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|Thread : Career Advice - Especially From Those With Advanced Degrees/Specializations|
|13 May 2008 @ 4:30 PM|
Wed 16th Apr 2008
Threads: 1 Posts: 0
Career Advice - Especially From Those With Advanced Degrees/Specializations
I have read the threads with interest since my diagnosis of ADHD inattentive type several months ago. I am currently 25, male, a law student who just completed his first year. Given my poor performance, I am considering and almost certain I will opt for another career path. I have not gotten testing but I may also have a central auditory processing disorder. I did complete pre-med back in undergrad, so that is a possible field to get into. I was wondering if some of the people here have experience in the following fields, and could provide some guidance or opinion regarding these paths and my abilities: medicine, health administration/policy, environmental law.
My weaknesses as shown by law school were: 1) organization, 2) writing quickly, 3) doing westlaw research without guidance, 4) shifting my attention from subject to subject. My standard test scores have always been in the top 2-3 %, but that is a product of work ethic and exam practice. For example, I took all 40 practice tests for the LSAT, but was not able to figure out a way to practice for law school essay exams. My strength, obviously, is preparing - as long as I know what it is I have to prepare for. I am also not afraid of a lot of work.
I am considering medical school for psychiatry, a master's in health administration and possibly a phd, or possibly completing law school with a focus on environmental law. Given my horrible first year though, I cannot help but think document review is looming in my future should I continue because usually associates have to do whatever work they are given; they don't choose their specialization. Hence my career change.
At this point, I would like to study something that will maximize my strengths. I have always been a good preparer, and I know a lot of friends and family in med school. The instructions are clear, it's a lot of work but you don't have to pull out things to study, it's right there. Health admin is less strenuous and I have little interest in it, but at this point I feel I could be interested in anything as long as it's clear and I have the opportunity to solve problems.
I hope to hear from anyone who has experience in any of these fields. Thank you.
|13 May 2008 @ 9:13 PM Reply # 1|
Thu 25th Oct 2007
Threads: 18 Posts: 416
Dr. Ned Hallowell
I don't have any first-person experience to share, but I would like to turn you on to Dr. Ned Hallowell, a contributor to ADDitude who has ADD and dyslexia. He's also a wildly successful medical doctor who may have some advice to share with you...
Articles by Dr. Hallowell: http://www.additudemag.com/authorID/7.html
Reach out to Dr. Hallowell here: http://www.additudemag.com/resources/asktheexperts.html
Hope this helps!
|14 May 2008 @ 3:59 PM Reply # 2|
Wed 14th May 2008
Threads: 0 Posts: 3
Try a coach
Have you tried talking to a career/life coach? I'm sure you don't have a lot of extra money being in law school, but talking to a career coach that specializes in ADHD might really help you get started on the right career path for you. You may even find out that you are already on the right path, but just need some helpful tools to get you through the areas that your ADHD hold you back.
I have been in a training class with a wonderful woman, Barbara Luther, who is a Master Certified Coach who specializes in ADHD clients. She is speaking at the ADDA conference in July in MN. Here is her website http://www.windbeneathyourwings.com/ If she is not the right coach for you I know she has many other ADHD coaches that she could recommend.
You are right in trying to figure out your best career path now rather than constantly being frustrated and making multiple career changes that cost you money rather than make you money. Good luck!
|22 May 2008 @ 9:58 AM Reply # 3|
Mon 3rd Mar 2008
Threads: 0 Posts: 8
Finding the Right Career
I am excited for you. If you choose to formally get diagnosed. The information you learn about yourself can play a significant positive role in helping you better understand how to the AD/HD can impact the life you carve out for yourself.
I was diagnosed with high intelligence along with AD/HD and auditory sensitivity when I pursued the nuerological testing because of challenges and failings, again, on the job. I am 57. The school may offer testing at no or limited cost to you as a student. It is worth knowing the true diagnosis. In addition, taking the Strong Inventory assessment of skills and interests might aid you in finding out other careers might suit a person with your interests. It is based solely on interests and gender. Compares your interests with what others in same gender group with your same interests have done for jobs and careers a year into their profession. I found the Strong six top options 5 of the 6 were work I tried in the past, or wanted to try. The recommendations aligned with many of my "hobbies" and dream jobs. Was very helpful information for me to have.
