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Learning Issue Affecting Work Performance

by Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Hi, lately I have been more and more concerned that I am a slow learner and get nervous socially especially in a new crowd of people. This year I started a new job and did not pass my 3 month probation, the reasons given were that I took a long time to get up to speed with the job and still continued to make errors, I work too slowly and am not cut out for sales. This did not come as a shock as I was told this 4 weeks in and that I needed to pick up the pace in order to pass. I came in to work early every day and stayed back late to ensure that I met sales targets and had extra time up my sleeve to check my work and correct any errors. However I still could not acheive as much in a day as my colleagues who did not stay back a second longer. The manager also said that I was very quiet and nobody would know I was in the office if I didn’t keep asking stupid questions all day. This is not an isolated incident as in the past I have had feedback from previous employers that I was below standard and took a long time to get the hang of things and can recall countless other failures in my life even though I tend to put more time and effort into tasks than others. Basically I am trying to find out if I have a learning issue or simply a low iq and how can I go about improving myself? I have been lucky enough to have gotten another job and would really like to stay, I am 4 months into a 6 month probation period and feedback so far has been mostly positive. However I do work longer hours than other people in my office and need to spend more time checking my work and have come accross quite a few errors. I am in sales once again and am down the bottom of the sales stats with other staff who are also new but I do realise my employers will expect my stats to rise in good time. Speaking of time, time management is a major issue for me and is something I have been researching trying different techniques to improve myself. Any advise you have would be much appreciated.

An important first step is to be evaluated to determine whether or not you have a learning disability. For many people, these evaluations take place when they are children but that is not the case for everyone. There are likely many adults struggling with unidentified learning disabilities.

I am not familiar with the disability services in your country. I would encourage you to investigate how you can receive a learning disability evaluation. Check with your local health department, hospital or the government personnel. They may be able to point you in the right direction.

In the United States, individuals with disabilities have certain rights that their employers, by law, have to provide. If it were determined that you have a disability, this would likely help your employer to better understand the difficulties you are facing with your job. It might also mean that your employer would have to alter the job requirements to accommodate your unique needs. This may translate into a job that is tailored to your personal needs and abilities.

Consider discussing your concerns with your employer. It might help to clarify any misunderstandings related to your work performance.

You also mentioned that you feel nervous in front of others. This anxiety may be contributing to problems at work. You may find it beneficial to see a therapist. Therapists are trained to teach people how to deal with anxiety and many other problems. In addition, the therapist might also help you to improve your time management and organizational skills. Gaining these skills would very likely improve your work performance. It might also increase your confidence level.

Below are links to two websites that provide resources for adults with disabilities. Some of the information provided on these websites are geared toward American citizens but there is general information that is universally applicable. I hope this helps. Please take care.

National Dissemination Center for Children With Disabilities

Learning Disabilities Association of America

Dr. Kristina Randle

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