professionalism

i know it’s not exactly your thing but i don’t know where else to ask: do you know any good stim toy recommendation/review blogs? particularly discreet/adult-friendly stim toys…
realsocialskills said:
I don’t know of any active stim toy review blogs for adults.
Sensory Squids is a blog that used to do that, though, and they have a lot of good reviews from when they were active. 
Fuck Yeah, Stimming! isn’t a review blog, but it might be helpful anyway. They do talk about specific products sometimes, and they also talk about a lot of difference stims, some of which are discreet.
Do any of y'all know of good stim toy review sites?

revenantirreverence replied to your post“Other blogs”
I dunno so much about Ask a Manager, it comes off to me like a lot of the advice is to accept micro-aggressions and boundary-pushing from your higher-ups, because “right or wrong” that’s what corporate culture dictates
realsocialskills said:
I don’t think she’s necessarily wrong about that, though. Part of what being marginalized means is that you’re not always in a position to defend your boundaries, and sometimes you have to put up with microaggressions. 
 
I find it helpful to know where the lines are of where the lines are of what’s considered professional. It doesn’t mean that I always follow her ideas; I don’t. I do end up tolerating a lot of injustice, because I’m often not in a position to refuse. Ask a Manager helps me to figure out where I do and don’t have the power to say no to things without compromising my employability, and I think that’s helpful.
  

eppieblack answered to your post “Friending people on Facebook”

If you know them well enough to find them, but they aren’t your boss, then it’s ok.

realsocialskills said:

I agree that it’s ok, in the sense that you’re not wronging coworkers by sending them a friend request.

It’s just that it may not be advisable. It’s worth thinking about whether you really want to know the things you’ll find out by seeing their feed, and if you really want them seeing yours.

There’s no right or wrong answer to that. It’s ok to friend coworkers, and it’s ok to keep more distance. Both approaches have merits.

It’s also important to understand that a lot of people don’t friend coworkers. If a coworker doesn’t friend you back, there’s a good chance that it’s not personal, and it’s important not to take it as a personal insult. 

Friending people on Facebook

In a work or college class setting, after how many days/convos is it considered socially acceptable to ask for someone’s Facebook?
realsocailskills said:
I think that in most situations, you shouldn’t be asking someone for their Facebook. Generally speaking, the way to connect with someone on Facebook is to send them a friend request without mentioning it elsewhere. This lets them either friend you or not, depending on what they are comfortable with.
If you think that they might not know who you are, it can be a good idea to send a message with your friend request. Like “Hi, I’m in your physics class.”
If you can’t find someone on facebook, don’t ask. If someone is hard to find on Facebook, they have probably made it that way intentionally. If they want to be Facebook friends, they will send you a request. (The except is if you are both hard to find on Facebook and you are becoming friends. Then it’s ok to say something like “So, we’re both pretty hard to find on Facebook. Should we add each other?”)
Friending people who go to your school is usually ok, and unlikely to be seen as invasive. Most people will probably friend you back (although that’s their choice, and it’s important not to be pushy about it.)
In a professional setting, it is more complicated.
Facebook blurs relationship boundaries and causes you to find out all kinds of things you wouldn’t find out if you kept things to in-person interactions. You might be better off not knowing those things. You might be better off if some people don’t know those things about you, particularly people you work with professionally. 
Some people do not friend coworkers. Some people like to keep Facebook for personal friends and keep it as much out of their professional life as possible. Some people don’t like being easily contacted outside of work. In a work context, it might be better to err on the side of not friending people, unless you’re getting to the point of interacting with them outside of work.
Rule of thumb: If you have to work with someone, and your working relationship would be destroyed if you find out they have abhorrent political views or distasteful hobbies, you probably should not friend them on Facebook.
If your job is a campus job that you can change easily, or it’s a short-term internship, then it’s probably perfectly fine and even advisable to friend peers. That’s a good way to network and build relationships, and the risks are relatively low. If you find out something that undermines your ability to work together, you’ll probably be able to tolerate it in the short term knowing that the working relationship will end soon.
If someone is working for you, you probably shouldn’t send them a friend request unless they’re also in your social circles. If they want to be facebook friends, they will friend you. Even then, consider not accepting the request. If you’d really rather not know your employees’ political views or what they get up to when they’re not at work, you’re better off not seeing their Facebook posts.
Some people basically friend everyone who friends them or who they have ever connected with. That can be ok too, but if that’s your strategy, then it’s important to be a lot more careful about what you post on Facebook.
For instance, if you are friends with everyone on Facebook and you post a lot of controversial politics, it will undermine your ability to work with people who disagree with your views, even in completely apolitical contexts. If you are friends with everyone and post pictures of yourself partying, it will cause people to see you as less serious and professional.
There are many different strategies for using Facebook. They all have merits and downsides.
Facebook is a great way to connect with people and have conversations and plan things. When it works, it’s wonderful. But it can also cause far too much connection. In relationships that should be limited, be careful about using Facebook.
What do y'all think? How do you decide who to friend and manage boundaries on Facebook?