I sought out medication after my diagnosis. The medication allowed me to focus for longer periods of time. In addition I am able to recall more easily and rapidly information I learned in the past. Depending on the career path and education needed that you select, medication for the AD/HD might be an option to consider. I find my daily life more productive and focused than ever in my life. I imagine my desire to pursue advanced degrees would have been easier if I had known I was AD/HD and had medication to assist me channeling the symptoms to my advantage. Even now, as I work from home after being laid off from the job I did not fit, I find the medication makes my life more productive. The use of medication is a disputed remedy. My brother in law, like some, said his son would outgrow his ADD. Seeing as I have spent my entire life with AD/HD and only recently got help. I see his theory as faulty. Once you have it, you always have to manage it. But the life you live, the job you select all contribute to making your life easier or harder on managing the AD/HD.
|1 Jun 2008 @ 8:59 PM Reply # 4|
Sat 31st May 2008
Threads: 11 Posts: 38
You're definitely not alone
I was diagnosed as ADHD 3 times as a kid but everyone thought I "outgrew it" when I learned to cope and started succeeding in school at age 12 (my older brother also has ADHD along with a bunch of other issues, so I was the "easy one"). No one really thought to mention anything in highschool and college, either -- they all thought I knew I had had it, and I just thought I was lazy/lucky in getting through school. I am now getting officially diagnosed (again) at age 25 after having had a really rough first year of graduate school.
Since one of my problems is reading quickly (I'm depressingly slow compared to most of my collegues), I have been doing much rethinking regarding the possibility of finishing my PhD in (what else?) literature. I've been able to keep my grades up ok, but I've been really struggling to keep up the readings (one particularly depressing moment came when I lent an article that I had just spent what felt like forever reading to a colleague, and he emerged from the office about 10 minutes later having had finished it). I've also noticed my procrastination getting worse, and my attention to detail slipping -- consequently my papers are becoming sloppier and sloppier (I have to write them in a foreign language, so grammar is really important), which is not a good sign. I'm very worried about slipping further and further behind and not being able to finish the program. Or finishing it, but ending up with a meaningless degree.The problem is I have no idea what I would do otherwise -- I have lots of interests, but a mish-mosh of work experience (one of my other major areas of weakness has been motivation, so my resume has a few gaps). I've decided to stick with my program at least for the moment, since my grades are ok and I will hopefully now have access to help. I also get to start teaching in the fall, which should give me a better idea of whether an academic job would be right for me in the long run. But I also plan on exploring other options as I go so that I have some kind of backup.
So I guess I just wanted to say that you're definitely not the only one going through this, and thank those who posted suggestions. Good luck!
|6 Aug 2008 @ 11:59 PM Reply # 5|
Thu 3rd Jan 2008
Career Advice for 1L
I strongly encourage you to pick up an environmental law outline (you know, those condensed course outlines that you use to cram for finals each semester in law school) at your nearest bookstore. Purchase the outline and then take it to a place where there is some noise in the background (look for something that resembles office noise, i.e., occasional phones ringing, audible conversations a few doors away, etc., etc.). Grab a seat in your makeshift "office" environment, and start reading the outline. Read it as if you have to know the contents of the first four chapters cold in time to make a presentation by the end of the day. Set your sights on that goal and actually see if you can make it. Don't get up. Or if you do, take into consideration that you need to have the material summarized in your head and in a presentable form by 5 p.m. -- don't miss that deadline.
