My Husband Can't Keep a Job

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    • #39853
      Penny Williams

      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.


    • #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

      • #113310

        Lilies&Orchards – I appreciate how you have worked alongside your husband to be his “helpmate” in the areas where he might have gaps (organization!) but allowing him to still lead and control his destiny and search.

        I’m a husband in a similar capacity and I cherish those moments when my wife works WITH me instead of being frustrated and gives in to moments where she’s at her last straw and feels like nagging is her only option – my heart goes out to her during times like those.

        If only you ladies knew how much we cherish our wives and families and how important your encouragement meant to us each and every day – we can hang the moon when our wives are building us up!

    • #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.

      • #113311

        @ALAMODE – I feel your pain, bud – I also am a husband in the same boat and capacity as others have mentioned…i cherish my family and am devoted to them…care greatly about being a hard and focused worker…and have experienced a long run of layoffs that has taken its toll on my sweet bride and awesome kids, not to mentioned our depleted stroehouse of finances.

        The moments where my wife pulls “alongside me” in unity and we are working together/together either during job searches or just in support of normal workday activities are some of the best times of my life…and on the opposite side of the coin are when I see her despair and frustration when my ADD/ADHD symptoms truly rears its ugly head.

        And those moments where she chooses to say an encouraging word in my ear instead of giving voice to the thousands of other thoughts racing thru her head are true miracles that I don’t take for granted.

        With that said – I am grateful for many of the women whom have posted on this forum…its helpful to hear your perspective and gives me even greater compassion for my beautiful bride.

        And I am also eternally grateful for our Maker – the good Lord didn’t make a mistake when He designed us men (and women!) this way with the challenges associated with ADD/ADHD…and i hope and pray that I can put the awesome talents He has bestowed me and others in this forum to good and perfect use that allows us to serve our families in the way they truly truly deserve.

        Let Him Reign!

    • #114114

      Your post could’ve been written by me. I’ve been very frustrated with my partner’s seeming incapability to keep (or find) a job. We met in college and he was brilliant there and aced every task. He told me he had been treated for ADHD throughout his childhood and teenage years and got a “proper” ADHD diagnosis (too long a story to tell) when he was around 18. I didn’t know anything about ADHD and he seemed quirky and a overly psyched at times but otherwise “functioning” and to me he was just a fun, creative, intelligent guy. So, I was not prepared for what happened after our transition into occupational life. Next to losing jobs because he doesn’t do what he’s told and doesn’t listen, and offending his co-workers and bosses by acting superior to them, he also feels most open job positions are beneath him. Even though he recognizes the gaps and appearent job hopping displayed on his resume are problematic, he feels like it has nothing to do with him (except maybe that people do not recognize his superior expertise in basically everything). He claims his bosses and co-workers are the ones to blame. I believe he doesn’t really know what he wants to do for a living because he presents me with new (partly nonsensical) ideas/goals every other day. He doesn’t seem to be able to reflect his own behavior. For some reason I cannot really understand, his confidence grows with every lay-off. He also has taken a stand against ADHD and has been untreated since his early twenties. He says it’s just a different way of being and not a pathology (sometimes he also believes it’s the next evolutionary step). While I agree that it’s mostly a different way of functioning and doesn’t mean he’s faulty, these differences cause major problems for him and for us and should receive attention. I am wondering more and more, if this sense of grandiosity and superiority is related to his ADHD at all or if something else is going on…he has also recently started to have extrem anger outbrusts that have not happened in our prior 6 years together.
      But I’m drifting off topic here. What I actually wanted to do, is tell you how I deal with the situation: I plan for myself and our 2-year-old and only for us. My partner is invited along but I cannot let him make momentous decisions (not that he is aware of this…unfortunatelly, it’s not possible to have fruitful conversation about it). I let him do his thing and hope that he will somehow find his place but I don’t bank on it. I have learned that even though he has a lot of capabilities, we can not build a life on them. I am the one who has to sustain stability for our family. I decide if we move, where we move, when we move because I will be the one keeping her job. I have also separated our finances. I know this may sound harsh to some of you and I get it but trust me, this is my last resort to make sure I can meet the responsibilities I have towards my daughter and also towards myself. And I don’t want to let ADHD run our lives. That being said, I hope your husband is not as ignorant towards his share in his current situation, so you can work together on the issue. If not, I can tell you that taking back the wheel regarding my own life has relieved me from a lot of ADHD-induced stress.

    • #128027

      Many times ADHD and Autism are co diagnosed. You describe many of the behaviors my husband, who has been diagnosed with having high functioning Autism. My husband comes off as arrogant, nothing is ever his fault, he has temper tantrums, cannot communicate well and conversely has a hard time understand others. Does your husband give you reports? This involves one sided “Conversation” that typically revolves around his obsession. Does he have an all consuming interest (obsession) that he can hyper focus for hours at a time? Is he good with numbers or dates? Is he socially awkward and become exhausted after being around ppl too much? If he exhibits many of these attributes, you may want to have him see a professional to become evaluated. He will need support and so will you.

    • #189188

      I too am an ADHD wife. My husband can’t keep a job. I’ve done similar in that I control all of our bills and all of the finances. We don’t even have a joint bank account anymore. I was tired of the let down and I just needed to do it myself.

      He’s very intelligent, but has the attention span of a knat. Today he lasted one day at his job he just got hired for.

      It’s frustrating and disheartening. I was feeling a little bummed today and found this feed and so glad I did.

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