<sigh> Now that I have been diagnosed (after about 25 years of searching for the answer as to what was making feel like an outsider) my life would be almost perfect, except for work. And this is one area of my life that has been/still is a real struggle for me.
One of the careers I had was in photography and that kind of fit very well with my “personality”, which was the undiagnosed ADHD part. Lots of creativity, always new challenges, plenty of stimulation, no paper work or admin stuff to worry about. A perfect gig. But the days of being a staff photographer these days are long gone.
While working as a photographer, I would frequently work with technical writers during the production of maintenance manuals. At this point, I figured that being a technical writer would be a good second career choice.
Fast forward about 15 or so years and I am currently working as a technical writer for a larger multinational engineering firm. When I first started working for them, the job fulfilled most of the things that enjoyed as a photographer.
Fast forward another five years, and this career choice is going sideways very quickly. Although the job elements are basically the same as when I first started, the impact of “micro-managing”, or as I call it “nano-managing” as practiced in the new economy has taken all the fun aspects of the job away. I now have three different time tracking programs to use and a document management system that was designed by “rocket scientists with MBAs”. In fact, the administrative functions demanded of me to perform my job now accounts for almost 40% of my time! Instead of attention deficit being considered “abnormal”, these people have an attention surplus disorder and that should be considered “abnormal”.
And we all know that paperwork is Kryptonite for people with ADHD. If I had wanted to be an accountant…..
Forget about “accommodation” in the workplace for people like us, because unless they can actually “see” the disability, it doesn’t exist and neither does your accommodation. I speak from personal experience, and one day, I will be in a better position to reveal all.
Had I know earlier in my life about ADHD, I would have definitely made some different career choices, probably along the lines of self-employment. Or, working for an organization with more enlightened human resource practices.
It has all been very typical ADHD people and working. Management sees your apparent lack of motivation as being an attitudinal thing, so consequently, you never get the promotions or bonuses. When the axe starts to swing, you’re among the first, because, you’re a low performer. You drift from one entry level position to the next….and the cycle continues. Even though, generally speaking, we are highly intelligent, great problem solvers and can achieve great things if we are in the right environment. Following procedures or arcane corporate policies, however, is not our thing.
And, so, the search continues…..veronicaMember
dude, i envy the fact that you at least had/have some sort of direction. the photography thing, led you to a different path (which was cool at first, then you had to “work”, so it became not-cool for you). i have been struggling with feeling like i have not been able to find my life’s purpose, then add the adhd and WHAM! you have a very confused individual. and now i have kids.
i just started taking my meds today. i feel like all the voices in the room are gone and i can finally hear mine. but now i have to learn what the difference is b/w a characteristic of my personality type and my adhd. and both have a lot of similarities.
my largest struggle is the fact that people always get frustrated with me. they think i’m so smart and have all this potential and no drive. the fact is that i start out at lots of jobs driven, eager to learn and willing to try new things… but once the “honeymoon phase” is over i get bored and want to move on. it’s not that i’m not smart or have no drive… i’m just so bored most of the time.
i’m like you. i want to do something fun! for a living. and i’m afraid i’ll never find it. (((hugs)))
i feel ya.AnonymousInactive
Great post ADDled! I can totally relate. Veronica, I just started taking Ritalin instant release at 5mg/day (very low dose to guage any reactions etc I’m guessing) and although I’ve yet to feel any measurable results so to speak, I can ‘feel’ a tiny sense of what you speak of with regards to the quieting of the voices. I can only hope that with a larger, more frequent dose, the calm and focus will increase.
I’ve read several posts here and on other ADD forums from people who believe that self-employment is an answer to the difficulties for us ADDers in the corporate world. Not in my experience. If you think paperwork is “kryptonite”, the organization and discipline required to run your own business will make that little green gem look like a gumball in comparison. I ‘attempted’ to start a business last year after losing my last job (which if not for the micro-management you spoke of ADDled, and a crazy hectic travel schedule, I would’ve loved) and although at first, I was busy, making money and loving every aspect of being my own boss, it quickly lost its lustre due to the organization it required. After a couple of months, the customers dwindled (a lot of my type of business has become cheaply outsourced to places like India), the sheen faded and I made infinite excuses to myself and others about why it failed. Truth is, running a business of your own requires mental stamina that I’m not (correction: I WASN’T) possessed of.
