The Challenges of ADHD for Working Adults
Adult ADHD can manifest in many ways. Here are some of the common signs of adult ADHD that Web MD identifies:
- Trouble being organized
- Poor listening skills
- Very easily distracted
- Trouble starting a task
- Difficulty prioritizing issues
All of these can make work life challenging to say the least. That is why choosing or transitioning to the right career is doubly important if you have adult ADHD. A diagnosis of ADHD does not mean that your work life is doomed to being a constant struggle. You can identify the type of work that leverages your ADHD strengths so you can get the most out of your career.
Finding Careers that Play to Your ADHD Strengths
So what job attributes should you be considering if you have ADHD? Penny Williams of Healthline lists the following attributes of jobs that play to the strengths of adults with ADHD, including:
- Interest – A job that involves work you are motivated by and passionate about will help keep you interested and focused on what you are doing.
- Urgency – Jobs that entail a sense of urgency can be attractive if you have ADHD. The intensity that such jobs often have can help keep you focused and task oriented where others might become overwhelmed.
- Structure – You may jobs that have a structured workflow, with clear goals and instructions for doing things more appealing.
- Fast pace – A job where things move at a rapid pace and require quick thinking may work out better if you find that your energy level is high and your thoughts are constantly changing.
- Hands-on and creative – If you are easily bored at desk jobs, you might want to consider work that is more hands-on and creative, and that uses your visual, auditory or kinesthetic senses to a greater degree.
- Entrepreneurial – If you are willing to take risks and think in more innovative ways, starting or running your own business could be the right career choice. It must be in a field you are passionate about though, since running a business also requires planning, organization, and self-motivation, which can be a struggle for anyone with ADHD.
You may find careers which employ just one of these qualities. However, but many careers offer several of these attributes in the same job, creating a much greater likelihood of success.
There are several steps you can take to help you find the best career fit when you have ADHD. One is to take a questionnaire that will get you think clearly about your skills and preferences, understand where you fit best in an organization, and under what circumstances you feel most comfortable and motivated. Edward Hallowell, MD, in an article for ADDitude magazine, recommends taking the time to answer 18 questions to help you focus on these things.
Another step is to seek career counseling from someone who specializes in working with adults who have ADHD. One place to begin your search is CHADD. This group functions as a national resource for ADHD and their site provides a good explanation of ADHD career coaching and what to look for in a coach. With this knowledge you can make a better decision about the right coach for you. You can also utilize a coach matching service to help you such as the Edge Foundation.