Each of us with ADHD has characteristics which manifest differently. Have you ever been able to parlay your particular unique set of skills, talents, and challenges into a job or career field which has fulfilled your personal ADHD and/or lifestyle needs?
Yes? Let's hear about it!!
No? Let's hear your thoughts too!
We've all faced it, having ADD is tough! Holding on to a steady job with ADD is tougher! (Believe me, I know!)
However, every job (as everything in life) requires a certain degree of 'organization' & planning, you can't get away from it! I think the 'trick' is to find a career that emphasizes the 'strengths' of ADD, & minimizes the 'weaknesses'. Certain careers do require the skills that ADD types seem to have their strengths in: creativity, working with people, the arts, counseling, social work. etc.
I suggest that one take the following two tests:MEYERS-BRIGGS INVENTORY TYPE, this test assigns you a 4 letter code according to your personality type. Then shows career choices for your particular code. (I think most ADD people test out as strong 'intuitive' or 'N' types). FOX INTEREST INVENTORY, this test matches your skill sets & preferences with successful people in various careers. The similarity of your preferences with theirs, guides you towards a successful career field.
Any 'career counseling service' (private, city, state, university) should offer these tests.
The test results should allow you to focus your energies into a career choice that is worthwhile and satisfying for you.
As to 'coping' with ADD on the job (& in life), (I say 'coping' because there are no 'silver bullet' cures) I think you've got to take a 'multi pronged' approach:
1. Medications, try them! (all have some negative 'side effects', there's no 'miracle drug' I know of) so you may have to try several or switch from time to time for them to be effective.
2. Counseling/Support Groups: Find a good psychologist, psychiatrist, physician or LCSW who has ADD experience & join a local support group- look on the CHADD website for one in your area.
3. Make Lists! I know it sounds simplistic - but WRITE THINGS DOWN! Unfortunately, us with ADD can not rely on just our 'memory' to get us by, so get a note pad, clip board or 'daytime', any organizer that works for you.
4. Live Healthy! Exercise, get enough sleep, maintain a healthy diet, have a good social network. If you have an addiction (I think ADD people are prone to addictions) join a 12 step group. Also, if you lucky enough to find, or to have, a 'significant other', who loves & accepts you for who you are (ADD and all) you're really ahead of the game.
5. GO EASY ON YOURSELF. Many of us who have lived with ADD have had our share of criticisms from parents, teachers, bosses, co-workers, etc. It's easy for us to internalize these criticisms and view ourselves as 'unworthy' individuals. With the recent 'enlightenment' and recognition of ADD as a valid disability we know that we are not inherently 'bad' people. So, don't 'get down' on yourself for making a simple 'mistake' - it's not the end of the world- no matter what anyone else thinks - you know that you are a good person, just a little 'different'!
I have a workplace that most people would not believe. I am a Meteorological and Oceanographic Analyst for the US Marine Corps. My job has learned that I produce outstanding work when my ADHD doesnt get the best of me. My boss describes me as 2 things. The first is that my focus is like a laser when I start working but more like a shotgun shell towards the end. Two is that Im like a puppy dog who chews on the floor when he is bored. I have had people try to capitalize on my needs and I shine. My conduct isnt the best because of my inability to focus at times and as a result I dont get things done that I say I will do. My shop is much more forgiving than most. Now that I have started my medication things are making things easier. Slowly, but surely.
Look foward to talking with everyone
I'm ADHD with Learning Difficulties and very limited long and short term memory. I have been employed..... wait for it .....as a Library Assistant for the past 15 years. For the life of me I really don't know why I am in this position. For many years I have fumbled through... until I got to a point where I couldn't take it any more. (At that stage in my life I didn't know what was wrong with me I just new that working in a Library was far beyond me.) So I handed in my resignation. But to my shock my supervisor asked me not to leave. I didn't tell her my real reason for wanting to leave only that I was having family problems. So she told me she would decrease my hours. And I'm still there.
