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    • #104778

      Every adult has been asking me what I want to be when I grow up since I was born, 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.

    • #104785

      Yeah that’ll happen. Sure it’s cute and kinda funny while we’re little & we don’t fully understand the significance of it, but once we’re old enough to grasp it, IT’S THE MOST FRIGHTENING CONCEPT ON THE PLANET! Trust me, I’m 19 years old going through it in college right now. It’s been very difficult making the adjustments, especially with ADHD. However, I really enjoy going to my classes (most days, not all) and learning, not only during lectures, but also about myself.
      Like you, I also want to become a Psychiatrist so I can help others with ADHD. I really can see myself doing that in the future when I take time to sit back & let my mind wander off. IT TOOK A LOT OF MEDITATION PRACTICE TO GET THERE.

      Of course you can get a good job without going to college. It may be tougher, but it’s possible. Anyway, I’m getting off topic. My point is, I was just as worried & anxious about my future 2 years ago as you are now. What I can tell you is this: Relax, you’ll be fine. We’re not even 20 years old yet lol. You don’t have to figure everything out right now (I’m still learning to accept this advice myself). Just take it one day at a time, and whatever responsibilities you have (old & new) just roll with them.

      I know it feels as if the people closest to you are pushing for you to go to school, because they ARE. Hell, my dad DESPERATELY wants me to stay in school to take advantage of what he didn’t get the chance to growing up. He wanted to be a lawyer in school but once I came along, he couldn’t do that, so I understand where he’s coming from. However, I’m not choosing to stay in school for him anymore (I did last year & I flunked that year), I’m doing it for me now & I’m doing A LOT better. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes every now and then on your journey (THIS TOO IS TOUGH FOR ME TO ACCEPT).

      I guess my overall point in saying this is to tell you to make these big decisions based on what you want for yourself, and not what other people want for you. No matter how much they may mean to you, the only person that truly matters to you is YOU. Maybe you do want to stay at that restaurant & see if you can move up the ranks, maybe manage it at some point (Managers make a decent living, though it take a while to get there, you can do it!). Or you want to go to college & take advantage of that scholarship (I did) to get your education & position yourself for a career in Psychiatry (you can do that too!) it’s the journey I’m on btw lol. Whatever you choose, you’re in a good position to do either one. Just make sure it’s you making the choice & not anyone else. Trust me, the fact that you’re as anxious about your future, just means you care about it enough to not end up doing something you DON’T want to do for the rest of your life.

      Hopefully this helps,
      -Kendall Boults Jr.

    • #104787

      Hey again,

      Yep! This is the absolute most terrifying question in the world. And I’m very much in the same boat as you- I don’t want to be wildly successful, I just want to have ENOUGH for my needs and wants. Same as you, I don’t really have a passion. All I want out of life is wife, kids, house, car, and enough. That, to me, is the definition of a well-lived life. If you have those things, and your happiness, you’re winning. The problem, though, is that window cleaning and hosting at restaurants are high-volatility careers. They’re among the easiest jobs to lose. I’ve bounced from shit job to shit job in the past, which were enough to pay the bills, enough to keep me going, and honestly, that’s more stressful than trying to decide a ‘passion’. So my advice to you is- screw trying to find the perfect job. Because for people like us, it doesn’t exist. It will change every couple of months, based on what movies you’ve seen, books you’ve read, and who you’re hanging out with.

      I can’t recommend university enough, particularly if you have a scholarship. While, yes, the classes are problematic, university basically works as a ‘dry run’ for adulting. You can learn the life skills you need to be independent in an environment where you’re relatively protected, compared to going straight out into the workforce. My original plan at university was to do Maths and Philosophy as a Joint Honours (kind of like a double major), then do my teaching qualification, and be a maths teacher. The maths was for the career, the Philosophy was to keep me sane. I wound up dropping maths, and did a degree in pure Philosophy. It turned out to be the best decision I ever made. Lots of people rubbish ‘generic degrees’, but a decent ‘generic’ course at a good school sets you up with a BUNCH of transferable skills, which is excellent for volatile workers like us. Despite having no specific career direction, I’ve been able to thrive as a security guard, glasses maker, local government customer service assistant, and now, most recently, as a researcher for a large international company (where my research is directly underpinning a massive real estate development project- the founder of the company is in the office next door), despite having ZERO training or background in any of these things when I started. The lack of precise direction works wonderfully, because you’re never forced to remain in one career because you already have so much invested in it.