Is it unprofessional to not wear makeup? Because I have really bad sensory processing issues and wearing it is just super uncomfortable for me, especially eyeliner, but I have a job interview soon and I’m wondering if it would be best if I just tough it out for the duration of the interview and wipe it off immediately or…?
realsocialskills said:
That’s complicated. Makeup and other outward signs of gender conformity can help you to be perceived as professional.
It’s not an absolute requirement, though.
It’s also not all or nothing. I think the biggest thing that bothers people is visible acne, because it’s associated with being a teenager. So, for instance, you might use foundation to make your skin look smooth, but not use eyeliner since eyeliner really bothers you, and unlined eyes probably won’t bother an interviewer. 
If wearing makeup is going to make you extremely uncomfortable, it might be better for you to go without, even in practical terms. Interviewers don’t like it if you look visibly uneasy or on edge. Interviewers look at affect a lot. If you’re in pain from makeup, it will be harder to maintain the right affect.
Something that can help with coming off right to interviews is doing a practice interview with someone who knows how interviews work. This is particularly helpful if you have a friend who works for the same company or a similar one do the practice interview. Questions are easiest to answer if you’ve answered them before. It’s easier to maintain interview affect if you’re comfortable answering the likely questions.
Do any of y'all have thoughts about makeup and interviews?

Shutting up won't get you heard

fuzzyfault:

realsocialskills:

Tone is important. When you say things the right way, it can increase the number of people who are willing to listen to you. 

But that only goes so far. No matter how good you are at framing things, some things that need to be said will upset people who feel entitled to be comfortable. And, when you upset people who feel entitled to comfort, they will lash out at you. This is not your fault; it is theirs. Tone has its limits.

Also, getting tone right is really hard. No one starts out good at tone; it’s a very difficult skill that you can only learn with practice. And the only way to get practice is to spend a lot of time talking to people about controversial things. Which means that, in order to get good at tone, you’re going to have to spend a lot of time talking about these things while you’re still bad at tone. 

People who mean well and genuinely want you to be heard understand this, and will encourage you to keep speaking up and keep working on your skills at speaking up effectively. People who want you to shut up about the things you’re talking about will try to make you feel horrible about your tone and convince you that your tone means you have no right to say anything.

Sometimes, when people say that you should be more careful about tone so that you can be heard, what they really mean is “I don’t want to hear that, shut up and say something else I’m willing to listen to”.

Don’t believe those people, and don’t shut up. The most important thing is to keep talking. If you are bad at tone, some people will refuse to hear you. If you are good at tone, some people will still refuse to hear you. If you say nothing for fear of getting the tone wrong, no one will hear you.

