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ADHD at Work

Newly diagnosed- re-evaluating work options - feedback?

Today is my first day on this website. I was diagnosed ADD on Friday, after losing my job a few weeks ago.

I have had and lost jobs due (in hindsight) to ADD in architecture and engineering. I am a licensed architect, and am considering starting my own practice, daunting though that is. I am scared to death of not having a stable income during this time, and am considering taking on a job that will pay the bills as long as necessary to establish myself. I have been thinking about jobs that are suitable for someone with ADD, and that pay a decent enough wage to fulfill this role. I may not be thinking clearly about this, but I have considered driving a truck for awhile. Is this crazy? Does anyone else have a similar situation? Any ideas about “infill” jobs for a professional? I just read an article on about full stop unemployment and the need to move forward just to get going again…


I hear you and totally identify with the issues. I too have changed jobs then was fired from a job I’d had for over eight years due to being so stressed out that my punctuality, organization and verbal impulsivity issues worsened.
I thought about starting my own private practice as a Speech Language Pathologist. But, the two biggest things that held me back were my spouse being unemployed and lack of health insurance. On a personal level I also worried that I don’t have the organizational, time management and business knowledge to be successful alone. And, I am a very social person, not wanting to work alone and feel isolated.
I too have had thoughts of getting out of my field temporarily or permanently to something that pays less but is also easier to manage/do and way less stressful. I thought about working in a florist shop, a plant nursery, with kids in a pre-school or daycare etc.
I am still considering doing some vocational aptitude and interest testing to see if perhaps I should more seriously consider something different as I may live to 80 and have to work forever without social security or medicare, etc.!
I would highly recommend counseling with someone who has ADHD experience and considering a trial of meds and/or an ADD Coach (something I am considering) to help you identify your strengths, weaknesses, clarify personal & professional goals & develop external aids/systems and processes to help you manage your symptoms and be more successful and happy.
Hope this helps.

Posted by Speechie1962 on Nov 12, 2013 at 11:12pm

Thanks. That did help. I have a spouse who is running out of patience with me- since I have been recently diagnosed, I am hopeful that we can come to an understanding about how we can best approach this together.

Posted by Colorado Flyer on Nov 12, 2013 at 11:49pm

On your spouse coming to an understanding you will need to be patient.

When folks are in career transition it is encouraging and helpful to read What Color is Your Parachute. It’s a remarkable book from a wise and kind fellow who will answer your emails. He rewrites it every year.

Posted by John Tucker, PhD, ACG. ADHD Coach on Nov 13, 2013 at 6:10am

Driving a truck? like a Tractor Trailor big rig driver, cross country kinda job?  Well, there’s good money in the truckin business.  Driving a straight job truck for a moving company will bring in about 40-100,000 a year gross, tractor trailer drivers for furniture companie (long haul) can bring in well over 200,000 gross a year.  Your away from home a lot though and that’s why the pay is so great.  Good luck with whatever you chose.

Lot of attention to detail though, you must be focused

Posted by BexIssues on Nov 13, 2013 at 7:32am

Your question certainly resonates with me. Today is my first time on this site after experiencing another job loss and receiving a recent ADD diagnosis. 

On the heels of this set-back, I found competent medical advice. I now understand what I am dealing with, both professionally and personally.  And I am fortunate that my healthcare provider also understands my challenges, since he is successfully managing his own ADD.

Although he did not drive a truck, this individual worked for awhile as a security guard, and took a hiatus that helped him to get well and resume practicing medicine. 

Your thoughts about driving a truck make good sense.  Professional truckers earn decent wages. Having a job can relieve anxiety about paying the bills. And driving for a while might offer you the time to contemplate the road ahead and how best to navigate your career path.

I know first-hand that long drives and road trips have helped me to sort things out. Driving a truck is an option to consider in my opinion. Good luck and travel well.

Posted by Crisis Solver on Nov 13, 2013 at 12:05pm

Once you get the proper help and training/coaching you can do whatever you want no matter how much detail it requires! You are obviously intelligent if you got through school without help with AdHD!  so just think what you can do now that you know!  average people work for someone else above average people work for themselves! =) Tina

P.S. I will read the parachute book!!! Thx.

Posted by Twhitt on Nov 14, 2013 at 10:17am

My husband has ADHD and has been driving a tractor-trailer for 13 years now (although he has a college degree - history major).  He makes very good money, but is away from home up to 80 hours a week (he’s not OTR - they are gone for weeks at a time).  He would like to get out of driving, but is not sure what else to do since he has very little other job experience.

It can be a hard life.  He misses being able to see our 10 year old son every day.  He has to work outside and drive in all kinds of weather.  He has a crazy schedule and irregular sleep.  He doesn’t take medicine for his ADHD because he is afraid that if it shows up in a drug test (drivers are routinely tested), his company will find a reason to fire him in spite of ADA protections.

I would suggest seeing a career counselor first, preferably one with experience working with people who have ADHD.  While driving a truck may sound like a relatively stress free job to do while considering your options, believe me it is not.

Posted by djch45 on Nov 15, 2013 at 6:55pm

debhib, your exactly right its very stressful to be away from home and theres a ton of paperwork not to mention log books which MUST be filled out properly everyday or DOT can and will put you out of service. It’s a great paying job for the right kind of people. I did it for awhile when my son was little and had to quit because it even tougher for a mom to be away from her littles.

With the trucker experience your husband has he should be qualified to do Dispatch or any job that deals with the dispatching of truckers.  Also, warehouse manager pays really well and he could be home every night.

Posted by BexIssues on Nov 15, 2013 at 8:23pm

Later in my life I learned that I needed a creative work place because I couldn’t keep doing the regular kinds of jobs without it becoming a very negative place to work. OTR truck driving worked for a while but paperwork is not my thing & at the time running 2+3 log books was the norm & my dispatchers didn’t do me right most the time.
I did have one job that worked really well for me but I doubt many people would rush to do it. I was a decontamination technician in Nuclear Plants when they had their outages. It paid great, I only worked 3-4 months at a time, I traveled to several different States & Most the time I worked 12 hour night shifts X 6 days a week. No one bothered me as long as I was doing what I was supposed to be doing. That left my mind to wander creatively all over the place. There was even the opportunity to come up with creative solutions to difficulties within the jobs sometimes which gave me the ability to show off my unique take on things to solve problems. So after the 3-4 months out I could take 2-3 months off before going somewhere else.
Like I said great pay. We used to joke “Hide and seek for a grand a week”!
My inability to keep up and my arthritis did me in & I ended up on disability. But now I am a retired hobby artist.

Posted by missmix48 on Nov 16, 2013 at 2:15am

I gave up teaching after 15 years.  I simply could not concentrate enough to deal with 30+ students in a class.  When I had 10 to 15, it was great.  But with budget cutbacks, art was the first to double up classes… I retired.  Prematurely, though, to get decent benefits.
However, like you, I still needed health care etc….
I’ve just finished my first month as a part-time executive assistant at a local university.  It fits me perfectly!  I can flit around from task to task.  My professor doesn’t care how I get things done as long as I GET things done to his satisfaction.
Just a thought…..
Good luck!

Posted by KathyJo on Nov 16, 2013 at 8:50am

I am finishing up a doctorate degree in education right now, but academia doesn’t seem like the best place for me after all these years.  I am struggling to figure out where to turn now to look for a job where my previous efforts aren’t totally wasted but where I can be more creative, less isolated, and just happy.  I also have only recently been diagnosed, and it has been such a roller coaster!  Good luck to you.

Posted by mpires on Nov 18, 2013 at 8:06pm

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