      Like Kendall says, you CAN get a decent job with no college education- it’s definitely possible. But it’s harder. Even just GOING to a good university opens a lot of doors for you that would otherwise remain closed. I went to a university in Oxford (not the famous university, another one in the same city), but as soon as I mention that, people automatically look at me differently, even after I correct them and tell them where I actually went, they’re still impressed. Having that connection with an employer, or someone involved in hiring and firing is immensely beneficial.

      What I would honestly recommend, to anybody and everybody, is if you have the opportunity to go to university, do so. Don’t try to reach the stars. Take a course that interests you with a difficulty level you know you can/should be able to handle, and aim for a job that you find tolerable. You’ve already listed waitressing and window cleaning as two things you’d happily do if you you could make enough from it. Are there higher-tier versions of these careers you could go for? Or are there specific places you could work in these industries that would offer you some kind of upwards progression? Find such a tolerable job with opportunities, then work towards that. If, later in your life, you find that there’s something totally PERFECT that you want to dedicate your entire existence to, you’re in a better position to go after it having a job that doesn’t involve just scraping by. If by 30 you’re managing a team of 15 window cleaners, but decide you want to go into journalism (and can prove that you can write decently), the experience running a team (and the people skills you gain from that) puts you in a better position than someone fresh out of university, even if they have some rudimentary experience in the field. Even if what you WANT to go into is so far removed from what you’ve been doing that the experience is irrelevant, aiming for higher level positions (and salaries) puts you in a better position to be unemployed for a while while searching for the new position, or trying to learn how to do the new job.

      If you ‘used to be smart’ before your issues with meds, you’re still smart- you’ve just got an issue at the moment. Is there any way to rectify the current issue you’re having? Did the pharmacy switch you from a brand medication to a generic? Has your doctor trialled you on a different medication, and assumes you’re doing better on it than you really are? Would you, in fact, be better off NOT taking your meds (please be aware, I don’t advocate this solution if the meds help even a little) because of the problems you’re having? Even if the problems CAN’T go away, you’re still smart. You just need to find a method by which you can harness it. I wrote every single essay for my degree the night before it was due in- any earlier and I couldn’t focus worth a damn. I don’t recommend this, either, I’m just saying that for every problem there is a solution.

      I’ve rambled a little, but the core of my advice is this: Now, while you’re young, and while you can, try to put yourself in the best position going forward. It’s long-term easier to take a long shot and struggle now than it is to do so later in life. Even a generic, non-career-specific degree in a subject you pick only because you enjoy studying it is better than no degree. And that way, you get to have a blast for three years, before, if you choose, going into the same job you could have gone into straight out of high school, but no longer being FORCED to do so. At that point, it becomes an active CHOICE, so it’s a lot harder to regret.

      I hope this helps, even a little 🙂

      • #104788

        We had a good medication, a generic Concerta, that was at 54 mg for years and I was doing really well with that, but for some reason my heart rate was suddenly through the roof all the time. We got an EKG and blood work done and my iron was kinda low but there wasn’t really any discernible reason. They told me maybe I just had a naturally high heart rate but it was never a problem until about a year ago. The various non-stimulants they’ve been trying don’t really do much for the ADHD…

        I’m kinda stuck right now. If a higher dose of strattera doesn’t work they’ll test other stimulants but they don’t want to put a lot of stain on my heart. I definitely want to try higher education, I’m just afraid I won’t be up to it. I could handle community college, but I don’t know about a big school with advanced academics.

        I don’t know how long it’ll take to find the right medication for me. When we went through the process the first time, after my diagnosis, I was in elementary school, so the time it took wasn’t a big deal. But If I don’t have it figured out by the time college comes around next year, I don’t know what I’ll do. I can’t exactly take a gap year if I want to use that scholarship.