Shutting up won’t get you heard. Speaking up might.

fuzzyfault said:

I am very bad at tone.  I nearly lost my job because of not using the appropriate tone with both staff and students.  I am sure some people don’t like me - and I think this is a major cause of my social anxiety - because of the tone I use for even non-controversial things.  But I have a lot of feelings about controversial things that I avoid communicating because I know the tone I tend to use will upset people/make them feel uncomfortable.  So, this is a really important skill that I need to learn, else start wearing a badge that says ‘the tone I use probably won’t be appropriate but please forgive it and listen to me anyway’.

realsocialskills said:

If you’re having trouble with tone in professional contexts, I’d suggest reading through the Ask A Manager blog. She has a lot of really helpful posts on how to communicate in professional settings, including how to give and receive effective feedback.

igotpillstheyremultiplying:

Social skills for autonomous people: koalanoises: realsocialskills: hibikiniviking asked: What do you think…

koalanoises:

realsocialskills:

What do you think about talking sexually (“I got a butt plug” kind of thing) in public (maybe at the mall) with friends? I like to talk about (often, gay) sex (it’s fun and liberating), and don’t care who hears,…

igotpillstheyremultiplying said:

Important also: this means that even if your workplace is say a queer positive type community centre, DO NOT share details about your sex life or who you think is “hot” in the workplace.

I was a volunteer peer counselor somewhere and one of the staff members did this during our training and it made me really uncomfortable as a survivor, as well as being really unprofessional.

realsocialskills said:

Yes. Professionalism is actually *particularly* important in these kinds of spaces. People who come to queer positive spaces for support are particularly vulnerable. The last thing someone dealing with being mistreated for their sexuality needs is sexual creepiness from people in a queer community center.

Also, when you’re dealing with sexual topics in a work or volunteer context, professionalism is especially important. The line between talking about sex and hitting on someone needs to be absolutely clear and not crossed. And making sure that remains the case needs to be a priority for everyone involved.

lady-brain:

realsocialskills:

(TW: possible ableism(?)) This may be a bit of a strange question, but I am an older non-neurotypical person who has a hard time being taken seriously or seen as the adult that I am, and it makes me very insecure and upset when I am talked to, by my coworkers, in a patronizing manner or as if I am a child when I have shown myself to be their equal when it comes to the work we do. Would you happen to have any tips, if it’s not too much of a bother?

This might be something readers have more insight about than I do.

It’s also a bit abstract for me, because there are a number of ways that people fail to treat others like adults. I’m not sure which form it is.

From the way you’ve asked your question, it kind of sounds to me like maybe you feel like you have to prove that you deserve to be treated like an adult. I think it helps to realize that this is not actually something you have to prove. People who treat you like a child are doing something wrong.

And it would be wrong even if you weren’t good at your job. Your adulthood should not be on trial here.

Keeping this in mind makes it harder for people to mess with you.

As far as changing what they actually do, here are some thoughts:

  • You probably can’t convince them that they’re doing something wrong, and explaining it to them is unlikely to help
  • Because they’re likely to make it into a conversation about your feelings, and explain to you in patronizing tones why you’re imagining it and being too sensitive.
  • There might be things you can do unilaterally that help. For instance, it’s ok to interrupt them when they’re speaking to you in a patronizing tone
  • For instance, if you ask them where a file is, and they launch into a patronizing explanation of the filing system, it’s ok to say, “Yes, I know that. But I’m not sure which category this particular file goes into because [reason], do you know?”

Also, changing the way you dress might help:

  • If you’re dressing less formally than most people in your field, wearing more formal clothing might be helpful
  • If you are a man, Men’s Warehouse can explain the default rules of professional attire and help you find something to wear that’s considered appropriate to your body type.
  • I’m not sure how to do this if you’re a woman, though. The rules of female attire are really complicated
  • If you’re in a field in which formal attire isn’t expected, changing some things about your clothing still might help
  • For instance, if everyone wears t-shirts, it might help to avoid t-shirts that have pictures of things associated with childhood (eg: Care Bears, pictures of cartoon characters (including things like Adventure Time or My Little Pony that are also popular among some adults).
  • This is not guaranteed to work, and might make matters worse if it means you feel like you’re stuck trying to prove your adulthood
  • In any case, it’s not a moral obligation and not a precondition for being an adult. It’s something that may or may not be advisable in certain contexts, and it’s a personal choice

