Careers and Passion

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    • #104758

      Every adult has been asking me what I want to be when I grow up since forever, it seems. But now that I’m in high school, this question is a lot scarier. Usually when people ask I do have an answer, but it always changes. Everyone tells me to find my passion. They usually bring up something I was super interested in last they checked. But what they don’t understand is that I don’t really have a passion. I’ve spent my life jumping from hyperfixation to hyperfixation, leaving a trail of unfinished projects in my wake. I may be completely taken with painting one day and be certain that I want to be an editor the next. If I had the brain to get through all the schooling for it, I’d be a psychiatrist and help people with adhd like me. But that isn’t an option with my current ability to get through schooling. I think what I really want is a job, not a career. But I’m afraid that I won’t make enough money…

      While I do plan on being married, I want to be able to have some financial independence until then. Mostly I want to be able to move out of my house. I have a job as a hostess at a restaurant and it’s not too difficult. I actually really like my job. But I only make minimum wage so I couldn’t take care of myself even if I worked full time. If I could make a living wage on a simple job with just my diploma, that’d be amazing. I’d love to wait tables or wash high windows for a living. But whenever I tell people that I might just be a waitress for the rest of my life they act like I’m wasting whatever potential they think I have.
      It actually seems to be a common theme with ADHD; people seem to think all I ever do is waste my “potential.” When I say I’d like a simple job and not to go to college they think I’m lazy.

      The thing is, I used to be really smart before issues with my meds. I’ve got a $60,000 scholarship to one of the best Universities in my state, but I’m afraid I’m not up to the challenge anymore. People seem determined that I can’t get a good job if I don’t go to college. I just want to make enough to live on my own in the relative lower-middle-class comfort I’m used to. I’m a senior in high school, I’ve already applied for colleges, and I’ll be 18 next month. But all of this worrying about the future makes me really anxious.

    • #104963

      Totally normal to feel that way. Statistics definitely point to higher education leading to financial stability, but this could even be a trade school. Everyone says follow your passion, which is great advice because you want to do something you can be happy about, but there is also wisdom in finding something that pays well and going for it. I don’t know that many accountants are actually “passionate” about it, but they make good money and can then support their actual passions.

      With ADHD, you might look into a profession that is always changing. For instance, I was a high school English teacher. Teaching suited my needs. I then was a stay at home mom and now I run an education grant. I think higher education gives you more freedom, so when you get tired of waitressing or it just isn’t paying enough, you can move on. Even in simple careers, college grads get paid more. College will also help you find something you are really talented at, not just interested in. The world needs you and your specific skills and it gets harder to get higher education the older you get as life’s responsibilities take over.

      I would recommend going to college for at least a year and taking some kind of career exploration class. Also read Rich Dad, Poor Dad. It teaches how to make your money make money so you can do more of what you actually want to do. There is an audio version on YouTube. Good luck! It is hard to be 18!!

    • #104898

      First of all, don’t feel like you have to have it all figured out right now. I HATE how much pressure people put on high schoolers to figure their whole lives out. Who can predict the future at 18? Statistically, most people change careers at least 3 times in their lives nowadays, so don’t feel like you have to find that one thing you’ll do forever. Honestly, as an adult with ADHD, the thought of doing one thing forever makes me cringe. The real question is: what do you do next?

      At 17, with a world of possibilities open to you, it’s hard to find somewhere to focus your attention.

      A $60,000 scholarship sounds amazing! You must have incredible potential. 🙂 Odds are, you’re more capable than you feel, and with the right support, you could be awesomely successful at this if you want to be. College is hard for most people. With ADHD, I feel like the biggest struggle for me has always been keeping up. I can do ALL of the work, it just takes me a little longer than some. Learning time management and study skills specifically tailored to ADHD students can help. I like getting advice from “HowToADHD” on youtube. 🙂

      I’m struggling to say this, because it’s not my place and you’re not my child, but I wish someone would have said this to me at 18. If you choose not to go to college now, it doesn’t mean you’ll never go. This is an amazing opportunity for a wonderful education. You won’t get $60,000 for free again. But, you can go to college as an adult. It’s harder. You have to work for it, and you have to pay for it yourself.

