How Not to Lose Your Job When You’ve Got ADHD

Balance the work, the hobbies, the symptoms of adult attention deficit. Simple as that. I think.
ADHD & the City | posted by Jane D.
Jane D.

My life as I envisioned it, a high-flying foreign correspondent, a Devil Wears Prada-like editor, flashed and crashed yesterday before my eyes.

Yesterday was a chlorine-packed day of work at the new part-time job, where I spent a record nine hours at the pool screaming to nine- and 10-year-olds.

"Come on, kick harder."

"Keep your legs together!"

"High elbow when you stroke!"

Even that was night and day to the horrendous class the day before, with the adults. In the deep end—20 yards and 6 feet deep—two of them freaked out. One looked like she was hyperventilating as she clung to the wall. She stared at me suspiciously when I told her it would all be fine.

Little did I know that it was also progress report day. No one had mentioned it to me! (Shoot, next time I should read my emails at work.) Once again I was reminded of the nagging symptoms of my adult attention deficit disorder (ADD/ADHD).

In the water, the ongoing problems of ADHD escape me. The forgetfulness, the doubt, the chorus of apology.

Now, with my passions tied to a paying gig, I knew I needed to learn to manage the “disorder” if I wanted to stick around for a while.

Luckily, this assistant teacher who helps me out in the class quickly filled them out and handed me a batch. But I've been suffering from senility lately, and can't seem to remember any of the names of the students.

I have seven kids in one class, three in the other, and four in the third class, and after a while they all look the same to me. (I know that's a horrible thing to say.) But the kids are young enough where I can ask them numerous times what their names are, without having them look at me as if I am an idiot.

It is easier dealing with children than with, say, the colleagues at the last workplace, because they actually fear me and listen to me. I feel like I am in control here. I don't need to constantly apologize or make excuses for ADHD behaviors.

Finally, after a long day of teaching, I met with Priscella, a woman on the swim team who is a hardcore fitness buff. She runs, bikes, swims, and does like 1,000 push-ups a day. We met at the pool to do a "hardcore workout" today.

Priscella had the entire workout written down. At one point, I was exhausted and tried to cheat by lopping off two laps out of a 200 fast free, and she scolded me and made me make up the laps.

I do well with co-workers and people like Priscella, who are straightforward, who light the fire under me and set me moving forward.

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