User Manual

This page describes my preferences for communications, culture, etc at work. It is more descriptive than prescriptive; I know better than to insist on having everything my way.

Communication Style

“Brevity is the soul of wit.”

I try to keep emails and the like short and sweet to avoid wasting others’ time. If I come across as terse or brusque, that might be why.

“Get to the point.”

I don’t like to open a conversation over Slack/Teams/etc by typing “hello”, hitting send, and then typing my question. I think that wastes other people’s time, and it annoys me when I’m on the receiving end.

“No news is good news.”

I know management likes regular status updates, but I prefer to keep quiet when things are going well so that I can focus on getting things done.

“Put it in writing.”

I keep a notebook at work because I tend to forget what I’ve done soon after I’ve finished it, to clear space on my head for the next task. For the same reason I prefer to have all instructions in writing. If we use a ticketing system, and you give me a task verbally I’ll probably write up a ticket and ask you to sign off on it before I start working.

“Text is the universal interface.”

While I can use Microsoft Office, I prefer not to. Don’t be surprised if I send you plain text files instead of Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, or PowerPoint decks unless it’s clear that a fancy file format is required. I’d rather get text than a fancy format as well, and I would rather get the text of an error message than a screenshot pasted into an email. Likewise, if I can set my mail app to send plain text email instead of HTML, I will do so.

“Tell me everything.”

Please don’t leave anything out when reporting a bug or requesting a new feature, even if you think it’s irrelevant. If it truly is, I’ll figure that out myself, but if it isn’t and you left it out you’ve made my job harder.

Warnings

I’m not friendly; I just fake it.

Being autistic, I deal with a few challenges most people don’t have to worry about. In particular, I have trouble reaching out to other people, forming friendships, and maintaining them. If I seem aloof or standoffish, please try not to take it personally.

I’m only in it for the money.

I know a lot of people in my trade live to work and get more out of their careers than a paycheck and health insurance as a pre-tax deduction, but I’m not one of them. I don’t have a career; I have a day job. I’m not passionate at work, but you can count on me to be competent, professional, and discreet. Just don’t expect me to show up at after-hours social events.

I don’t get excited about new tech.

While I’m not particularly attached to any particular language, library, framework, etc. I don’t get excited about new things in tech. For example, I just shrugged when React was the new hotness because I wasn’t on a project that required it. However, when I found myself on a project where it was necessary to use React, I learned how to do so.