Talking About ADHD in the Workplace

Long time no posts. Sorry, life happened. And there was a lot which happened with life.

Today, I’m here to talk about talking to your employer about your ADHD. It’s not easy. Everyone is effected by ADHD a little differently. Some people are more prone to interrupting, some people can’t keep still, some people can’t focus. Some of us can’t communicate, some of us are emotional, some of us are too busy noticing everything else to notice the big detail right in front of us.

But we all have ADHD (or are deeply impacted by someone with ADHD). That’s why we are here, scouring the web, searching for that one thing to make it just a little bit easier…

And our ADHD does impact us at work. Whether we like it or not, we think we need it or not, there are things which we could receive to make life a little bit easier.

But we are prone to so much…we don’t even think about the half of it. We run the risk of oversharing, of missing important cues, and of blurting it all out.

So how do we let our employer know we have ADHD?

First lesson is to NOT DO IT RIGHT OFF THE BAT. I have told employers as I was filling out new hire paperwork about my ADHD. Guess what? I found myself without a job very quickly. People make the weakest excuses when they are trying to protect themselves from a lawsuit.

So, already, we are against the odds. We have to keep a secret and we have to wait. Lovely.

Next is to gauge how your employer reacts. I’m lucky, I’m in the field where ADHD is common. Well, a lot of people are treating ADHD in my field. Not a lot of people have it. But I have had employers who shift the blame onto parenting, say ADHD doesn’t exist, or just think I’m stupid/lazy.

Try bringing up ADHD during a casual setting and seeing if it is even safe to bring up how it effects you.

Newsflash: If your employer says it’s a parenting issue (i.e., doesn’t happen in adults), or it doesn’t exist, or any other misconception, it’s not up to you to correct them. Do not proceed forward with telling them you have ADHD, and honestly, I would start looking for a new job if you can. It’s probably not the best fit for you. Of course, this is a situation by situation problem.

The point of this is to see if it’s even safe to mention you have ADHD. This is true for anyone who lives in a state where you can get fired for existing. Don’t assume your ADHD puts you into the disability bubble, or that you can just sue them for wrongful termination. Good luck with that.

If your employer shows compassion and understanding towards ADHD, then you’re good. It’s still not the time to mention you have ADHD though.

With the company I’m currently with, email is the way to go. Thank goodness for that. I had a night where I didn’t sleep well, and I told my employer I was probably going to be struggling that day as my ADHD became more pronounced when I don’t sleep well.

She handled it well, asking what she could do to further assist me.

The reason why this went so well?

One is I found a workplace where I am accepted.

The big reason though?

I didn’t use my ADHD as an excuse. It stinks, because yeah, at the end of the day, our ADHD is an excuse for our behaviors (it’s more than that, but that’s what it seems), but mentioning that you do XYZ due to ADHD is just going to upset your employer and might land you on the streets.

What am I getting at? I’m telling you to do two things here. Don’t mention your ADHD right off the bat (in some situations, this may be okay), and don’t use your ADHD as an excuse.

Don’t get into trouble then mention you have ADHD. It takes time, but try to find the triggers of your ADHD and bring them up to your boss BEFORE you get into trouble. My big digs are meetings/trainings and lack of sleep. Both set me for failure. Lucky me, trainings are all you get when you are new to a company…I’m still working on the how to with handling trainings.

It takes time to find that right place, and that right place might not always be the right place for you. Best of luck!

Slipping into Chocolate Wine with Drunken Wishes

Sipping chocolate wine…wishing I could be…that coveted word…normal.

This is how normal people relax after a long day, right? This is how it works, right?

One sip. My vision gets fuzzy, warmth floods my cheeks. Is this normal?

Two sips. The stress of the world floats away…the memories of today blur into the red wine, gone into an abyss of my stomach…Am I normal yet?

Three sips. The conversation I had while working at the office today slowly drips by…at the office, I am Sadie, I am not ADHD, I am normal. I don’t know anything about ADHD when at the office. I don’t take medication, that must be a different person, popping pills while speeding to work. I’m normal, right?

“ADHD doesn’t impact people as much as they say it does. They are just lazy.” That sentence, that stupid sentence.

“My friend uses his ADHD as an advantage, he doesn’t let him impact his work. People just need to learn to work with their ADHD.”

Take a fourth sip. Maybe you’ll be able to control your tongue. Don’t spill it all, Sadie. He’ll just use you as an example. Smile, nod, walk away. You don’t have ADHD. You’re completely normal.

You’ve lost jobs because you simply mentioned your ADHD. You’ve lost so much. Don’t lost this gig, Sadie. Fifth sip. See? You’re normal.

“I don’t even think ADHD should be a real disorder…”

Bite tongue, red blood, red like the wine you’re drinking, take a sixth sip. Normal. Be Normal.

Seventh sip. Hangovers are all the rage. Blackouts mean your neurons are changing pathways…maybe you’ll wake up normal.

Maybe you’ll wake up…with the whisper of guilt and chocolate on your tongue…go to work, and be able to not be filled with rage. You’ll smile at the right moments, follow the directions given to you, you’ll know what to say when someone tries to make you look bad. People won’t make you look bad though. You won’t feel like you’re doing every single thing wrong. You won’t start bawling with anxiety every time you think you made a mistake. You won’t have to pull over when driving because you’re certain you’ve even messed up the simple task of driving. You won’t feel like a failure, you won’t be a failure. You’ll be normal.

Just a silly drunken wish.

Where Did I Leave My Passion?

I’m someone who is very passionate. I get into what I want to do and I go hardcore into it.

But lately…I’ve been going through the whole issue of self-identity and trying to figure out what I want to do with my life. I’ve been questioning myself and what I would actually be good at. I thought I would be a teacher. Turns out, teaching has a lot of politics. I’m not able to keep my mouth shut when I feel something is unjust (whether this is something I perceive or is actually there). Plus, I really can’t get behind being told what to teach. It’s as simple as that, I want to teach what I want to teach, not what the “man” wants me to teach.

So I decided to combine two of my passions…teaching and psychology. I went into the field of ABA used for treating autism. GREAT!

But I have the naysayers there as well. People telling me I can’t work in the field because I talk too much, because I don’t know what it’s like to have autism as I have never been a parent…people telling me I can’t because I have a disability (and no, it’s not a matter of the ADA. It’s a matter of myself learning how to handle my ADHD).

I’m clearly for “fighting the man.” I’m going to defy what others say to me just to defy. Please go ahead and call me ODD.

At the end of the day, I have to think of what is best for the children to whom my services are benefiting…or not. That’s where the passion is, that’s where I work to better the lives of others. In this case, I have to better my life as well though. I can’t change some parts of myself though. I don’t want to, I don’t want to lose those emotions!

I don’t want to lose that PART of my morals. So what do I do? Do I just change my path, find a career of which I am not truly happy as I am not helping the lives of others, but I still am able to work in my passions? Do I change who I am, change how I love helping others?

I don’t. I keep in the field, I hope that someone will accept my flaws and help me to make those flaws my strongest areas. I hope I am doing the right thing for the children I serve. And I work on.

But how is this a matter of a lost passion? How am I to say I am wondering where I left my passion? Well, it is simply because I don’t know if I’m in the right field, and I don’t know if this is what I should be doing with my life. I don’t know if this passion is really a passion, or just a trend, a phase. And that right there makes me question who I am and what the hell am I doing with my sad, sad life.

Why should I follow my passion when I could do something I may actually have a nature calling for? And what is my nature calling?

Who am I?