Thursday, July 7, 2022

Leveling Up

Facebook reminded over the weekend that my first Indycar race in the flagstand was two years ago. I also had an interview on Friday and one of the topics that came up was Asperger's and unemployment which led me to give an answer that, had I gotten the Indycar opportunity ten years ago I'm not sure if I'd have lasted or had the skills to make it. This reminded me of the concept from chess called Zugzwang.

 I understand not everyone knows or plays chess so the image to the right may not makes sense. In this example it is black's move but no matter where they move their position will be worse. The best option would be to not move if it were allowed but move, they must which will allow the white king to attack one of the sides getting position thus making black's hopes at a win almost nil.

How does this chess concept have any correlation with the workplace?  Over time, skills are learned that we don't even know we learned. From small tasks that we may need to know later, to the understanding of how to navigate the social waters of the workplace. I know for a fact that if Indycar had called me a decade ago I wouldn't have the wide array of skills needed. Could I have waved a flag? Most certainly, but everything else that is needed to maintain a job of that nature wasn't in my skill set.

So again, how does this chess concept relate? As new skills are learned imagine it this way; the various pieces on the chess board are upgraded and level up to stronger chess pieces. If either pawn on the left or right were knights, the white king would have to move to get out of check. The thing is though, one learning skills often doesn't even know they are picking up the skills to level up.

Unemployment for those with Asperger's is extremely high, and many of us may end up with our dream job with only having the skills to do the job itself and nothing else. This can lead to workplace friction with not understanding workplace politics and niceties, and a person can be put into a real version of Zugzwang where no option is good. The daily grind becomes so great at not understanding the social dynamic that the sheer thought of going in is stomach churning. And yet, this was the dream job! Every ounce of their being has been focused on getting the job so leaving/quitting isn't an option. No option is good and either burnout or termination may occur.

I ended the interview saying that "I don't know if there's anything more tragic for a person professionally than getting their dream job and losing it." Patience isn't a strong suit for those on the spectrum and because this process of leveling up is invisible, it can make for a restless soul. However, where a person is now may not be where they want to be, but I hope this post reaches someone that may need to know that it's okay to wait if they're not ready now, learn the skills needed, and understand that Zugzwang isn't a good place to be so level up as many skill sets as possible.

No comments:

Post a Comment