I feel like I’m just awful at my job

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    • #115741

      I really care about people and I work very hard, but I’m not reliable, I’m disorganized, I forget things, my resources to help me managestart falling apart eventually. I feel a ton of guilt over that, all the time.

    • #115774

      Have you seen a therapist and tried medication? Is this something you want to do for a career, or is it just a job for the time being?

      Guilt is very common with ADHD. It has ruled my life. I don’t think you can get rid of it, but just learn to live in a way that you don’t do things that make you feel guilty as often. Therapy and especially medication can help, but you often have to try many therapists and many medications before finding the right match. The other thing is finding a job that is best suited for your skills, where organization is not that important, etc.

    • #115902

      I can relate to that sometimes. Some tips

      1)organization – pick a task and set a time limit for yourself. See how other people organize their stuff and do things, maybe having a mental map helps.

      For example, I’m working in a pastry kitchen so the ingredients and certain things are in different locations and some weigh 10kg so I can’t drag everything to my work bench at the same time like opening my ingredient box at home to make a 1kg dough. So I need to write down ingredients in batches and find the nearest place to work in,eg if I do dry ingredients first, I will take a few out at the same time and after returning them take the milk and eggs from the fridge next to the dry store. If I take something from the freezer outside, I will take it together with the big trays I need.

      It’s a bit more crazy in the kitchen because sometimes you can’t find something in 1 kitchen, so I always take the items that are hard to find first.

      In an office environment, I will stack my documents by department and distribute everything in one go for signature because there were 3 levels in my previous office and no lift. On the way back, I will scan some documents at the copier machine. I do these things in the morning so that I can work on other tasks while documents are under review, so by 1-2 days I can finish my work and also get everything signed, move on to the next task.
      2) being reliable

      Maybe you can list the things you struggle with to organize or forget. Eg I’m bad at receiving verbal instructions and my supervisor says it so quickly I, so I need to repeat what my supervisor said and maybe use gestures to visualize it before I write it. It annoys him sometimes that he needs to show me a few times or repeat what he said if it’s something I have not done before, but I write everything I did at work after I finish my work so that I can remember all the correct steps.

      Even if you feel like a clown for messing up first thing in the morning, just tell yourself that you will do the next task well no matter how small it is. Sometimes I think the only thing I did OK was chopping fruits the whole day or cleaning the kitchen. Drinking a few sips of water every hour helps with concentration. Even if my supervisor thinks I’m slacking off, I’d rather drink water than make mistakes the whole day.

    • #116154

      You’re doing better than I did. I didn’t work much, although I have a college education. The few jobs I had, including volunteer jobs, I quit in either frustration at not being able to do it well, or boredom when it was simple enough that I could. (Past tense because I’m 64 now and no more jobs.)

    • #116487

      I can relate as I’m in a similar position. I’m a nurse and took an office job 1 year ago. It’s hard to keep organised, I can’t focus, I’m finding mistakes in my own work and feel like a phoney. The guilt, shame etc is weighing to heavily. One day I’m just gonna snap and walk out!

      • #116746

        weighing-in briefly as a fellow ADHD-er (on a timer so that I can get to work on time though! Haha!) I’ve felt the same for many years while at different jobs, but there was always a part of the job I excelled at, and others that I bombed. The social/relationship building work tasks in my sales/pr jobs I knocked out of the park, while the boring tasks of inputting the orders and “wrapping up” were my nemeses. I’ve read/watched much on the topic and one fact stands out: ADDers have so much to contribute to the workforce AS LONG as we set ourselves up to succeed in the right job. Don’t beat yourself up if you’re not great at/in boring and repetitive work tasks and environments. You’re swimming upstream! There’s a great webinar on ADDitude you should be able to access called “How to Find Your Path: A Roadmap for Choosing a College, a Career, or Something Different” which I think is helpful at any age/career changers, maybe help to re-evaluate what your role is in a given company. He also gave a TEDx talk on the topic.

