I Need To Fix This
John Cutler

Adult Child, ✅.

Periodic system-failure memos (I described the outcome of a meeting as “a salvage case” stemming from 30 minutes of nontechs Making Shit Up — and proposed a quick restart from the other end), ✅.

Putting the pieces together that my client’s customers may or may not have factored his work out of their project, ✅.

Using Picasso’s Don Quixote as a Slack avatar, ✅.

Reviews saying my observations are valuable, ✅; that I seem to trust almost nobody, also ✅. (Not as disastrous as it sounds: I evidently mean well; I disrupt as little and as narrowly as possible; I rewrite; and my management is freakishly patient. The difference between me and a paranoid is that the paranoid can’t be talked out of it.)

High-functioning ASD, plus Adult Child → vigilant system-level reasoning, ✅. Relentless self-evaluation, ✅.

Despair over intractable systemic dysfunction from what others (maybe correctly) shrug off as discrete incidents, ✅.

Enduring intractable systemic dysfunction because maybe this time they’ll see the underlying problem, ✅.

Now to figure out what to do with it.

What’s made Asperger’s livable for me (I’m not interested in diagnosing anyone else, all behavior is overdetermined) is that it’s all a manifestation of a single tendency; that it will never go away; that once you recognize it, it can be managed. (I’ve just reinvented the ACOA 12-step, but maybe less annoying.) Same goes for Adult Child.

Managing includes taking extra time to ensure the memo is scrupulously well-meaning, even discreet; taking a stake in the problem instead of playing Cassandra; and proving I’m ready to apply the habit of mind to myself as well. “Overall, the client failed the project, but our biggest avoidable contributor was that I let myself become the single point of failure by the time I had to divert to an emergency” goes a long way in what they’ll accept from you.

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