My Husband Can't Keep a Job

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This topic contains 11 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  alamode 1 month ago.

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  • #39853


    This discussion was originally started by user RedSonja in ADDitude’s now-retired community. The ADDitude editors have included it here to encourage more discussion.


    My husband and I have been together for 6 years. We already have a 3 year old and I’m currently pregnant with our second.

    He was diagnosed with ADD in his late twenties. He is very intelligent, generally very capable and works in a fairly specialized field. However in the 6 years we have been together, he has been fired 4 times, laid-off once and a potentially longer-term contract not renewed on two other occasions. The unemployment gaps have varied, but the last one, broken with a couple of very brief contract jobs, was 3 years long and the job of financially supporting the family falls to me.

    I am English and here on a work visa that limits the kind of work that I can do so just getting some shift work or an extra job is not an option for me. We are struggling financially and will only struggle more as I am shortly going to have our second baby and be unable to work at all for a while.

    It is certainly not that he doesn’t want to work, on the contrary he does much better with the structure of a full time job and becomes quickly depressed without it. It also isn’t that he is unqualified (although the gaps and the short job intervals on his resumé are becoming harder and harder to explain away). Applying for jobs has become a full time job for him, albeit one that he takes on with maximum ADD inefficiency and what is probably a couple of hours’ work can take him the entire day. Despite this, I think that he is actually very good at his work – the problems always stem from relationships at work and from people not really understanding him and how best to use him, this combined with some bad communication skills on his part.

    Anyway – I could go on about this for hours but he has recently been fired again, from a job he was good at and liked and worked very hard at and I can see our family getting sucked back into the cycle of depression and job hunting that has dominated our lives on and off. This close to a baby being born, it terrifies me and I would be grateful for any advice from someone who actually understands rather than the uncomprehending annoyance and lecturing that is forthcoming from our families.


    • This topic was modified 1 year, 11 months ago by  ADHDmomma.
    • This topic was modified 1 year, 11 months ago by  Hope @ ADDitude.
  • #41128

    Hope @ ADDitude

    This reply was originally posted by user nexus7722 in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

    Hi there. I’m so sorry for what you’re going through, and I’ve been there. Know that you’re not alone and, if you’re like me and everyone else in your family just thinks you’re hard on your husband unnecessarily, I get it. It is so hard being pregnant or with a new baby and being married to a man with ADD.

    My husband is probably the most intelligent man I’ve ever met. But he consistently misses deadlines—at home and at work. I suspect that this played a huge role in him getting laid off a year back. Luckily, he was able to find a better job pretty quickly.

    I don’t have any advice or big revelations; I’m struggling with this too. But, I will say this—in so much as you can, take care of yourself and your sanity. Rest up. Take nice baths. I got myself so stressed out during my pregnancy that I developed eclampsia (not fun, but baby and I both survived).

    A few things I’ve learned that have helped:
    —Don’t expect him to do anything unless you ask for it right then. ADHD sense of timing is different than ours.
    —Try to find the joy in small things, whether it’s with him or by yourself.

    As for the finances, that must be so scary. Praying that he’ll find something soon. <3

  • #41134

    Hope @ ADDitude

    This reply was originally posted by user GHM in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

    It’s difficult, and I’m sorry that you’re going through this. My husband has been in the same boat for 10+ years. I begged him to just call a headhunter and let them do the legwork. He would on occasion, but there was little follow through, if any on his part. They hate asking for help, but the search is overwhelming, especially for someone with the challenges of ADD and it’s comorbid conditions. Find a decent employment agency and interview with them. He can probably find contract/temp work with them and get his foot in the door. He’ll be bringing money in and at least feel as though he’s contributing.Hopefully, keeping his confidence and self-esteem up. In the meantime, the headhunters can look for a permanent position. A lot of their opening are temp to hire as well. Keeping his spirits up and being productive are key. Best of luck!

  • #41135

    Hope @ ADDitude

    This reply was originally posted by user ADDedValue62 in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

    It is difficult and I’m sorry to hear you two are going through this. Long term unemployment destroys more than just one’s bank account. Contract work tends to suit us ADDs especially if our spouses’ jobs carry the benefits. Often I can finish up a contract before I manage to offend more than 50% of my colleagues.

    There are many creative ways to try and hide gaps on one’s resume and you can find most of these online. Of course the recruiters know these as well so it really makes me wonder if it’s worthwhile. I have a similar problem with employment gaps and work in a semi-specialized field.