        After getting married and staying home to raise my twins (kind of like a job with no vacation or pay!) the lack of structure and deadlines was disastrous for me and my marriage and I sought professional help. I was finally diagnosed with Adult ADD (inattentive – not hyperactive) and started Adderall which has been hugely helpful (wish I’d known when I was a young adult)! Not a fix-all but at least I can stay on-task and focused with tools like timers and LISTS.

        Don’t give up! Try to identify which skills you enjoy most and co-workers/people admire most in you and perhaps you could move more towards those and delegate the harder tasks to someone who likes the more tedious tasks better! And finally remember that it takes all kinds of personalities and talents to make a business run well – ADDers bring unique talents to every workplace that others lack! 🙂

        Best of luck!

    • #116549

      Same here! But I believe that I can get better a little at a time, and if I can, you can! I have started trying to improve ONE thing at a time until the improvement is a habit and then move onto the next thing. When I first started this that method felt too slow – but after sometime of no constant and continual improvement I figured it is better than a constant pattern of one step forward two steps back.

      The habit I am currently working on is taking time to meditate right when I get to work (I have an app on my phone and do a beginner practice). At first I felt like this was more of me wasting time but I kept hearing about how it can help gather your thoughts and calm your nervous system. And I figure at the root of it if my thoughts themselves are less manic then I will be more effective as a whole. So far, I am definitely not to the habit goal but I definitely notice a positive change in my mental functioning.

      Something else that helps me is making a REASONABLE to-do / priority list for each day and week helps me a lot. (This was something I did before but I have found getting started on these tasks is much easier after meditating for 10 minutes)

      I have also started practicing being kind to myself. I don’t allow (or I try not to allow) myself to say things to myself I wouldn’t say to a beloved friend who was confiding in me. Because giving yourself PTSD from heaping negative thoughts and anxiety on yourself isn’t going to do anyone any good. When you fail FORGIVE YOURSELF! I, personally, suck at this, but I’m getting better at it and recognize the merits of it which help me as well.

      You can do this!!!! And with every step you take towards being the employee you want to be you are stronger and a better person for the struggle you went through to get there.

    • #116570

      I feel like this at my job, too. And I’ve actually made some really major mistakes that have had a negative impact on the people that I work with. I’m always rotating between how I manage my tasks – sometimes I can keep up an app, but then sometimes I start writing things down on scraps of paper everywhere again.

      I agree with what some folks said above: first, it’s not possible to address EVERYTHING all at once. It took me a LONG time to realize this – my guilt often makes me feel as though if I don’t come back the very next day a completely changed person, then it’s no good even trying. My therapist told me, “be a scientist about it – observe if your method helps you or not, and observe how other methods help or not.” ANd this method of believing I had to (or even could) fix everything all at once was NOT helping me. So, I’m now going with the one-at-a-time, small habit changes. I’m not going to lie, it does feel frustrating because I do want to be a COMPLETELY changed person. But I also have to be honest and agree with the person above – I am seeing changes, even if they’re small, and those small changes are more progress than when I was trying to pressure myself to transform immediately.

      What I’m working on right now isn’t even specifically work-related: I’m just trying really, really hard to get to bed at a reasonable time. When I do this, I end up feeling more rested, and my medication works better, and I’m more able to get through a couple things on my to-do list. So even though sleeping isn’t directly work related, it helps my work SO much.

      See if there’s something similar for you, where it’s a healthier lifestyle habit that helps support your brain. maybe it’s sleep like for me, or meditation like for that other person, or maybe it’s eating more vegetables, or maybe it’s getting more exercise. There’s gonna be SOMEthing like that that will help your brain in a general way, even if it takes time to find out what that is for you. Be a scientist – observe.