Having ADHD and LD in a library are very challenging and soul wrenching at times, but I think having LD makes me more willing to please and I give 200% to my work, I think (I know) I'm trying to compensate for my lack of intellect.
So working in an industry that is based on knowledge takes a lot of skill, skill of deligating in my case. As you can imagine I work with people that have very high IQs, and being a Library Assistant allows me to use the Librarians when things get too difficult. Most Librarians have so much knowledge, and confidence that they can't wait to flaunt their skills. So I happily go back to my shelving and customer service and what I do best, and leave the real thinking to the experts.
So in answer to your Poll 'Yes' I agree I have found the right career for me, or rather it found me. As for my lifestyle not having a high IQ hasn't affected my ability to be financially secure. So in that way I feel rather smart.
I'm not as easily intimidated now days as I use to be and not having a high IQ doesn't make me feel any less of a person now.
For 34 years I felt that I was all alone and thanks to this message board and all the wonderful people and inspiring stories I know I'm not.
I hope this makes sense.
Thanks for listening
I found the job I coped most easily in was customer service on the phones. After a few years I hated the job but the jobs was great because you had someone on the other end of the phone that had a problem, and you had to find a solution for them in several minutes and that was that. Done and dusted.
You didn't need a great deal of concentration because the work was already chunked for you. Unfortunately ...it's not very well paid or in the long term interesting.
One of the other jobs I have found to come 'easy' for me is cooking for the same reasons. You have a task that can be completed in one sitting. I can do lots of juggling within that. ADDers seem to fall down when the project requires effort over an extended period.
Hello all, this is very interesting.
BC (before children) I was in Retail Banking. While getting there on time was always a challange, the ability to move up (whether in my own office or to another) keep me hopping. Every time I got a promotion there was always another job to learn & move up to, hence I started as a drive-up teller, then regular teller, back-up head teller, head teller, CSR1, CSR2, Assistant Branch Manager & then I had a baby & came back as a part time floating Branch Manager.
After having my 2nd child I quit. Now with my youngest in Kindergarten I started my own business. I do bookkeeping for several small businesses. This means I can work at night (my best time) there is no office for me to go to so I am not late. I can procrastonate all I want & do my a last minute crunch at 2:00am if necessary! And can bounce from client to client w/o them knowing nothing is ever finished until I run out of starting work.
They say the top 3 professions for ADD adults are chef, emergency room doctor/nurse, & carpenter.
How 'bout carpenter...
A lot of folks think this blue collar job is beneath them. Actually, a good carpenter is one who creates a piece of art. How many people contemplate what goes into building a structure. I think many ADD people are creative people.
in carpentry, you are moving contantly, and using your mind to create. Not only that, it pays well. There are studies out that prove that the part of the mind that a person uses the most actually increases in size--expands--the longer you use it, and of course, this means the more adept the person becomes at this task, whether it be mathamatics, music; whatever. In my experience, the more accomplished one becomes, the more satisfaction you experience, even in small areas.
I'm in agreement, nothing is going to be 100%.
I work for a large corporation where creativity is not an option. I only found out recently that I had ADD (I am 30), but everything now makes sense to me as to why I was better at certain things than others. On the surface, I am a highly successful person with a good salary and great education history, but I had always felt like I was not supposed to be here since I thought I wasn't as smart as everytone else.
Within my current job, which I have been wanting to leave for years (I am unchallenged), I realized that I can use my awareness of my ADD to excel. I am working with my boss (who doesn't know I have ADD), on giving me proiects which will fit into my ADD mind.
I think many jobs, if approached correctly, can be looked at as "ADD friendly." However, I certainly believe there are some that I need to stay away from. I will not do well in a job that is monotonous, repetitive, has many distractions, and is unchallenging.
I need variety, quiet, autonomy, productivity, deadlines, pressure, and set assignments and goals. Leave something open-ended, and forget it - it will never get done.
