Get a Head Start On Your Summer Job

The time to look for your summer job is NOW!


Filed Under: Summer for ADHD Kids, Teens and Tweens with ADHD, ADHD Career Paths

Summer Jobs, Part 2

Then again...

In a perfect world, everyone would have a job they love. But, this isn't a perfect world, which explains why some people have to work at McDonald's. Actually, one could argue that the fact that McDonald's even exists is in itself proof of an imperfect universe, but I digress.

If you can't find a job that connects to something you love to do, then you might consider looking for a job that provides the money to do what you want to do. Knowing that your hard work is going to result in a better car, some new clothes or even just some extra cash to blow on the weekend can make the workday seem a little more rewarding. Instead of focusing on the work, focus on the benefits that come with having a job.

Thinking about the positive things that your job can bring will help you appreciate the job and can even provide the motivation to make it through those long afternoons when you're pushing shopping carts around the parking lot.

Your AD/HD: To Tell or Not To Tell

Having a job isn't like going to school. Your employer probably knows even less about AD/HD than your teachers do. What's more, you're being paid to work and people tend to expect you to stay on task. This can be a real challenge for someone who has AD/HD and is all the more reason why you should find some way to keep yourself motivated.

You're not required to tell your employer that you have AD/HD. My advice: keep your mouth shut. If you were going to spend your life in this particular job, then you might think about saying something about your AD/HD and what can be done to help. But, for a summer job, it's just not worth the hassle.

Sometimes the best information is no information at all. If you tell your employer that you have AD/HD, then you run the very real risk of having that information used against you - even if your employer doesn't mean to. People tend to find what they are looking for, and if you say, "I have AD/HD," then your employer may start looking for you to be wasting time and causing trouble. Fight the impulse to talk about it and just focus on doing the job.

There are some accommodations that you can make for yourself that can help you compensate for your AD/HD. Learn to repeat instructions back to the person who is talking to you, like this:

Employer: Why don't you fold those boxes and put them on the second shelf?

You: OK, I'll fold the boxes and put them on the second shelf.

For longer directions and other important information, make a habit of carrying a notepad and a pen and writing it down. Some people like to use a Palm Pilot to accomplish this same thing, but I've found that notepads are cheaper and I don't feel as bad when I lose them. Use whatever works best for you.

What about medications?

The day you start a new job is not the time to decide to stop taking meds. If you function better on Ritalin or some other medication, then do everybody a favor and stick with it over the summer just like you would during the school year. Be discreet about any medications that you may need. Employers don't like to see their employees popping pills at work, especially when that pill is a Schedule II drug that has a reputation for being abused, like Ritalin, Dexedrine or Adderall. You can avoid this by using one of the once-daily medications.

Drug Testing

Depending on your job, you may be required to take a drug test. AD/HD medications will show up as "hot" for amphetamine use. This could cause problems unless you know how to handle it.

If your employer requires you to "fill up the cup," then be sure that you have a note from your doctor explaining that you are taking medications that will probably show up on the drug test. You don't have to show this note to your employer. But, you will need to show it to whomever is running the test, usually the doctor or some other health care worker. As long as you have the proper documentation to show that you are taking this medication under a physician's care, you probably won't have any problems.

Attitude Is Everything

Most people who are miserable in one place are going to be miserable in most places. Try to have a positive attitude about your summer job and the people that you're working with. Little things like saying, "Hello" and smiling at people when you come to work can make a big difference in how people feel about you and how you feel about your job.

A summer job is a great way spend your time and make some cash. Avoid the rush and start your job search today!

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