the scapegoat dev

Life As A Neurodiverse Alien: 3 Baffling Insights About Work

Getting medication for ADD in early 2022 helped me realize that I am probably autistic. It gave me the focus to reflect upon how different my thinking is from most people (for short: people).

Here are some of the more baffling and useful things I learned over the years.

It is OK to get paid to work with computers.

I worked for almost nothing until I was 30. Why would someone pay me to do something I knew so little about? I couldn't even be sure I didn't make any bugs. It turns out that people care if something provides them with value, not how good it is.

People can be motivated not by curiosity, a desire to build something well, or empathy, but by personal motives. They will pursue these even if it makes things worse overall.

I thought office politics were about aligning incentives and sharing knowledge. However, I learned that a lot of people act for personal gain or even more confusingly, "power". They do this to the detriment of the workplace as a whole. Why someone would want to work in an environment they are actively undermining is very confusing.

A lot of people don't seem to think beyond the boundaries of what they are working on, or even be aware of them.

I work in software, and I learned that most problems arise where systems connect. These problems usually don't show up until it is too late, often when the project is in production.

A lot of people don't understand that connecting systems well is about awareness, up-front design, and regular maintenance. They don't realize how powerful a well-designed system can be, how it eliminates busy work and enables new features.

When you take the boundaries of your problem into account, things connect seamlessly and synergy effects occur. Otherwise, the amount of effort required to connect components is accepted as inherent friction and solved with a lot of manpower.

I have more surprising insights, helpful tips, and funny anecdotes about interacting with "normal" people to share in the future.