The Forums Forums The Workplace ADHD-Friendly Careers How come there are jobs that won't allow anyone in if they are ADHD?

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    #88133 |

    So in the documentary ADD & Loving It?! they talked about how people with ADHD are often really good at ‘high stress, high stim jobs.’ I think they mean high stimulation. I’m also reading how some of the characteristics of the ADHD mindset can be good for the hunter mindset. So how come there are jobs won’t allow anyone in if they are ADHD?

    #91381 |

    Good question! I think there’s a difference between someone who is ADHD and is functional and people who are so severely ADHD they can’t function at anything. It’s kind of a matter of degree. I liked what Kate Kelly said in one of the videos about when someone asked her, “Isn’t everyone ADHD?” and she said, “Well, yeah, kinda, sometimes, a little.” Even people who are diagnosed as ADHD span a real range.

    #91382 |

    I’ve been very fortunate – I found a job that was a great fit for me, even before being diagnosed, and I have some awesome supervisors who have been very accommodating, now that I know which accommodations I need to be at my best. My job involves lots of creativity, physical activity, high stim, and sometimes high stress, and I love it. I wish that everyone could be as lucky.

    What jobs are you thinking of? I can’t think of any in which it would be legal to ask in the interview about ADHD?

    #91383 |

    I know one of the most important components of a successful workplace is the relationship with the boss. A firm but encouraging boss that clearly has ability and can be respected works well. I know many examples where the ADDer, in that situation, rises well above what is expected. When they feel wanted they have tremendous loyalty. However, if you lose respect for your boss, it is well, like losing respect for your parent…….just don’t care.

    #91384 |

    Difficult to write something after Dr J.

    Anyways I write something here because I am happy in my job for morethan 20 years

    people likes me (my clients)

    and my boss like me because my clients like me

    but there is something missing in Canada

    and this is an association to protect rights of ADHD persons againt discrimation when they are hired or if they are in a difficult period in their life.

    If ever someone want to become involve in that project

    I will seriously look at my schedule to find free time to be part of the team too!

    And by the way I really mean it!

    #91385 |

    I must agree with Dr.J. I had a job in a small firm with three main partners. I used to refer to them as the good, the bad and ugly. The good one advocated my position within the firm and I worked closely with him in solving major issues within projects, but generally had the least power of the three. The bad, always seem to be putting everyone down, include me; always wanted to be the dominant one. And the ugly (mostly because of his looks, not his character), seem to be the most objective one with a really good sense of judgment; always acknowledged person’s strengths, while still holding each individual accountable for their actions in a respectful way.

    It so happens that the ugly one left the firm and the bad one gained more than half control of the partnership. The structure that I was used to, as dysfunctional as it was, completely broke down for me. Within 9 months of the change of the partnership, I was out. All due to the change of chemistry within the office and the imbalance that I felt; I gave up caring for the place I worked for over 13 years.

    #91386 |

    I have learned something about ADD. The job I had is in a warehouse, with a cement floor, and walking on it was very wearying for me, as it was with others. After a while, I was having trouble with falling asleep during my break. It was not a problem with my job as I would wake up before my break ended, but I was getting worried. I had been diagnosed with ADD when I was young, but recently I saw a psychiatrist, and he proscribed Concerta. Now I have enough energy to get through my work shift, and I am feeling better about things.

    I know this is a little off topic, but I did want to mention it. There are a LOT of areas of my life I still have to work on, but a stable job is a nice thing to have when you are looking at this.

    #91387 |

    I am a self-employed salesperson for the last 12 years. The sales cycle in my industry is appox. 60 days, plus or minus. The perfect length for an ADDer. I get to know the client personally, treat them with care, share my knowledge with them and then make the sale. If the sales cycle pushed out to 90 plus days I would lose focus, or need time away from them to regenerate my batteries.

    Prior to being self-employed, I held a few middle management positions, I either lost focus and left or, would get pissed at the inability of upper management correct obvious flaws in systems and procedures, then I would quit in disgust. My ADD curse is not being able to look at a situation and just let it happen. I must analyze and then consider solutions, provide input or get directly involved.

    What I have started to do, in business or personal situations, is recognize those who have the same ADD gift/curse I have. I can spot/feel an ADDer, wether they are standing across the room or standing right next to me. Just the way they talk, the way they view people and the world around them, unique. And, most have no Idea what they have or why they act the way the do.

    I have found most ADDers are insightful but forgetful people; they have a strong sense of community but they like their personal space. Most cannot tolerate those who make simple mistakes, then, two minutes later they will offer the same person guidance and assistance. I guess it speaks to the way our brains function?


    #91388 |

    It took me a year to convince my boss of my needs to function in my work environment.

    1. I asked to be isolated in my work environment so less distracted, even a closed office towards the end of my carreer…

    2. Having been diaged with chronic sleep apnea, I would wake up non functional some mornings, and being very dangerous to expose myself to work (impatience, very impulsive, arguments…) I would phone my boss and would take two to three hours before entering work and of course extending my hours consequently. It took a while to build a trust on this issue, and it ended up being to his advantage.

    3. I made sure that my work involved only a computer as my co-worer: I could take a walk when needed, and work would wait for me. You lose your temper with your computer as it will not run to your boss to complain.

    These are only a few examples, remember you have reputation to uphold at work, you do not want them to be exposed to too many of your limitations. So know yourself well and adapt your evironment to you if you can, even maybe changing jobs if needed.

    #91389 |

    I recently had a ride to the hospital in an ambulance. It was a false alarm, luckily. But the EMT who rode in the ambulance with me shared with me that he was ADHD too. (He knew I was due to me having to list the medications I was taking.) He has returned to this job after trying several others, it having worked the best with his ADHD. He hasn’t taken medication since high school. I can understand why this would be, the adrenalin portion of his job probably helps keep him going. I didn’t ask him if there was much paperwork involved in his job though. But he seemed very happy and from the patient’s point of view, he did a great job!

