I keep reading (and observing) that social functioning seems to be one of the major things holding back gifted people in the workplace.
-gifted people have low achievement, and not having the right social skills could help to explain this
-It helps to explain why gifted people could do well in education (high control and autonomy) and poorly at work, where they have to interface with more people particularly in persuasive or networking roles
-It helps to explain why many gifted people want to stay in school, with more autonomy (even for sensory issues), even when they might be more aligned to business or the practical world
-It is so ironic that gifted people, who can be so good at just getting things done, would be held back so much in the business world, where social relationships are so important. We could just get everything done in an hour a day if you all would just let us automate it! arg.
So how do we do it? This foreign socializing thing?
-We often know what to do logically but it just feels uncomfortable to do it. Many social tasks literally feel painful to me. Like listening to anyone read anything. I tend to listen to things with an earplug in my right ear? And it makes it feel better if I can read or do something non-language while dealing with language. I tend to write or read while listening to an ebook, or (write – I am writing this while Skyping with my mom).
-Somehow, being able to do a preferred brain task at the same time as a non-preferred one can negate the discomfort of the non-preferred task.
-A huge love of multitasking. part of what makes social connection and going at others’ speed hard is having that revving multitasking stop. e.g. in college, it was so so hard listening to lectures. my boyfriend in high school would simply read comics in class and then learn from the book later.
-Doodling can really help at meetings. Being allowed to multitask helps. I have done this for years (written, or read while I had to listen to auditory information, which I usually hate. College lectures were terrible, except in math and CS, where there was a lot on the board to read and write.)
-Something we run into a lot in difficult conversations is – we can’t process fast enough to keep up. Something that can help is having a SINGLE thing to think about to keep things together. That’s why crucial conversations (make people feel safe) helps. Just keep one thing in mind. Also something else I do is massively overprepare and think of everything they might say.
-Maybe there are things we have to actually occur to us. People at work maybe look forward to seeing us at the job, or look forward to interactions. Maybe work is like a party. In some ways that’s the best mnemonic, to think that work is like a big party. Seriously that’s how it feels compared to how I work when on my own: slow, laid-back, humor, stories, … isn’t that a party??
-If you turn it into some kind of analytical problem, it gets easier, turns into an optimization problem. How to make the person feel safe. You can run scripts. Basically make it more analytical. Some people seriously do this- Ramit Sethi, etc.
-Someone I know who is NNT is salesperson and she does a lot of meta-thinking and analysis and strategy for how to persuade, dramatize, theories about how to paint a picture in the person’s head. She’s a bit NNT as well. And it works. She’s one of the best salespeople. She’s not conventionally social but she uses analytics to help her.
-The biggest thing holding many of us back is simply feeling like we are being pushed into something we don’t want. We resist. Ugh. Why do we have to be like them? Why can’t they be like us and just be straightforward? That must be something to get over. How do you get over it? Reward yourself for doing it? Reward yourself for difficult conversations.
-I think the main thing is to turn “socializing” into a type of work you actually like. Don’t assume you have to do it the way other people do it. You can still accomplish the goals even while doing it in a preferred manner. I prefer manic achievement where I do a lot at once for economies of scale (notice how many blog posts I write in a row). So I can do it all at once and research and schedule a whole cohort of informational interviews. Or if you like experiments, you can do it that way. Or if you like observing. Or connecting. Or learning. Just turn the challenge into something you feel good at. That takes away the barrier to doing it. I feel calmer already thinking about it as analytics.
-You probably need some time with people like you, you need to indulge. Some kind of outlet.