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How to Get and Keep a Job: 33 Tips for Adults on the Spectrum

Having trouble keeping a job? If so, then this article is for YOU...

Many adults with Asperger’s (AS) and High-Functioning Autism (HFA) are looking for work – and bosses are looking for good workers. A good employee is hard to find. Here is how to be that good employee (even if you have an autism spectrum disorder) who the boss will not ever want to let go of.

33 Tips for AS and HFA adults on how to get and keep a job: 

1. Accept responsibility and do not “pass the buck.”

2. Always finish an assignment, no matter how much you would rather be doing something else. It is always good to have something to show for the time you have spent.

3. Always practice good communication skills and professional telephone courtesy.

4. Always show consistent businesslike attitude with co-employees and superiors; treat internal customers with as much respect as external customers.

5. Always try to improve work by organizing materials, keeping work area clean, utilizing time efficiently, trying to work quickly yet accurately, being able to work well under pressure, and making sure assignments or projects are turned in on time.

6. Anticipate problems and needs of management. Your boss will be grateful, even if he doesn’t show it.

7. Avoid backstabbing, office gossip, and spreading rumors. Remember, what goes around comes around. Joining in the office gossip may seem like the easy thing to do, but almost everyone has much more respect - and trust - for people who do not spread stories around.

8. Avoid the impulse to criticize your boss or the company. It is easy to find things wrong with others. It is much harder, but more rewarding, to find constructive ways to deal with problems. Employees who are known for their good attitude and helpful suggestions are the ones most often remembered at performance evaluation and raise review time.

9. Be a team player. The employees who don't get along well with others, who gossip about other employees, or who aren't willing to pitch in to help, aren't going to be appreciated.

10. Flexibility is a key component of hanging on to your job. When the company needs someone to change shifts, work weekends, put in some overtime, or work a different schedule, think about volunteering if your personal schedule permits.

11. The employees who are late to work, take a long lunch hour, use a ton of sick time, and/or leave early every day aren't going to win any points with their boss. Be punctual and be there, instead of making excuses for why you can't be at work.

12. Negativity is contagious, but so is a positive attitude. The more you stay positive, even if you're in a tough situation, the better you'll be able to manage.

13. Call in if you know you will be tardy or absent. Most businesses treat absences or tardiness without notice much more seriously than simple absence or tardiness.

14. Pick out one or more things in your job to do better than anyone else. Become known as the "go-to" person for such things. That will help managers remember you favorably at times when you really need to be remembered.

15. Do not give orders to others unless possessing the authority to do so. Co-employees don’t appreciate a bossy attitude.

16. Don’t be a “clock watcher.”

17. Don’t be a “know-it-all;” respect the ideas of others, and acknowledge their merit. And always give a “thank you” to those who have helped out.

18. Nobody likes complainers, regardless of how legitimate the complaints are. If you don't like your job, there are plenty of other people who would jump at the chance to get it. When the job market is as upside down in the employer’s favor as it is now, be really careful about complaining.

19. Follow the rules. The rules are there to give the greatest number of people the best chance of working together well and getting the job done.

20. Get important things in writing – don’t rely on what other people have said.

21. Even if you hate your job, keep it to yourself and your family or close friends. Don't tell the world, because the wrong person is probably going to see what you posted. That, in and of itself, can cost you your job.

22. Learn to accept criticism and learn from mistakes. Don’t hold grudges. Be a good loser, and do not display a bad attitude when your ideas are not utilized.

23. Learn to listen without interruption, particularly if instructions are being given – and learn to follow instructions, but don’t be afraid to ask questions if something is not understood.

24. Make the job work for YOU. Is there anything you could be doing differently to make the job work? Could you ask for a transfer or a shift change? Is there anything that would make a difference and convince you to stay?

25. Offer to help. One of the best ways to get (or keep) job security is to volunteer for new initiatives, to offer to help with projects, and to take on more responsibility.

26. Pay attention to dress, hygiene, body language, and manners. 

27. Respect people for their good qualities, even though they may have faults.  Find the good in everyone. 

28. Never let yourself be heard uttering minority-related slurs or other derogatory terms in reference to yourself or to others. Use of such terms perpetuates undesirable stereotypes and inevitably disturbs others. It also tends to make others doubt your maturity and competence. The best way to get respect is to show respect toward yourself and others.

29. Tough it out. Maybe it's not your favorite job. Maybe you would rather be doing something else. However, it is a paycheck – and if you need the income, it can make sense to stay until you secure a new position.

30. Try to avoid ever saying "that’s not my job". Many, if not most, managers earned their positions by doing work turned down by co-employees who were in the habit of saying that, and they appreciate employees who help get the job done, whatever it is.

31. Try to save the company money by conserving materials and supplies.

32. Take a close look at people in your organization who are "moving up." Chances are they are the ones who have shown themselves in the past to be willing to do undesirable assignments or take on new duties.

33. Most bosses don't mind a little time spent on Facebook or texting, but do focus on your job and give your boss the time you're getting paid for. When it comes to making lay-off decisions, the most productive employees will get to keep the job.

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

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