Help me not freak out at my boss or have my boss freak out at me
December 24, 2009 1:15 PM Subscribe
How to deal with a boss who might have Asperger's? I'm the new nanny for a 4-year-old child on the Autism spectrum.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (29 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
At first I thought my boss was a self-centered and rude to the extreme. We have been working side-by-side because her child is difficult to handle.
She completely forgot that I need to eat food. She dragged her former nanny through a museum at super speed though she was suffering from a severely injured toe. Every time I mentioned something not directly related to her, she looked at me like I was a space alien. What an asshole, right?
Then I got to know her a little bit better. It became clear that she is making a significant effort to make me feel comfortable and valued. The effort does not always translate correctly. For example, she freaked out at the prospect that I might want to eat the food in her apartment. I don't get a lunch break to go out and get lunch, besides, I need snacks, drinks, etc throughout the day. She stated that their housekeeper purchased her mother's food for her mother. So it is her mother's food. My boss took that to mean that her mother would never allow me to touch it. We're talking basics like milk, grapes, bread. Then, the next day, she told me I could eat her mother's food because, of course, her mother doesn't mind. This is a good example of her literal-mindedness and ignorance of some social norms (you let the people who are stuck in your home for 8+ hours a day drink your milk).
She now makes an effort to ask me about my life, in a bit of a stilted way, as though she scheduled that particular 5 minutes for "ask nanny about her life". She listens to my jokes politely although she does not have a sense of humor for anything but the completely absurd. Even that tends to get a surprised laugh/guffaw instead of a happy laugh.
She lectures. Oh, the lectures. They are long and boring and she does not notice when I want to talk or respond. She has described an excellent memory and academic success (in the top three of her class at Ivy League law school). It's not an issue of intelligence.
Keep in mind that I work side-by-side with her for 2+ hours every day (the rest of the day I'm with her child alone).
Do you think she has Asperger's?
Do you know someone else who has Asperger's? What is it like to live/work with them?
Where can I learn more about it? I get the basics that one can find on wikipeda, so I'm looking for higher-level, more complex writing either by or about adults with Asperger's syndrome. Books, websites.
Any general suggestions about getting along with her, as someone who is extroverted, cheerful, playful, and somewhat inconsistent (meaning, I fluster her by not adhering to predictable routines)? Things that I should avoid doing?
The job is just what I'm looking for--challenging, their place is nice and cozy, the commute is great. Financially, I don't have another viable option. I had been looking for full time work for 4 months before finding this job. So "quit" or "find something else" are not good answers.