Hi everyone! This is my very first post and I am a little scared about all of this. Just been reding through some of your posts and its amazing to hear of so many people that sound just like myself. I am a student nurse (failing miserabley!) and have recently started to seek help for adhd. My head is in such a mess today as uni have asked me to take time out due to the amount of work I seem to have missed/lost/not had the motivation to do. Just by reading what some of you have said I really don't know what to do about my career. I have always been told by others that I am intellegent but have never realised this myself and just cant get my head round anything at the moment. I related to what spacegal said about needing variety, pressure, deadlines asignments and goals otherwise my attention just goes and I get nothing done at all except a visit to the nearest pub or off licence. I dont know if I am on the wrong course or not.
Somebody help please!! Frusrated 25 year old
Hi Ryan1950: Thanks for the words of encouragement. I really appreciate it. I found a support group that meets on Wednesdays and I'm going to try it out.
Sorry to hear about your poor job evaluation; however <excellent technical skills, thinks outside the box> it sounds like you have all the weaknesses AND strengths typical to ADD. Unfortunately, you happen to have a personality difference hardwired into your brain that is not valued in contemporary society, thus a "disorder". Furthermore, one that is little understood as it manifests in adults. I'm sure people have been ostracized throughout the ages for strange new conditions that had just been discovered but of which we are quite understanding today.
You and your son deserve more understanding from your husband. Medical professionals are well aware of the difficulty of diagnosing ADD, and don't often get "talked into it". Furthermore, even accepting that you have ADD, many folks say things such as "Oh, yeah, we all do a little, right?" WRONG. Folks don't understand the depth to which ADD colors one's world; that it's at the core of personality. For a less judgemental discussion of ADD, read Thom Hartmann's "ADD: A Different Perception [The "Hunter in a Farmer's World" theory]". Personally, I have valued my whole life a unique perceptiveness and the ability to synthesize wide ranging interests into a coherent whole. The same interests that many "Non-ADDers" see as mutually exclusive.
At any rate, I suggest you drag your husbands butt to your psychiatrist or a counselor's office to have them educate him a little bit about ADD. (Uh, make sure you see a professional who knows what their talking about first--they may be rare in some areas of the country).
Hang in there! I would recommend you continue to pursue whatever resources you have for treatment; a doctor or counselor to get evaluated or tested (whether through a family doctor, the school, public resources, or whatever), learn more about ADD, check out books at the library, etc. A diagnosis and specific direction in dealing with the obstacles of ADD can be especially crucial in an educational environment. If you can finish school, you may certainly make an excellent nurse with ADD; multi-tasking, interacting with people, quick-paced work environment, kinesthetic (intuitively using your body and sensory information; moving around alot--as opposed to plopping in one spot all day) all are common strengths for many ADD-ers. Just a suggestion--try to to chill on the pub action; though self-medicating can bring tremendous short-term relief for ADD, it can aggravate things in the long term and even contribute to the development of comorbid conditions (depression, bi-polar, etc.)
Also, if you're in a real pinch, try EXCERCISING every morning, or setting some other kind of rigid schedule for yourself (meet someone for lunch each day, etc.), just to keep your feet on the ground.
Unfortunately we with ADD have to search for treatment sort of like a blind man having to follow a roadmap to get to the eye doctor's.
Again, hang in there and know that with perseverence, and the humility to ask the right people for a lot of help, it can get better.
Thanks tactile jones... I was having such a bad day yesterday but am feeling much more positve today. I have been in contact with my gp on a daily basis since discovering the adhd and am waiting on an appointment with the specialist which will be in the next couple of weeks. I started taking ritalin a few days ago so I am and will remain tee total!!! Thanks for your insight into my nursing... I think that too but let one persons oppinion get me so down about it. I have to learn to have my own mind and not let others grind me down! Its trying to stick to the one thought though thats driving me mad... tomorrow I'll probably want to do something else!!! aaarrrggggg!!!
cheers for the support!
This is interesting. My son has ADHD, 14 years old and keeps wondering what he wants to do when he's older.
We keep telling him he has lots of time to go yet and as long as he is not sure stay in education.
He thinks he would like to be a nurse or a counsellor - something to help people just like him.
