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How To Be "The Better" Employee: Tips for Adults with Aspergers/High-Functioning Autism

Having a career is rewarding, but if significant work-related problems occur, you could be facing the most critical issue in your life. That is because you need that job – you can’t afford to lose it! There may be problems at work from time to time, either with your supervisor or fellow employees. This is sometimes inevitable given that the workplace is where different co-workers try to get along and meet the company’s expectations.

How to be the "better" employee:

1. Ask your boss what the expectations are. This will immediately make you stand out from 99% of your co-workers.

2. Be at least 10 minutes early every day. That way, if you are running late, you will be on time. Also, if you have to park far away, you will walk in and still not be late.

3. Be careful what you say to new co-workers. Don't air your grievances, frustrations, or interpersonal conflicts – and don't gossip!

4. Be on good terms with the gatekeepers. Secretaries, custodians, bookkeepers, cafeteria workers, etc. are all very important co-workers. They are the experts in their departments. Treat these people with respect, because they hold more power than you know. Your reputation with them matters! Also, don’t hang out with other co-workers who disrespect the gatekeepers.

5. Care about your fellow employees. When did you last praise your peers for a job well done? Good feedback from a co-worker can be of great value. Be friendly and offer your time and energy to help others. Pour them coffee. Pick up their trash. Do positive things for your co-workers, and they will do positive things for you!

6. Detach yourself from you pay check. Your salary is not as important as the quality of work you do. If you don’t think like this, then you are many steps away from being an excellent employee. If you make pay less important, and give it your best, you will be rewarded. If you have accepted a job offer, you have accepted you salary, leave it there.

7. Don’t complain about what's wrong. Instead, start being vocal about what's right! A positive attitude goes a long way with many bosses. When you go to your supervisor with a problem, go with at least one suggestion in mind for a solution. Even if he/she doesn't take your suggestion, you will look like a problem-solver, not a whiner.

8. Don't spend a lot of time on your cell phone. Also, do not accept calls from the front desk unless it is an emergency. If your calls are put through by a secretary, rest assured that she/he will not hesitate to tell others that you get personal calls "all the time."

9. Dress as neatly as your supervisor. Close-toe shoes, full-length slacks, and shirts that don't show cleavage or chest hair are your best bet. When in doubt, don't wear it.

10. Hold your head high and display an attitude of confidence. A calm, self-assured energy will make you stand out from the crowd.

11. Learn to take constructive criticism. It will provide you with valuable ideas about what others expect from you, any weak areas, and what you need to work on first. If your supervisor confronts you in a way that angers you, wait until you calm down, and then ask him/her if the two of you can talk. Tell the supervisor how you felt, but say that you would like to fix the issue and want him/her to talk with you about what needs to be changed.

12. Offer any new co-workers guidance and support. Show them the ropes or offer training tips. Remember how it felt to be the new kid on the block. If you are not sure someone understood something, be willing to ask if he/she needs assistance.

13. Pick your feet up, walk proudly and briskly, and get right to your work. Don't let things drag up to the deadline, and then jump in to get it done quickly at the last minute. It drives your supervisor and co-workers nuts. Gain a reputation for having your act together more so than your co-workers.

14. Stay late, even if it is only 5 minutes. Co-workers notice who runs for the door right at 5:00 pm. One of the best uses of this time is to organize your work space for tomorrow. Take a moment to put away loose papers, empty coffee cups, wipe down surfaces, and locate things you'll need.

15. Take advantage of opportunities to learn new skills, receive training for a different activity, or take a study course paid for by your boss. Cross-training, new skill sets, and further education show that you are intelligent and value life-long learning. If times get tough and some employees are let go, you stand a better chance of keeping your job than those who can only do one thing.

16. Volunteer for projects, and don't worry about who gets credit. Volunteering allows you to choose the part you will play. And if you don't choose, chances are it will be chosen for you. Either way, you'll be responsible for some aspect of the project, so be one of the first to step forward.

17. Whether it's menial and tedious, or tough and high-paying, learn how to do the job well regardless of how difficult you think it might be. Hold yourself to a high standard. Salary is most commonly based on years of experience, your ability to do your job, length of time with the company, and your educational background. If you don't know how to do something, go find out, even if this means learning on your own time.

18. You want to establish a good rapport with your fellow employees (a little chit chat is inevitable – and even desirable), but spending an hour amusing your peers with your previous evening's adventures will not make your supervisor real happy. When one of you is talking a lot, two of you are not working a lot. If your supervisor walks by and two of you are talking, no problem, but wrap up the conversation so that he won't see the same sight on his/her way back. The same goes for a group. If you are part of a group who is talking when the supervisor walks by, discreetly excuse yourself and return to work.

19. Your co-workers know the difference between a person who is fun to work with and a person who is always goofing-off. Fun means a good personality, a joke or two, and a smile. Goofing-off is (a) wasting both your time and your co-workers, (b) being frequently off-task, and (c) often being seen standing in the work station of others instead of in your own.

20. Your supervisor’s opinion is always right to him/her. So if you find something wrong, try to show your supervisor tactfully and without arguing. Use a diplomatic way to show the problem point.

21. Relax and recover. Use your spare time wisely. Work is important, but work to live, do not live to work. Find activities that give you energy. For example:
  • enjoy your friends and family
  • find a hobby you like or focus on your family
  • get enough sleep
  • kiss your spouse
  • read something that inspires you
  • surprise someone with a gift
  • take a walk outside

The employees who keep a business or company going are called the worker bees. It's not easy to become an exemplary worker bee. If it were, every one would be a great employee. But you will never regret making the effort to be the best, because there are exemplary rewards for exemplary effort.

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

Relationship Tips for Male Aspies

No matter how macho you are or how lovey-dovey your NT wife or girlfriend can get, there's always more room for sensitivity and affection. So don't be too shy to break out the emergency “nice-guy kit” every now and then, and get to work.
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