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ADHD Adults

A Vent About Work

So, I took a new job at the end of last summer.  It’s a great job!  My dream job, really, but there’s one thing - just one little thing! - that’s driving me nuts. 

I have to share my office with 17 other people. 

17 other people who like to sit and talk about things.  To me, to their desk mate, to the wall, to each other . . . 

17 other people who have phones that make noises . . .

17 other people who are wearing headphones that make that little muffled sounds of unidentifiable tunes . . .

17 other people answering phones and helping students . . .

17 other people tip tap typing away . . .

17 other people making slurping noises while drinking their morning coffee . . .


It’s not even a space issue.  The company that I work for believes that shared offices foster a team environment, will help us work together for the good of the student.  Hip hip hooray, go team! 

Meanwhile, I have to take work home every night because I can’t get anything done while I am there! 


Anyway, just had to get that off my chest!


So otherwise, how’s that working out for you? Just curious.. Personally I work for myself without major successes and sometimes wish I had others around. Though from experience, unless the flow was favorable to successful, I’d have been miserable and gone fast.

Sounds like you are somewhat content in that situation… smile

Posted by setjmp on Jan 29, 2014 at 1:18pm

Have you tried wearing earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones at work? Another tool I’ve read about is playing white noise—there are websites you can play it from for free.

ADDconnect Moderator & Mom to Tween Boy with ADHD and LDs

Posted by adhdmomma on Jan 29, 2014 at 10:00pm

Yeah I went through that in a couple of places. You’ll notice the people who make those open space decisions usually are high enough up on the food chain to have their own offices. Dig deep enough and you find some useless HR people in the decision mix as well.

I’ll 2nd the noise cancelling ear buds combined with white or in my case brown noise - different pitch I think. Some times when the tinnitus is bad enough I don’t need the white noise. Just the noise cancelling ear buds.

Sartre was right. Hell is other people.

Posted by ADDedValue62 on Jan 30, 2014 at 3:41am

Setjmp, I am relatively content, just some days the shared space makes me crazy.  I have some good noise cancelling head phones for those times when I really need to focus and sometimes I head out to the campus library and book a private study room to work in (or starbucks, starbucks is good, too!).  Some days are better than others! 

ADDedValue62,  you hit the nail on the head.  The suits decided this was a nice concept . . . but they all have their own offices!  Oh well, someday!  Someday, I plan to be the one on top and I’ll make my own group of underlings suffer to make up for my years of torment!  (lol)

Posted by jschrec on Jan 30, 2014 at 6:58am

I think anyone, with or without ADHD, can relate.  But it is especially frustrating for us with ADHD because of our ability to see & hear practically everything & everyone.  I consider it my ‘super ability’. 

Joking aside, it can be frustrating & it’s great that you’ve vented about it.  If you didn’t, you could become really unhappy and that wouldn’t work!

I work in a great job but with one drawback: cubicles! I have learned to put on my earbuds and listen to music, audio books, even ADHD podcasts (my favs are Attention Talk Radio & ADHD Support Talk Radio among others).


Posted by aholamom on Jan 31, 2014 at 1:47am

I’ve had lots of clients who have complained about this very thing!  Cubicleland is often a disaster for those of us with ADHD.

I’ll second the recommendation for noise cancelling headphones & white noise, but anything you can do to in that department often helps. The soft foam earplugs that are made for sleeping will often dampen the sound enough for some if you’re worried about not hearing things you may need to hear.  Some of us (myself included) do better with music, white/brown noise, metronome sounds, or some other kind of sound in regular old earbuds than just trying to block the noise—giving yourself a replacement sound to tune into. (The trick for me is that the music has to be very, very familiar—like I know every note & word by heart—and it absolutely can’t have any talking in between!) 

I had a client who worked in a large office who reserved different conference rooms daily for a change of scenery and a break from the noise.

Good luck finding what works for you!

I definitely feel your pain, and love that I am listening to an old Springsteen CD (circa 1970something) as I’m working today!  LOL

Lynne Edris, ACG
Life & ADD Coach

Posted by ADD_Coach_Lynne on Jan 31, 2014 at 10:04pm

I have heard of noise, but what exactly is brown noise?

Posted by jschrec on Feb 01, 2014 at 1:28am

Nevermind!  The amazing power of google let me to this:

Posted by jschrec on Feb 01, 2014 at 1:31am

HATE the cube open office environment. I find it is less distracting if I happen to be sitting next to someone who doesn’t do the same work as me - preferably if their “shop talk” is “Greek to me” and contains lots of acroynms. “The Unix parameters are setting up an over-ride of the BOXI merge in OTIS because the M2P2 won’t load onto the WCS”  blah blah blah” I’m fine.  However, if they start talking “Tim got in trouble for telling off Yoshi in the section chief meeting”  argh- I can’t turn that off. When our office moved to it’s new “green” building, they stacked us up with the idea that we’d retreat to an “enclave” to have discussions, and then failed to provide enough enclaves so everybody has to have their one-on-ones in the cube - with one person usually standing, hovering at the little wall dividing the cubes. Maybe we wouldn’t have so much ADD if we weren’t continually jammed into someone else’s zone of comfort.

Posted by Juggler on Feb 01, 2014 at 8:41am

My dad has a co-worker who comes to work with big, red shooting range earmuffs. Nothing says “leave me alone, I’m working” like those babies.

Posted by MrsPerky on Feb 12, 2014 at 12:04am

When I used to work in cubicles, my job involved using headphones and we had to be always quiet because we all had to listen to what we were doing. It was so peaceful.
Recently I worked at a place were I had to share the office with just one lady, but she talked lots about her personal life. The phone rang constantly even if the call went to voicemail. That place had an open door policy. I loved working there, but I could never really work on my main goals. I was always listening to someone or talking to someone and even though I was collaborating with them, it was not really my job. At the end of my contract I got a big thank you and a good bye. Even though the position be me available soon after, they hired someone else.

What I learned is that even the nicest coworkers could be sabotaging my goals just by stopping by every time they walk past my office. Being a good listener can get me into trouble, and collaborating with others can also hurt my performance if the collaboration does not qualify as work towards my goals as well.

Next time, I will be supportive but I will listen a little less and set myself reminders of my goals so that I can stay on track better.

Posted by najn on Feb 13, 2014 at 6:21am

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