Finding Your ADHD Friendly Job

Health Writer

Doing what you are interested in, what you are good at and being governed by your strengths can lead to career fulfillment.

ADD is different in each person, so what may seem like a great ADD Friendly job to you, may be a disaster for another individual with ADD. There are some common complaints of adults with ADD, including time management problems and organization. However, some adults with ADD have compensated by structuring their day and are extremely organized. Many people have asked what specific jobs are best for individuals with ADHD, but each person is unique and ADD brings out different strengths and weaknesses in each person. Every industry also provides a wide array of jobs so that for any interest, a job can be found. While an engineer with ADD might find it to be boring and tedious working in a large office, he might do well as an independent contractor where each job he undertakes is new and refreshing. So, how do you determine what job is best for you?

Understand that this is a process and will not be completed in a day or a week. It may take a month or longer. Your goal is to find a career that suits your lifestyle, your personality and your interests. Buy a notebook to keep all of your notes as you will refer to them in order to determine in which direction your career should go.

Take as much time to work on the following steps as you need.

  1. Write an interest inventory. Start with as many items as you want. List all of your interests and likes. A list might look something like this:

Likes:

  • Reading Books
  • Talking with people
  • Spectator Sports, especially basketball
  • Swimming
  • Internet
  • Web Site Development
  • Health Care
  • Solving Problems

Dislikes:

  • Answering phones
  • Paperwork
  • Large crowds
  • Early mornings
  • Working with numbers
  • Tedious projects
  • Public Speaking

Add to the list as you think of more interests and dislikes. Put a check next to the interests that sound really exciting to you and a check next to the dislikes that you really detest.

  1. Write a work experience inventory. Think of every job that you have had. (It might be easier to work your way backwards, one job at a time.) List all of the functions and responsibilities that you had.

Skills Inventory

  • Office Skills: Filing, Answering Phones, Customer Service, Telemarketing, Sales, Bookkeeping, Typing 60wpm, Receptionist Duties
  • Computer Skills: Desktop Publishing, Web site development, Programming
  • Software: MS Word, MS Publisher, MS Front Page, Lotus
  • Office Equipment: Typewriter, Computer, Cash Register
  • Additional Skills: Accurate typist and proofreader, great spelling skills, quick learner

Take a few days to think about all the experience and skills you have had over the years. Add as much detail and information as possible to the list. (The example above is not a complete example. Include education, personal experience and volunteer work. Yours should be much more detailed.

  1. Life Skills Inventory Your next inventory sheet should include all of the day to day skills you have. You want to write down those that you are great at and those that could use some additional work:

Great

  • Very creative, can usually find creative solutions to problems that arise.
  • Life of the party
  • Good in small gatherings
  • Work well on my own
  • Work well in small groups
  • Love to give and organize parties
  • Willingly make sacrifices for something I really want

Could Use Some Work

  • Getting up and to work on time
  • Intimidated by large crowds
  • Forgetful
  • Disorganized
  • Sometimes work very slow to make sure it is done right

Decide which of these items you are willing to work to change and which are not changeable. Don't accept a position where success would depend on an item that you have not yet strengthened.

  1. Make an inventory of what you have liked best about previous positions that you held.
  • Flexible Hours
  • Lots of contact with the public
  • Worked without much supervision
  • Allowed creativity to come through
  • Received sense of accomplishment at completion of project
  • Boss gave credit for jobs well done
  • Deadlines forced me to complete work on time

Put a star next to the items you really liked.

  1. Make an inventory of what you did not like in previous positions:
  • Did not get along with boss
  • Got talked to about lack of organization
  • Panic of upcoming deadlines caused me to miss the deadlines
  • Tedious and boring
  • Too unstructured
  • Too many people around

Mark those that you do not feel you would be able to deal with again in a work environment.

  1. Take a break, by now you should be totally overwhelmed with all of these ideas and facts running around your head and you should probably put your notebook somewhere safe for a couple days and not look at it. When you come back to it, you might be surprised to see that you have even more to add to it.
  1. Ask some close friends/relatives to help you complete the lists if you are having a difficult time with them. Ask them to be objective and to help your memory of events and jobs so that you can get an accurate view of what has worked and what hasn't in your past employment.

  2. If you are having difficulty with this portion, there are several sites that might be able to help you in determining career paths.

  3. Compare the results of your interests and your experiences. If you put down that you were interested in photography, but you haven't yet picked up a camera, just think it might be fun, now is the time to cross photography off your list. What interests do you have left that are backed up by some type of experience or education?

  4. Look at the interests that are left and begin to write down all of the jobs that are available in those interests.

  5. You should now have in front of you a list of several jobs for which you have an interest and some experience/education in. Work with your list of life skills to determine if any of those positions would not fit your personality. Does a job require you to be on the road visiting companies and you just are terrible at following a map and always end of getting lost. This might cause undue stress and have you end up leaving the job. Is there a job that always starts at 7 AM and you can't seem to get up and moving much before 9 AM? Match the positions with your strengths to find a position where you will be able to grow instead of feeling frustration.

  1. Look again at what you disliked and liked in previous positions to determine what is important to you. Do you like the structure of a large company, where each day you know exactly what you are going to do and how long it will take you to do it? Do you like the excitement of a new company, being there on the ground floor and watching and being a part of the growth of the company? Do you want someone in the background to oversee your work, yet leave you alone to complete it? Use these to determine which type of company you would like to work for (or whether you would prefer to be self-employed).

Using all of information you compiled should help you immensely during the interview process. You will know what you want and why you should have a job. You will know what to look for in a company. This knowledge will allow you to show your confidence and make decisions based on what is best for you, rather than on the impulse of "Wow, this sounds terrific, when do I start?" If needed, take notes during the interview and bring them home to compare with your inventories to see if you and the position are a good match.

Doing what we are interested in, what we are good at and in a position, which will be governed by our strengths, rather than pointing out our weaknesses will lead to fulfillment in our careers.

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