HOW AUTISTIC NICK PREPARED FOR HIS FIRST DAY AT WORK
Recently I was offered a year’s contract and so finally I have stepped back into the work force and it was fucking scary.
Having not been employed for 10+years to be given an opportunity to demonstrate and at the same time have a mentor aid me was something that I didn’t think would ever happen.
I don’t usually tick the I’ve got a disability box on any application forms purely because I want to at least be considered during the interview process or when I’ve been in the job and I feel that I can safely and without prejudice inform my employer that I am Autistic.
So, I prepared myself for my first day in an office environment and took a big deep breath.
I spilt what tasks I needed to complete into a check list.
I checked and printed out the train times and drove out and bought myself a smart rider card. This is a pre-loaded card that you simply tap and go with. To find out more click on the link here https://www.transperth.wa.gov.au/smartrider/types-of-smartrider this is for WA residents only.
Because I am being employed as a casual reporter focused on disability affairs, I didn’t want to go into my meeting that I had on my first day with my editor and my mentor empty handed I spent a week before jotting down possible article ideas. I wrote them all in a notebook. This showed them that I am organised as well as capable of coming up with ideas for future articles.
The day before I was due to start this job, my editor and boss asked me to contribute to an email that was being sent out to all the staff in the office, it was a way for me to introduce myself and allow those time to be prepared and for them when they meet me to feel at ease. I put in my email that if they had any questions then they shouldn’t feel that I couldn’t be approached.
I was given a guided tour of the office and the studio where the 7pm news bulletin is broadcast live from. This helped me gain a better sense of the layout of the office and also put me at ease with interacting with the other members of staff. I was also given a desk in a quiet area of the office as well as being given a room where if I became overwhelmed, I could go in and calm myself down without interruption.
How my day was going to be structured
This is very important to me to understand how my day was likely to be structured.
- I would come prepared with potential article ideas
- My mentor and I would have a meeting at 10.30am to discuss those ideas and to see which ones would work best in an article.
- Nick to go away and research, email potential interviewees, etc.
- The mentor to come and check on Nick at 12.30 pm to see what progress he’s made.
- The mentor will be my first contact, if they are busy then my boss and editor is the next person I can go to for advice/help.
- Before Nick leaves for the day, he and his mentor will have a quick meeting to discuss what stage of the article process Nick is at.
- My boss/editor has also informed me that I can as long as I give notice work from home and they will check in on me via Zoom.
- If Nick feels overwhelmed, he can email/text either the mentor or the boss just to let them know that he’s heading outside/to his quiet room.
Preparing the night before
I made sure that I had packed my back pack the night before, this meant packing a lunch, shaving, washing and ironing an outfit suitable for work, making sure my car had enough petrol in it, my shoes were polished, I had my word search puzzle book and a pen, my work notebook, and a water bottle. I also made sure that my phone was fully charged before I left home (I took my recharger with me).
To date things have gone really well, I had my first collaborative article published before Christmas and I am currently working on two articles at the same time!!!! I know it’s a lot, for now though it’s all going ok.
The staff have been really welcoming to me and it’s a really great place to work.
CARRY ON THE CONVERSATION
Thank you for reading and I will see you next time for more thoughts from across the spectrum.