ADHD in the Workplace
How Can You Improve Your Odds of Getting and Keeping a Job? continued...
Once you have a job, follow these tips to help keep it:
- Ask to work in a quiet space, such as an office, rather than in a cubicle where you might be easily distracted.
- Work with a manager or colleague who is well-organized and can help guide you through projects from start to completion.
- Keep a day planner with a calendar and list of things-to-do and update them often. Set up your PDA or computer to send you electronic reminders for meetings and due dates.
- Take notes at meetings and during phone conversations, and add all new tasks to your to-do list.
- Set aside specific periods of time each day for answering voice mail and email so that they won't interrupt your other responsibilities.
- Set realistic goals. Break up your days into a series of individual assignments, and only try to tackle one task at a time. Use a timer to let you know when to move on to the next task. Reward yourself for completing an assignment by going out for a special lunch or buying yourself something you've been wanting.
- If you can, get an assistant or intern to take care of the small details to free you up so you can focus on the big picture.To improve your concentration, practice relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing and meditation. Get up once an hour and take a walk, get a drink of water, or talk to a co-worker.
- Daily relaxation or meditation can also be helpful.
To help you adjust to your job, enlist the help of a career counselor or executive coach. He or she can offer you guidance on any issues you encounter, and can help you work through the job situations that you find most troublesome (for example, role playing how to discuss a pay raise with your boss without the conversation becoming emotionally charged).
Because ADHD is considered a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act, your company can't discriminate against you on the basis of your condition. The Act also requires your company to accommodate your needs, provided that you are comfortable enough to let your employer know that you have ADHD.
Finally, take advantage of the benefits -- yes, there are benefits -- that ADHD confers. The restlessness, impulsiveness, and constant desire to try new things can be great assets, especially if you have your own business. Studies have shown that many adults with ADHD wind up becoming entrepreneurs. The trick to success is finding the career that best suits you, and then using your energy, creativity, and other strengths to get the most out of your job.