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ADHD at Work

Should we give up certain things to accommodate our ADD?

Should we push ourselves, or accept ADD? (And in doing so, achieve less than we might have?)

I was just turned down for a job that I was a shoe-in for; I think a part of the reason is that the job involved some meticulous review of charts…and either it’s obvious that details are not my thing, or word has made it around my workplace that I’m “creative and smart but not focused and prone to detail errors.”

I didn’t really want the job; I was scared of the detail issues. I was just trying to get away from a bad management situation in my current job.

Is it better to not push ourselves into those things we know we may keep failing at (in order to keep stress low?)

Is it better to not go for promotions because the next level up involves details, numbers, budgets?

Is it reasonable to consider going part time in order to create more time in the day….despite the loss in pay?

How much should we give up because of ADD?

What have you given up?

Did it help?


I’m sorry! It has to sting a bit to not have gotten the job you know you’re smart enough to do, but I hope you can at least give yourself a pat on the back for pursuing the position!

These are great questions, SummerSunny, but they’re pretty black-and-white questions.  I think the answers lie in that gray area in between (that’s usually where the good stuff is!).

As a woman with ADHD myself, I don’t think I’ve had to give up anything because of my ADHD, but I’ve definitely had to learn how to do many, many things differently over the years. And had to learn to think about and look at them (and myself) differently as well.

First, very few people are going to feel satisfied and happy if they’re doing a job they know they’re under-qualified for. Most people feel most gratified when they feel like they’re competent, capable, AND challenged. When they feel like all their cylinders are firing, so to speak.

We also tend to be most successful when we’re working in areas of strength, using our natural talents and skills, how we process information, etc. I’m a big proponent of growth & learning, and I think it’s important to strive to improve in the areas where we’re challenged, but it’s most of us function and feel best when we’re focused on our strengths. In ADHD Coaching, our focus is helping our clients uncover their natural strengths, tendencies, preferences and talents so they can use those strengths to improve in their areas of weakness/challenge. It’s this strength-based approach to managing ADHD that helps clients reach their potential.  Whenever you’re functioning primarily from your strengths, everything feels easier. 

I’m 100% sure that you could definitely learn how to get better at the detail stuff—the charts, the numbers, the budgets, etc.—if you learn how to do it your way, based on your own individual strengths.

But for now, if tedious, meticulous review of charts is not in your area of strength, do you really want to spend your day doing that anyway? Sounds like torture to me!

There are certain things that are just not my strengths, and some of those things I definitely don’t enjoy.  Sure, I learned how to be manage paper better so that I could run my business better, for example, but I sure as heck wouldn’t want that to be a focus of how I spend my days!

Just a few thoughts. I hope something in here helps or at least gets you thinking!

Kudos to you for going for it and continuing to stretch yourself!

Lynne Edris, ACG
Life & ADHD Coach

Posted by ADD_Coach_Lynne on Apr 05, 2017 at 8:50pm

I think it’s really important to know your strengths and weaknesses and to use them as your compass. That’s not to say that you wouldn’t pursue something that you really want because some aspects might be difficult, but to weigh how much stress would be placed on weaknesses and how often when considering. If you’d constantly be stressed and feeling like you’re failing, then it’s not a good fit for you.

ADDconnect Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

Posted by adhdmomma on Apr 10, 2017 at 3:03pm

I think that finding your niche based on strengths and challenges is necessary for everyone, especially those with ADHD.

One of the hallmarks of being a school psychologist is the mountain of paperwork… reports, IEPs, behavior plans, parent contact notes, billing reimbursement, etc.

It was, and still can be a struggle, but I made myself a reputation of being able to handle the more difficult cases… be they legal, clinical difficult to figure out, case-management of the more sever mental health placement, crisis response, etc.

As a result, I was able to lower the amount of high volume-lower critical thinking paperwork. My employer appreciated being able to trust me on difficult issues, and I appreciated having less paperwork and more engaging and challenging work.

The more established you get in a career, the more you can build off of your strengths and counter-balance your challenges. My best pairing at work was building a team that had some (slightly) OCD co-workers. They loved keeping the organizational aspects and logistics running smoothly while I handled life’s curveballs.

Posted by Dr. Eric on Apr 10, 2017 at 4:53pm

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