Feeling Set up to Fail at Work

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    • #107975

      My boss is aware of my ADHD and has been helpful and understanding as her son has it. I work as a tax account and during the busy season I have to really put in a lot of effort to be able to keep up with my co-workers productivity levels. But I have just been informed that I am in charge of 3 interns this tax season. I have done this before and they took that responsibility away from me as I couldnt keep up with my own workload and I basically fell on my face hard. This is the first year where i felt like I could do well. I have been working with my therapist on how to organize my to do lists and schedule to minimize my ADHD symptoms. But helping interns means constant unpredictable interruptions and a lot of stopping in the middle of things while being expected to keep up my workload. I have already told my boss that I did not want to help the interns because it is too much for me, but I am still stuck with the interns.

      I feel like I am set up to fail and i dont know what to do to prevent it. My already damaged self esteem at work cannot take another brutal hit by getting another bad annual review. I am trying so hard just to keep up and I am feeling like its not even worth the stress and effort to try anymore.

    • #108034
      General Chow

      I’ve managed numerous multifamily construction projects with numerous employees, and I was thrown into that position without any experience. I had to manage people, which I found easier than managing myself. It’s three interns. Trust me when I tell you that this can help you succeed. Delegating tasks to interns is a fantastic way for you to solve some of your ADD problems. For example, I used a secretary to organize folders in a manner that kept me organized, which was a big help to me. When I tried doing it myself, I would mess it up even though it was my organization system. Crazy huh? Obviously, I don’t know the exact situation, but I feel like that your problem comes with a universal remedy. It’s three interns that you control. All of them yearning for your attention, respect, and recommendation. The possibilities are endless. I hope I can provide aid to your situation with the advice as followed:

      1) Positivity, Plans and Goals. Plan and pre-plan. Our goals are manageable when we plan. What are the goals? What do the interns need to learn? When do they need to learn it? When can you teach or mentor them? When can you mentor? Devise a plan to complete that goal. Find the times in the day that provides an opportunity for you to mentor the interns, and find the time in your day when you need to complete tasks. The great part about being the boss is that you get to decide the course of action, so take this assignment by the balls and make it work for you. Make this work for you. Asking the interns to do menial tasks like getting coffee or lunch for the office is great benefit that will make you look good. Teach them how to do your assignments, and ask them to do it as a team.

      2) Set Schedules and Boundaries. Schedule the day for your interns like a teacher creates a curriculum to keep students busy and working. For example: 8AM you will teach them how to complete some of their daily tasks, especially some of the daily tasks that are repetitive, easy, and waste your time. Tell them not to disturb you with questions until 11AM. At 11AM you correct their mistakes and give them orders until 1PM. Etc. etc. Tell your interns not to bother you during this time, unless it’s absolutely critical. If you think they are screwing up, pop into their room to see what’s up and tell them this is the time to ask questions. However, you need to make sure you create space and division between time spent interacting with interns and the time needed to complete work. You need to make certain your interns understand when it’s acceptable and unacceptable to disturb you from your work.

      3) Identify the Competent Intern and Delegate Authority. Create a head intern position. Give the position to the most competent person. If that person fails you, give it to someone else. If the head intern cannot answer a question, then the head intern may ask for your assistance. Only the head intern may come to you during your work time. I’d rather have one person disturb me instead of three. This is called centralization.

      4) Effective Mentoring. Teach your interns how to complete an assignment as a group. Don’t just teach on an individual basis. If you feel that an intern needs a long explanation or correction, assemble all the interns so they can hear. Make them write notes. You are trying to limit interruptions. Better yet, let them sit in your office and watch you complete your work, and talk out loud so you can tell them all the steps they need to take in order to complete the assignment. Then make them complete that same task while everyone supervises.

      5) Put the Onus on your Interns to Collaborate. Make your Interns collaborate with each other on assignments. One of them is bound to have the right answer.

      By the way, I don’t mind be called out if you disagree or hate it. Were brainstorming here.

    • #108054
      Penny Williams

      Don’t count yourself out too soon. You said you’ve made great improvement at work through help from your therapist. You’re managing your workload better, so having interns may go better this time around. Give yourself the benefit of the doubt.

      And, as much as you can structure your interactions with the interns, do so. Schedule time to review what they’re doing, issues they’re having, etc…

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

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