ADHD at Work

“My biggest mistake at the job was…”

We’ve all done it — flubbed something big at work, and lived to tell the tale. Here, adults with ADHD share stories of the work goof-ups that taught them most.

A woman with her head in her hands thinking, "I keep making mistakes at work!"

If you’ve thought, “I keep making mistakes at work!” you are not alone. ADDitude gave the prompt, “My biggest mistake on the job was…” Readers share their (sometimes humorous!) responses below:

“Overpromising! When someone has a request, I now say, ‘Let me get back to you,’ and then take a few minutes to consider my availability for the task.” —Cathy, Texas

“Putting myself in charge of bookkeeping. Ugh!” —Daniel, Connecticut

“Using inappropriate words and hand gestures with my subordinates. I think we are fooling around, but some people take everything seriously. I can’t seem to get the social cues right.” —Sheri, Florida

“Mistakenly mailing one client’s document to another, and vice versa. I work for a financial-services firm, and the mis-mailed documents contained lots of personal information. What’s worse is that I didn’t know it happened until unhappy Client A called my boss. That was not a good day for me.” —Emily, North Carolina

[Free Download: How to Manage Your Time at Work]

“Not getting back to clients in a timely manner. I own a small business and I am my own boss, so when I lose a client, it affects my income. I don’t get paid!” —Eve, Pennsylvania

“Telling my parishioners—I’m a pastor—that I have ADHD.” —Jack, Iowa

“Forgetting to register a new employee for his health benefits — I wasn’t taking ADHD meds at the time. Luckily, I caught it before the benefits would go into effect.” —Kelly, North Carolina

“Getting too involved in a less-important project—and blowing off what really needed to get done.” —Melissa, Colorado

“Analysis paralysis. It takes me forever to plan a project. I obsess over details, when all that is required is a quick rough analysis.” —Kevin, New Hampshire

“Multitasking without organizing. Many times I get involved in so many things that I lose track of where I am with each thing.” —Tammy, Indiana

[Whatever Happened to Good Old Singletasking?]

“Selling beautiful leather gloves for $5.99, when they really cost $55.99. No wonder one customer kept coming back to buy so many more pairs. What a deal!” —J., Ontario

“Sending an inappropriate e-mail to my supervisor on more than one occasion. It cost me my job. Since then, I’ve been extra careful about re-reading e-mails before sending them.” —Anonymous

“It’s so bad I am afraid to admit it to anyone. LOL.” —Kay, North Carolina

“Setting the bar too high for myself, which led to my being overwhelmed and paralyzed. My new mantra is ‘Strive for excellence, not perfection.'” —Katherine, New York

“Not asking for help when I needed it.” —Kay, Ontario

[How to Help Your Boss Help You]

“Missing a typo on the cover of a magazine that was mailed to 22,000 subscribers. Ouch!” —An ADDitude Reader