You cannot rely on traditional wellness programs to tell you what may be going on at your workplace. In fact, the message that you must “work hard” to be “fulfilled” is part of capitalism, and so if you are employed, then it can never be the employer’s issue or the issue with the work itself. At least that’s what employers and the capitalist class would like you to believe, that somehow their behavior doesn’t impact anything in a negative way. Of course, we know that’s a lie and the behavior of your employers and workplace environment play a huge role in your workplace wellness, and often not a good one.

This leaves employees to be their own detectives to find out what might be happening. For employees marginalized due to disability or neurodivergence, this becomes especially difficult because many of us have internalized stories and beliefs that somehow it’s not the workplace that’s to blame–it’s us. Other marginalized groups also receive these messages, but when it comes to late diagnosed autistic individuals I’ve found those messages to be exceptionally strong. After all, if every workplace you have been at has been toxic, then surely they all couldn’t be bad, right? Well, about that…the entire point of capitalism is to extract as much profit as possible without caring about the resources expended. Those resources? They’re employees.

Think of shareholders and the C-suite executives (CFO, CIO, CTO, etc.) as Ferengis searching for latinum and operating by the Rules of Acquisition, only without the ethics of the Ferengis. (That’s a Star Trek reference for those of you who aren’t geeks.)

How do you become your own detective?

  • Keep track of how you’re feeling and what’s going on if not daily then at least weekly with the highlights. Feel free to track physical and emotional health as well as work load and work issues.
  • Be willing to think outside the box. Don’t automatically blame yourself.
  • If you find yourself falling into old patterns, find ways to stop them. Whether that’s changing your mind, changing the scenery, or even just identifying them and noting them in your journal/tracker.
  • If you can, find close people to discuss the situation with.

It’s not easy to become your own detective, but it’s something that is necessary if you want to suss out the cause for your work wellness issues. Because after all, your employer will never say that it’s them.