Advice & Resources, Autism Insights

How to Survive the First Few Months of Work

Kylie’s Ultimate Tips on Transitioning into the Workforce (A Follow Up to the Previous Post on Work)!

As a follow-up to the Expectation vs. Reality of Starting Work again blogpost (posted at the end of May) I have complied a list of my top five insightful tips and key learnings to help those who are set to transition into their own new work experiences and interested in learning more about what help or the strategies that helped me successfully start work again. So, without further ado here are my top takeaway tips on the experience of transitioning into a new work environment or new job:

My Top Five Tips for a Successful Work Transition:

You’re Not going to be an Expert the First Few Weeks:

There is so much new information to learn in this time and most likely will continue learning afterwards that it’s unrealistic to go in believing that everything will come naturally in the first few weeks or months, even if it’s a similar job or environment there are going to be differences that will take some time to adjust to, find where everything is and way of doing things. So, do yourself a favour and go in with the understanding that the first month or so will be all about learning, which by being open to that you’ll save yourself the frustration and discouragement from believing you should have it all figured out and instead will know that given time your work routines will get easier. Just not in the first few weeks or month.

Communicate, communicate, communicate:

Communication is something us on the Autistic spectrum struggle with on a daily basis, even for those who we know well we may still struggle to effectively communicate what we mean. On a human level, I feel that it also relates in that it’s rare when first meeting someone to feel comfortable enough to ask for help or clarification, it just seems natural for this process to take that same kind of time inside the workplace as it does outside that environment. It can be particularly intimidating to do so when it comes to someone who has a role above us like a supervisor or manager, but in order to properly build on these “work relationships” we must give ourselves the necessary time, patience and understanding that comes from realizing how this relationship plays a part in our workplace experience and can become a valuable one to build upon if anything ever comes up. Best advice: Be patient and know that it’s okay if in the beginning you struggle to approach a supervisor to ask questions. Give yourself time to adjust, build that relationship and learn for yourself that they are a trusted person to ask. 

What’s a Learning Style… and I Have One ?!?:

I didn’t even know I had a learning style until I began working again, but quickly figured out what actually helped me in the last job I had and how implementing those same techniques where I am now for myself has helped me take on the process of learning in this new workplace. Things like creating written instructions for myself , a clear plan at the beginning of what I’m expected to do and most importantly the realization that I must see instructions or assigned tasks for myself in order to begin work. All of these strategies helped me learn how to do the job and make sense of how to go about doing it in ways that have made sense for me. So, figuring out your own learning style will equally help in the job transition and ultimately becoming more competent on the job.

Progress comes in Small Victories:

Whether you are starting a new job, same job in different place or new experience all together, knowing that the first few weeks are going to be tough, progress won’t feel like it usually does. To me, progress felt more like how I was able to survive the first few weeks, successfully getting through a shift with fewer and fewer mistakes, the little moments of confidence gained along the way and compliments on how I was doing are what counted as small victories. Not how much work I could do or how fast I went, but the fact that I was getting by, day by day the job was getting easier and I was getting more comfortable. Keeping this in mind, helped me keep on until I gained confidence on the job to work more efficiently and effectively.

Give Yourself Time to Warm-Up to People:

Just as it takes time to warm up to a new work environment and ways of doing things, the same can be said to warming up to the people we work with on the daily such as colleagues. It is a part of the three stage process as mentioned in the Expectation vs. Reality blogpost known as getting to know people. One that takes time, patience and understanding that just as you are getting to know them, they are getting to know you as well. The tricky part of this experience is that there may be already connections formed between other co-workers, conversations that they are continuing before you got there and a rhythm to how they work together. Don’t let this stop you from getting to know them or being the first to be friendly because you never know what one thing or small hello may open up a conversation and future connection.

Until next time continue doing your best and Stay You-nique,

Kylie

Blogpost Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

Feature Photo by Corinne Kutz on Unsplash