I like to think I have a good rapport with people. I am pretty easy to get along with, but there is a difference between “me” me and “work” me. At work, especially at my speaking job, I kinda have to put on a persona. I have to act at least semi-professional. I swear like a sailor around my friends and family when we get together, but I know I can’t say “Fuck” at my cleaning position or speaking position. I feel no sense of selfishness when I say I have never once said anything at my speaking job OR my cleaning position that could potentially cost me my job. I think the worst thing I have ever said at my cleaning position is, “What the Hell?” and that was only because the person I was working with told me something that caught me off-guard. But in my defense, I think even if my boss had heard me say that, she’d give me a pass. And at my speaking job, which I love too much to even remotely think of saying anything to mess it up, I slipped up ONE time. I was three trainings in, and I was sort of big-headed, thinking “It’s my story. As long as it’s within reason I can say what I want!” My mistake. I had a question during the Q&A that was something along the lines of, “You have a broken arm and a pacemaker. How are you so positive?” My response, even though I regret saying it, is something I stick by and defend to this day. I said, “Look, I have two issues that were fixed. What am I gonna do? Bitch and moan the rest of my life? No. That’s not me.” My boss thank God understood where I was coming from, but she took me aside and talked to me about what I had said. My boss is a mom of an Autistic adult, so she gets that I am a human and things just slip out. So she didn’t yell at me; she took the motherly “I’m not mad. I’m just…disappointed” approach. If you are familiar with this approach, you know it sticks with you way longer and guilts you a Hell of a lot more than a parent screaming themselves hoarse at you. But yeah, when I am by myself or with friends I trust, Hell yeah. I let fly. Now do I swear just for the sake of swearing? No. I think I try to reserve profanities for the “right time”. Like, I think you can express yourself, but you can do it without intentionally cursing. I think the reason I have kept my 2 jobs for 3+ years each is because I respect my jobs and my bosses and coworkers. They are some of the nicest, must understanding and genuine people I have ever met and I do not want to cheapen anything. Never once have I gone up to my boss at either job, “Hey! How the Hell are you?” Again, it goes back to respect. I value my jobs and positon at Pathfinders too much to potentially ruin it. And yes, I know I am rambling here, but it sort of seems appropriate. So what I am trying to get at is that there are in essence two versions of Tom Whalen. My public self and my professional work self. As always, I want to hear from you. Are you the same person at work as you are in your personal life? Let me know in the comments section and thanks!


Author: AuTom Spectrum Blog

I have Autism and am a self-advocate and public speaker. On the side I do stand-up comedy. I live in Baltimore County and have an AMAZING girlfriend

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