        After everything that happened last year, I’d like to be in a position where I can keep going even if I can’t figure out my medication situation or get back to how I used to be. I’m just afraid that a big University isn’t such a position.

    • #105652

      Nobody really knows what they are truly good at as a teenager. Most adults don’t even know what they’re even doing. If they tell you adults have it figured out, they are either lying to you or somehow managed to be very successful.

      As a kid I wanted to study cosmology, I wanted to be an animator, I wanted to be a writer, an actress. When I was in high school, I knew I liked art. It was something I was good at. But I had no idea what area of art I wanted to pursue. Fine artist? Commercial artist? Stage and costume design for theater? Continue with animation? Illustration and concept art? But you know I really do love science but I suck at math. Maybe I can still somehow pursue that and do art on the side maybe as a hobby?

      Then college came. I had no clue though I was more focused on art. I did take acting classes. I was also really into webdesign (2000, when it was starting to become a budding career option). I took creative writing courses, I took interesting science courses. Combine undiagnosed ADHD and depression into the mix and well, after two years of taking foundation classes, I dropped out.

      I began the esteemed career of customer service. :D:D:D Job hopping as a cashier.

      I went back probably 4 years later to study game design, no illustration, uhh animation? No let’s stick to safe old graphic design. It was something I was already doing to some degree and figured out I had some skill in but not really earning money on it yet. And I started failing in math. The economy tanked in 2008 and I was completely unsure if I should even continue this route and be more in debt, so I quit. As of now I have no degree, but I’m only 1k away from paying off that pesky loan. :s

      I made a really cool website (sort of similar to Gaia Online but it was tiny) and was generating pretty good income for its’ small size. So I realized that maybe I could do something with that. I was back to working customer service jobs. I moved, found a new store to work at and was promoted into part time management, then quickly after that, full time. I stayed FT assistant manager for several years wondering if I should continue up the ladder or not. I was also doing stuff on the side, I picked up new hobbies: making jewelry and selling them at anime conventions which was doing pretty well.

      I went into store management a few years ago and realized a lot of things about myself:
      – I’m a really good judge of character. A lot of workplaces have drama and issues between employees but nearly everyone I hired tended to mesh and work as a team.
      – I figured out how to not just be a boss, but be an effective leader.
      – I’m really good at delegating (you have to be if you can’t even complete your own tasks) and approaching tasks with strategy (to make up for your own shortcomings) figuring out what people are really good at. I approached scheduling like a strategy game. :p
      – A lot of people I hired ended up getting promoted into management positions and I helped train them. I became like a mentor to a lot of people.

      I would’ve never known this if I’d just went along with whatever art field I wanted to get into. But I left that job this year because I wasn’t happy. I couldn’t dedicate time to my art and I didn’t want to be 50 years old being a disgruntled retail manager who draws on the side. I didn’t want my bosses’ position in the company. I didn’t want to work harder to go into a busier store. I was offered a position doing graphic and webdesign with occasional illustration. I work from home now and I’m theoretically able to dedicate time to my own projects to get them off the ground if I could focus. I’m able to take what I learned from management and apply it to what I want to do. Right now, I’m working on creating a game. So this involves learning programming and doing a lot of art. Hiring help once I’m able to build up enough finances for that. There’s marketing involved and that marketing involves design. Stuff I never thought I’d be touching by just being an illustrator, designer, whatever else in the world I wanted to do. I’m hoping that I can build a startup game company.

      The terrible and nice thing about adhd is that you bounce around a lot. You learn a lot about yourself and the world in the process. The key is trying to figure out that sweet spot and honing in on it once you find it. And you’re probably not going to find it through a classroom, especially if your classes devote a lot of time to standardized testing. You’re probably going to find it from wandering, sometimes helplessly, bouncing around in a ping pong machine until you figure out the controls. I want to say it’ll be okay, that creative people with lots of great ideas can make it work. But it takes a lot to get there. And sometimes you don’t have the luxury of time. Sometimes you need to make an income. Suddenly 20 years fly by and you you yourself in a field that you hate just to pay your bills. Luck just happened to be on my side, and I was able to get out.

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