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ADHD Adults

Job loss and rebuilding confidence to join workforce

For working professionals: I’m really shaken from losing a job pre-diagnosis.  In my work experience, employers have told me “I wasn’t listening” or “don’t care” or “not learning fast enough.”  I’d lose the job and have constant conversations about my room for improvement.

I have a graduate degree.  I’m very personable and have great vision/ideas.  I know my field really well. Yet, my lack of speed, ability to shift from task to task, and attention to detail.  The fun projects start to get taken away from me because I am not meeting deadlines on day-to-day routine tasks. 

Anyway, I figured out the pattern after I lost my recent job.  Got tested and diagnosed finally just shy of my 30th birthday. 

Has anyone had a similar experience?  How did you get back out there and sustain a job?  Also, I’m tired of the paranoia I felt at work all the time.  I was always so anxious because someone was always on my back about something.

Thank you!


There are plenty of coaches who post here and can offer more useful information than I can. What I can tell you though is that you’ve just described what my career has been like.

Getting back on the job horse isn’t a matter of self-confidence. It’s a matter of survival. I’ve been laid off or fired 5 times in my 25 year career. No. 6 is coming up in Q1 of next year. I’ve had two unemployment stretches of longer than 12 months. Near as I can tell there’s nothing you can do but drive yourself to send resumes, make cold calls, and (god forbid) network. And that’s no fun I know.

This time as I"m looking I’m targeting jobs below my current level. If nothing else I’m going to find something that I know I can do. Latest one I’ve seen is 25% below my current salary, but that won’t be a problem once my salary drops to $0.

I’ll be interested to see what other people write back to you.

Posted by ADDedValue62 on Dec 08, 2013 at 11:04pm

Boy are you talking to me or what! I am twice your age and I hear you loud and clear! I have had more jobs than I can count sometimes iquit before things caught up with me, other I was the one to be let go… I was told I was the weakest link once, once that I didn’t know how to set priorities original just did not get to do some of the fun stuff, I was 50 when dx , I was a good nurse my patients loved me, but admin didn’t always see it that way. I worked hard, but was late on things, I used to just want a job that would pay me to talk. I had one great job for five years, but that ended too. And talk about being paranoid ! I even went back to school fora counseling degree, I get a grades. But finally I gave up at 60 I just could not face finding new jobs and eventually having them end on me. I went on disability. Now do not be discouraged please , I have found a great job Asa wellness coach at a YMCA! Less money sure but it lets me be me, I kept reading.. Find your niche, and they do exist! I had times of no confidence and fear that I could just not keep looking for that niche but they exist, one key is to admit to the things that you are not great at and celebrate what you are good at! You are probably smarter than the average bear! I did do better when I was on adderal and an anti anxiety med, I kept the most positive attitude and admitted my short comings. It was hard every time I needed to look for a new job and I tried to find places I liked the staff or supervisor, there are people out there that will get you and want you on their team!

Posted by Deborah on Dec 09, 2013 at 2:19am

I can relate to your posts and I wish you all future success and happiness.

During my career in a office / team environment I often found myself in one personal conflict after another. Like most ADHD family members, I always persisted through these conflicts. I would never giving in, no matter how miserable I was.

After removing myself from the daily office work environment I started seeing my ex-career in a different light. I used to justify these personal conflicts with my ADHD condition. I still believe that my ADHD condition was a factor, but the most important thing in my success / failure in the office environment was the commitment to peaceful and friendly relations at work.

I had some talents that made me valuable at work, which I am sure you do too. If I could do it all over again I would focus my my talents that made me productive and focus on my commitment to enjoying a peaceful relationship with those I work with. Everything else will fall in place.

Best of luck to all of you.

