What some view as a hindrance may be a gift
In many careers, the symptoms of Adult Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD), like restlessness, poor concentration, and impulsivity, can easily damage or derail a career. For those of you who fall into the 4% or higher of the workforce with this condition, this can also mean finding yourself in a job where you are bored, distracted, forgetful and disorganized.
Even worse - you can end up in a position where you are always at risk of losing your livelihood.
Fortunately, there is some good news: For some careers, ADD and ADHD can be a highly sought-after talent in disguise. Find the right job, and you will thrive. So, what’s the right job?
Putting your interests, education, and existing skills aside, the right job will generally have these common elements:
- Autonomy – allowing you to make decisions and work at a pace that works for you
- Flexibility – providing you with the ability to change often your tasks, priorities, and focus (the opposite of routine work)
- Low Interruption – giving you a quiet work environment with little disruption so you can focus
- Creativity – allowing you to think, create, experiment and learn
- Channeled – enabling you to focus your energy on specific topics and tasks you find compelling and interesting
Finding a job with this blend of elements is the key. Understand what moves and motivates you, how you can express your creativity, and what you are good at doing without actually feel like working.
Need some inspiration? Here are several ideal career segments when you have ADD/ADHD:
- Entrepreneur - There is no daily grind here; everything surrounding being self-employed keeps you on your toes. There is constant change and excitement, but you’ll do best if it's in a field you find interesting.
- Food Industry – This industry combines creativity, fast movement, and constant change. Whether you are in the front of the house serving tables or preparing food as a chef or cook, this career can provide instant gratification all shift long.
- Sales – The constant interaction and engagement with different clients and prospects means you are always experimenting with new ways to engage with people.
- Teaching – As a teacher, you are always up on your feet with new material every day and in a generally quiet environment, where you have the general autonomy to decide how you will help share knowledge.
- Medical – This career will have you on the move, facing new challenges and problems to solve every day – and with a wide variety of medical jobs to choose from, you can focus on a specialty that excites you.
- Creative Arts – Many creative jobs, like graphic design, web design, acting, and others, are ideal for adults with ADD/ADHD. They are easy to channel energy, provide an outlet for creative expression, and often require very little supervision.
Identifying the best career choice for you
Finding the perfect career is challenging for almost everyone, and when you have ADD/ADHD, it seems even more daunting. However, a quick self-assessment can get you started down a path of exploration.
Create a Self Assessment
There are many ways to do a career self-assessment, but we recommend this as a way to get started:
- Create three circles and write down three of the first things that come to mind:
- What do you love doing,
- What are you good at doing, and,
- What someone will pay you to do.
- Within each circle, find where the answers overlap - this will give you a direction to start looking. What if nothing matches up? Repeat the task with three new items in any or all of the circles until you find something.
Not ready to make a career switch?
Changing careers can be a significant task, and it may not be practical for you at the moment, so how can you make the best of your current situation? Try to generate some of the appealing elements in your current job.
- Ask yourself, “what can I do to differently and reactivate the energy within my occupation?”
- Talk to your supervisor and ask, “How can you use me differently in my current role?” Or “What new project can you assign me to?”
- Find ways to utilize your creativity, problem-solving skills, high energy, and enthusiasm.
The most important thing to remember is ADHD adults tend to thrive on their strengths and interests. Look for a job where you can put your ADD/ADHD super-powers to work, and you are on your way to creating a career you enjoy, with sought-after skills and rewarding work.