      Combined with sleeping more, what I’ve started doing is writing a GIANT to-do list on Sunday afternoon or evening, of everything that I believe I need to get done, personal, work-wise, whatever – everything. It ends up being a gigantic overwhelming horrible list, but I feel a bit better because at least everything is out of my head. The trick is that everyday I then pick 3 to work on for work, and 1-2 personal ones for my off time (usually chores, errands, or social calls). ANd that’s it. That’s my only expectation of myself for the day. ANd I don’t go back to the giant scary list until I need another task to do. And I have never, not once, completed everything on that list. And that just kind of needs to be OK. Because I often, though not all the time, complete 2-3 of the work things a day, and even though that’s not where I want to stay, it’s way better than how I was doing before.

      I hope that helps! You’re definitely not alone in this!

    • #116571

      Yes! Be kind to yourself! 😊 That was me for yeas. First, stop saying you’re awful! You do good work or you wouldn’t have a job. You probably work harder than most because you feel a need to compensate. I don’t know how much freedom you have at work, but try and create an environment you can be successful in. I have learned what motivates me and what overwhelms me. Planning my work day in my head in the morning, knowing what to expect, helps. I try not to “do” anything when I’m overwhelmed. I simplify processes with white boards and lists and a plan in my head that I can be inspired by. I put all appointments in my phone immediately. I text myself reminders of things. Know your limits and forgive yourself for those limits. I adjusted my schedule so I wasn’t late all the time for oversleeping. Know what your triggers are and try to head them off. I do best when someone else makes my schedule, while still being able to control it myself when needed. I have trouble saying no, so I tend to overschedule myself. But I sometimes need to take time off without jumping through hoops. Develop a level of self awareness that includes knowing when your probably obsessing over one task to the detriment of another equally important task. Ask for help when you need it, like for things you don’t enjoy and have trouble focusing on.

      And , this is important, know your reasons but DON’T make excuses. ADD is real and is a valid brain chemistry profile that requires understanding and treatment. But it’s not an excuse. No one goes to work with an untreated but treatable illness then uses it as an excuse for not getting the job done. See a doctor, take meds if prescribed, make accommodations, do what you can. You may need to explain your situation, but In the end it’s your/our responsibility.

      For me, after trying many adjustments and still falling short (I was fired for being late one time too many) I realized I could not work full time. Being overwhelmed with too much work created a multitude of self defeating thoughts, emotions and behaviors that I almost managed, if not for the inability to decompress in between. So now I work part time, half of that for myself, the rest as a 1099 worker for someone else. I was very depressed at first, but after making all the same adjustments I mentioned, I’m working more, and I feel pretty good about it. I enjoy my work again. I’m a work in progress and so are you.

      Be proud of yourself for all you do.

    • #116601

      This is TOTALLY me at my work! I try and try and try but I am ALWAYS 15-20 minutes late in the mornings. I’m not late to meetings or scheduled things the rest of the day, just in the mornings. It makes me so frustrated because Ive tried all sorts of tactics to change it and I can do it for a few days but then resort back to natural late self. Its really a problem because the late thing overshadows all the good stuff I do at work. It becomes a “thing” and eventually I’m just sewen as a problem and no matter what else I do at work, even going above and beyond expectations sometimes, the “problem” fog still hovers around me wherever I go while at work. That makes me depressed and angry at myself which leads to lower self esteem and lower self confidence which causes me to second guess myself and be less sure of myself. The depression and low self esteem and the constant sting of continually letting myself and others down weighs on me and it’s hard to be in a “good” mood or have energy to do anything, let alone interact with my colleagues and friends, so then I find myself, alone, depressed, wallowing in self pity, beating myself up, disappointing my boss and co-workers,feeling awkward and becoming more and more socially awkward since I isolate myself and am alone most of the time… All of this downward spiral from just being 15-20 minutes late. It’s so dumb.

      • #116666

        Somehow you need to figure out how to reset your clock in your mind so that work starts 30 minutes earlier than reality. So if work starts at 8, you need to convince yourself it starts at 7:30. That gives you time to be late, plus built in time for traffic, parking, clocking in, getting coffee, etc. I’m not sure what this would look like for you, whether it would require you to set your watch fast, always plan to be there at 7:30, change your “leave time,” or what.

