Getting ready to begin your first full-time job, apprenticeship, or internship? There are a lot of things you can do to prepare for a successful start. That includes thinking about whether to disclose your learning and thinking difference.
Follow these six tips for a smooth transition to your first job.
1. Practice the commute.
Practice the commute before you begin, at the same time and day of the week as your work schedule. See how long it takes and then build in extra time for delays as you plan your morning commute.
2. Know who to call or email.
Make sure you know who to contact at work in case you’re sick or running late. (Keep that person’s work phone number and email in your phone.) Your workplace might also have an automated system you need to go through.
3. Understand how work schedules are communicated.
If your hours change each week, you need to know how to get access to the new schedule. Don’t assume someone will give it directly to you. Ask your boss or co-workers where you can find that information.
4. Decide how to keep track of the schedule.
Take some time to think about what might work best for you: Taking a picture of the schedule? Texting it? Noting it on a calendar?
5. Open a bank account.
If you’re going to be paid by direct deposit, you need an account to complete the first-day paperwork. The bank can give you the routing information to put on the form. Or, if you get a paper paycheck, you need a way to cash or deposit it. (Note: Many banks give you free checking if you sign up for direct deposit.)
6. Think about self-disclosing at work.
Self-advocacy is as important in the workplace as it was when you were in school. Except now, you don’t have an IEP or a 504 plan to get support if you need it. Disclosing a disability at work might help you get accommodations you need to get the job done. And it can help your boss better understand how you work.
A good experience at your first job can be a big self-esteem booster. It can also help you get a better sense of your strengths and interests.
- Get job-search tips from a young copywriter with ADHD.
- Read about how disclosing helped one young person with dyslexia succeed at work.
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About the author
About the author
Margie DeSantis is an associate editor at Understood.
Andrew Kahn, PsyD is a licensed psychologist who has served as an evaluator and consultant in public schools for nearly 20 years. Kahn, who describes himself as neurodivergent, is a subject matter expert at Understood.