ADD Dopers - what do you do for a living? And are you "out" at work?

The only time I went to an ADD support group, there were two other progammers, three people (at least) in education, and one lawyer. I was a programmer, wanting to get into teaching. It makes me wonder if these jobs are better for us, or if it was a coincidence.

So, what do you do for a living; in what ways does it work well for your mind, and are there any things in your job that are especially taxing? Also, does your management know about your ADD?

I’m a programmer, and that’s great for me simply because I enjoy programming. It’s like solving puzzles for a living. Also, whether it’s the ADD or just another quirk of my mind, I have very non-linear thinking, which helps me make connections that other people don’t seem able to make. It is, however, mostly a very corporate job (especially for my particular skill set), and corporations don’t handle people who are “different” very well.

I’ve never told anyone at any job that I had ADD, although at my last job I started telling them that I have “no time sense” and trying to get them to work with at least that aspect of my ADD.

I’m a technical writer. I’m not out at work, partly because my diagnoses was made when I was a child and partly from fear of intolerance. I also work in a corporate environment that prefers all the little cogs to be interchangeable.

I’m a transactional lawyer, so no litigation but lots of in-office reading, contract drafting, and negotiating. Fortunately I have a great deal of autonomy in how I do my job, so my day is a disorganized mish-mash of uncompleted projects until everything comes together in its own time. I don’t think anyone here knows, not that I actively try to keep it a secret (even though I don’t think it’s really anyone’s business as long as I get my work done), but because it’s there hasn’t been a reason that I’ve felt I should divulge it. I’ve told employers in the past, but only when I was under stricter controls about how and when certain things needed to be performed. I’d say “that doesn’t really work for me, and here’s why… but if you let me do it my way, you’ll be happy with the result”.

It sort of works well though, because the daily barrage of emails and questions means I can’t work on any one issue uninterrupted from start to finish anyway, and allows me to jump around just the way my brain wants to.

If I medicated myself these days I’m sure my day would proceed much differently, but being that “on” was exhausting. I haven’t taken any meds for it in about a decade.

I’m a teacher, currently working as a substitute teacher and under-employed. I was actually thinking about taking some programming classes so I could get steady work. I’ve heard that a lot of medical personnel with ADD go into emergency medicine as the pace of the ER is so fast and demanding, it keeps them focused.

I’ve worked as in tech support, and taking calls was a way to keep things switched up enough to remain interesting, but after six months to a year, I usually had a handle on the systems and the vast majority of problems that came with them and would start to get bored. When I originally started in tech support, they made a point of promoting from within, but that seems to have gone to the wayside, and a lot of tech support has been outsourced, so even the regular first tier jobs aren’t there anymore. Or, if they are, they pay a lot less than they used to.

I do believe certain jobs lend themselves to those with ADD, including teaching, because the pace and structure of the school day plus the student interactions really keep you hopping. The downside is the tremendous amount of paperwork and follow up that must be done to really stay on the job.

Also, Zyada, while I’m sure you’d make a fantastic teacher, I have to warn you, with the current economy, I don’t think there’s a school district in the country hiring new teachers. Most of them are, at best, on a hiring freeze, and many of them are laying off. On top of that, they are increasing the students per classroom. Previously, the most I’d ever had in a class was 36, and that was considered extreme. The long-term sub job I pulled last semester had an average of 38 per class, the state allowed maximum. So, even if you do get a job, it’s almost half again as much work because of the larger number of students you get. Worth it, if you can get a job, but it’s very, very difficult to get a job.

I’m a chef. The fast pace is great for my mental concentration, and I love how the practice of getting “in the zone” helps me stay focused outside of work, too, but the physical demands are killing me. Thankfully, I’m looking to move into management where I won’t have to push my body so hard, but restaurant work is great for the ADHD.

I work in Sales IT. Some of my work is the worst, from an ADD point of view: tons of detail, tons of lines of data, tons of lines of code, so any change or reconciliation is . . . lengthy. On the plus side, the company I work for is pretty ADD itself, and the culture here is easier for me to accommodate. Also, I work on a really high-profile application so any problem is a big fat emergency that tends to be interesting and holds my focus.

Also, I suspect strongly - hell, I’m SURE - that my immediate manager is also ADD, so again there’s a culture of “multi-tasking” and jumping from one thing to another.

I’m not out at work. I have trust issues I guess.

