Making a career choice is always a difficult decision, but it is even more so if you have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The process alone can be overwhelming for someone with ADHD but it is important to choose a course that will work with your ADHD rather than against it. Consider these dos and don’ts for your own career decision.
DO: Make your ADHD a part of your decision process
ADHD is a part of who you are. To ignore it when making a decision about such a great part of your life is unacceptable. As you look at possible career choices, take your ADHD symptoms into account. If your symptoms include being easily distracted or lacking focus, perhaps being a brain surgeon or air traffic controller is not for you. When you consider your symptoms, also look to your strengths. Much of the conversation about ADHD centers around the more negative aspects because that’s where you need help. But just like anyone else, you are also gifted with certain talents and strengths. Look for a career that will capitalize on those.
DO: Look for something that interests and stimulates you
A career choice is a long-term decision. You want to find something that interests and stimulates you and still provides you with a good living. The career opportunities available are far bigger than most people realize. Your ideal job may be something you’ve never heard of before. You may want to seek some sort of help so that you can explore all of your options.
DO: Take some time with this
Many high school juniors and seniors are asked to make a decision about the rest of their lives at an age where they may not be well equipped to do so. For teens with ADHD, who still may be 3-5 years behind their peers emotionally, this can be overwhelming. They may fail to make a decision at all or make a poor one based on their desire to just finish with school.No matter what your age if you are considering a career or a career change, be sure to take some time with this. Do some research, consult with others, and don’t let your sense of frustration cause you to make an impulsive decision.
DON’T: Rule out being your own boss
Many people with ADHD find themselves restless and unsatisfied with a traditional career. ADHD characteristics like risk-taking, creativity, and thinking outside the box can all be positive attributes for an entrepreneur. In fact, people with ADHD are 300 percent more likely to start their own business, according to Garret Loporto, author of The DaVinci Method. Owning your own business can be a way to ensure that both your interest and stimulation levels remain high.
DON’T: Settle for something because it’s easy
If you had a negative experience in school, getting a college education may not be appealing to you. There are shorter options available, such as a vocational school or apprenticeship program, or simply getting a job. These options may appeal to you because they are more hands-on and less about schooling in the traditional sense. However, you must also consider your strengths, ADHD symptoms, and your own interests. Choosing a career simply because it does not require too much additional education is rarely going to serve you in the long run.
DON’T: Let someone else tell you what to do
Parents, counselors, and even your friends all mean well when it comes to giving you advice about your career, but what they think is right for you may not be. Again, this is a time to take your own personality and talents into consideration and make a decision that works for you. Parents often project their own unmet desires onto their children without realizing it, and while some counselors are well trained to help you find the best fit for you, they don’t know you as well as you know yourself. Look at your dreams, desires, and interests and then do some research to see where you might find a career that suits you.
Choosing a career is an important life decision for everyone, but even more so when you have ADHD. Be sure to take your interests, talents, and symptoms into account as you explore career opportunities.
Choosing an ADHD Friendly Career