Update: I would otherwise delete this but it has been answered by others.
I want to know if the following is on-topic for the non-meta area of engineering.
I know it is wordy, and I will try and whittle it down and clean it up. Is the fundamental content allowable and appropriate?
Personally I would consider this about the engineering profession, and thus as professionalism is on topic.
In 2010 I was diagnosed with Aspergers. There is a lot of baggage around that term, and people have looked down on me for it. I have had people who I respect say "you will never understand that -social- thing". I can understand lots of things. It is scary to admit that in a public and recorded forum like this. Some people look at me like I am made of poop because I am different than them in terms of neuro-diversity.
I wish that I could ask it anonymously, so my coworkers who haven't had the opportunity to look down on me for my label aren't given a chance here. This is why the label is a bit obtuse. I strongly suspect company HR departments sometimes review keywords of online postings of their staff because when I tried asking on Yahoo answers about how to handle what looked like inappropriate behavior of a 2nd level manager of mine toward an intern, the man was called in to HR and interviewed the next day, and the time-correlation was surprisingly high.
I am an engineer with a Bachelor (Cum Laude 2007) and Master of Science (2012) in Mechanical Engineering, who has been working professionally for a decade. Before my degree I worked in an engineer-support (engineers assistant) or engineering-lite (drafting) capacity since about 1998, so I have been "in that office of the company" for around 20 years.
My annual review has several parts, including "development goals" at the end. These are more fuzzy/qualitative and two keyword areas of weakness of mine are social. After the hour-long one-on-one on the other 3 pages of engineering the S.M.A.R.T. metrics and deliverable timing for the rest of this year, we ended up on that 4-line table with those words. I let him explain them, and tried to explain back. I asked for examples, possibly of fictional characters that would give me hooks into what they were asking.
The absolute best understanding that I have at this point is that two of them directly engage parts of my "'burgers" driven behavior. They aren't articulating it as explicitly about that, but they can't find a clear alternative. For what it's worth, those two are "communicates effectively" - to a non-technical audience, and my problem: "instills trust".
I have asked "is this like marketing or sales: trying to be able to convince someone to buy something they wouldn't have otherwise have wanted"? No. "Is this communicating technical ideas to a non-technical audience"? No, that was "communicates effectively", and though they are related, they are distinct. I kept asking, and the best that I get is "for people who tend to natively distrust all things math and statistics, be able to communicate technical justifications outside of those terms", which is a contradiction of terms: it is technical because of the math. To clarify it, I asked about "quality" which has stats, and was told not those kids of statistics, which they trust. I asked and asked for examples, and they can only say that instills trust isn't "communicates effectively" but they are tied together, and speak to the same underlying "weakness". I asked "is there any chance this is the east-coast culture vs. west-coast culture, because Silicon Valley has a bit of hippy which is counter cultural to "suit-wearing" east coast, and part of that might be that it damages credibility" and was told it wasn't a cultural difference, or about credibility in that sense.
I might be misinterpreting it, but I have invested a fair bit of time trying to get to the bottom of understanding it.
This is my best understanding. I think they are saying "when you have an 'episode', which often comes out under stress or when I am tired, and you can't control verbal cadence and tones, eye-contact, posture, or such, then find a way to act like you can".
How am I to respond, as a working and degreed engineer, to this?