What do you think? Good move or not?
From what I read, ADD manifests slightly differently in every individual, and there are successful people with ADD in almost every career. That said, I do seem to hear many of the same strengths/preferences in the literature and on these forums. People with ADD often excel in more interactive environments, where they're on their feet and there's contact with a lot of people throughout the day (i.e. nursing). I read of one suspected add-er who left his high-paying desk job to build engines because he had a sort of "tactile jones", or urge to work with his hands. On the other hand, some add-ers require a lot of quiet and isolation. In my humble opinion, I think perhaps a difference might be the "nurture" factor in how people have learned to cope with ADD. Some may have learned to keep a quiet environment thereby keeping as many details under their control as they can, giving a sense of control over these details, which might be overlooked if things get too complicated/frenetic (my stepfather, who takes Strattera, is like this). Others seem to learn to cast off concern for the fact that they may appear to others "not to know whether they're coming or going" and take fast-paced jobs where their inherent multi-tasking abilities can shine (trading a few slip-ups like lost car keys for a tremendous amount of productivity). Most seem to find some kind of balance between these modes, but the latter seems, again in my humble opinion, to be the more natural fit. At least for me. Of my several careers (spoken like a true ADD-er) so far the most fulfilling has been directing a residential camp: Making announcements 3 times a day in front of 150 kids and a couple of dozen staff and teachers; Being ALL OVER a 50-acre area of buildings throughout the day (and sometimes up the valley through the other 450 acres); communicating through walkie-talkies, coordinating transportation for day trips, requisitioning the maintenance staff for emergency repairs or safety issues, taking a sick child to the hospital at 3 am, getting bats out of cabins, coming up with an alternate schedule for all of camp on the spot due to inclement weather, etc., etc. Of course, at the end of each session, I'd need to switch into hyper-organize mode, taking some personal space to catch up on laundry, do my banking & bill paying, prepare for the next session, etc.
People with ADD often are GREAT multi-taskers, as long as that doesn't just refer to shuffling 20 open files/spreadsheets/what-have-you at the same desk all day.
As to nursing, see my comment above and my comment to Kirsty a few posts back. As to counseling, I say PERFECT. He WILL have to use learned, non-innate orgazitional skills to keep his files/billing/appointments & whatnot in order, and this may be an ongoing challenge, but his value to clients would be immeasureable. Anyone who has lived with ADD would be of tremendous value to others who have had to learn not to just follow their "instincts" but to strive daily to maintain some kind of equilibrium (just about anyone with some sort of mental disorder.)
I was finally diagnosed with ADD a little over a year ago, and even then I had to vigorously pursue an understanding of it independently. My psychiatrist is not very knowledgeable about it but (being in the local society magazine as one of (*my city*)'s "Top Docs" for three years running) she is not inclined to admit that. Fortunately, I was recently able to locate a therapist with ADD and, right now, this woman is my hero. What a relief to finally find someone who can relate to "what it's like to be me", who will advocate for me (she helped me talk to my doc about the correct prescription), and who believes that someone of my intelligence deserves guidance in accessing the tools and resources needed not to just get by but to excel in life.
Before I was diagnosed with ADD, I used to joke that our pets are much smarter than us: we were meant to either hunt, eat, or play all day until we collapse in exhasution for a few hours, only to hunt/eat/play some more. (Grown-ups, maybe one more behavior in there.) It's taken me a few years and a few hard knocks to learn the value of "civilized life". It was only then that I discovered that maybe I needed to change a few things and furthermore that my tendencies/preferences were considered a "disorder"...
C'est la vie.
Incidentally, my mother is a certified substance abuse counsolor, and, at 60 years old, is finishing up her master's degree in psychology. She was taking a class taught by one of the area's more ADD-knowledgeable professionals, and as they learned about Adult ADD she had an "AHA!" moment. When she got out of class, she called me from her cell phone and (knowing that I had sought treatment for "depression" on and off for seven years) said "I think I know what's wrong with you!!" (Gee, uh, thanks mom, I think).
