BP puts great emphasis on recruiting a diverse group of people with a wide range of skills. Its recent partnership with Ambitious About Autism shows its commitment to neurodiversity and neurodiverse employees – including Senior Customer Service Representative Antoni Bohdanowicz.
Antoni Bohdanowicz, a Senior Customer Service Representative at BP in Budapest, has always been very open about his experience with Asperger’s. Growing up in Poland, Antoni describes his Asperger’s as being a pivotal influence on his life and his career journey: “It has had a huge impact on me, and my whole career has been a continuous learning curve. Learning comes with maturity and awareness, but in the past, I could end up winding myself up with a problem instead of walking away from it.”
Looking back on his early education and career, Antoni believes that one of his biggest challenges was expressing his feelings on subjects where there would be debates about social justice, like theology and history. He would often get upset when he would get into debates with lecturers, which would affect him greatly. But, as he started his career, he found that his ability to think quickly and question norms, along with his love of sports, drew him to journalism.
Antoni’s career journey has taken him to the fields of sports journalism, communications for a sport governing body, starting his own e-sports platform, and working in marketing for office buildings. His career trajectory changed when his partner got a job offer in Budapest, Hungary, and he decided to follow her there. While trying to sell his e-sports company, he began contemplating a lifestyle and career change. That’s when he applied for and was offered a job at BP. He accepted and joined the company in 2019.
At first, he said that he was nervous about working for a multinational company and stepping into the corporate world. This was despite friends telling him that he would enjoy a more structured corporate environment. Since joining BP, he’s found that they were right.
“I like the fact that at BP, there is a strong emphasis on the creation, and following, of standard operational procedures. The Operational Management System is there for a reason, and we should go by it. This means that everyone has clear responsibilities on how they can keep them and their team safe and operating efficiently.”
Antoni also highlights the culture at BP as being a big part of his positive transition into the company: “It will sound funny, but I don’t think BP picked up straight away that I was neurodiverse. But once this came out, I felt very supported. People are showing how the company wants to work on creating a better work environment. The response to my approach to autism awareness has been phenomenal.”
Antoni’s work focuses on helping BP’s clients solve their problems – something he said is helped by being able to think quickly. He describes his brain as being like a computer, being able to re-programme quickly and learn new things. When Antoni was working in marketing, his brain would allow him to think through issues quickly and come up with ideas before clients were even in the room – a skill that helps him to solve client problems at BP.
One of the things that Antoni believes needs improvement in the future is autism awareness, particularly when it comes to the workplace. While he has found his experience with BP a positive one, he knows there is still a lot to do both in the company and in wider society to build knowledge about Asperger’s.
In Poland, he has created a support group, formed out of a fan page he started in 2017 to inform people about the day-to-day problems someone with Asperger’s would experience. So, he decided to create the group so that people with Asperger’s, their partners and their families could share stories and talk about their experiences.
On his own experiences and the need to raise awareness around Asperger’s and autism, Antoni says: “The biggest misconception I’ve found is that people think everyone is the same. This means that people tend to put everything in one box when it gets down to Asperger’s. I have sometimes been told I have no feelings or emotions, which I, in fact, do (and they are sometimes more intense).
I think another misconception is that we are all like the people visible on TV shows—like when I say I have Asperger’s, people are shocked to find out and say the magic words, ‘but you are so normal’. My usual response is “try telling that to my fiancée”, as the truth is people with Asperger’s often learn to wear masks. It requires a lot of self-control and self-awareness to function normally in society.”
Antoni has been in his position at BP for six months and is excited for what is to come. He has been enjoying the diversity of projects and work at BP, which allow him to build more skills and forge different paths in his career. With the support of his manager and his team, he has been lending his expertise on many different projects to help BP’s customers; and he is continuing to look for opportunities to grow as he spends more time in his current position.
In his own words, Antoni describes his time at BP by saying: “The most important thing about BP is not that it will offer you the best environment to work in, it’s the fact that it will work with you to create the best one.”
Antoni Bohdanowicz is a Senior Customer Service Representative at BP based in Budapest. Originally from Poland, Antoni began his career in sports journalism and TV, subsequently joining the Polish Motorboat and Water-ski Association as a manager. From here, he joined marketing and events agency DNA Group as a creative director and set up his esports agency, which he sold to ESE Entertainment just before joining BP in 2019.