This exercise may sound extreme; however, I am an attorney, and I fly at the speed of light with respect to everything . . . . except for things that bore me. Environmental law is statutory/regulatory in nature and can be rather dry reading. Talk to some environmental lawyers -- try to get a feel for what their typical work days look like. Take a good look at their personalities, and compare and contrast the same with your own personality traits. Investigate the field now, before you have committed to a 2000 to 2400 annual billable requirement as a 1st year associate in an environmental practice group at a law firm . Talk to some corporate attorneys as well.
Focus on your strengths -- you have ADHD, so you have several strengths that will allow you to fly high above your peers. Identify them. Shape your career around them. And regardless of your GPA or law school class rank, do not forget that you are extremely, extremely bright. I wish you the best.
|11 Aug 2008 @ 6:45 PM Reply # 6|
Sat 26th Apr 2008
Threads: 2 Posts: 19
Be truly yourself ...
I can't add anything to the great advice already posted but thought it might be worth adding my 2 cents about the gifts of ADD. I posted some of this as a reply to another post so apologies if you're reading this again ...
As I have become more 'me' I have enjoyed greater success in my career, my relationships and am so much happier. I work in HR and have unconventional ideas about the world of work but rather than expressing this in my usual 'out there' way, I did a degree instead. I now have an MBA from one of the top 5 business schools with several A+ marks for my research. And I got these not because I am some sort of genius but because my brain works in a strange way and gives me original thoughts that I am not afraid to express. In the wrong situation this is severely career limiting (as I have discovered!) but in the right situation it gets you and A+. Go figure!
I think the worst thing we can do is to strive to be 'normal'. My theory is that 'normal' people have greater tolerance for living and working in situations that don't suit them but that we have very low tolerance for this. Therefore, we need to find out who we are, work hard to be that person and line up all parts of our life with that. Sometimes it requires bold moves e.g. did you train as a lawyer but really want to be a dairy farmer? Do it! Whatever it is that makes you happy allows you to contribute fully to the world. We need to be truly who we are - then we aren't so weird after all.
Remember that the great gift of ADD is the extraordinary ability to focus on things we are intensley interested in and it's greatest handicap is the total inability to concentrate on what does not interest us. For example, I was a chef in award winning restaurants for 12 years and laothed it. I ditched it at the age of 28 to go into IT then fell into HR. I started in HR admin at the tender age of 31 and worked my way into a career I adore. I have never been happier or felt more successful (in my own odd way!).
Good luck with your search - look inside for the answer - it is there.
|11 Aug 2008 @ 8:54 PM Reply # 7|
Sat 31st May 2008
Threads: 11 Posts: 38
Question for Lizzie
What did you dislike about being a chef? The food industry was one of many areas I was considering going into -- or something along the lines of event planning / catering. I've always liked food prep and crafty things--working with my hands is nice (my hyperactivity is limited to my appendages and my mouth), I'm ok with getting messy, and I like having a recognizeable result at the end of the day / hour / whatever...
Just curious as to your thoughts.
|18 Sep 2008 @ 5:07 PM Reply # 8|
Thu 18th Sep 2008
Threads: 0 Posts: 2
don't give up yet!
i know just how you feel. i was diagnosed with ADD when i was 18, and i am currently a 5th year attorney at a satellite office of a 500-attorney firm.
i liked the idea expressed above about creating "artificial deadlines," although i have found that they really don't work that well for me. organization is something that all people with ADD have to struggle with. for me, the key has been keeping everything (to-do list, calendar, shopping lists, goals, long-term projects) in ONE PLACE. that place needs to be with you and accessible at all times, so you can consult it often when you forget things, and so that you can IMMEDIATELY add things that need to be done, as soon as you think of them and before you get a chance to forget. there should also be reminders built in.
one option for those with ADD is www.rememberthemilk.com. you can keep tasks in lists according to where they're going to be done, or in any other way that makes sense (i.e., "work," "school," etc.). the site will send you text messages, IMs, e-mails, or twitter reminders at any time you specify. it integrates with google calendar and you can create a task from anywhere by simply sending an e-mail (even from your phone) with the details.
