Managing change

Change is hard. Especially if you are autistic.

The workplace can come with a daily dose of unexpected interactions and changes to priorities or expectations.

I got my autism diagnosis at 27 while working in a busy and growing (i.e. chaotic and changeable!) Tech company. I have since moved to an Analytics job in the Education sector. That means a slower pace, and more opportunities to work independently.

Which suits me much better. The job is standard office hours, but I work from home full time in Scotland, travelling four or five times a year down to England for bigger meetings.

Although the job is better suited, it is certainly not change-free(!) Below I will share six things that help me handle change at work. Not everything will work for everyone, and you can think about what specific tips or adaptations would apply to the daily challenges you face.

  1. Allowing myself time to adjust

When an unexpected change happens, e.g. a new piece of urgent work comes in, something gets cancelled, or there is an urgent meeting that needs to happen, the first thing I now do is stop.

No matter how trivial the change, and even if it is technically positive for me, a change will cause a sudden spike in anxiety. Knowing this gives me a choice.