Reply To: Wrong career

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Hi Steve.

I took a look at this post because the title struck a chord with me. I’m 33 and was diagnosed with ADHD Combined a couple weeks ago. My mind is also foggy and even more crowded now that I have a diagnoses than it was before (just an FYI – I’m on my phone so forgive autocorrect and the like)!

I too have constantly felt like I’m in the wrong job. After a long string of jobs when I was younger (in order: electrician, ordering replacement debit cards for people for Natwest, checking high value cheques for fraud for Barclays, night shift shelf stacking for Asda (UK version of Walmart (actually owned by Walmart)), cutting rolls of sellotape in a tape factory, army infantry and a tour in Iraq (leading to PTSD, but WHOLE other story there!) and volunteering for a mental health charity shop), I gravitated towards IT (because I spent my childhood on a PC) because the army offered me a resettlement course of my choice (paid for) and i naturally picked IT. After a few more jobs in IT, I now work for the company that owns the emergency services networks fixing routers, switches etc.

While I’ve always found ALL my previous jobs very easy (not including the army, that’s different. It’s a way of life, but if I had to say – I was a terrible soldier. Poor organisation and everything else that comes with undiagnosed, untreated ADHD) at the start, I eventually lost interest, performance started dropping (plummeting!) and I would start questioning my own capabilities. This job however is different.

I was told about this job by a buddy of mine who’s worked there all his life. He knows the place inside out. It’s a VERY well paid position (as I’m aware I am too open and trusting with details, let’s just say it is more than double what I was on). He told me there was a position going on his team and he knew I’d always wanted to work with one of the technologies they specialise in.
Anyway, got the job. Been there nearly four years and I know just about as much as I did on day one. Nobody believes me when I tell them this, they just say “well you must be doing something right!” Nobody considers that I’m a good bullsh***er. Good at hiding my poor performance after years of experience.

The problem is, this place has never been as interesting or as easy as my other IT jobs. They were just extensions of the interest I already had with computers, so it was easy. This is much more in-depth, dealing with the science behind routing protocols etc. It pays more because it expects more. The job description asks for degrees etc and I have LITERALLY no qualifications in anything (anything relevant today). Now that me and my partner have built a life and bills etc around my wages, it’s just about impossible for me to change jobs. I, like you, would be starting from scratch wherever I went, and that would include the pay. There’s something called ‘Imposter Syndrome’ Which I’m aware is comorbid with ADHD. But like the tag line ‘it’s not paranoia when they’re really after you’; it’s not ‘Imposter Sydrome’ when you really are an imposter.

I wanted to offer some advice. But I can’t remember what it was. Since I’m in the same position as you, with no obvious way out, I’m clearly not the person to be giving advice. I tend to ‘go off on one’ when I type. Only when I type though because people stop listening when I talk because I’m difficult to keep up with and never get to the point I originally wanted to make. Usually because i forget what the original topic of discussion was, let alone the point I wanted to make.

Sorry. Genuinely thought I had something for you. Probably not.