      But for me, college was the wrong choice. I had no direction and no life skills. I was so immature. I did meet my husband in college, and graduated with a BA in psychology. So, good things came out of it. 🙂 But, not $40k in debt good things… I don’t know how much my family ended up spending on my education. After graduation, I was able to get a few jobs just because I had a degree, but unless your degree is in the field you want (and it is very competitive), it doesn’t really help you get a job. SO many people go to college nowadays. My husband and I both struggled for years to find full-time jobs within our fields. We didn’t choose very profitable majors, though. 🙂

      Now in our 30s, my husband has a job he loves working with his hands and using his creativity to his advantage. I’m back in school because 3 years ago I finally figured out my passion. I’m going to be a teacher. It’s a fantastic job for people with ADHD, and like you, I want to help people like me. I want to be a person who understands what it’s like to feel/be different and help kids find their individual strengths and be successful.

      When I was diagnosed, I told my therapist that my career goal was to be a mom. 🙂 Like you, I wasn’t very ambitious and just wanted to be able to live simply and happily. He said it was a waste of my intellect. He told me that I needed to shoot higher. So I chose psychology as my major and told him I wanted to be a psychologist. Not a great fit for me. Ugh. I would be so miserable sitting behind a desk all day. Gross. I thought about being a teacher (you’re kind of like a mom to everyone), but he told me that wasn’t a good use of my intellect either. I should have trusted my gut.

      Point is, no matter how smart you are, no matter what your capabilities, at the end of the day, you have to live with yourself. No one can tell you what to do. You have to try things until you see what fits. For me, teaching fits. I’m an excellent teacher. I speak kid, and I understand how children’s minds work in a way that most of my peers don’t. It’s intuitive. I’m an empath, and their struggles challenge my intellect. It’s such a cool feeling to see a kid struggling to understand it, and try 5 different ways to teach it to him. When you find the one that clicks, it’s like you’ve found some sort of magic. It’s wonderful. 🙂

      But it’s not the one thing I’ll do forever. That’s why I love this career. When I get bored with teaching one grade level, I’ll ask to switch grades. When I get bored with teaching all together, I can become a consultant or an educational researcher, (Or start my dream school “Rainbow Unicorn Llama Super Magic Fun House” for ADD kids). Lol! 🙂 There’s a million options out there, and you don’t have to choose just one.

      When making these kinds of big decisions nowadays, I ask myself why. Why do I want to do this? Why don’t I want to do this? If the only reason I don’t want to do it is because I’m scared, I do it. Going back to school is scary. There have been several times I thought I couldn’t do it. My ADHD makes things crazy, and I feel overwhelmed sometimes. But I talked to my teachers, and turns out I’m at the top of the class. Our fears lie to us so much.

      So, all of this to say, don’t be scared to try and fail. For ALL adults, learning is a process of trying and failing. We all have regrets, but it’s not because we made the wrong choice. It’s because we didn’t have the right information or experience to make a different choice. Chances are, whatever new thing I try, I know I’m going to fail. But then you keep trying, and you can do amazing things.

      You do have a tough decision ahead of you, but don’t be afraid of choosing the wrong thing. The only wrong thing is not to choose at all. Just try. And if that doesn’t work out, try something else. All of us ADHD people tend to jump from hyperfixation to hyperfixation. You just have to look for a path that will jump with you. And if you keep looking and listen to your gut (and the people around you who tell you NOT to sell everything you have to go live in a tiny house, even though it’s so cute) 😉 then you’ll find your way. <3

      Here’s an article with some career ideas. I did research for about 2 years before I was certain I wanted to be a teacher. And I substitute taught for a year, just to be sure I wasn’t jumping into another hyperfixation. 🙂 Try things on, and you’ll know when you find a direction that fits. 😉

      16 Good Jobs for Creative & Restless ADHD Brains

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