Posted by SquarePeg on Dec 09, 2013 at 4:33am

Thank you all for your words of wisdom!  It is so very much appreciated!  I feel very blessed to find out now.  I am just treading lightly.  I know nothing is perfect but I can’t keep forcing things to fit.  I’m looking for ways to get out of office life OR at least find a niche area of my field that gives me some key project areas.  No more admin work for this gal!  It’s like being Cinderella.  You will never get all the cruddy stuff done so you can earn your way to the ball.  It’s not going to happy.  That recipe doesn’t work for us.

Posted by SarBear06 on Dec 09, 2013 at 10:48pm


Thank you for your post. It is totally my story as well. Count yourself lucky that you found out just shy of 30- you can still make all the adjustments you need to pull yourself up. I found out just shy of 50. Do you mind my asking what your profession is?

Today, I just started ritalin, and so far I don’t seem to drift as much in my thoughts, and I can stay with a task. Maybe meds are a way for you to go too. It’s tough, and it’s tough on my wife.

Posted by Colorado Flyer on Dec 10, 2013 at 1:22am

I’m 36 and diagnosed at 9 yrs old.  Got 2 animal science BS degrees and just got an AAS vet tech and passed boards so now an LVT too.  My life with jobs has been same ordeal since grad in 2007.  Fired or scared and quit from every job last 5 years.  Tried everything possible to overcome being told the only neg issue is i’m distracted and need to focus but they can never give me examples or explain exactly what they’re saying so I can correct it.  Sad to say but from years of experience once that starts happening and becomes clear there’s nothing you can do to turn it around turn in your 2 weeks and quit!!! Seriously trust me better than getting fired and having to omit most your jobs from resume. Plus you have control to end it on good terms so if need for future reference less likely to say anything bad cuz you left them for better job or whatever.  Also, never told job about my disability even though they made it clear they knew. First time ever decided to tell job on 2nd day and was then harassed and ridiculed by manager bout it. She was in charge of my 2 week training and made it clear I was not going to get past her.  The only times we sat down to discuss my progress all she ever said was I’m distracted and same exact crap as before.  I verbally told the GM how upset I was about what she was doing, then wrote email detailing harassment and then was terminated next day I went in.  Knew what was going on so I audio recorded term talk and got him to verbally admit he told all managers about my ADD.  Now I’m filing a complaint with the EEOC for harassment, retaliation, and discrimination.  Every lawyer I met with said I won’t get less than 100,000 off lawsuit due to all the evidence I collected once I realized what was happening.  ONLY reason I had no protection when this happened at many other jobs was because I didn’t disclose that I have ADD.  Trust me if I have to go through this again and again just to make sure that employer will never do that again to us with this disability than so be it.  I’m on a one man crusade to stop this from happening again and again!!! 

The ADA laws were broadened recently to make it easier for ADDrs to be protected from this at work.  Just read up on it and easy to figure out what you can do to protect yourself!! Crazy how afraid I’ve always been disclosing ADD but in the end they figure it out then you’re screwed because you never told them.  Least positive that the next gen will have more support as adults cuz I’d be homeless on streets if not for my parents having to support me since they know how bad I want to work and be on my own but working 2-3 months at a time then fired now knowing what’s gonna happen next job is mentally done me in:(

Posted by mmma on Dec 11, 2013 at 1:54pm

So, it’s been a year.  I totally forgot I posted this last year.  mmma, you make great points. 

So, it happened again.  I got back on the horse 9 months later and got fired at week 8.  This time I reported my disability and it didn’t help. They fired me anyway.  I have considered filing a complaint, but I’m not sure it’s worth it.  I’m 30, what could happen if I have an employer lawsuit on the books? I may be less likely to be hired than I already am.

I was yelled at and verbally abused on the job.  I lost thousands by moving so far to go this job and then back.

Now, I’m back to square one.  I am very smart and creative.  One day at a time, right? I’m working with every resource I can get my hands on to get this figured out.  It’s really rough.  If I didn’t have a supportive family, I would be living on couches and in shelters.  I hate to even think about it.

Posted by SarBear06 on Dec 01, 2014 at 9:58pm

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