 'diagnosis'.... Its something like hyper fixation on things + a lack of interest in people = engineer... it also happens to equal somewhere on the spectrum.
    – Questor
    Commented Apr 29 at 17:19
  • 1
    If they are "often in trouble with managers or colleagues" and the implication is they think their condition is a contributing factor then the answer to "who cares?" is probably "managers and colleagues". Commented Apr 30 at 12:55
6

A huge number of people in the sciences and engineering fields exhibit some symptoms of various "neurodivergencies" from autism to ADHD to manic/depressive.

The best use for a formal diagnosis is to use it to work on improving the areas you are weak in. Telling others is of limited benefit to you or to them. For most purposes, "I have trouble staying focused on a task, here's how you can help me do so" is more useful than "I have ADHD."

Focus on behaviors and coping strategies and treatment rather than on labeling.

(My personal opinion is that there is no such thing as normal. There are averages, but nobody exactly matches the average. And there is what society expects as a base set of assumptions, but which we all have to struggle to achieve in our own unique ways. And laymen tend to overgeneralize from the labels; ASD is almost a worthless term at this point because it's been attached to so many different issues which may not have common causes. All the more reason to focus on addressing specifics rather than thinking that slapping a label on it will solve anything.)

And, yeah, I am diagnosable as having one of these conditions. I try not to bring it up unless it's directly relevant. I don't expect special treatment on the basis of it, at least not more so than with any other chronic disease that is occasionally intrusive, and it's my own responsibility to find ways to manage it.

2
  • 2
    "Telling others really isn't helpful to you or to them" I think that's each individual's call. Talking (to some people at least) can have several benefits, though it's not without risk. That the OP asked the question with the "coming out" angle suggests they may really want to share with at least someone at the workplace. Raising awareness isn't a bad thing, we can't assume that everyone (and their families and friends) besides the OP is neurotypical, so discussion may indeed turn out to be helpful to others as well. Yes it's a judgement call, but there is no certainty of no benefit to anyone.
    – uhoh
    Commented Apr 29 at 11:03
  • 1
    @uhoh: Granted, I overstated the point.
    – keshlam
    Commented Apr 29 at 12:11
4

1.) Random people, like me, on the internet can only give opinions. Do not accept as guidance or legal advice.

Speaking from experience, you have been at your current company for a long time. Your co-workers know you by now. Even when you change projects, the chance is that the team leaders already know your capabilities and quirks. Note: quirks aren't in the HR file, but spoken between managers. That is real life.

If you were to start at a new company, then there might be some value post job acceptance to give HR this information.

At this company, what do you hope to gain?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .