Contact your counselor at the Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired (SBVI) to tell them about your job. If you do not have a SBVI counselor, you may be eligible for services to help you at work. Contact the SBVI unit at the Office of Rehabilitation Services at 401-222-2300.
Discuss with your employer any job accommodations, including assistive technology that you will need on the job. The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) website is a good resource if you or your employer needs information or assistance. An additional resource is your SBVI counselor.
Determine how you will travel to and from work. Schedule transportation in advance if needed.
Employees are expected to be on time—every day! If you are unsure of how long it will take to travel to and from your new job, make a few trial runs before you start. Travel at the time you would expect to leave your home to arrive at work on time
New employees are expected to be well-groomed and dressed appropriately. Ask about the company’s dress code before your first day. Did you know some businesses have “Casual Fridays?” That means you can dress down a bit, but still need to be appropriate for the job.
Memorize your Social Security number so you can fill out any forms required.
First Week on the Job:
You will need to complete employee paperwork either before or on the first day of work. Have two forms of personal identification with you. Bring an identification card with a picture, such as a driver’s license, state ID card, school ID, or your Passport. Bring a second form of identification such as a social security card or birth certificate.
Remember as many names as possible, especially your supervisors and co-workers in the immediate area.
Learn about any pre-determined lunch or break times, and stick to the schedule. Use this time to begin to connect socially with your co-workers.
Start becoming familiar with the company policies, written and unwritten.
Ask questions. It is typical to have questions when starting a new job. If something is unclear or you need assistance, speak to your supervisor.
First Month on the Job:
Keep in contact with your VR Counselor. Your counselor can help problem solve if you experience challenges that affect job retention.
New employees should expect to be closely supervised as they learn and develop skills specific to their job. Make sure to ask questions right away when there is something you do not understand.
In the first month, an employee develops a work reputation. By working hard and being reliable, you can make a favorable impression.
You will be expected to know company policies, written and unwritten.
By the end of the first month, you will be expected to know the majority of your co-workers by name, and the positions they hold.
Know when to request assistance, and when and how to decline it. Well-meaning people sometimes offer unneeded assistance, and it is important to respond politely and respectfully.
Understand the company’s policies regarding probationary periods and performance evaluations so you can begin to prepare for your review.
First Year on the Job:
Primary job responsibilities should be second nature by now.
Employers and co-workers expectations will change over time. Most expect to help during the “break-in” period, but will rely on you to work independently once you have learned the ropes.
You will be expected to be self-directed and find productive things to do even in slow times. Offer to assist newly-hired employees.
Be willing to expand your work skills through any training classes offered by the employer, local colleges, or in the community.
Prepare for a performance evaluation around the end of your first year. If none is scheduled, consider asking for a review. Make sure to refer to your responsibilities and accomplishments on the job. You can also diplomatically make a case for a salary increase if the timing seems appropriate.