        For example, I need to leave the house by 7:40 to be at work on time, but I have my “leave time” as 7:30, because if I leave the house at 7:40, I won’t actually leave the house until 7:40. Because I forgot my keys, sweater, wedding ring, lunch, kid’s bag, etc. Or because the toddler had a tantrum right as we walked out the door. If the toddler is ready to leave at 7:20, I get my things and we leave then, because if I delay, he stops being ready and we’re late.

        I also set alarms. For example, I have an hour lunch, which is enough time to go home. But then I can’t relax because I know I’m going to be late. Or I do my math wrong, etc. So I set an alarm when I leave work that goes off with enough time to get back to work.

    • #116646

      I can completely relate. I just left a job, that I was extremely overwhelmed with. It didn’t help that it was a 2 person job and I had to do the whole thing. I couldn’t keep up, I couldn’t stay organized, I wasn’t doing a very good job organizing my day or anything else and worked a ton of hours to try to stay on top on my work. I stunk at it.

      – With the jobs that I am good at, I have found that keeping a checklist of each project helped me stay organized. I created the checklists to be in order of the job and how it needed to be completed and checked off each item as I completed it and put a reminder on my work AND phone calendar to remind me when the next item was due on the each project. With this last job I couldn’t do a checklist even if I tried.

      The only advice I can give is to try the checklist idea above to help with organization. For time management, you can track your time throughout the day and see how much time it is taking you to do a project and then set a time goal the next – either for the same amount of time or a shorter amount of time – I find that I work better under pressure and that is when a time goal works for me.

      I know it is hard to not beat yourself up over not doing a good job, even when you know you are capable of doing a good, but you have to try. I have lost a lot of confidence in my ability to do good work to the point that I am afraid to start another job.

      A friend of mine suggested I watch the movie (but not really a movie) the “Secret”, so I did and it is about staying positive and thinking positively, and having faith in yourself to do what you put your mind to. It was really good and I recommend it to anyone who needs a confidence boost.

    • #116645

      Hello, I feel your pain. Your post is also the story of MY life. I agree with others please start by stop beating yourself up. It makes it worse and it does not help. Here are my suggestions from things I recently discovered that have given me hope. We are NOT alone! And we are NOT a hopeless cause. We are amazing we are just different and we need to understand ourselves so we can learn how to be successful.

      1- Visit “How to ADHD” Channel even if you dont have the hyoeractive part.
      1a) Read the Channel Creator Jessica McCabe’s TEDx TALK “Failing at Normal an ADHD Success Story”

      1b) Jessica’s fish song

      1c) How to ADHD Channel watch at least 2 videos

      Welcome to How to ADHD!

      2- Two tools I learned about that seem to be helping
      2a) Read about Pomorado Timer Technique
      Helps us who are time blind develop sense of how long things take and helps focus
      Free APP fo cell phone & devices Google Play Store

      2b) The Bullet Joural an organizatonal tool that might REALLY work for ADHD & ADD


      3- Search ADD Magazine site and search internet fir other ADD/ADHD resources for ONE most important specific thing you need help with. Has to be YOUR decision. I think being on time is a great start. Pomodoro Technique above can help. Also aim to be 30 to 60 minutes early and plan a reward for yourself when you arrive EARLY. A fav coffee drink, 10 minutes chat with a friend, something YOU LOVE! Be sure to set a timer so dont take too long reward & still be late.

      4- IF you can afford it try to attend this workshop. Wish I could afford to but I cant right now.
      Eric Tivers ADHD Rewired
      Coaching Workshop.

      Most imporantly don’t give up til you find what works for YOU. Don’t keep trying what has not worked. Don’t kerp trying things that work for non-ADHD folks. Our brains are different, remember Jessica’s Fish Song. Do keep learning and trying more new things until you find what works for you. It may be hard, even very hard. BUT if you keep trying NEW things you will find what works for YOU!

      Try to have a good day and re-newed hope. With great understanding and compassion, my thoughts and prayers are with you.

    • #116743

      Thanks very much !

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