Starting work

Advice to help prepare you for your first day at a new job, including planning transport, what to bring with you and reflecting at the end of the day.

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Your first day at a new job

Before your first day

Before you start a new job, it can be helpful to know:

  • Who will meet you on your first day
  • Who will oversee your training 
  • Who your mentor will be
  • If there is a lunchroom and refrigerator to keep your lunch in 
  • What your induction schedule for the first few days or weeks will be

It should be okay to contact your employer with questions about things like this, or you can do your own research.

You should also work out how you will get to and from work before your first day. You might need to find out:

  •  What the public transport options are
  • What the parking options are

Make sure you have clean clothes that are right for your job ready for your first day.

On your first day

First days can be overwhelming for everyone. Be kind to yourself. Take it easy in the days before you start and in the early days on the job.

Here are some things you might like to take with you on your first day:

  • snacks
  • a water bottle
  • lunch or money for lunch
  • a travel card for public transport

When you get to work you can ask if there are cafés nearby for buying food or coffee. 

Be prepared for the weird feeling of everything being new. You will be working hard to try to remember all the things you have learned, and trying to remember everyone’s names and faces.  

You might want to bring a notepad for writing down notes and people’s names. You can even draw an office plan with people’s names and where they are seated to help you tie names to faces.  

If you forget names, it is okay to acknowledge that. A lot of people have problems remembering the names of other people and where they sit when they start a new job. 

After your first day

You will probably feel exhausted when you get home from your first day at a new job.

You might need to talk about your day with a friend or have some quiet time alone. Prepare yourself for this possibility, and maybe even prepare the people you live with. 

Most people are nervous and shy when they are new to a job, but it does get better! 

Find out more about Self care and mindfulness.


A workplace mentor is someone that takes on a supportive role, sharing their skills, experience and knowledge with you to help you to succeed at work.    

A mentor can:

  • Help you with socialisation and on-the-job support
  • Be a professional role model
  • Provide honest, specific and consistent feedback to support your development
  • Help you set goals, however large or small, and help you work towards achieving your goals.

You may benefit from having a mentor at work, especially when you first start a job, and you can talk to your provider and employer about that.

Find out more about Autism@Work mentors.

Work preference assessments

During your meetings with your employment consultant they may ask you some questions using the Individual Work Preference Assessment (IWPA) to gain insight into your work preferences, strengths and working styles. The IWPA can be used as a way of understanding any sensory, interpersonal or communication needs you may have at work. You can complete the IWPA independently, have someone you trust help you with it, or it can be done with your employment consultant.

The assessment tool is really a structure for the employment consultant to have a conversation and learn more about you. There are no right or wrong answers and you don’t have to answer every question. What is more important is that your employment consultant has conversations with you to learn about your needs and work preferences.

There is a long and short version and you can choose which form you would prefer to complete.

The completion of the IWPA is optional. If the questionnaire is difficult or causes you any stress whatsoever you should not complete it.

If you do complete the IWPA your employment consultant will use the information gained from you to create a work profile for you to take to future employers. The work profile will be a document that details your identified needs and preferences within a work environment. This document is your document and should not contain anything that you do not want in it. It can be updated over time to remain current and relevant, and should only be given to others with your (and/or your guardian’s) approval.

Refer also to the workplace adjustment profile and discuss with your manager.

Training resources

Different work skills

Workplace manners

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