The “neuro—normal” person (not affected by ADHD) usually stays at a job for four to six years. However, the employee challenged by ADHD, is typically out looking for new employment opportunities every eighteen to twenty-four months.
This could be because of yet another poor performance at work, or the impulsivity and novelty seeking characteristics of the ADHD brain. This has a major emotional toll on the employee, and their family each and every time an employment change is made. So, before you go out and buy a new set of interviewing clothes, start talking to recruiters, and updating your resume, lets put on the “ADHD Brakes” and take a very close look to see if modifications to your current employment can be made, so your ADHD strengths can be utilized better, and “ a win-win” situation will result for you and your employer.
If your current employer sees an improvement in your workplace performance, they will much more likely to give you a positive recommendation when you are ready for a job change in the long -term future. So, start by conducting an evaluation of your current job using two sets of factors – External and Internal.
External employment factors are related to work environment itself. The physical layout of your surroundings, modifying your job duties, changes in the way you are supervised or mentored, working with a different team in the department, and changing your assigned shift.
Possible External factors that could be changed include:
- Training to utilize modern technology (computers, e-mails, texts, electronic calendars, beepers, cell phone alarms, etc.) to perform your job more effectively than you currently are.
- More structure– Have a check list or some other reminder system that clearly spells out how and when certain tasks are to be completed.
- More Autonomy – ADD-ers can very creative and outside the box thinkers when allowed to utilize that trait. Working independently, within a well understood performance expectations, and occasional periodic check-ins with management ,may help creative, outside the box ADD-ers flourish. Examples are Pharmaceutical Sales, Financial Advisors, or utility and appliance repair.
- Less distracting environment – Particular for office- based employment.
- Less stressful work environment– Employee must still have a very clear understanding of performance expectations and make every attempt to maximize performance and productivity in the new opportunity.
Internal Changes – The important self-directed question for the employee to ask is What kinds of changes do I need to make within myself?
- Action plan to present and discuss with supervisor regarding compensating for the ADHD Challenges.
- Temporary mentoring (two weeks absolute maximum) with an employee that flourishes in the area or tasks where you may be challenged (if the employment setting allows this).
- More frequent interaction with a supervisor regarding the areas where improvement is necessary. A Career Coach can assist setting your deadlines and goals for improvement.
- Work with a fellow employee or career coach, regarding organization and time management challenges.
Taking a close look at all of these various factors may help the ADD employee find work more rewarding and fulfilling, without the need to see out new employment opportunities.