    @GHM recruiters for staff augmentation firms don’t find you a job. They work for their clients. If you don’t match closely the client’s core requirements the recruiter won’t even return your phone calls. So unless you’re paying them, they don’t have your best interests at heart. All they’re trying to do is fill an order. I’ve been dealing with them off and on for 20+ years, and put them on about the same level as the average car salesmen. I have a few that I notify when I’m looking for work, but I have few expectations.

    • #89728


      Hope@Additude I agree, some headhunters are like used car sales people. They are more concerned with the contact information of your former employers- so they can harass them- than helping you find a job! Temp agencies- same thing.
      With that said, any suggestions for reputable ones. I have been employed by many of the major employers in my city. And at this point it is hard to find jobs because I have exhausted alot of employers. I cant even use Linked in because my work history is so sporadic. Any advice appreciated>

    • #106932


      Thank you for the insight! I’ve been dating my ADHD boyfriend for four years and he’s been let go from 3 jobs in the same time span. Fortunately, he’s always been able to find another job fairly quickly. I do worry this will be the rest of our lives, but I appreciate your tips for assisting with job hunting.

  • #41136

    Hope @ ADDitude

    This reply was originally posted by user Lilies&Orchids in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

    Similar situation here. Intelligent. Nice guy. Done well in his career. Yet multiple layoffs. Never quite sure of the reason but I know he has communication and relationship issues at work. He wouldn’t believe that was the issue but it makes me wonder. Two layoffs in the last 11 months and 3 moves (one was international). Our kids are much older and just see this as how life goes.

    Yes, headhunters are helpful for ADD folks. What also helped for us is applying my organizational and motivation skills to the job searches. We brainstorm on what is possible. I give suggestions to organizing the search like suggesting he put together a spreadsheet of contacts and keeping the history and next steps on it like who needs to be followed up with next, will it be email, phone call, invite to lunch? We touch base and discuss what is on the spreadsheet and what should happen next. He explains how contacts and interviews went. I attempt to explain what it sounds like happened between the lines that he missed. He still owns the search and I don’t nit pick every conversation but I know that he is being more efficient and effective with my help. (Although I just discovered that all of this distracted him from refilling his ADD meds and he’s been going to some interviews without taking his meds!! I’m now in the process of moving the contact info for his refills with the pharmacy to my account so I can keep track because this is an ongoing issue.)

    We have also used these times to relook at his career and determine what his strengths and weaknesses are, if he could create a job for him, what would that look like and is it possible? What size of a company should he work for? (for him larger because that means there is more structure, a more defined job description, and less wearing of multiple hats and “winging” it.) This has now steered his search for a previous role (some might see it as a step back) but one we hope will be better suited to him, he will feel more successful at it and we will have more stability.

    He’s had about 4 interviews in the last two weeks so feeling positive about it currently…just got to keep him on his meds!

    Use the positive side of worry that us non-ADHD spouses go through to problem solve. At this point I wonder if I should become a career counselor, I’m getting so much experience. Go do something fun to take your mind off of things for a bit. xoxo

  • #89727


    If your husband is in a specialized field maybe he can teach it (as a consultant). Also, there are sites like Fiverr, Upwork, Virtual Vocations to bring in extra money. You should not be stressed out at this time. If you have enough income to survive, relax and have a safe delivery and healthy baby. Ask for family support. Once you have the baby – you can focus on strategies to help him.

  • #89948


    I’m sorry to hear about what you are going through. I went through the same thing with my ex husband. I am now watching my son that’s ADD go through the same thing with jobs. I don’t know how I can help him. I was wondering if people can get on disability if they have it and struggle to keep a job?

  • #89950


    No, one cannot receive disability benefits due to ADD. Social Security Administration has stringent rules on this. Check out the website link below:

    • #107174


      Correct. The hurdles for ADHD disability is a catch 22 situation. Also, trying to sue for discrimination is the same thing, a catch 22, and corporate attorneys are trained in beating claims as a result of the catch 22.

  • #109780


    I’m reading these posts and I feel a sense of guilt. I am that husband many are struggling with. My situation is similar to what’s been mentioned in this forum. I’m currently looking for a job but I’m at a point where I’m now dealing confidence issues. Am I able to that job? For how long? Etc.

    I have a family and all I want is to support them and just have a normal life. It just hits me hard how normal everybody is around me and how successful.

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