Forgot to answer: I have often brought up my own ADD diagnosis when it was relevant to the situation at hand - often a student’s trouble with studying or poor grades or “bad” behavior. Having a grown up talk about dealing with ADD, be able to explain the disorder in medical terminology, and insist that there are both very good reasons for the kid being that way and that there are coping mechanisms has made a difference for more than a few kids.

For those of us who work with computers and get a choice on what browser to use, Lifehacker has a suggestion for avoiding time-suck websites:

I work at home, alone, doing everything that needs doing for the website I used to own that is now owned by others. It is insanely difficult. So I waste time here to avoid.

I do insurance-type work. I’m out and proud – it’s certainly nothing I shared at, say, the job interview, but it eventually came out. It’s not considered a big deal.

I work as a… hey, wanna ride bikes?

I fix TVs. Mostly I do in-home service.

It really suits me. Unless I don’t fix them first time.

Then I avoid the angry TV addicts.

Not good for business.

So, what do you do for a living
I work in the exciting field of educational assessment.

In what ways does it work well for your mind
::shrugs:: Most of the time there’s a lot of structure, so that’s pretty helpful. Knowing what’s expected of me helps me to stay focused, and I tend not to daydream nearly as much when I know that I still have X left to do by the end of the day.

Are there any things in your job that are especially taxing?
On the other hand, some of the higher ups don’t believe in giving specifics. You ask when something’s due, they say “as soon as you can.” You ask how many __ are needed, they say “as many as possible.” You ask what order they want things done in, they say “it doesn’t really matter.” Things like these are really hard to deal with, because specific goals and deadlines keep me on the straight and narrow.

Also, does your management know about your ADD?
I’m sure some suspect since they’ve known me up to ten years, but it’s not something I announce to higher ups.

This is very much like my life. I don’t know if I have ADD exactly, or if it is anything exactly, but I show a lot of the symptoms. Not a lack of time sense, but an inconsistency in the ability to do things at a particular time. So I formed my own company very young, occasionally consulting, but mainly taking on development projects. I joined with other independents and small companies, and worked indepently of the clients so I could control the timing. It worked well for a long time. I grew my company, then let it shrink, more than once, because I was never able to find the balance between responisibility and freedom. I don’t know what you mean by non-linear thinking, but I do think more creatively than the most people. I often say I have no trouble thinking outside the box, because I’ve never been in it.

Yeah, the ‘different’ thing is the big problem. But you have to play it. I try to act a little insane, because people think insanity and genius go hand in hand. I do things that are unordinary (showing up for work in a Hawaiin shirt wearing sunglasses, in the middle of winter) because people associate that with creativity. But people still fear things that are different, and tune out anything that doesn’t fit into their preconcieved notions.

Sadly, the world of computers doesn’t care as much about actual creativity anymore. Now it’s more about creative descriptions of the same old thing. I’ve seen a page full of TLAs and meaningless verbs to describe a new function that sends an email, and an endless degradation in system efficiency as inefficient layers are stacked one atop another, instead of developing a new algorithm that addresses the problem directly. It’s kind of like Curious George leveling the table legs.

Now-a-days I have one of those real jobs. I actually like it, it pays more than enough, and I work at home most of the time. They know about my ADD because I tell them all the time, proudly. And it’s hardly anything compared to the zombie engineeringism that plagues many of them.

That’s only a glimpse at a life that’s had many facets. But I would advice anyone with ADD not to consider it any kind of disability. A lot of people who are ADDish can enter an incredibly productive hyperfocus state, and I consider that a super-power. Not much good against even the run-of-the-mill super-villain, but way better than nothing at all.

Thank you. I had to change my browser to use this. My mom has been insisting for a while now that I should use Chrome but I never saw a need to. This got me to do it. I hope this helps. I have no willpower.

I’m an attorney. I litigate, although I’d kill to have a job like corkboard’s.

My job works well for my mind in that I have lots of different things to do, and new cases trip that “Ooh, shiny!” part of my brain. The taxing part is making sure I’ve attended to every detail. I need lots of to-do lists, checklists, and to take tons of notes.

No one knows except for one co-worker, and she’s really taking it personally for some reason. I was just diagnosed in the last month, and today is my first day on Adderall. I’m feeling a little lost, actually. Not from the Adderall, but from the sudden diagnosis and the meaning of it and trying to figure out how to deal with it.

Turns out there’s also one for Firefox:

I think you guys may be seeing less of me.

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