We ADDers are rennaissance minds in a world of staid regime. We are the dreamers. We are the idea people. In an ideal world, we could carve out a lucrative living by providing brilliant ideas to those with the ability to see them through to completion. A symbiotic relationship between thought and action. Unfortunately, I speak of a time long forgotten. Creative types are a dime a dozen nowadays. As an example, remember back in the mid-nineties – the Internet was a blossoming young thing, full of promise and the alure of wealth? Countless artists and graphic designers thought to themselves: “At long last! I can finally ply my trade and be rewarded justly for it!”. Others with a talent for design went to college and spent thousands of dollars on tuition fees to ride the wave of .com design. Only now, webdesign can be done by anyone and their Grandmother. That niche they would carve for themselves became the domain of those without their brand of God given talent and alas, it is no longer a viable career choice. No sooner had the child been given the brush, that it was summarily wrenched from its eager hand. The odd thing is that more and more, creativity is being shunned for the love of corporate ladder climbing. It’s not the artistic idea-monger that is being lauded these days. Instead, it’s the overacheiving, manipulative corporate go-getter that has his own reality show and house in the Hamptons. The World simply isn’t the sanctuary for the creative mind it once was. Now, it’s a case of “I can do it better then s/he” or “We can do it bigger than them” so thusly, you get the clones and WalMarts of the world.
Not that I want to dissuade anyone from self employment. it’s more of a caveat I speak of here. It takes tremendous self-discipline and organization to run a business, no matter how small. Perhaps I will myself, try again. Maybe my diagnosys and medication will allow me that focus that’s so greatly required of those that are in business for themselves. In the meantime, because the capitalist world I live in doesn’t pat me on the head and say: “Bishop, my good man….you go out into the world and find your calling. I’ll wait right here and start billing you when you’re ready.”, I’ll continue to settle for a micro-managed, coroporate slugfest that pays the incessant bills.
PS. A soon-in-the-future post of mine will include the words: I just found the most AMAZINGLY PERFECT career for myself! – words are powerful. Especially those that are written/typed. What we think about, we bring about. I love you all and it is my hope that everyone here finds their calling and lives well by it.veronicaMember
“In an ideal world, we could carve out a lucrative living by providing brilliant ideas to those with the ability to see them through to completion.” ~TheBishop72
damn! i couldn’t have said that better myself. nice perspective.
i do however believe that i disagree with you on the rest, though. i have lived without medication for the last 12 years. i was diagnosed around 19 or 20. denial set in and stayed for a long while. but during that time… i was soooooo head strong on making it through my day the easiest possible way i could…. by becoming organized and writing everything down. the only problem with this is that i was living day to day with no future hopes in sight. all b/c i couldn’t focus.
it’s funny how things just come into play. this past week i was talking to my hubby about going to see this therapist, FINALLY…. then she calls and cancels that day. i thought that it just wasn’t meant to be. i had almost given up hope (b/c it took so long to find a doc and she would be booked for a few weeks out). at this point i’m almost desperate to go in and talk to someone, b/c it’s just so loud in my head, then…. hubby suggests i go seek some advice from my DO. scheduled an appt, went in to talk to him…. he helped me have some clarity and allow me to know that this is “normal” for me, so not to be ashamed. wrote the script, asked me to journal for the next 2 weeks and return to speak to him sooner if i felt i was having a problem with the dose.
the next day i wake up a whole new person. the noise stopped (like i’d mentioned before)… and i was scheduled for training that day at my job and almost forgot. the training was “Time Management and Goal Setting”. my instant thought “Holy moly, you mean they teach these things?! you mean to tell me that all the people that are already doing this, have been taught this and they weren’t just born with this inatte and canny ability to do it… just like that?!
so, now i have this ability to be organized (that has until this day, been an EXTREME mental chore!), this new medicine, and someone is going to teach me a skill on how to use these tools together… and i get paid for it?! uhm, when do we start?”
life coaches, team leader builder seminars…. these are just 2 resources that i’m going to utilize within the next 12 months. my creativity is still there, i work in a corporate environment that embraces my individuality and brainstorming ideas, and they’ll pay for school. at first i would tell myself that the job sucked…. that it was “a bunch of ‘corporate ladder climbing’, these people don’t care what i have to say… i feel so ignored… under appreciated…” blah blah blah….
i found that as soon as i started the meds and was able to focus my train of thought. it helped me realize that the negative things i was focusing on, was counter productive. the world, from that point on, just seems to be my oyster, now.
if an individual (whether they have add, or not) finds the resources they need and puts those resources to good use, then they too shall find a successful and rewarding life. i know i’m know being grateful and appreciating mine. this is the first time, in don’t know how long, that i feel like i am actually going to have something to show for all the hard work i’m about to put forth. and it feels GOOD!
personally, i’m tired of making myself promises and not following through with them. i’m tired of making excuses. i am looking forward to the adventure of finding my life’s purpose (which in reality is really what i make of it), and also having a “i just found the most AMAZINGLY PERFECT career!” thread. good luck to you bishop and your journey, as well.
