Reply To: Dealing with Meetings

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Red89 – I don’t quite agree with you. It’s not a bad thing to talk with one or two colleagues you explicitly trust. What you suggested could make her feel even more isolated, which in my experience doesn’t really help. Talking with HR about how to approach her supervisor might be ok, but officially putting herself on record for ADHD could backfire. Also, one of our biggest issues dealing with ADHD are our occasionally intense emotions.

piccirilloa – Dude… I know how you feel. I’m not in quite as bad of a boat with my supervisor, but I’ve been having problems with her. I had made the choice to reveal to her my ADHD diagnosis and the result has been mixed… to the point that I kind of regret telling her. She’s promised help and support, but the support I’ve received has been minimal and only after begging. I work in a library, and each of us have to take turns covering the front desk to help patrons. My shift was 12-3:00, which didn’t work at all with my transitioning problems. By the time I transitioned back into my office, it would be almost time to leave and I had wasted over an hour of my time. So I asked to try out switching my desk shift to the morning one to see if it helped with my transitioning problems. I also told her that if making that change would at all be a burden on the library and other staff, that I would understand and keep my current shift and try to find a different solution. During our monthly check in she instead humiliates me by saying “We would all like our perfect schedule…”, until I gently remind her that so far in the year+ since my diagnosis, I hadn’t actually asked for ANY accommodations for my ADHD, and that I had hoped to try this one out and reminded her that I had already said I’d understand if it wouldn’t be ok. Basically… she didn’t have to belittle me and I gently pointed that out.

It isn’t easy. In some ways, I feel like she is LESS willing to work with me after I disclosed my ADHD than she had been before.

As for your never ending meetings issue… that’s a tough nut to crack. Honestly, it sounds like your supervisor is on your case a bit too much which doesn’t seem kosher. The nature of her comments over that phone call were pretty inappropriate of HER to say as well. Most of the advice I’ve read has indicted that keeping notes of any meetings you have with your supervisor and writing down what they say if you can’t secretly record it. (Careful with that one… recording a conversation could land you in hot water.) Note the time, day, and length of the meeting/phone call. I don’t think it’s a bad thing that you’ve talked a little with your coworkers, however I’d would be carefully cagey with any details that could land you in trouble with HR. I’d check to see if there’s anything on that in the employees’ handbook. It’s certainly worth noting that others didn’t think your knitting was a problem, especially since that conversation with innocent and organic enough… you obviously weren’t intentionally stirring a pot. If you have a union, I would definitely talk to your union rep. However, always keep in mind that HR of your company will always ultimately be on your company’s side, so I’d check what your grievance process may be and adhere to the guidelines. Honestly though, it sounds like your supervisor is practically harassing you at this point over tiny things.

So meetings… hmmm… you could discreetly ask your HR department for any company policies on expected meeting behaviors. No need to explain why you want the info, just simply request it and follow up with them about any specific questions you may have about it. However, don’t use your self in any examples. Keep to general examples or a list posted somewhere on the internet.

When I’m stuck in a boring meeting of doom, I have a hard time too. Years ago I resorted to doodling, note writing, or jotting down a list of ideas that may have popped up in my head so I don’t blurt any of them out loud, but don’t forget them either. By the sounds of it, you need to do something active with your hands to stay focused. Is there no way to hide your hands under the table and secretly fidget with something?

Technically, your ADHD related meeting issues can also be attributed to your already disclosed anxiety. Does HR offer any support or advice on that? If you frame it as, “My anxiety makes it difficult to sit still and listen closely. Doing things like X, Y, and Z seem to help me concentrate on the speakers and stay engaged and my colleagues have mentioned that they never noticed me doing them or they themselves do these things. Would I be violating a company etiquette policy by doing X, Y, or Z?”

As long as you toe company policy, your supervisor can go stuff it.