ADD Prejudice in the Workplace

Jeff Hamilton Health Guide
  • Back in December ( was so long ago, the good old days), I posted on my blog an article entitled Coming Out of the ADD Closet Professionally. I still applaud the organization that I interviewed with for a great job and how they approached my ADD. I gained so much confidence in going public with ADD; now I spread the word that times they are a-changin!!! (Note to readers: pretend to sing like Bob Dylan when you read "times they are a-changin!!!")


    Well here we are a month later and I'm standing on top of my soap box to say, it looks like times are a-regressin! Yup, I've missed out on three great job opportunities.  One thing that I noticed in all three opportunities was that the potential employers all checked out my profile on Linkedin, which ironically speaks to my ADD/ADHD blogging and book.

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    So, I started thinking and wondered: have we really made any progress in this battle to not be discriminated against if you have ADD/ADHD? I put it to the test. I removed all the references on my Linkedin profile pertaining to ADD/ADHD. I saved my changes and continued to keep an eye out for any new career opportunities. Granted, it is a hard job market so I didn't expect the flood gates to open up; I am realistic. However, I was both surprised and disappointed by the results. Why was I surprised? Of the many jobs I applied for, I received acknowledgment back on almost half of them and had first meetings scheduled. When applying for jobs previous to removing the ADD/ADHD references on my profile, I received only a couple acknowledgements over a two month period. Why was I disappointed? I think it's obvious.


    Wikipedia defines prejudice as "a prejudgment, an assumption made about someone or something before having adequate knowledge to be able to do so with guaranteed accuracy. The word prejudice is most commonly used to refer to a preconceived judgment toward a people or a person because of race, social class, gender, ethnicity, age, disability, political beliefs, religion, sexual orientation or other personal characteristics." Hey, it must be true if I read it on Wikipedia!!


    Call me crazy, but I think the writing is on the wall here. Society is nowhere close to being ready to accept ADD/ADHD as part of the mainstream. Unfortunately, as an ADD patient, I still feel like we have a long way to go. I know people with ADD who are very successful as sales people, lawyers, doctors and many other professions. I see people who have ADD, and they don't even know it. Maybe they do know, but just sluff it off and don't care or won't acknowledge it - you never know.


    Prejudice in the workplace is nothing new. Whether it is racial, financial or even physical appearance, we can't hide the fact that it exists. You've seen historical footage of people like Martin Luther King, Bono and countless others standing up against many different forms of prejudice. Maybe I was naive in this particular journey in my life, but I'm a little shocked by this process and what appears to be happening. Are people with ADD/ADHD capable if succeeding? Yes. I shouldn't even need to pose that question. Part of overcoming ADD in many cases is learning to look beyond ourselves, keep an open mind and not be judgemental. Ironically, what many people experience in workplace discrimination is exactly that.


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    So let's see what happens over the next little while with the ADD/ADHD references being removed from my Linkedin profile. It appears the best place to be in a career search with ADD/ADHD is hiding in the closet.


    "I believe discrimination still exists in society and we must fight it in every form."

    - Andrew Mark Cuomo the 56th and current Governor of New York, having assumed office on January 1, 2011.



Published On: January 13, 2011