Neurodivergent Professionals Share Helpful Mindsets for Work

Veronica Yao

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by Veronica Yao

We asked our community of neurodivergent professionals, Neurodivergent Careers & Job Hunting, what mindset shifts helped them better their work lives.

Their answers were enlightening! Here are some highlights from their responses. Which ones do you agree with?

Find peace in silence.

“I don’t have to fill every silence with words. Both with customers and coworkers. Just because someone isn’t talking constantly doesn’t mean they find me weird or awkward. Also, not everyone is going to like me and that’s okay.”

Put your needs first.

“I will not ignore my physical and mental needs to meet my employers needs. And not everyone needs to like me. I’m there to make money and that’s that.”

“Listen to your body. If you don’t have the energy and you don’t have to do it that day, then don’t try and push through to do it. You don’t get awards for pushing yourself beyond your breaking point.”

Clearly define your scope of responsibilities.

“I am paid to complete one person’s work, for 7.5 hours a day. If the department is understaffed, that is not my responsibility and I am not being paid to make up for it, I will not burn myself out because of my employer’s inability to staff properly. I go in, I do my work, and I go home. if there is work not completed, it will still be there tomorrow.”

“I no longer complete undocumented tasks or take undocumented risks for my company. I’m a human with things to lose. The company will be OK without my favors.”

Prioritize rest.

“Autistic people can be 90-140% more productive than their neurotypical coworkers. That’s part of the reason we burn out so fast. Slow down. Find creative ways to work slower or add in extra breaks (my brain won’t always allow me to do this but when I can.) and you will still be more productive than your peers. It’s ok. I like to track how often my coworkers get up from their desk and just wander or talk to eachother and mentally mark it as a break I’m not taking so I feel ok taking a break where I go find a dark room to sit in for 5 minutes.”

“My breaks are for me not for working, also other than the allotted work hours that I get PAID for, I do not owe you my time after that, if you want me to work overtime it must be PAID!”

“It’s ok to stop at stopping time. The work cycle is ongoing like laundry and will be there when I return. Not only do I not need to stay late working unpaid hours to finish something, but nobody wants that for me — not my work, not me.”

Embrace change.

“When I started working I was really distressed by changes in procedures or tools. Now I’ve accepted that change is part of my job description and I take it on just like any other reasonable task. Change is part of the routine. It’s taken time but now my bosses comment that I am the most relaxed when they roll out new processes or tools. They have no idea it’s because the slightest change of procedure used to make me cry.”

Pick your battles.

“You can’t control other people’s actions but you can control your reaction. And sometimes it’s ok to submit.”

Are you neurodivergent and burnt out at work?

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