A few days ago at work my manager had a difficult conversation with me to tell me that I would no longer be able to work at a particular branch in the library system that I work for. My job is part-time as a 'floater.' So I float around between library branches in a public library system, substituting for librarians when they are absent. It's like a substitute teacher for a school district, only with libraries. Luckily, it's a large library system so there are several other branches. But still, to be forbidden from working at a branch anymore feels like a kick in the ____________. It’s a blow to the self esteem because you feel like you are not ‘good enough.’
I was totally taken by surprise by this conversation because I felt that I had no warning whatsoever that this would happen. I’ve substituted at this library for several years, have gotten to know it and the staff pretty well. Most would say that I work hard and do a good job, except I will admit that my customer service skills could use some work at times. I have good skills when the customers are pleasant and even if they aren’t so pleasant if they at least treat me with some respect. It’s when they are downright rude and obnoxious that I kind of ‘break down’ and get upset back. So that’s happened a few times. I have a hard time dealing constructively when anger is directed at me. This particular branch is in a rough neighborhood and a lot of the customers have their own personal baggage that they take out on the staff, which doesn’t help things. It still doesn’t make my behavior towards them right, I know that.
So I’ve talked with a supervisor a few times about my interactions with patrons. She has suggested possible training for me on better customer service skills on how to handle difficult patrons, or just to let someone know when I’m stressed and need a break, or to refer the patron to someone else. (Sometimes this latter suggestion is not always possible as staff are spread too thin already).
I suppose these suggestions were hints that things weren’t going so well. Understandable. Still I had no idea that I was approaching the point where I would be asked to stop working there from good. As much as I hate harshness and harsh remarks I have found that sometimes they are necessary for me. Why? Because I oftentimes I don't 'get' hints from others. Sometimes people need to be more explicit with me. Say something like “that behavior is unacceptable and goes against the employee code of conduct. I’m going to have to give you your first strike. After three strikes you’re out. Here’s a list of things that warrant a strike.” Maybe it’s somewhat harsh but at least it’s explicit and it prevents unplesant surprises later. Why aren’t people more explicit like this? Why do people just ‘brush you off’ like that.
At least the manager could have given me a final warning, or worked some compromise to allow me to stay. Maybe something like working under more supervision, completing some required training, a ‘probationary period’ etc.
There's numerous other instances in life where I don't pick up on hints either. In the past I'd ask people some question or if they would be interested in doing something and they would change the topic or suggest another idea. This may have been a hint that they really weren't interested in what I was saying or in my idea but didn't want to just flat-out say no to prevent hard feelings. Now I kind of grasp this sort of hint but for the longest time I didn't.
Do yout think this sort of thing is common for LIIs to not pick up on these sorts of hints? Or is it Asperger related? Or something else?