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The elusive search for the 'right' career

The elusive search for the 'right' career2013-01-19T23:39:10+00:00

The Forums Forums The Workplace ADHD-Friendly Careers The elusive search for the 'right' career

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    Phil, Just Phil.
    Post count: 43

    Ok, so we have a heap of old threads on a variety of questions relating to career.  I have skimmed some, read others and skipped over quite a few of the older ones.

     To be entirely general (dangerous in this company, I know) we seem to fall into 2 scenarios growing up, either “you won’t amount to anything” or “you can be whatever you want to be, just apply yourself”.  I find neither approach particularly helpful.

    for the former, ‘thanks, now go away and leave me alone, I don’t need to hear that’ and for the latter, “that’s great you think that, but it’s kinda like standing in a big field with nothing on any horizon and saying ‘run, just run’ not going to get you anywhere useful.”

    I fell into call centre work about 10 years ago and it was great at the time, new interactions all the time, though I had issues with taking too long with customers and listening to issues that had nothing to do with us, though I was commended a few times for finding an out of the box solution to get someone’s issues sorted.
    I have moved into the corporate side now and manage telco incidents for a single corporation now, I am on their premises and they love what I do.
    My issue, I can’t afford to keep at this job forever, I am not earning enough and am so swamped with administrative crap that I am going crazy.  My latest attempts to move up have been ‘close but no cigar’ and I feel I have hit a ceiling.

    I am also conscious that I am largely unqualified, I am doing stuff that guys who are degree qualified do, as well as handling a small amount of accounts payable stuff.  But if we lose the contract I am out on my ear.

    So I think I have one good move left to really set myself up, but it had to be the right one.  A few ideas I had in the past:

    Primary teaching- we have a glut of these at the moment with graduates outstripping jobs by about 10 to 1 or worse
    Nursing- not being a doctor would drive me mad I think, I may have issues dealing with them as I know they are the bane of a nurses life sometimes
    Process improvement- done some of this but sure enough, as soon as I get the qualifications they will change the system again.

    There have been many others, but I will stop it here and get to my point.
    I am considering going to university and studying Accounting.  Yes, I know it is probably not an ideal fit for someone with adhd, but I have looked at projections for the next decade or so and I don’t think the demand is going to drop, I can work in a multitude of different industries, or for myself and the nature of the job is less ‘knowing the systems by rote’ and more ‘schmooze with clients and know what you can or cannot claim’. I think this part of it may play to my strengths.
    I have been labouring over this decision because I have one son about to start high school, another due to start school in a few years and a daughter in the middle and I can’t afford to do something stupid and leave them in a bad situation.
    I simply can’t afford to do what I am doing now for much longer, but can’t afford to end up unemployed either.

    It’s a lot here, sorry.

    If I do this, I will be studying a fair bit while working, I will have to stay where I am as I don’t bring work home, so will just keep dealing with the job but at least have an end in sight.

    I look to people like Rick with the greenest eyes possible, entertainment would be so much fun, I volunteer at my kid’s dance school for their end of year concert and just manage the door to the backstage, as well as try to keep the evil hordes of children a little quiet and whatever other issues pop up I am usually able to find a solution to them.
    But the other aspect is probably a bigger one for me, he has found something to dedicate his life to that is far bigger than himself.  He is impacting people’s lives on a global scale and leaving a great positive legacy for the future.
    I hope to build something, to essentially prove to myself and others that I can be successful, credibility sorted I will then feel in a better position to try and do something to be proud of, something to make the world a better place, first I want to make some cash, get my kids through school and maybe take a few holidays for a change. (Or at least stop feeling like I am just scraping by as everything gets more expensive.)

    Ok, this is where I leave it, over to you, the wise members of the forums to weigh in on what I have said and let’s see where it goes…


    Post count: 140

    Well, @MRMcKay, you’ve come a long way in sorting this out. I suppose it’s always tough, but being well into adulthood with a lot of responsibilities adds a little something extra. At least you know something of what you like and don’t.

    Hard not to feel a twinge at Rick et al. I’m a performer myself, but it’s a tough row to hoe to make a living. I know what you mean as well about situations like nurses with doctors. At one point I considered some medical careers and I had that same sense as well. Nurse practitioners and physician assistants have a little less of that since they have more autonomy, but a steep education curve.

