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Tips for Workplace Success for the Adult Learner

By: Nancie Payne

  • Know your learning style and how that style matches up with different jobs.
  • Apply for job positions for which you have the knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform at the level required by the employer.
  • Know your strengths and be able to describe them; present yourself as a capable individual who can competently perform the job.
  • Pursue informational interviews and on-site visits in order to get a feel for different workplace environments and job tasks.
  • Request and review job descriptions before applying for positions.
  • Disclose learning disabilities to the personnel/human resources staff person after the job has been offered; do so in person (never over the phone) after you have accepted the job. Then make arrangements to speak with the job-site supervisor if and when necessary.
  • At the time of disclosure, describe the strategies you have developed that assist you in performing job requirements and state workplace accommodations that can help you.
  • Ask the supervisor for written job performance expectations what you will be required to learn and apply within the job setting.
  • Ask for specific timelines for performance evaluations; be sure you understand when and how your performance will be evaluated.
  • Know when and how to request appropriate accommodations.
  • If accommodations are provided, establish an evaluation process through which you and your supervisor can review the effectiveness of the accommodations and the possibility of adjustments.
  • Do not use your learning disability as an excuse for not doing your best.

The above suggestions are from Nancie Payne, consultant to employers and employees for workplace accommodations.

Linkages Vol. 2, No. 1 National Adult Literacy and Learning Disabilities Center 1995