Also, incidentally, I am quite sure she has ADD (though not diagnosed), but has overcome most of it's obstacles (not without a few hard knocks of her own) through a lifetime of self-improvement. She is a good therapist and is loved by her clients (former narcotics addicts) who tell me what a wonderful person she is whenever I visit her at work. But she still hates to do her "charting". (Comme je disais, C'est la vie).
Another positive aspect to the idea of your son going into counseling is that, I believe, we are at the tip of the iceberg in understanding this phenomenon, and are at the verge of a lot of potential insight, as more and more adults "come out of the ADD closet". I think that as stigma, bias, misinformation, and misdiagnosis decrease, ADD will come to be seen as no more a disorder than flat-footedness or near-sightedness (both of which, if untreated and especially if misunderstood, could surely trip you up).
Unlike, say, diabetes or immune disorders, ADD is no less adaptive for survival than NOT having ADD until it is put within the context of our modern economic system and contemporary social mores. In fact, I would argue that while working in an ADD-tailored environment (camp) I was healthier, physically, than most of my peers. Unfortunately, the world extended beyond our gates, and I was lacking in some basic skills required for "self sufficiency". Funny, though, that if all our modern luxuries and conveniences were suddenly jeopardized by, say, a meteor striking the earth (and yet our atmosphere was still livable), I'd wager to say that it would be many of the ADD-ers who would have to teach everybody else to survive. (Now if a meteor does strike the earth I had nothing to do with it, I swear).
I personally have never felt more in my element, or naturally adept, than out on a five-day, 30-mile backpacking/camping trip, or climbing the Flatiron Mountains in Boulder, Colorado. Now grocery shopping or balancing my checkbook, THOSE are challenges that take real courage, and I'm not kidding!
Hopefully, in some idyllic future, ADD characteristics will be appreciated as one more addition to the spectrum of human strengths. Just as the doctor is not expected to entertain us and the actor is not expected to perform surgery, hopefully society will become more willing to recognize our strengths and to help us fnd a place for them. The more of us that can coherently identify them ourselves, the better.
Just as a side note, an aunt was recently sharing her evaluation (as a speech and drama teacher) with me. It said something along the lines of: "Creative. Dedicated. Hard-working. Thinks "outside the box". Interacts well with students. Needs to work on organization, preparedness of lesson plans, classroom order, strict adherence to curriculum", etc. My response was: "Outside what box? There's a box?" I'd sure be curious to see what the inside of this box everyone keeps talking about looks like. That, to me, sums up the essence of ADD, and the challenge for treatment professionals who often think we're intentionally ignoring "the box".
Well, sorry for the long and winding post, but I hope it leads to a few doors for someone. (Long and winding? Me?). They shouldn't let me near a keyboard.
For all of the personal research I've done in the last year, and as a lifetime of growing up in a huge family brimming-with-ADD comes into focus, I feel like I ought one day to study it professionally myself. For now, though, I'll settle for serenity and stability, with a realistic dose of planned adventure when possible.
I grew up on a fishing boat and always did extremely well commercial fishing (not the cast pole and hook type, but the hardcore Perfect Storm type). Because my ADHD allows me to be very quick, not need that much sleep, and be in a million places at once, I became a captain of my vessel at age 18. Although I'm now in college, I still make my money for school working on a halibut longliner in Alaska where the work is extremely difficult but pays about 00 a day.
good to have you on board, just a minute, you are not alone,there are endless possibilities for help in your situation. All you need to do is reach outside yourself. keep looking, it works, you are reading the living proof that a little creative thinking and action. with the help of those who know and understand the real challanges, life can be managable and enjoyed. keep asking those questions that you have. I have been searching since 98' and have got thus far with the support of many fellow ADHDers.
Right now you need to unload all those fears so keep chatting.
This is my first time replying to a discussion.
I have been an HR Information Systems Administrator with a large corporation, for the last 2 1/2 years (been with the company for 6 years). This is the first job or company that I have remained in for more than a year. I enjoy the position that I am in, everyday is different, challenging, and rewarding. This past year, however, knowing your job inside and out is not enough, and I have been struggling.