    Being comfortable talking to people is a great attribute. A lot of people dislike doing that. While not all accountants are stuffed shirts, it’s true many are not so adept on the people side and they appreciate people who are comfortable at dealing with clients.

    Have you had a chance to talk to many people in accounting or counselors at university? Is your wife on board with the plan to work and go to school?

    Do you think you have any bent toward being an entrepreneur? Just wondering if you could start something on the side to supplement your income while you’re pondering. If you’re good with kids and/or organizing, sometimes there are opportunities there. People will pay to have certain problems solved, that’s for sure.

    Have you met anybody with ADD who’s happy in what they do (I mean, at a real job, working for The Man)? I know people who I’m sure have ADD (they don’t seem to know) who like their work, but I don’t know anyone who admits to ADD who does (very small sample size though).  Speak up, people!

    I hear you about wanting to prove yourself successful and improve the world. I feel that so strongly and can’t for the life of me figure out how to do it.



    Post count: 140

    @MRMcKay, to drone on further, you mentioned teaching. Have you considered a career in training? Every field has a training staff. I don’t know if it’s different in Australia, but here in the U.S., it doesn’t necessarily require the years of field experience one might expect (though a degree is required). I did some of that after only a year or so of working in accounting.

    Also, do you think you would be interested in a career as a job recruiter? I did a bit of that and it can be a good fit for an ADDer who is good with people. I know an Australian recruiter if you want to chat with her.


    Patte Rosebank
    Post count: 1517

    @MRMcKay, it sounds like your main reasons for possibly studying Accounting are that Accounting pays well; there’s a high demand for Accountants, and that demand is expected to grow.  Those are not very good reasons, on their own.  After all, prostitution pays well; there’s a high demand for hookers, and that demand is expected to grow…

    While you need to consider things like wages and demand for a job you’re thinking of training for, it’s also very important to consider the skills and working methods it involves, and whether or not they’re a good fit for your own skills and working methods.   For example, if you’re prone to severe claustrophobia and motion-sickness, then joining a submarine crew is not a wise career choice for you, no matter how much it may appeal to your sense of adventure!


    Accounting involves repetitive, detail-oriented clerical work.  The way you’re moving those long columns of numbers around, one tiny mistake in just one number can quickly lead to a huge catastrophe, as it gets spread around and included in various calculations.

    How good are you at paying your bills on time?  How good are you at doing your taxes and submitting them on time?  If you’re like most of us with ADD, you’ll probably be trembling just at the *thought* of doing your taxes.

    Now, think about exactly what you find so difficult about doing your taxes:

    Is it all those piles of receipts you have to sort through?

    Or all those picky little rules you have to follow?

    Or all those pages of forms you have to fill in, strictly following all the picky little rules, and entering all those numbers correctly?

    Or having to go through and double-check everything to make sure it all adds up…and having to go through everything again, if it doesn’t all add up?

    Or maybe it’s all of the above?

    Now, imagine having to do all those things you HATE about doing your taxes—for 8 hours a day…and for much longer than that, during tax season…

    Are you REALLY sure that Accounting is the right job for you?

    If it isn’t, it’s far better to find that out now, before you spend all that time, money, and effort.

    Make an appointment to talk to a vocational guidance counsellor, at your local jobs centre.  They can give you more detailed information about any career changes you’re considering.  More importantly, they can give you tests, to help you determine your interests, skills (including transferrable skills), and working methods.  The results of these tests can clearly show you the jobs that would be the best fit for YOU.


    Phil, Just Phil.
    Post count: 43

    Haha, this is why I love the forum, @MarieAngell makes some great points regarding other possible options and starts asking questions, then @Larynxa comes in and blows me out of the water.

    On reading my OP, it certainly does. Come across as though I am interested purely because of prospects and wages.  While this does form a large part of my process, no point training to be a blacksmith, or continuing to do the Lean and Six Sigma stuff because they will go the same way in the not too distant future  just like its predecessors stretching back to the old Quality Assurance Of the 90’s.

    So I looked for something with longevity and I have some accountant to talk to in the next few days.

    To address your points, MA, training is not something I do terribly well, I have tried to pass on what I do to several people and no matter how much I try to set the. Schedule etc… It never seems to work out properly.  I absorb stuff quickly, often losing it again if I don’t use it, but I have a bad habit of assuming I am teaching me.  Not sure where being in with some people I have known, kids are easier, more absorbent and it is a completely different kettle of fish.

