Guest Blogs

“Unemployed, I Follow a Lead for a Freelance Job…On an Impulse That Feels Right”

Life with ADHD is constantly changing. For me, change has started to feel like its own kind of stability.

As I type this, I am sitting in the airport. I have a plane ticket to Shanghai in my bag. I could have spent the money on sessions with my shrink, but I am much happier with this decision. In order to survive, at least emotionally, I had to leave New York City. And, with a little luck, this trip will lead to a paying job (if not a steady, paying job) — which, if I needed any extra incentive to leave town, is something to hope for after being laid off — more on this in a future post.

I love airports because everyone is on the move, and to some extent everything is transient: The men sitting at the wine bar, the families waiting in rows of elbow-to-elbow chairs, the airline pilots catching a quick meal before their next flight. My impulsive self is in good company.

While I know all too well that the feeling of a fresh start that comes with traveling is a fleeting one, I would much rather travel the world, visit Antarctica on a whim, than reap the supposed benefits of sitting in a shrink’s office.

There was a period of time this year when things were temporarily perfect. There was the penthouse with its amazing view of the city, the dashing boyfriend with the shiny black Mercedes Benz who was charming and could make me laugh, and the job, where, despite the revolving door of bosses, I worked with friendly colleagues. At one point, I even had a boss who also had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Things felt good. Things made sense.

As we all know, the economy is fickle. Soon, it became clear that the dream wouldn’t last. After the ADHD Boss was axed, it was only a matter of time. I saw it coming for months — the guillotine, the pink slip, the collapse of what I knew as stability or what on the surface seemed like it — the two-doormen apartment in a posh neighborhood, a dashing boyfriend who wrote about a similar longing for stability in his love letters, the job (which after being unemployed seemed to offer stability, too), all of disintegrating in months.

It’s fair to say that I’m not ready to settle down. For a long time, I have hungered for the structure of a company or a household, but even when I find these things and think I have exactly what I want, it never works out. I’m starting to think there’s a reason for that — and it has a lot to do with my ADD/ADHD.

Since being pink-slipped, I’ve actually been surprisingly happy, and not at all desperate to get back into the corporate world. I’ve had some anxiety and sent out a few résumés, but mostly I’ve been waiting for a chance to travel and eat and pray and swim — and eat some more.

I’ve been whining to friends about the terrible economy, and most either think I’m broke or I truly have no job prospects. But the Stepmother had it right when she said, “A desperate person sends out hundreds of résumés and takes whatever they are offered to make ends meet.” After just a few mass e-mailings to contacts and contacts of contacts, I got a reply about a lead for a potential job offer in China.

Yes, the methodical plan of action would be to have stayed and conducted a full-blown job search. But even though I haven’t taken off, landed, landed the job, or earned a cent yet, and in fact, have been set back the price of this ticket, I still feel like I’ve gotten lucky and that I’ll manage to bounce back. Even as I still hunger for roots, stability, and a romantic connection to take the place of the one I lost, it’s becoming clear that instability is all I know; change, in a way, is my form of stability.