The workplace is a challenging arena for most autistic individuals. Securing a job may be a battle, but maintaining a career is the war. The social complexities of team meetings, conflicts with colleagues or supervisors, and small talk during the lunch break can all add up to either wanting to quit or getting fired! But I believe it is possible for people on the spectrum to succeed in the workplace. Assuming you have little to no supports at work, team meetings can be difficult to navigate, but in reality, these gatherings are very similar to a classroom setting with a strict teacher and overachieving students. Here are a few tips to help you get through a team meeting:
1) Make sure to prepare hygiene-wise before attending a team meeting. Attire should match your workplace’s dress code (and maybe go a little above expectations). 2) Say hello to everyone as a group (not individually) when you arrive at the meeting. Have a pleasant, neutral expression, because anything perceived as anger puts people off.
3) Bring a notebook and pen (even if you aren’t going to use it), instead of a laptop unless laptops are necessary to complete the agenda.
4) Try not to overshare or undershare. Always let at least three people speak between your responses.
5) When sharing an idea, try sharing both what works about it and also a counter-argument against it. This stirs up conversation and helps you to look quite thoughtful.