    Recruiting is one I never really looked to hard at, all the jobs I saw in me past seemed to be glorified sales jobs, and having spent a time unemployed before my current 10 year gig, I was rarely impressed with my dealings with them.  So that may have soured my thoughts on that matter.  I am sure there are some good ones out there though.  I see an industry dominated at the higher end here as being  lot of uni qualified UK expats and I know their training makes ours look quite light on.

    As for taxes, my main issue is the lack of records and my big nothing of a filing system.  I did some programming during and just out of high school and it was always pretty easy for me to work within a set of complex fussy little rules And trace bugs, I trace incidents within data networks at the moment, often finding them before the qualified cadet engineers.

    I have done my fair share of service rebate calculations, including taking on some that no-one Else would touch, think multiple contract variations, each changing the price of most circuits services (not always the same ones) over the course of a couple of years, with services not billing,others billing   double and a whole host of other stuff ups  made by a variety of people some no longer around.  I had these babies humming with massive excel spreadsheets, daily rates calculated, changing where appropriate and then fighting with the credit management team because I calculated actual daily rates, they used an equation that in reality wasn’t even close.  (I had this acknowledged bit too hard to change apparently.)

    i currently pay invoices, deal with the vendors,  reconcile their stuff ups, sort out new lines of approval for cost centres and GL’s all as a sideline to my main job managing telco incidents.

    i am a little over the whole IT thing to be honest, too many good people sent packing and theirs jobs shipped overseas and I don’t have the qualifications to ensure its wont be me pin the near future .

    i also spent some time in Real Estate and perhaps this was a good fit for me, with some pretty strict trust accounting rules etc… That I never had a problem with either.

    as for the clerical stuff, if I am right  I should be able to find someone to do this for me at some stage, hopefully building a small business and personal income tax business with the right assistant.

    i like numbers, they make sense.  People, while I enjoy talking to (or is that AT them) don’t make much sense at all, and English was always a tricky subject for me as I saw things most of my teachers just didn’t understand when reading text or poetry (though the university trained linguist I had as a tutor in high school could see where I was coming from.)

    so I don’t think it is purely for the reasons in my initial post, but I see how you got there.  That is why I love ths forum, I can post a half cocked thread, get response and try to clarify it further on, for myself as much a anyone else.


    please keep at me, give me all you’ve got.  I can take it


    (I think…)


    Patte Rosebank
    Post count: 1517

    Here’s someone who clearly chose the right job for himself!


    Post count: 140

    @Larynxa, that’s a fine career for that wacky guy in the video, but I think I’d get bored with it. 😉

    I absolutely agree, for many people with ADD accounting is a terrible fit and definitely should not be undertaken simply for attractive compensation. That way lies train wreck. But accounting is a varied field with a lot of different kinds  jobs. Some ADDers do well if they really know  their strengths and compensate for deficiencies going in.

    Sounds like @MRMcKay has sorted out a lot of that, which is an advantage over 18 years olds trying to decide their next move. Building a new career while juggling family financial responsibilities is a different kind of fun!

    Heck yeah, talking to people in the field is critical. Professors can be a good source as well for both career info and for getting a feel for what your course load and schedule would be.

    MRMcKay, you’ve given this a lot of thought  and beat me to the punch on some things I would have asked. I’m presuming you know something of what the required education would cost you and starting salaries in the field. It’s almost certainly true that getting a degree in accounting should open doors in another field if it turns out accounting doesn’t suit you.

    That leads me to concern about the stress and strict time management you’ll need to work and go to school. Accounting has a rigorous curriculum. Is your wife and family on board with your plan and willing to make some sacrifices along with you?

    Assuming your self assessment is accurate and based on your situation, I wonder: Is the biggest gamble the process of acquiring the education?


    Patte Rosebank
    Post count: 1517

    Hey, grunting can be fun!

    After we saw this sketch, when “4 on the Floor” first aired (in 1985), my brother and I started grunting instead of saying, “Hello” whenever we phoned each other.

    Even now, when we’re old enough to know better, we still do this.  And the voice mails we leave for each other are usually just one really long, really obscene-sounding grunt.  My grunts are longer than my brother’s, because I sing a lot, so I have better breath control.  (Harrumble for transferrable skills!)

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