Having adult ADHD means your strengths and weaknesses may differ from those of other people. It might be harder for you to stay focused and organized or to finish tasks on time. This can create challenges for you at work.
But some jobs can be a better match for your ADHD. The key is to pick a career that makes the best use of your skills and where your challenges won’t create major issues. You can keep a few things in mind as you consider your future career:
Pick Something You Enjoy
Everyone does better in a job that sparks her interest and keeps her motivated. That’s especially true if you have ADHD. If you grow bored and frustrated easily, it’ll be harder for you to stay on track at work.
Before you pick a career, make three lists: what you’re good at, what you like to do, and what someone else will pay you to do. Your ideal job should hit all three categories.
Focus on Your Strengths
ADHD symptoms can differ from person to person. The disorder can make you restless and easily distracted. Or it can make you so focused on a task that it’s hard for you to shift your attention to other things.
The trick is to seek jobs where your ADHD traits may be your strengths:
1. Aim for originality. Research shows that people with ADHD are often creative. It might be easier for you to think up unique ways to solve problems. So jobs that call for original ideas and innovative thinking can be a natural fit.
Sample jobs: Artists, inventors, musicians, designers, builders, teachers, and advertising professionals
2. Work for yourself. To start your own business, you need to be able to take risks, work independently, and stay creative and committed. These happen to be common traits among those with ADHD. But the day-to-day duties of running a company, such as bookkeeping, also require you to be organized. If that’s not your strong suit, it can be smart to partner with or hire people who can handle those tasks.
3. Go at a fast pace. People with ADHD tend to get bored or distracted easily. The upside is that you may thrive in jobs with constant change and a quick pace. When every day at work feels different, you may feel more engaged and interested.
Sample jobs: Firefighters, police officers, paramedics, emergency room doctors and nurses, and television producers
4. Stay social. Some people with ADHD thrive in social settings. If you’re one of them, consider a career based on relationships, such as working with clients or students.
Sample jobs: Salesperson, teacher, and public relations professional
Consider Your Limits
If you get bored easily or chafe under routine tasks, you may need to think twice about working for a corporation where following rules is important or a job that involves lots of tedious paperwork.
Do Your Research
On the job hunt? Take the time to learn about different careers. Interview someone who has a job you’re interested in. You may want to shadow her for a day to get a close-up sense of her responsibilities.
Remember that the specifics of the job matter. For example, you may be interested in social work to help others. But some of these positions involve piles of paperwork. When you do your research, you can learn what types of social work jobs best suit your talents.