If you use stim toys, it might help to change the ones you use:

  • Toys that are also used by children are more likely to be perceived as childish
  • Eg: silly putty, beanie babies, legos, beads, marbles
  • Neoballs (little neodium magnet spheres you can build things with) are specifically not for children. The silver, gold, or nickel balls are more likely to be accepted than the brightly colored ones.
  • Tangle Toys can look professional in some contexts
  • This is not guaranteed to work, and might make matters worse if it means you feel like you’re stuck trying to prove your adulthood
  • In any case, it’s not a moral obligation and not a precondition for being an adult. It’s something that may or may not be advisable in certain contexts, and it’s a personal choice

It also might be time to look for another job with people who treat you better. Not all jobs are created equal. Not all working environments have the same culture. There might be other people who would respect you and your professional accomplishments more.

Do any of y’all have further suggestions? (Or think I’m wrong about any of this?)

I went from starting at a library as a student page while in highschool, to working there as an actual adult librarian, with people who’d been working with me since I was 14. That’s definitely a jump, in terms of perception. I wasn’t treated not-seriously but I might have some tips.

First off, I was good at my job and knew what I was doing, and felt comfortable in that sense. Maybe reminding yourself of that will help- remember that you’re a capable, rad person doing a great job and you are capable of doing that even around coworkers who seem to not be able to do a good job. That’s important, too- remember that your coworkers are showcasing their inability to behave professionally (by not giving you the respect you deserve). I find reminding myself of how great I’m doing helps me in lots of situations like this, where the fault is totally not my own, but other peoples’.

If it’s a thing you feel like you can do, maybe talk to a higher-up/HR about how you are not being treated professionally by fellow coworkers, with specific examples (maybe write these down when they happen, keep a record). Again, this is a professional work setting and they’re showcasing their inability to behave professionally.

If not- be polite, curt, and don’t be afraid of interrupting them or correcting them when they behave this way, as suggested by realsocialskills. You don’t owe them no resistance if they’re treating you unfairly, and it is within your right to stop them in their tracks when they start. I didn’t get much of this from my corworkers, but older patrons did often try to treat me as a young child, and I was polite but firm and didn’t let them finish when they tried. Again, knowing I was doing my job well helped.

I always dressed the most “formal/fancy” out of my coworkers- as the youngest, I wanted to visibly show I was serious, but I also just really enjoy dressing that way. I wore lots of high-waisted pants and skirts with button-downs and cardigans (so many cardigans!), brogues or ballet flats. I had a septum piercing but dressing up kind of overpowered it. I also wore lots of statement necklaces and always had my nails done, but that was because I enjoyed doing those things. 

I kept my desk organized, neat and tidy. It definitely had my personality in it- embroidery hanging on the wall, for example- but this doesn’t have to be in conflict with being professional. I’m fairly good at maintaining a balance of my own personality and “professional”, mostly because they’re not at odds with one another. Just like dressing up for me- I could make it both work-appropriate and quirky.

I’m a fairly no-bullshit person and quite strong in my convictions, and I think this translates in a work setting. I changed a lot from 14 to 20 and my coworkers had to adjust to seeing me as an adult, but they didn’t seem to have too much trouble or struggle to treat me as such. Patrons were worse and often thought of me a young kid instead of an adult librarian, but by being damn good at my job, polite but firm, dressed like I was serious, and vocal when they attempted to not respect me, they realized they were wrong.

(TW: possible ableism(?)) This may be a bit of a strange question, but I am an older non-neurotypical person who has a hard time being taken seriously or seen as the adult that I am, and it makes me very insecure and upset when I am talked to, by my coworkers, in a patronizing manner or as if I am a child when I have shown myself to be their equal when it comes to the work we do. Would you happen to have any tips, if it’s not too much of a bother?

