ADHD Husband & Unemployment

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  • This topic has 9 replies, 1 voice, and was last updated 1 year ago by Kryst.
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    • #76548

      My husband is 53 and has been cycling in and out of jobs since we got married (the longest lasting one was about 8 years. Lately, he’s been averaging 2 years with long periods of unemployment in between). He is a hard-worker and easy to get along with, but he needs extra training and time to focus, and the career he ended up in (not his preferred career) involved lots of moving parts and is deadline-oriented and loathe to spend money on training. This career was never really a good fit for him, but he stuck with it. In the past 3 years, he has been in and out of work – even friends of ours in that field without ADHD are finding it difficult to find work, so I don’t think it’s just him.

      For now, he is driving Lyft/Uber. But we have a kid about to go to college, and a younger son just diagnosed with autism. I have a full-time job, but there is not enough money coming in. I feel resentful of him sometimes, because his job searches are unorganized and take FOREVER, and because I hate fearing all the time that he is about to lose his job when he does get a job. On the other hand, I think a lot of his layoffs have to do with his ADHD symptoms (he has executive function problems for sure), so I feel sympathy for him and want to help, but don’t know how.

      The point of all this venting is – at his age, and with his ADHD, how is he ever gonig to find a job in a new field? Are there careers better suited to someone with ADHD? We’ve been looking for a career coach and advice, and have found almost nothing. I would love it if he could be self-employed and set his own hours, but I think his executive function issues might make that impossible.

      Any advice? Sorry this is a bit disjointed. I’m somewhat stressed!

      I also am anxious about my sons – both have ADHD, and I don’t want them to grow up with career problems like my husband has had. 🙁

    • #76573
      Penny Williams

      There are careers that are often better suited to people with ADHD:

      16 Good Jobs for Creative & Restless ADHD Brains

      Quit It! The 10 Worst Jobs for Restless Minds and Creative Spirits

      ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #76591

      Thank you, Penny – I’m looking forward to reading these!
      I also contacted some ADHD coaches on this site and hope to get him started with one of them soon.

    • #76618

      What a challenge. I know for me, to keep engaged in a job it has to be interesting, always changing and in a field I am passionate about. If he is getting a job just to have a job, boredom will take over and it won’t last long. And feeling like I have failed over and over wears down my self esteem and makes me just want to hide. For men, this can be particularly devastating when it comes to being a provider for a family. He probably needs to find his purpose and work in it. Finding purpose in itself can be difficult. Help him focus on his strengths and it is more likely to open up those possibilities.
      Perhaps the best thing you can do is the most counterintuitive. Express gratitude. During the darkest days of my life, I was encouraged to name 10 things I was grateful for every day. The person who gave me this task overcame drug addiction and mental illness and swore up and down that this little habit made it all possible. She would open her eyes every morning and count on her fingers 10 things she was grateful for before her feet hit the floor. I found that if I could name 10 things, in no time I could name 20. Expressing gratitude led to more awareness of additional things to be grateful for. Now I write out 5 things every day and notice so much more throughout the day. It has not changed my circumstances. It has changed how I view myself and the world. It has changed my tolerance for the things that challenge me. It has given me a sense of peace, that no matter what happens, things will turn out ok. It has made me more kind and loving to my family. It has led to many positive changes in my family and my relationships. I know it seems like it does not address your problem, but it will help you handle it. It will bring out more patience, gentleness and understanding for your husband as he goes through this struggle. Best wishes to you and your family as you find solace and solutions.

    • #76659

      Thank you for sharing your story…it mirrors my story as well. I’m 53 and have cycled in and out of jobs my adult life with longest being 9 years. I was fortunate to do well for 15+ years however last 3 I’ve lived below poverty and my world has been turned upside down. My marriage ended 6 years ago, then a follow on relationship ended 2 years ago. I’m unable to get back into my line of work (project mgmt) due to outdated skill set and haven’t kept up with the appropriate skills and business changes due to fear of failing and over analyzing what’s out there and where to start. I have a much better appreciation for what my female partners put up with living with me. I plan to follow this post and see if others share their stories so we can learn from others what has worked or not worked for them. I’m all out of $ so training options are limited short of free ones. Hang in there. You’re an angel, a trooper, a survivor to stay in the fight to see this through. I know it’s not easy.

