The meandering path of a ADHD brain on (and off) the job.
by Bill Mehlman
At first glance, copyediting might seem like an excellent vocation for an ADHDan. You sit in a quiet room, all by your lonesome. There are no (non-spousal) distractions. You don't have to worry about interacting with other people. You work until you're tired, or your eyes ache, and then you take a nice break. What could be bad?
Are you mad? It's the worst possible situation. Copyeditors sit in quiet rooms, surrounded by reference material, joined at the hip to their computers. Time passes. You started to check whether Henry II was a Plantagenet. When you come to your senses a half-hour later you've investigated Henry II, Henry IV, Henry Ford, Ford Madox Ford, Elliot Maddox, T.S. Eliot, Thelonious Sphere Monk, checked for the next new episode of Monk (we're suckers for shows about other people's disorders), OCD, OCM, opm (and speaking of other people's money, when is your brother-in-law gonna pay you back?), "Mother-in-Law" by Ernie K. Doe, Ernie Kovacs, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Edsel Ford, Henry Ford II, Henry II... Yup! The author was right, he was a Plantagenet.
And you've just blown forty-five minutes of your work day looking up stuff that's of no possible use to you. Stuff you really don't actually have any interest in. And if you go off on a random walk like this a couple of times a day, you'll find that your deadline for this project hasn't made a corresponding retreat, and you're facing a very long night. Better TiVo that episode of Monk, brother.
Is there a point to all this? I think so. You've got a problem. Your brain dances to a slightly different drummer than the majority of brains. Maybe, even if your parents have always wanted you to be a lawyer so that you can join the Fine Old Firm that your great-grandfather founded, you should find something less... boring. Are you actually going to be able to read an entire book on contract law? Or would you be much happier, regardless of what Mom and Dad want, being a landscaper or an auto mechanic? It's your life, and you should find something to do with it that makes you happy, and that you can do well.
PS: So how do I get through my days of copyediting? Simple. Rent. Food. Insurance. Tuition. Not the highest and best of motivations, I assure you. Not having a choice is not the same as making a choice.