I Have a Dream... Job

If it's legal, and you can support yourself doing it, and you love it, DO IT.
Treating ADHD Blog | posted by Bill Mehlman | Monday May 19th - 10:07am
Filed Under: ADHD Career Paths

I worked for three years for a very clever, very wealthy, self-made man who had reduced the rules for successful conduct of one's life into a handful of hortatory maxims. These included "Control your own destiny," "Communication solves all problems" and "Don't fight the tape." The first two explain themselves, but the last one might not evoke a usable image for those of you who grew up with computers.

Before Quotron, and then Bloomberg superannuated stock tickers, they could be found in any brokerage or financial services office. Operating on telegraph lines, they provided the closest thing available to real-time reporting available in those days. They became an icon of capitalism (and now you know the genesis of the "ticker tape parade" which is now the "waste basket parade" because Bloomberg monitors are too expensive and too heavy to heave out the window onto the head of the Super Bowl winners). The import of "don't fight the tape" was not to move against the flow of public opinion. If everyone wants creamed spinach for a vegetable, don't buy a ton of broccoli rabe.

The hook to ADHD? Don't fight against your own personal inclinations, abilities and pleasures. Mom wants you to be an accountant? Dad favors med school? You feel like you're getting hives if you have to spend more than an hour sitting at a desk? Guess what, Alicia Mae? You're going to be miserable if you listen to them.

It's not impossible — there are blind lawyers (physically — we’re stipulating “morally”) and crippled physicians and amputees who run marathons. But these people presumably want to climb these mountains. If the idea of reading a 3,000-line spreadsheet, or the Restatement (Second) of Contracts, makes you want to kack, don't go down that road.

I once met a tax attorney, a man who made millions of dollars a year as a consultant, and he attributed his success to his massive inertia. "I'm a real dull guy," he said, "but I can go into my office and read the U.S. Tax Code every year, and my work saves corporations tens of millions of dollars. Talk about boring? But I can do it and not many people have that kind of sitzplatz."

Sell Maseratis. Become a cabinet maker. Bake bread. If it's legal, and you can support yourself doing it, and you love it, DO IT. There are enough miserable CPAs and resentful bankers out there. And if something intrigues you, find a way to do it without putting yourself in a situation that makes you miserable.

I knew a guy who supervised the proofreading department of a huge law firm. Hated every minute of it. Was fascinated by real estate, but was too shy to be a broker and couldn't tolerate the idea of an office life. Started studying appraisal and got his license and then, as if a higher power felt he deserved a reward, he found a job as an appraiser, working for a man whose entire practice was valuing golf courses. And did I mention that my friend Duncan was born and raised about five miles from St. Andrew's?

It's out there. Go find it.

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