    • #76725

      Hello, ‘mom2…’,

      Have you and your husband discussed looking for the type of job that he held for about eight years? Have you looked at free local resources for help with a job search, such as your local library? If you think a career coach would be helpful, you can look at LinkedIn ProFinder, but beware. You will get canned replies from people who obviously did not read your husband’s request. I hired a career coach for a family member who is happy with his services, 1-1/2 month so far. They are working on ‘Clifton Strengths’, for which there is a workbook available at bookstores. Have you considered looking at local websites for services people need? Maybe your husband can be self employed at something more lucrative than Lyft/Uber. There are so many services being offered to busy people these days, and many require no training or set up costs, such as cooking dinners, running errands, companion/helper to senior citizens, etc. Regarding driving, did your husband consider contacting local limo services? Mine is looking for drivers, and they provide the car. They pay $100 (plus tips) to go to an airport two hours from here. That’s $25+/hour, better than Lyft/Uber. What about local businesses you patronize? Some may have work or know of something through other customers. Self employment may not be a good option. Will your husband manage the business, send invoices, track expenses and income? It can all be a huge challenge.

      All the best,

    • #76749

      Thanks, everyone. This was very helpful. I will pore over your answers tonight and make an action plan with my husband.
      I really appreciate this – it’s been a hard road but we’re having our 25th anniversary next week, and even with the job ups and downs, I love my husband and am grateful to have him in my life.

    • #76909

      Hello Mom2,
      My husband is 54 and hasn’t held a job for more than 4 years in his life. I didn’t know he had ADD when we met. I kind of understood it when we moved in together, and it made me postpone our marriage a few years. We’ve been married for 3 years now, and been together about 10, and he’s had at least 10 jobs with a lot of unemployment inbetween. He’s currently training (taking 4 years to do what others do in 1) for a job he truly likes and will succeed in….if his inability to organize himself can be overlooked or he gets a lot of training on the job and a really, really good manager. All this is to say I hear you, I know where you are. I make a decent salary, so I finally freed myself by giving up on him ever changing. I love the things I love about him, and the ADD is just a disability I learn to live with, like any other. Letting go of the frustration is making my life better, and his, too, I imagine. He isn’t proud of himself and his past and feels our friends make fun of him behind his back. They probably do. I can’t help that. Only we know the truth of our relationship and how happy we really are together. Sometimes I wish it were different, then I catch myself thinking of lousy past relationships. You have to take the good with the bad in life, and this isn’t too bad, in perspective.

    • #77017

      Hello Mom2,

      I am married to an adhd man for 21 years and have 2 adhd kids. It sounds encouraging that your husband is genuinely trying to find work and is communicating with you well. My story is similar, except my husband went unemployed for 13 years and slipped into depression. He finally found a job when I learned how to put some of the pressure for supporting the family back on him. It is so easy for capable spouses to fall into an enabling pattern without realizing it. I don’t know if that is the case with you. I just want to encourage you to take care of yourself and lean on whatever you can from hubby for support. If there is someone u can talk to who can help you process the patterns, you may gain some insight into boundaries that could improve his focus. I confirmed at 48 yrs old that I also have adhd. I learned to compensate through hyper-focus at work and holding myself accountable to deadlines. I grew up very independent, so that forced me to power through or go hungry. It isn’t fun sometimes, but along with focusing on my strengths, it drove me to do what was needed to stay gainfully employed for most of my life. There are always options out there.

    • #192216

      I’m struggling with this right now with my current partner of 7 years. He’s been unemployed for 2 years (he’s 31) and last month he was diagnosed with ADHD and started medication. We don’t have a counsellor yet and I am mentally struggling from pushing him so hard all the time to find a counsellor, work, to do things WITHOUT my having to push for it every day.

      Some people are saying “if you can’t handle it, then leave” to me and I really don’t want that. This person is literally my best friend and have helped me through the darkest times, I know this is their dark time so what gives me the right to give up on them when I’m sure they’ve had it tough with me before. So I guess I’m just at a loss. If anyone has more advice on this post that’d be great. The biggest thing my partner liked about his old job (farmers market) was the variety in customers and in things to do and the sense of community was huge. Community in a workplace that is GOOD is already hard to find and then you have to find a GOOD community with a job that keeps him interested. So now it’s like he doesn’t even want to try?

      Please help

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