Reply To: Spouse is Sick of the daily grind how do I help?

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As an adult with ADHD myself, I have experienced this same feeling throughout many jobs. The thing is, if he hates his job, if it’s boring or requires large amounts of focus for long periods of time, or if it’s not interesting to him – there is nothing you can do to make him keep the job. NOTHING.

There’s only a handful of outcomes: 1) he keeps the job, but gets fired for making lots of small mistakes, 2) he keeps the job and resents you – then ultimately ends up quitting or getting fired eventually anyway, 3) he quits the job regardless and starts a huge fight between you.

That being said, what you can do is support him any way that you can. Maybe you suggest to him that you are okay with him quitting – once he has another form of income lined up. OR you are okay with it as long as he goes back to school so that he can do something he likes.

The #1 MOST important thing for someone with ADHD to be successful in a career is – it has to be aligned with their interests. If it is interesting and exciting to him, it will keep his attention.

The second thing is that it must have variety – meaning it can’t be something that is routine, everyday work – such as data entry – it’s not going to work for him.

Here are some things that might work for him if they happen to align with his interests:

1) Construction – moving around, physically releasing energy; working on different projects, etc.

2) Anything artistic – a lot of ADHDers enjoy art and creation

3) Project management or support – some areas in the corporate world are project based – this kind of work might be good for him.
For one, many project based jobs can be done remotely (ex.- he might work one or two days a week from home and the rest at the office). Secondly, project based jobs allow the opportunity for constant change – never letting the work get too rote and routine.

Try to think about the things he does for fun and see if you can find anything that aligns with that to suggest. For example, an ex of mine was very similar about work – he used to get a job and hold on to it for 3-6 months and then get bored and move on – never committing to anything long enough to make it a career and move up the ladder. He too was stuck in low income jobs. One thing he did always do consistently was watch football – he just loved football.

Now while we were together he would say similar things like “oh I should just join the military and then let them discharge me for an injury – then I’ll be set for life” (he had a bum knee and thought they would discharge him for it and pay him – don’t ask me why…). I suggested to him that since he loved football so much, he should go back to school to do something related to it – such as become an announcer, a team manager, etc. Come to find out years after we broke up he went back to school for sports management.

I have no idea whether or not he followed through on seeking out a career in that field once he finished school, but my point is that if he had, it likely would’ve kept his interest.

Try to think creatively. Consider the things he does for fun and see if you can figure out how it could turn into a career. But remember, all you can do is encourage and give suggestions – you cannot FORCE him to do (or not to do) anything.

I got lucky around two years ago when one of those rote, routine, data entry jobs (that really suck for ADHDers) led me to another opportunity in my organization. Now I am in a job that allows me to express my creativity, is constantly changing – sometimes requiring short distance travel and is HUGELY aligned with my personal interests and values. That doesn’t mean I don’t have bad days now and then, I do, but overall I am in a much better place and I feel like this job is a much better fit for my work style.

I know my response was long winded, but I really hope you understand what I am trying to say and that this advice actually helps you deal with your current situation. I wish you and your husband all the best.