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ADHD Career Advice Nuggets

02/03/2022
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We will look at the challenges faced by people with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) that can make selecting a career difficult and also offer some expert advice to enable you to make this choice.

Our top ADHD career coaches have identified 7 key reasons why people with ADHD commonly struggle to move forwards in their careers:

Fear Of Making The Wrong Choice

People procrastinate over career decisions and worry about whether what they are doing is right or wrong. This can hold them back and lead to missed opportunities. This is particularly true for young people just starting their careers, although it can happen at any point. An important consideration is that when people change their profession, they rarely regret it. Even if we do make a wrong choice, it’s just a case of making another change.

Time Blindness

Time blindness occurs when people think it’s too late to make a change. Maybe they think they’re too old or they’ll never gain new qualifications in time to make a career change worthwhile. However, many people make career changes quite late on in their working life as their interests and priorities change over time. They often regret not doing it sooner! If you are still willing to work, then it’s definitely not too late.

Boredom

Adults with ADHD can be easily bored. This can cause dissatisfaction with their career, frequent job changes and periods of not working that are hard to come back from. It can be difficult to find a profession that sustains your interest over a long period of time, but people will always last longer in jobs they find interesting.

Overwhelm And Analysis Paralysis

Sometimes, too much choice for someone with ADHD can lead to overwhelm and analysis paralysis where you are unable to make a decision due to information overload. This can cause stress and anxiety, especially if you feel time-pressured into making a decision.

Remember that career development can take a long time and you can always make changes as you go. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed or struggling with analysis paralysis, take a step back from it all. Discuss your dilemma with a friend or family member who will listen and understand. You may also consider seeking professional help with a career coach who can help you through this.

Low Self-Esteem

Studying and working when you have ADHD can be challenging, and it’s difficult when there are other people who appear to be doing a better job than you. Sadly, low self-esteem is common in ADHD adults who have a tendency to discount their own strengths and successes.

If you find you’re struggling with self-esteem, try asking other people to identify your strengths. Low self-esteem can be extremely damaging and it’s in the interest of workplaces to look after the mental health of their employees. Indeed, many workplaces now actively focus on mental health and an increasing number of people are trained in mental health first aid.

Also, you’d be wise to remember that, if you spend your life comparing yourself to other people, you’ll never feel good about yourself.

Lack Of Self-Belief

Someone may not pursue a career or job change due to a perception that either they can’t do it or they can’t do ALL of it. They may be concerned that they don’t have all the skills or experience needed for a role and consequently not take the first step forwards.

It’s actually very common for someone starting a new position to not have experience in all the required elements.

If lack of expertise or confidence in learning new skills is making you think twice about taking on a new role, then ask the employer about it. If you ask before you apply, you will normally get an honest answer about whether it’s worth putting yourself forward. You may be surprised by the response and if you have a skill that is really in demand, an employer may be able to adapt a role to suit you better.

Concerns About The Working Environment

Another issue for adults with ADHD is not wanting to change jobs because of worries about the working environment. Someone might be concerned that a new workplace is too noisy and distracting or unsuitable in other ways. However, an employer can make reasonable adjustments in the workplace if they know they are needed.

In a survey carried out by ADDitude, about happiness in the workplace, just over half of respondents revealed that they hadn’t told their employer about their ADHD. It’s of course up to you whether you disclose your ADHD or not, but an employer is more likely to make reasonable adjustments if they understand why. Examples of this could be offering someone a quieter working area, headphones or a more flexible working schedule. Employers need to give their employees equal opportunities but they won’t know to do this if you don’t tell them you have ADHD.

So What’s The Best Career For Someone With ADHD?

The most successful ADHD adults are those who are truly driven by what they do. There is no one career type that suits everyone with ADHD, but there are various professions that utilise the natural skill set of an ADHD individual. There are a number of articles that list suitable ADHD professions (see the Further Reading section). They tend to recommend professions that are caring, creative, technical, varied or highly engaging. They are often roles that require empathy, energy, enthusiasm and hyperfocus under pressure. These are common traits in adults with ADHD.

What is key, is that when considering a suitable career, you need to recognise your strengths and consider your interests. If you can identify a career path that combines both your strengths and your interests, then this just may be the right career for you.

ADHD Entrepreneurs

If working for someone else doesn’t suit you, then it might be worth thinking about working for yourself. There are many well-known entrepreneurs with ADHD such as Richard Branson, Justin Timberlake and Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of IKEA. These people have not let ADHD be a barrier to success and have thrived, at least in part, because of the amazing qualities gifted to them by their ADHD. According to ADHD entrepreneur coach David Giwerc, adults with ADHD are 300% more likely to start their own businesses.

ADHD Career Coaching

Career coaching is really helpful for someone with ADHD who might be looking for a new challenge but doesn’t know where to start. Traditional career coaching often involves tests that produce a list of possible career choices. While this can be useful, people sometimes struggle to find a connection with the suggested career paths.

At The ADHD Centre, our career coaching takes a more holistic approach that draws out people’s strengths, interests and personal qualities. Our coaches work together with our clients to develop areas of possibility and plan together how to explore these possibilities. This approach creates a genuine connection between the person and the areas that interest them. It’s a highly motivational way to approach career change for someone with ADHD. This narrative approach starts with people telling their personal stories. This allows them to process the information verbally, which is highly effective for many ADHD adults.

You can find out more about our career coaching plan here.

ADHD Diagnosis

Professionals who suffer from restlessness in the workplace and find it difficult to concentrate may have undiagnosed ADHD. Someone who has learnt to manage their symptoms may find themselves totally overwhelmed when changes occur such as a new role or working in a different environment. An ADHD assessment and consequent treatment can be life-changing, so if you suspect you may have ADHD, it’s well worth looking into getting yourself assessed.

To find out more about our private ADHD assessments and our different ADHD treatments and coaching plans, please contact us at The ADHD Centre on 0800 061 4276 or via [email protected].

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