“all we are is the result of what we have thought” ~buddhaAnonymousInactive
A job that I found that my ADHD was a very useful tool in…Oddly enough… was public speaking.
When you can stand in front of 100 people and have a general idea of how they are all reacting to you, how well they are focused (or not focused) on you and still maintain a constant delivery of information while adjusting to bring those who are not ‘in’ into the performance… well it just works! (What’s a run on sentence?)
It’s also very invigorating; the more energetic, passionate and generally your-self you can be, the better you can show them how truly exciting and amazing the information you are conveying, is.
The more creative you can be in explaining concepts, creating useful metaphors and not being boring… The more people are going to be enthralled.
It’s a pity that society tends to leave most ADHD’ers with such feelings of inadequacy and poor self esteem, cause ADHD folk are almost perfectly designed to teach/demonstrate things to the rest of the world!AnonymousInactive
I LOVE presenting and public speaking! I’m also very good at it Belien. it was a major component of my last job. I’m not sure there’s a career that is solely based on presenting/public speaking but if anyone knows of one, please let me know!AnonymousInactive
A couple I suppose. Museums, science centers, provincial parks and other institutions who’s goal it is to disseminate knowledge to the public normally have a staff of ‘Interpreters’ while they do not interpret in the sense of one language to another they are hired and paid to explain and make accessible the information to the public. This involves a lot of public speaking (thought not solely).
Motivational speakers can make fair amounts of money, but I have no experience there.
I suppose you could take up street performance… have you practiced juggling burning lawn chairs? No? hmm then maybe something more realistic… an event MC?
What about something to do with education?
You allude to having a back ground in graphic design and also possibly allude to schooling in it, what about talking about it?
People love to have people talk to things about them, if you do it really well they call you a consultant (which is like an insultant, but polite) and pay you money. Consultants get to talk all day. Is that the ultimate ADD dream? Getting paid to talk?
Maybe this article could offer you some further insight;Rick Green – Founder of TotallyADDParticipant
HEY, THE BISHOP72!
My first job was a demonstrator at the Ontario Science Centre. I ran everything from the Giant Laser that burned through bricks to the 18th century, hand-cranked printing press. It was great. In between I roamed the hallways interacting with visitors at the exhibits and gadgets that were everywhere, “Try pushing the blue and red buttons at the same time and watch what happens.”
Another great job for people who love to talk–auctioneer! (I was told this by an Auctioneer who has ADHD.) He actually went and took some courses to learn to be an auctioneer.
And when we have been doing publicity for our upcoming workshops pretty much every radio announcer or disc jockey has admitted, on the air or after the interview, that they have ADHD.
And while you’re waiting for a paid gig, consider reading to people in hospitals, senior citizen homes, and so on.
I’m also wondering if learning sign language and becoming a ‘simultaneous translator’ would be a good career for someone with ADHD. It’s high stimulation, you’re using your hands, and you’re making a difference for people with a challenge. Last year I did a talk for the Canadian actors union and they had a woman translating everything I said into sign language. It was amazing.Patte RosebankParticipant
@Rick, what years did you work at the Science Centre?
I remember going there on a class trip when I was in Grade 2 or 3 (1977 or ’78), and the presenter was so animated and funny, that I can still picture him (albeit rather blurrily) in my mind’s eye. He had dark hair and a beard, and he wore glasses. His presentation dealt with hot air rising and cold air falling—maybe something to do with fog and weather? Of all the presenters I saw on class trips, he was the only one who made such an impression that I still remember him—even after 33 years. If that presenter was you, then that would explain it.
@ everybody else here—There’s another job that people with ADHD are good at: entertaining in retirement homes. If you’re a singer, all you need is an accompanist with a keyboard (or—as I have—a powerful karaoke machine and backing tracks) and a microphone. My microphone is a tiny wireless headset unit, so I can go right out amongst the people. A flashy costume is optional, but always appreciated. I just did a show this afternoon, out in Scarberia, and I have another one on Monday. It’s my own personal Vegas lounge show, complete with sequined gown and feather boa. And people pay me to do it! And all sorts of entertainers perform in retirement homes and hospitals: magicians, dancers, ventriloquists, comics…
Ushering in a theatre is great, too. You get to interact one-on-one with people, and not only get them to their seats, but answer their questions. A couple of weeks ago, my manager introduced me to a bunch of people after the show, as “the person who can answer all your questions about the show”. I answered questions about the artwork in the play, the significance of the final line, interpretations of modern art, why a character who says he’s 40 only seems to be in his 20s, etc. I made sure that the people (and my manager, who watched my impromptu presentation) were informed and entertained. And the topper? That night, Geddy Lee had lost his favourite toque in the theatre, and I was the one who found it! (We’re not worthy! We’re not worthy!)
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