Close to 10 years ago I found out that I was dyslexic, explaining many of the troubles I've had in school (and subsequently university and work thereafter). These troubles were mostly in the category of "things that are hard to pick up".

Over the years I've found a mode for myself to not let it be too much of a handicap. Note that it really is a handicap, it's something that poses (a set of) significant limitations in your day to day work, limitations you can't fix, though you generally can work around them.

At work, I have a set of rules that enable me to do my job without too many restrictions. Important in these rules are the limitations I experience. There are three that have the most impact. Firstly, working costs me a lot more effort than my colleagues. Secondly, listening costs me the most effort, thirdly, when I'm tired, listening and speaking are the first thing that suffers. For example, on a Thursday afternoon, I make less sense and less makes sense to me, with the extreme being that I really just can't understand what people are saying, however well they try. So I have a few rules to make sense of it all that help me on my day to day work.

  1. I work 32 hours in 4 days every week, that fifth day I spend relaxing,
  2. When asked to work overtime, my auto-response is: no. There is more to this though,
  3. My energy is precious (to me), so if colleagues ask me something, it had better be worth it. So I wear headphones to ensure they are at least triggered to think twice before they ask me. There is more to this too...,
  4. Anything in all-caps is automatically ignored. I cannot read anything in all-caps, simple.
Though there are more, these are the most important ones. There are also a few things that really disturb me in what I can do. Things that add little value to what I do but cost me more than I'm willing to spend on it.

  1. Long sit-back meetings, any meeting requires a lot of effort on my part, the longer they are, the more dramatic the effect. By the time the hour mark is reached, I'm fairly exhausted and have a lot of trouble keeping up.
  2. Colleagues that don't set up their monitor properly, VGA connected monitors require a bit of set up, people tend to not do this. It strains me a lot to view something with a colleague that hasn't set things up right,
  3. Microsoft apparently hates people with dyslexia, this can be the only conclusion to what they've been doing. I realize these points are almost a rant, but they seriously impair my daily work!
    1. Firstly, they decided ClearType was a good idea, ClearType is a nightmare to set up properly (in my experience), even then it doesn't work as well as the default anti-aliassing in Linux, moreover, it requires Administrator privileges to set up,
    2. Secondly, Windows 8 coming out was a great ad campaign, white text on a pastel blue background. Unfortunately, they decided to stick with the crazy colour tile idea. Most of it I can't read, there's too much colours with often too little contrast,
    3. Thirdly, in all their wisdom, they decided that their ribbons should have all-caps headings, as stated before, anything all-caps is illegible to me.
Colleagues asking me questions is something that happens quite a bit and this causes me some trouble. Primarily because I like to help people, I really enjoy working with someone and you can see as they pick things up and develop themselves (as professionals), personally, that is a huge motivator for me to work. But helping people doesn't mean solving their problems, a colleague once told me "everybody has the right to have their own problems", who are we to solve someone else's problem. Letting people think about what they are working with is important, usually they figure it out themselves, other times they need a bit of help in the right direction. So yes I want to help others the best I can, no, I won't just "take over" their problems and fix it for them.

Overtime is always a hot topic, in an world where it's getting increasingly hard to fix qualified professionals, there's an increasing demand that these professionals do more in less time. Almost always at the expense of quality. This is what overtime does, it greatly reduces the quality of your products. As a developer, you know that the code you wrote in overtime is the code you'll find the most bugs in. Even the most experienced professional (in any field) knows that increasing the pressure increases the chance on mistakes. In the long run, this overtime will cost you more time (and money) to fix. With the exception of financial closures, no reasonable end user will complain if they get their product a week later, but with a higher quality.

So then, if irregardless of this all I say yes to overtime, what happens? Well, I'll have to pay for this overtime, either in extra stress it's causing me, general crankyness, reduced performance in the day(s) thereafter or simply just needing a bit of extra sleep to get it all done. Does that mean that at the end I don't make an hour over 32 a week? Nope! When I feel I can take it, I'm happy to put in some extra effort, I'd be an idiot to interrupt my flow and go home when I'm making great progress.

So the problems I'm having that are dyslexia related, I can work with them just fine, I'm happy with the work I do and from the reviews I've had, others are happy with me too. Finding this mode to work in took me a while, but at the end, I can do my thing like most others.