Basic Work Rules for Autistic Adults

1) Do not be late for job interviews and for work. If you cannot be trusted to come on time, then you cannot be trusted to finish your work on time or do your job well.

2) Ensure that you have no body odor. This is the biggest turn-off for others no matter employers, colleagues or dates. It is quite impossible to be able to smell your own body odor, so it is best to ask a family member if you have this issue; most other people will be too embarrassed to tell you honestly. Please do not use deodorant to cover up the smell; fix the root issue by bathing with lots of shampoo, soap and water before going to work. Do apply mouthwash too.

3) Ensure that you do not disturb colleagues, especially with unusual behavior such as singing or talking to yourself. Anything that may be construed as sexual advance is definitely out of bounds. If your behavior affects your colleagues’ work performance or motivation to work, you will definitely be fired.

4) Discuss only work-related matters at work as much as possible. Your employer does not want to know that your personal problems are affecting your work performance; they are also not paying you to waste their time listening to your problems. Always remember that your boss is not your teacher, therapist, counselor or friend.

5) Do not do personal things at work. Your employer is not paying you to surf the Internet, play games, take selfies or reply messages. Sleeping at work is taboo, unless your employer permits naps or have made special arrangements to accommodate you.

6) Improvise with whatever tools and resources your employer has or can get instead of making lots of demands (such as having the latest software). If you absolutely need something that the employer won’t provide, then pay for it yourself. If it is not worthwhile paying for what you absolutely need, then perhaps you should look for another job.

7) Understand that you are hired to fix problems. If you still cannot fix problems at work by yourself after basic job training, then there is no point keeping you on the payroll. Most paid jobs are not easy; if they are easy then a robot would have already taken the job. Do not expect bosses or colleagues to do your job for you unless you want to get fired.

8) Do not take your job for granted. Employers are not required to hire you because you have special needs; they choose to hire you because of they think you can fix many more problems than you will create for them. Do remember that there are many trouble-free people in the world who are eager to snatch your job away from you.

9) Do not expect to receive bonuses or pay raises. Your pay usually only increases after you have performed very well and when your employer has enough funds to pay for the raise. If your existing employer is stingy or exploitative, then make sure you have marketable skills so you can find a better employer with the additional job experience you have acquired.

Do note that this is not a comprehensive list of what to do; just the most important basic rules that many autistic adults have trouble with.