This might be something readers have more insight about than I do.

It’s also a bit abstract for me, because there are a number of ways that people fail to treat others like adults. I’m not sure which form it is.

From the way you’ve asked your question, it kind of sounds to me like maybe you feel like you have to prove that you deserve to be treated like an adult. I think it helps to realize that this is not actually something you have to prove. People who treat you like a child are doing something wrong.

And it would be wrong even if you weren’t good at your job. Your adulthood should not be on trial here.

Keeping this in mind makes it harder for people to mess with you.

As far as changing what they actually do, here are some thoughts:

  • You probably can’t convince them that they’re doing something wrong, and explaining it to them is unlikely to help
  • Because they’re likely to make it into a conversation about your feelings, and explain to you in patronizing tones why you’re imagining it and being too sensitive.
  • There might be things you can do unilaterally that help. For instance, it’s ok to interrupt them when they’re speaking to you in a patronizing tone
  • For instance, if you ask them where a file is, and they launch into a patronizing explanation of the filing system, it’s ok to say, “Yes, I know that. But I’m not sure which category this particular file goes into because [reason], do you know?”

Also, changing the way you dress might help:

  • If you’re dressing less formally than most people in your field, wearing more formal clothing might be helpful
  • If you are a man, Men’s Warehouse can explain the default rules of professional attire and help you find something to wear that’s considered appropriate to your body type.
  • I’m not sure how to do this if you’re a woman, though. The rules of female attire are really complicated
  • If you’re in a field in which formal attire isn’t expected, changing some things about your clothing still might help
  • For instance, if everyone wears t-shirts, it might help to avoid t-shirts that have pictures of things associated with childhood (eg: Care Bears, pictures of cartoon characters (including things like Adventure Time or My Little Pony that are also popular among some adults).
  • This is not guaranteed to work, and might make matters worse if it means you feel like you’re stuck trying to prove your adulthood
  • In any case, it’s not a moral obligation and not a precondition for being an adult. It’s something that may or may not be advisable in certain contexts, and it’s a personal choice

If you use stim toys, it might help to change the ones you use:

  • Toys that are also used by children are more likely to be perceived as childish
  • Eg: silly putty, beanie babies, legos, beads, marbles
  • Neoballs (little neodium magnet spheres you can build things with) are specifically not for children. The silver, gold, or nickel balls are more likely to be accepted than the brightly colored ones.
  • Tangle Toys can look professional in some contexts
  • This is not guaranteed to work, and might make matters worse if it means you feel like you’re stuck trying to prove your adulthood
  • In any case, it’s not a moral obligation and not a precondition for being an adult. It’s something that may or may not be advisable in certain contexts, and it’s a personal choice

It also might be time to look for another job with people who treat you better. Not all jobs are created equal. Not all working environments have the same culture. There might be other people who would respect you and your professional accomplishments more.

Do any of y'all have further suggestions? (Or think I’m wrong about any of this?)

poeticignorance submitted: …Hi.  I was wondering if you or your followers could help me.  I work in a shop with lots of contact with the public.  Some customers stand closer than I’m comfortable with- either while talking to me or while shopping behind/beside me.  Several people have placed a hand on my arm while we were talking.  I feel like my personal space is being invaded every day. It’s very stressful but I don’t feel able to do anything about it without appearing rude (which could get me in trouble with  my managers, as well as potentially upsetting people).  Do you have any advice for discouraging this from customers, or for reducing the stress it causes?  Thanks.

I don’t have a good solution to this, unfortunately.

Sometimes people get the hint if you take a step backwards, but that doesn’t always work.

It can also work to have an object between you and them (eg: a counter, a washer they’re looking at, something like that), but it’s not always possible to do that.

Have any of y'all found something that works more consistently?