Serious Employment Problem — Exasperated

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    • #102506

      Hello everyone!

      This is my first time posting here (I think…) Totally exasperated. Maybe someone can offer some good advice.

      I’m a 47 year old with obvious — and also clinically diagnosed ADD.
      I’ve done a lot in my life to strategize — enough that I was able to finish my Masters with a perfect GPA (and honors) — and even more remarkably, am rarely late going places and haven’t lost my keys or wallet in over a year. (That’s miracle territory!). BUT — realistically speaking, I do have some limitations, in particular, I learn differently (my memory is poor. I don’t pick up instructions on the spot. I do learn — but I need time to myself and have to go over things over and over. Once I get it thought, I am really good at improving systems and efficiency.

      ok — so I was living in Japan and I returned to the US (long story) and burnt out on teaching ESL. First, I landed what looked like a very stable job doing tech support/phone support for a research company — and had to bow out of training after 3 weeks. I was just totally lost, feeling stupid — and the company didn’t have any written out training material good for self study. (When I say lost, I don’t mean “struggling” — I mean 100% lost.)

      I went back to teaching and orchestrated a move to NYC where I landed a job at a famous Japanese restaurant. As a marketing specialist, I revamped their PR and did well, but they were having internal problems and had to lay me off after three months. Then, I landed a job with another Japanese company, only they are SUPER ADHD unfriendly with a vengeance, and it is the worst job possible for me: Operations Manager, meaning I have to learn a million things and am suspected to pick everything up and remember everything on the spot. The pay is great, but it was obvious that I was having trouble from the second day of training. –I tried the “Sit down and talk strategy” with the higher ups explaining my accomplishments, but also discussing my unique learning curve. (You can’t use the word ADHD or psychological terminology when you’re dealing with a Japanese company.) In the end, my ADHD has already antagonized my immediate superior (basically she lost face when I asked for a slight modification of the training process and felt frustrated having to explain things repeatedly and things went downhill from there). And it obviously is causing messes left and right since people have to fix my errors — and on a daily basis I’m being put in embarrassing situations where people see me being given directions, and me, the highest paid person, looks like person is standing around looking like a lost puppy.

      Anyway, I can buy time with the company, and I’ve talked my way into being utilized for my “marketing skills” while I learn at a slower pace, but my guess is that if the notoriously rigid company is smart, I’ll be sacked sooner or later (although I may be able to save my job if I perform a miracle on the marketing side.)–It is a really old school company, so I don’t expect much flexibility. They made me shave my goatee and workers have to do the company chant at the beginning of each shift, so this is obviously not my cup of tea. In the end, I’m working in an environment in which I feel stupid, and am very unhappy, and am also having certain grade school trauma errors triggered on a daily basis.

      So, here’s the issue: Clearly I need a career change. I’m burnt out on teaching. My other career as a musician is inappropriate for stability and keeping up as bills. Starting my own business would be a great idea and I’ve taken some steps (difficult with a 60 hour a week work schedule), but obviously I can’t just walk away from the job.

      So the issue is how to get myself into a career which in the EXTREME short term is good for someone with ADHD, but will keep the bills paid.
      A friend, well meaningly and unintentionally insensitive told me that I was virtually unemployable for anything other than working for tips at a piano bar. 🙁
      I’d happily work as an usher at a theatre for minimal wage, only reality is that I need to make at least 47k a year just to keep up with the bills. (The irony: current job pays the exact amount I need to deal with the bills and I have enough remaining credit to handle months of unemployment, but staying is probably not emotionally healthy, and leaving without replacement job or falling on savings/credit will sink me even deeper into a hole.)

      Aside from therapy and whatnot, are there any practical resources or a way out of this horrible situation? (As a further complication, since I was out of the country so long, I don’t think I even qualify for unemployment or disability which frightens me.) Worse — I make too much for supplemental social security or medicaid, don’t have health insurance (insurance will kick in if I make it to the third month.) This is really a frustrating situation. 🙁

      Aside from therapy and all the stuff I’ve been doing so far, any practical resources out there for me…? no idea how to handle this.


    • #102507

      Ugh! I feel for you! I’m going through a relatable experience with my job. Have you considered waiting tables or bartending? I did that for a long time and I LOVE it, but like with you and the music, it wasn’t a “practica” long-term career.

      You can make some really great money and the job is perfect for ADHD — constantly moving, talking, schmoozing, reprioritizing tasks in a fast-paced way. It’s a total rush if you’re at the right place. Plus most industry folks are this cool, offbeat, special brand of weird — much like musicians. I am both and I see a big crossover in personality types so you may find yourself feeling at home there.

      Plus you may find a more flexible schedule that allows you time to focus on personal endeavors, you can do it anywhere in the world pretty much, and there are always jobs to be had in the industry if you ever would need/want to go back to it.

      Good luck!

    • #102531

      Hi Eddie,

      I’m going through something very similar! I’m currently a teacher and I’m great at the actual teaching part, but have trouble keeping up with everything else (turning in lesson plans, contacting parents, keeping up with meetings, etc). This makes me feel like I’m not cut out for this job, let alone trying to teach and go back to school, which I’m planning to do within the next year. I’m currently trying to find a job in the city that I’m moving to, but I’m terrified. I love teaching, but I don’t want to overwhelm myself and let my students down. On the other hand, I have no idea what else I’m good at and don’t want to risk losing a job in a new and expensive city because of incompetence. I’ve been afraid to talk about this with other people because (before I found out that I have ADHD yesterday) I thought I was just lazy and didn’t really want to work that hard. But after talking to my therapist yesterday, I realize that I do work really hard and the amount of effort that I use to focus on my work is literally exhausting in every way. I’m also here to find resources and potential career opportunities for someone like me. Hopefully we can both get what we need!


    • #102550
      Penny Williams

      Here’s some advice and insights on finding a job that actually works with your strengths and doesn’t rely too much on weak areas when you have ADHD:

      Is Your Job Right for You?

      How to Align Your Career with Your Passions

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

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