ADHD at Work

ADHD on the Job

“I am a 43-year-old female recently diagnosed with ADHD. How can I find the funding and/or testing necessary to see what I type of employment best suits me?”

The place to start would be local colleges and universities. Most have excellent career centers and provide testing to help you determine your areas of strengths and weaknesses. They also have career counselors available to advise you and help you come to a decision about what would be best for you. Many of their services are often free.

Some communities also have career centers that are publicly funded and supported by local businesses. Check the yellow pages under career to see what is listed there and begin making some inquires.

What is most important is that you identify the specific areas in which your ADHD affects your performance the most and take what measures you can to compensate for this. Do you need more structure? Do you need more routine? Do you need to do something differently?

Avoid impulsivity in making major career decisions. Once you find something you think you would like to re-train for, find several people who are actually employed doing that job and ask them questions. Ask them lots of questions, including:

  • What do they like about their job and what don’t they like about their job?
  • What skills and capabilities do they feel they need to do their jobs well?
  • What is easy about their job? What is hard about their job?
  • What other opportunities are available for advancement in the company/organization they work for?
  • What additional skills/training do they need for the other jobs/positions?
  • What would they change about their job if they could?
  • What made them decide to choose this for a career?
  • If given the opportunity to do it over, would they make the same choice and why?

Last but not least, have you thought about accommodations for the job you currently have that would make your performance less erratic? Some of my clients meet with their bosses on a weekly basis to go over their performance and what can be done to make improvements. Their bosses agree to help them prioritize and get focused on the next weeks agenda, so they don’t get sidetracked on something of lesser importance.

Are there any organizational tools that can be purchased that would help you stay on top of things more consistently? Fifteen years is a long time. Are you vested in the company’s pension plan yet? If not, how much longer would you need to work there to take advantage of this benefit?

I wish you the best in your career endeavors. Be sure to talk with those who know you well and understand you. Friends and family who have your best interest at heart can help to make major decisions such as career changes much easier.