    #91390 |


    Have you thought about discussing with your boss being allowed to use a laptop at home on the days that you have problems with Sleep Apnea and cannot come into work? Looking at numbers 2 and 3 on your list perhaps this is something that would help you.

    Unless there are far more distractions at home this might be something that you could discuss with your boss, after all it seems to me that you have built up some trust with him.

    ADDers do want to work, and if your boss allows you to come in later, perhaps he could be persuaded to let you work for home on those days where the Apnea gets worse.

    Keep working on it, I hope it works out for you.

    #91391 |


    I also have sleep apnea and am currently using a CPAP machine at night. My Doc told me the effects chronic sleep deprivation can mimic all the classic characteristics of ADD. In my case, ADD was diagnosed and currently using Concerta but use the CPAP to make sure I get the sleep I need. There are other health benefits, too, such as reducing the risk of heart attack, headaches, etc. Not to mention I don’t set off car alarms at night. Oh, yeah, and my wife gets a good night’s sleep as well.

    It may be worth your while to have your doctor refer you to a sleep lab. All the material I’ve read suggests that a good night’s sleep really benefits those of us with ADD.

    As a sidebar to this. It was a sleep lab session that alerted me to the fact I may have ADD. About 15 years ago, when I was first went to a sleep lab I was diagnosed with EDS (Excessive Daytime Sleepiness) and was prescribed Ritalin as a stimulant to control the urge to doze off several times a times a day. EDS has narcoleptic similarities, but less so. And at that time adult ADD was just beginning to be recognized. When on the Ritalin, it was as if the fog was lifted, the clarity and ability to focus was remarkable. It was only after speaking to a psychiatric nurse at a party, of all things, that she made me more aware about ADD generally. This was around 1995. I also spoke to a friend with an Early Childhood Education backgound and she concurred that what I had was a high probability of ADD.

    That started me looking more into adult ADD and here I am…..

    Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays (choose whatever term works best for you) and let’s all hope for a great new year!

    #91392 |

    WOW! Just find out this site!!! I,m so happy……………….(Please forgive my english writing, I’m French …:O)

    Since my diagnosis in 1995, I did not take my medecine regularly…because it didn’t seem to work welll….

    I’M 45,…I moved about 35 times during my life,

    changed work place..I prefered temporary job than permanent, since I know I won’t at my best after 3-4 months…(so i worked at about 40 different place…)

    My self-esteem is quite TUFF I think , because, nothing really work in my life, but I’M still there….Even if I though about suicide few times.. Often the next day, I’m back on my feet! And ready to go on…again and again…

    But, lately I am VERY TIRED…about all this…And I want to have all the information about ADD (to have a chance to life as my potential…)

    Gee! I’m so nice, joyfull, energics I have so many great ideas..but I know if I began something I won’t finish it..I don’t have any faith in myself anymore concerning my potential…but I keep hoping…:O)

    Thanks for reading me…:O)

    #91393 |

    River, a suggestion. Try one thing at a time, one new strategy at a time, and see how it works. Then after a week or two drop it or keep it. And then add a second practice. Or a second structure in your life. We are so impatient we want to transform everything instantly. As one of the experts says in the DVD’s we are putting together, “Sometimes the medication’s work too well! They can make such a difference in managing the symptoms, clearing the fog and reducing the roar of noise and ideas that the person doesn’t bother to use this new clarity to put the structures in place to support themselves when they go off medication.”

    So for a lot of people the transformation that happens with the medication, in an hour or less if it’s one f the stimulants, is so profound, it undermines the determination and will to make the lifestyle changes. And it’s those changes that allow you to succeed. And it’s success that builds self esteem.

    #91394 |

    I think there are jobs that have people with ADHD in them, but the people don’t tell anyone.

    Fighter Pilots, you might think would be an area that an ADHD person would not thrive, but apparently we are well represented in there ranks.

    In that role the carrot of flying the jet is continually in there face, it drives all of there activities.

    So paper work and other mundane tasks are re-framed as to steps needed to fly everyday.

    There have been flight instructors I have met while pursuing my Airplane and Glider license have ADHD, and they do very well.

    The medical side of aviation does not like people taking any kind of prescription drugs ( especially psychoactive ) while flying, so med’s can be a bit of a conflict for pilots with ADHD, especially if they are getting into the pro ranks. Apparently this is changing slowly.

    I will say this about being a pilot, there is no other activity which will MAKE you concentrate like flying an airplane.

    This is what I think draws folks with ADHD to this activity.

    Much like playing music, flying is immediate and stimulates all the senses at once…

    You have to manage alot of info and make decisions constantly…

    Aviation has check lists for everything… The rigid procedures don’t allow much room for daydreaming.

    This has helped my concentration, and organization on the ground a great deal…

    When you are doing something you love to do, a person with ADHD most times will go far and beyond normal people will for most things.

    My passion as a kid was electronics and computers, making 8MM films and dreaming of flying.

    Lucky for me the first two loves are very marketable..

    My mom bought me a C64 almost 30 years ago and my ADHD brain was addicted instantly…

    Following passions is important for ADHD’rs since I know that working in jobs I didn’t like just set me back both personally and professionally.

    Once I just started doing things that I enjoyed the financial success followed almost magically.

    I have been lucky, I have many friends who are stuck in a rut, and can’t seem to find a passion that will drive them.

    Positive attitude, therapy, personal coaching, and professional mentors, and flying, have all helped me have a pretty good life.

    Good luck on your journey!


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