my favorite (and the one i use religiously) is www.todoist.com. i like it because of its clean interface, and because it has the ability to create sub-tasks, organizing your list in an outline-like manner. then, you can display all the tasks that are due today, or in the next 4 days, or whatever, from all your various projects. you can also create items without checkboxes - i use those for my appointments. you can add links, and it also has a feature that lets you make any gmail message into a task. it will send you as many reminders as you like via e-mail or text message. it has a site specially built for mobile devices, so i just go there on my phone's browser anytime i need to add something.
if you use google calendar, that also has a function that will send you any number of text messages to remind you. also, when you become a lawyer, you've got a secretary who's job it is to be organized FOR you. they can keep your calendar and task list, remind you when things are due, and generally be a pain about things like reporting your billable hours.
i also understand how difficult it is to do westlaw research without getting distracted - the ways you can branch out on little tangents are endless! i'd often find myself in law school, an hour into my research, trying to remember what the heck question i was actually trying to answer. but this shouldn't dissuade you from the practice of law, for two reasons. First, you can get around that. Set one of your reminder systems (whether google calendar, outlook, or just an alarm on your phone) to go off every 20 minutes. at the end of the 20 minutes, stand up, walk away from the computer, and don't come back for 3-5 minutes. get some coffee. go to the bathroom. say hi to a friend. anything that doesn't involve a computer. the break will cause you to re-focus when you sit back down, and if you're off in tangent-land, you'll notice that right away.
Second, you should know that the kind of work I do (corporate and securities transactions) involves almost no research projects or document review. i draft contracts, think of creative ways to structure transactions, and negotiate and interface with my clients and opposing counsel. very very very rarely do i do one thing all day long. true, research is tough to avoid at a very large firm, but if your office or firm is small enough (less than 100 attorneys), you're more likely to get your own deals to handle from the beginning. And, you'll notice that the more responsibility you have, the more motivated you are to complete the tasks.
finally, we all have bad semesters and bad grades. i actually got 2 low C's during my first year and some low B's, but still managed to finish law school in the top half of my class. law school is tough on the ego because it takes individuals from the top 10-25% of their college classes and dumps them all together - and now somebody's got to be in the bottom 10% for the first time in their lives. it doesn't mean you'll end up doing document review. i actually think you could be quite happy (and could easily get hired) at a smaller firm, with a billable hour requirement in the 1500-1900 range. but if you're thinking about options other than law, you might consider investing in the Myers-Briggs assessment. You can take it here: https://www.mbticomplete.com. It's $60 and includes a professional analysis of the results.
Feel free to PM me if you want to discuss/chat...and don't worry - you're not alone!
|2 Oct 2008 @ 2:20 AM Reply # 9|
Thu 2nd Oct 2008
Threads: 0 Posts: 3
Please tell me... as someone with an IQ in in neighborhood of 140 and only a high school diploma, I just don't know how you all made it through your undergrad and post-grad studies. I think we all have different symptoms however, as I read VERY quickly. But during my first semester of college, I rarely went and just showed up for tests and finals. I passed, but couldn't go back. I thought it was simply out of boredom and that I just couldn't get through those core courses. I just want to know... how in the world did you all get through college? Was it difficult? Frankly, I'm an attractive female and knew if I went away to a college campus versus going to a community college (which is what I did), that my social life would certainly hamper my ability to focus on my studies. So I just didn't go. I'm just thinking that perhaps my PFC deficiency might be more severe than the rest of you. =(
|10 Nov 2008 @ 2:11 PM Reply # 10|
Mon 10th Nov 2008
OT (off-topic): But not really
To all the respondents who are in the legal field ... there's a post here on the Career Advice board that hasn't gotten any responses and you might be able to help the person. The thread title is "I know what I am good at I just need a job doing it."
The person is working as a claims adjuster, has just discovered s/he has ADD, and realizes the job is a poor fit. For various reasons, the person is looking at trying to switch to a law-related career. I thought I'd mention it because if you just skim the first couple of lines, you wouldn't realize it was relevant to you. :)
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