Blog #80: How to handle Company Visits while Neurodiverse

In the workplace, there is always going to be that time when the higher ups will pay your store or business a visit. When that happens, people around you start to panic and they pull you in 20 different directions to ensure that everything goes “perfect.”

Honestly, I get the point.

There are probably some of you out there that are looking for that promotion and will do anything in your power to get it, even if it means making those around you work like slaves. But not everyone will view company visits as something that will go perfect because nothing ever is perfect.

Most importantly, however, that if you are a supervisor of a department or a manager of a store you need to understand that when it comes to working with neurodiverse individuals, we are prone to sensory overloads if you are giving us so many things to do. Believe me, I’ve been there.

Stop and Shop New England Corporate Headquarters in Quincy, MA

I’ve worked in the retail industry for almost 15 years at the time of this blog and when people freak out around corporate visits…they freak out! Most recently, I was put to work the moment I came in with my breakfast because our District Director, Vice President and President of Stop and Shop New England was coming in for a store visit.

They wanted everything clean and looking perfect for them and they wouldn’t stop at nothing from achieving that goal.

In fact, nearly three years ago, I got pulled in so many different directions trying to make the store look good for a “showing off” near the Christmas Holidays trying to multitask that I almost had a sensory overload (not to mention that I got angry and wanted to scream at my supervisor at the time for pushing me so hard).

The truth of the matter is that supervisors and managers get so blinded by company visits that they don’t seem to care about the person they are pushing around regardless if they are neurodiverse or not. Businesses end up losing trusted workers because of them being pushed to their limits and the blame falls squarely on the managers and supervisors.

Now the question is, what would the company representatives from corporate react to this? I get the fact that some get power and authority from store managers and supervisors who will bend over backwards for them. But, there are some who will feel rather uncomfortable at being given the special treatment from the store.

Look at my father, Gary Snyder, for example. For 35 years, he was a vice president of operations for Sensata Technologies. Whenever he went to a work site, people would also freak out around him, making sure that things were perfect for his arrival.

Was he expecting people around him to act this way? Well, yes and no. My dad is usually very approachable, but at the same time, I get the fact that some working under him would respect him greatly.

What businesses need to understand is that it may be the nature of the business, but there is a human perspective to the whole situation. It’s how we handle that balance that can be either harmful or helpful to neurodiverse workers.

I’ve actually respected and admired the corporate side of Stop and Shop for what they do. In fact, some of them even helped me get my job there back in 2010. Not to mention that I have gotten to know some of them to the point where I became LinkedIn connections with them. I’ve even shared with them my business cards promoting my self-advocacy and public speaking.

The most important thing you can do is get to know them more as a person and rather as a celebrity. If you are neurodiverse, do not be afraid to approach them and just say hello to the people from corporate. Some will say hello back others will just move on with the business at hand. But others may connect with you rather quickly. That’s how I did it and that is how you can do it too!

Catch you all later!

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Jeff Snyder
I was born in 1989 in Providence, RI, and have lived my entire life in Seekonk, MA. I was diagnosed with Autism in 1990 and ever since then, I have achieved multiple successes in my life in areas of education, long-term employment, independent living, and speaking/panel engagements.
Jeff Snyder

Jeff Snyder

I was born in 1989 in Providence, RI, and have lived my entire life in Seekonk, MA. I was diagnosed with Autism in 1990 and ever since then, I have achieved multiple successes in my life in areas of education, long-term employment, independent living, and speaking/panel engagements.