March 30, 2020 at 3:42 pm #167193
I’m entering my mid career years, and like many folks with ADD/ADHD, I’ve jumped sideways several times in my 12 year career so far (at least 4 different job families).
I was never diagnosed as a child, and I ended up following my passions and getting into the career where I am today. Unfortunately, especially in recent years as my job responsibilities have grown, it seems like my work increasingly requires a well functioning executive function (creating structure for solving long problems, working in uncertainty, leading people and meetings). I have struggled with executive function led activities for a very long time, and I understood why when I recently found out I have ADD.
I also discovered that for folks with ADD/ADHD, the choice of career / profession is everything. This discovery (which makes sense – because we’re so differently wired!), combined with the discovery of my ADD, and the realisation that I will increasingly come across more executive function led issues in my career – have triggered a massive rethink. Is there a career / job family out there that may better suit my condition or my behaviours more than the job I am in today?
My worry is that the longer I stay in my current role (as an, at best, a B or B+ employee), the more likely I am to never develop professionally in any other role. I’ve tried to figure out how I could be more effective day to day, or in a completely different job.
To figure out if I could become more effective day to day: I’ve tried making lists of things I do well at work and don’t do so well, to refocus only on my strengths. Unfortunately, even for tasks that I do better than the average person, the inability to control my attention and focus render my advantage moot (hence I cannot rely on these tasks to help be build a great career).
To figure out if I need a career reboot and maybe switch to a more “ADD/ADHD friendly” career path.. the conundrum is exacerbated because of my ADHD. I am excited about every possibility (marketing? YES! customer success? WOW, LETS DO IT!). How do I objectively assess career possibilities adjacent to my current role (that are ADHD friendly) so that I don’t have to go down to a starter salary, and I can leverage my experience, while moving into work that is ADHD friendly?
Do you folks have thoughts to share with me? Have you wondered about the same things?
March 31, 2020 at 11:29 am #167313
Well, interesting question ? It not uncommon to have many careers in a life time. Your aptitude and intelligence may lead you to quickly learn and perform that you no longer find interest in what you have pursued
Perhaps what will help you is to describe e yourselves in terms of your strengths. You may have already learned about Strength Finders by Gallup. Its an online program backed by 80 yrs of data and adapted by many companies. Look at leadership development sites that help you use the strengths you have in your top 5 and pursue activities that emphasize those strengths. Your career path can be in terms of the experiences that match your strengths in the field where can leverage your experience. It is critical to know that teaching yourself about your natural strengths takes time to observe how your strengths are expressed because each person has a unique pattern. Its like a wheel of strengths applied when you get up, approach your day, a process that is based on how you learned to compensate that influences how you approach and perform tasks. So don’t look at your career as a profession that aches a job posting in HR but a
path where you apply your strengths in a setting where you thrive because they demand and put you in rolls or allow you to fulfill roles that meet your strengths. You probably rank high in ideation, learner, realtor, action, being able to take strength terms like these and break them down into sentences that describe how those straights are naturally expressed help you choose what you want to do and communicate to others where you are most effective. The “tell me about yourself” question should involve a story about your experiences and successes and how your natural strengths supported them. You can be aware and purposefully pursue activities and delegate others based on what you know will be your desired outcome. Take a look and immerse yourself into learning what you naturally perform and succeed at compared to your peers. Then you can take your interest to any sector and confidently describe a path based on what the sector demands, the company culture, the department leader, and the rolls you choose to take on within them. Strength Finders starts with an online evaluation for $50. You get a life time tool at no extra cost accept for other leadership programs they offer. bIts not costly. This is a genuine product that has a strength scientific basis that is supported by the professsional fields. Take the time learn how your natural strengths are expressed and where you succeed because there is no training program necessary and there is no management program to encourage you to put your energy behind what you naturally do well that is part of your thought & behavior processing DNA since you were 9 yrs or older. I would take the program directly from the Gallup.com site look up keywords gallup cliftonstrengths . By the way, the way my top 5 strengths are expressed in order of dominance is 1. Relator (not what you think) 2. Analytical 3.) Learner 4.) Strategic 5.) Ideation …. over the years I have learned that these strengths helped me evolve into a solver persona where I fit into midsize $20M – $200M mature business structure and my purpose in all fascet of life is to apply my strengths to elevate potential by sharing insight and lowering barriers to achieve your desired.
So as a final illustration is that to realize that no one is paying me to spend time in my response to you, its something I am naturally driven to do, and enjoy sharing what I have learned and desire to hand off to you.
March 31, 2020 at 8:08 pm #167437
With ADHD we tend to have many great ideas and possibilities we might want to consider. It often makes it confusing and challenging to “pick one” path. However, the road to career happiness and success is not a linear one for our tribe.
Our brains are interested-based. We need to truly enjoy what we do on a very deep level to have any hope of navigating a career that will be sustainable, much less profitable. It requires a “deep dive” into our true values and preferences on every level that is important in making a career choice. In other words, what elements of career specifically energize us. The most basic of these values are the skills we love to use. Next are the fields or career categories that we are drawn to. There is so much more to this, and unlike what many think, strengths are important, but not if they lead to doing something you don’t enjoy just because you happen to be good at them. On the other hand, the skills you love to use and the potential fields you are excited about using them in will lead you much closer to a positive career path.
I do not use the term “career path” lightly. By this I mean that the best path for us to pursue is virtually NEVER linear. There are many nuances that we need to consider with ADHD. For example, your working conditions are critical to identifying a potential career path and should never ever be overlooked. By conditions I mean, the physical elements of where you work and your ability to use tools that help you thrive.
April 1, 2020 at 1:12 pm #167518
You will succeed most in a job that you are interested in or passionate about, that doesn’t require a lot of your lacking skills. But it’s possible to be successful in a job you love even if it requires some of the skills you struggle with — you just have to find tools and strategies to help in areas of weakness.
I was first thinking a job coach might be helpful, but I think an ADHD coach would actually be more helpful, because they can help you set goals and create the systems to achieve them, even to succeed with the tasks you’re weak in.
ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Coach & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism
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