I recently had my annual performance review and it wasn't bad, but also wasn't good. I was on target but just barely and this is the first time I had so much negativity on my appraisal. It started off good, "above target on job knowledge, excellent technical skills, thinks outside the box, etc", but then it went downhill, "distracted, rushed, unable to organize & prioritize, needs constant reminding, lack of communication, she is negatively misinterpreted by others when her intention is to help, poor listening skills, etc." Last years review was so good, what happened between then and now? I'm in the same position as last year.
After I leave the review, I want to quit just thinking how hard I work and the extra that I do to make sure whatever or whoever's project I'm working on. The long hours and dedication I put in I felt were not appreciated, but then a coworker who new that my son was recently diagnosed with ADHD, approched me and asked if it ever crossed my mind that I too might have ADHD. It did find similarities, but it is like watching the news while your sick and they are speaking of some epidemic and (3) of the (5) symptoms you have and then all the sudden you think that is what you've got. Plus with the negative reaction I got from family and friends with my sons diagnosis, I didn't want to go through that again.
Anyway, I went to see a phychiatrist and I took my performance review along. I thought it would be a good insight to see how someone else sees me. Well, it turns out, I too have ADHD now I'm on medication. My husband thinks I'm crazy and that I convinced the doctor that I have ADHD. He was the same way when my son was diagnosed.
I'm going to speak with my manager and see if I can get some type of accomodation. I can't afford to lose my job. Without a degree in anything, I would have to work my way up again to this position that I enjoy so much and that I'm, for the most part, good at.
Sorry this is so long. Just frustrated. Thanks for reading.crowzhome38098.4141782407
funny you should mention quiet, autonomy,set assignments, targets, that is what seems to suit me. i'm adhd with dyslexia and dysbraxia so handwriting is prob.
I am in my 50s and only in the last 5 years got a handle on the real challanges that i contend with. i am a dad of one adhd son plus a husband to a great lady who patiently tolerated my variety of moods. it is a real release to come across this forum and share with others. I seem to be great at short contact customer relations type work. I ran a customer car park for a bank for many years and was out in all weathers. faced many human situations and over the years had many different experiences. at the moment i am doing a business appraisal programme on idea i've had for years. glad to be one of many again.
I think a Territory Manager or Account Executive are good carrers for an ADD/ADHD adult. Sales is always changing, competitive, creative and the time goes by quickly.
Wow Spacegal! I could have written your entire reply myself! My exact situation as well.
It seems once I have learned how to do my job, I no long have any desire to do it. No challenge, no wanna work!
Plus, things are really changing at my company and now we have to work on several things at one time. Several boring things at one time. Not good! Therefore, I'm getting nothing done. I can't start any of them, and when I do manage to start them, I can't get them done!
I finally went to see a psychologist and I've seen him 3 times. I have an appointment with the psychiatrist next Monday to see about meds. I sure hope she can do something for me before I get fired!
I have been really struggling with this one. I enjoy doing very technical work. I have a degree in computers,Lots of certifications, doing something I really love and have a real knack for. Problem is it seems my supervisors never seem to love me and for all the same reasons you give.
Disorganized, never completing anything without a strict deadline, doing 20 things at once and getting maybe a few done having forgotten about the rest, struggling with large projects because I lost interest once the novelty wore out, procrastinating about work to the point they were not done when asked about them.
Maybe I am in the right career with the wrong employer? I am not sure. But having ADHD really sucks!
People do not understand you are doing your best. They assume you are lazy, an incompetent worker because this is how they behave when they do not give a damm.
i was just recently diagnosed ADHD at the age of 31. i am a resource specialist (teacher) working with elementary kids with a wide range of learning differences. besides having to go to school to get a credential and passing tests, teaching kids is the best job. i can really relate to the kids and have an understanding of how difficult it is to "get it"! school always was such a struggle and it feels great to make a difference in these kids lives.