"You cannot succeed"

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    • #77171

      Hi Everyone,

      I started working in another department of my office last summer. It was temporary, two or three days per week so I didn’t have a permanent desk and was moving around each time. It was uncomfortable but I thought “it’s ok. I’m not a real member of this team yet.” After a few weeks, I decided to open up about my ADHD and dyslexia to a woman who was supervising me at that time and will become my manager. I heard talks that they were evaluating me to be a permanent member and other people said they heard very positive things about me. I had a lot of misunderstandings with people in my past so I want to get it over with in the beginning because ADHD and Dyslexia is a part of our daily lives. I also see it as a way of educating each other. I told her I have ADHD and Dyslexia, went into details with the biology, articles and specifically that I will need a quiet environment and I will not be able to talk on the phone because of my dyslexia and being very easily distracted. I cannot talk well in real time because my brain cannot process language and retrieve words quickly. I have to “transcribe” every word into a picture first and vice versa. I also have huge problems with pronunciations and basic grammar. If I talk on the phone, I have to be in a very quiet room even at home or I will explode with anger. I imagine it will be much worse in an open office with so much socializing and loud laughters. She said “you don’t have to talk on the phone”

      The next day after I disclosed my conditions, she and her “boss” give me an offer to join that department permanently. Again, I repeated my struggles with dyslexia and ADHD and the accommodations I will need. They were positive about it even saying “We map out a place for you, you don’t have to talk on the phone” and telling me “we’re happy to have you with us.” I believed them and accepted.

      Weeks and months passed, and I’m still stuck sharing a cubicle with someone else. And the worse part is I’m at the edge so there’s very little space even to extend my legs, stretch. It’s physically and mentally uncomfortable. I talked with my manager many times again but things never changed even when she said she will do something. Finally yesterday, she told me to go into the conference room (I hate one on one interactions in conference rooms) and told me I will have to talk on the phone. I repeated to her what I said in the past. With an angry glaring face and tone, she said “You cannot succeed if you cannot talk well.”

      I know that as human beings we will all hear hurtful comments even if the majority of us don’t have ADHD or something else in the DSM. I tried to tell myself over the years that “you cannot expect other people to understand” “feel compassion for them, they have very limited knowledge” “accept them that they are different from you” At the same time, I’m also not a robot so I felt really depressed. There was a lot of negatives in my childhood of “cannot.” As an adult, I continue to work very hard, and I helped that team a lot especially with problem solving and finding new ways to use software, not designed for that purpose so it was very painful to hear that. Also she didn’t even give me an office phone and expect me to use my own phone. My coworkers have their own lines. I’m also being forced to read manuals. I’m not as depressed as I was yesterday because I learned to build my resilience and it’s getting stronger but I feel this is really bad treatment and I wish I can take legal actions. She, her “boss” and so forth knew about my ADHD and Dyslexia beforehand. I don’t want to go to HR because they already knew about my problems and was not helpful. Even though I plan to leave this job soon, I have the feeling I should do something. I feel this is one kind of harassment. This is more than the typical bullying or office politics.

      The problem I’m having now is I don’t have paper evidence that states I have Dyslexia. All of my teachers in my elementary school indicated in documents that I have dyslexia but that’s all. I don’t have those paperwork anymore because I burst into tears and ripped them up at those times because I could not accept it. It will be very expensive to get a test as an adult. I only have current document about the ADHD. Any personal stories, comments, suggestions, opinions are greatly appreciated.

    • #77205

      Oh God, that is horrible( And what do you do?

    • #77233
      Penny Williams

      Most ADHD experts will advise you to NOT disclose ADHD to your employer. While there are laws to protect those with disabilities in the workplace in the US, employers can simply find other excuses to terminate you if they want to. It starts the relationship with the employer watching for you to make mistakes and not be a good fit, giving you no time to prove your value and have them make judgements from that.

      There may be some helpful strategies helpful to your current situation in this article:

      Help Wanted? How to Get the Accommodations You Need at Work

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

    • #77639

      You should’ve gotten their approval of all accommodations in writing. Now it’s your word against theirs. If it’s a place you want to stay at and work for, get an attorney and fight them. If not, quit and file a grievance with every govt. agency you can find.

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