Most of my background is in private security. I worked as a public safety officer in the psychiatric units in ERs in North Shore community health hospitals. In the realm of security, everything is about crisis, about de-escalation.
Two years ago, I started working at Aspiritech. It’s the first job I’ve ever had where I can walk in and feel safe, physically, since I’m not worrying about combative patients and physical restraints, and emotionally because almost everyone here is also autistic. Most of my coworkers are not coming from backgrounds of private security, and yet for many of them Aspiritech also provides the first work atmosphere where they can feel safe.
For employees on the Autism spectrum, many aspects of a typical office environment can feel threatening and uncomfortable. There are the physical hazards, such as loud noises or overly bright lights, that can make it nearly impossible for a person on the spectrum to work comfortably and stay focused. At Aspiritech, these threats are neutralized with noise-cancelling headphones and LSD lights that minimize glare and electric noises. And there are also the more psychological, emotional pitfalls that hinder many people with autism in typical workplaces.
As a QA Lead now, managing a team of 14-16 people, I try to pay attention to my team’s emotional wellbeing. I am really proud of how well my team has adapted to working from home and the stress of dealing with the pandemic. When somebody gets overwhelmed, instead of punishing them or reprimanding them for struggling, which might happen in a different company, I try to support them. Sometimes that support means just talking to someone who’s having a bad day, trying to lift their spirits, and other times it means maybe finding a different task for someone to excel in. But at the end of the day, it means knowing that people do their best work when they feel safe.