For people with ADD, finding a rewarding job can be a challenge. Certain ADD traits-such as creativity and high levels of energy — can be advantageous in the workplace. But impulsivity, a lack of focus, and problems with organization and time management can make it very difficult.
How can ADDers find happiness and success on the job? Wilma Fellman, author of Finding a Career That Works for You, says to find work that relates to your interests and strategies that help you work productively.
ADDitude: What kind of work is best for people with ADD?
Wilma Fellman: Certain occupations are off-limits— being a commercial pilot, for example. But there is an incredible range of occupations, including some, like accounting and scientific research, that are actually good choices for ADDers.
Think about your interests—the more passionate you are about a job, the less likely it is that your symptoms will get in the way. When they do interfere — as they almost certainly will — odds are, you’ll be able to find an accommodation to make things easier.
ADDitude: What should ADDers consider when choosing a job?
WF: One of the most important things is the way you process information: Do you like to think quietly about a particular problem until a decision crystallizes? These people, whom I call “internal processors,” generally don’t do well in jobs that require lots of teamwork and brainstorming. At the other end of the spectrum are “external processors,” who prefer to talk to other people before finally settling on a solution.
Are you a “sprinter” or a “plodder”? Sprinters like to take on a project, give it their all, and quickly move on to a new one. They enjoy having closure at the end of each day, and they get bored if they have to keep working on the same thing for a long time. If you’re a sprinter, you might enjoy being a dentist.
This article comes from the December 2006/January 2007 issue of ADDitude.