I've seen this countless times in ADHD Facebook Groups: "What is the best job for someone with ADHD?"
You know what happens? People begin to list the jobs that they love because they are one of the lucky ones that have figured it out. Yes, those of us with ADHD have a set of characteristics that are common to ADHD but here's the thing... each and every one of us are still unique. We have our own set of experiences, values, needs, wants and strengths. By pursuing jobs that have worked for other people, we are essentially ignoring the things that make us, well... us!
(You have probably noticed by now that this blog post is not about the top 10 jobs for people with ADHD. Let me explain. I named this post "Top 10 Jobs For People With ADHD" because it frustrates me that people think that stumbling across an article will tell you which job will suit you. I don't believe that there is a job that is best for us just because we have ADHD. I believe that we are all unique and we have to discover ourselves and our own brand of uniqueness. It isn't until we do the deep dive into ourselves that we can figure out the "top job" for us. This can be super scary but I promise that it'll be worth it!)
I get it, I've actually done the same search multiple times after starting multiple jobs and feeling like I hadn't found THE job that was a match for me. It's hard when you don't know what to do and everyone around you seems to have found the perfect job and is totally thriving!
What if I told you that you already know the job that you would be good at? Hear me out...
From the age of 15 to 26, I had no idea what I wanted to do.
I took a bajillion personality quizzes online trying to figure out who I was so that I could figure out which career path to pursue. I was relying on a quiz to tell me what to do... that's how lost I felt!! I ended up doing what everyone else was doing; I graduated from High School, went to CEGEP, applied to University on the last possible day, was accepted into a psychology program and hated every moment of it (I had undiagnosed ADHD). University "wasn't my thing" (this is what I told myself) and I went on to cooking school because my mom noticed that I enjoyed experimenting with recipes.
I did that for a couple of years and loved it! I love learning. I went on to work in restaurants and highly disliked it. I now know that cooking put a serious strain on my executive function and I didn't have the tools to manage.
I then saw a sommellerie program and jumped into that! Again, I loved to learn but disliked being in the working world because of the pressure to know everything, my executive function couldn't handle it. At this point I was feeling pretty low.
WHY COULDN'T I FIND SOMETHING I LIKED? What was wrong with me?
I decided to put aside my plans of getting an education to support a career and applied for any job that caught my attention. Long story short, I burnt out of said job and was soon after diagnosed with ADHD!
My diagnosis was a huge game changer for me. I started to have explanations for all of the personality quirks that I thought were an "Alyssa thing". I now know that most of my quirks or flaws are an "ADHD thing"
Ok, ok... I'll get to the life-changing part! I enrolled in the ADD Coach Academy and took their Simply ADHD + Personal Transformation courses. The Personal Transformation course was true to its name - I started to learn a lot about myself! I learned about my strengths, about setting boundaries, and about my needs (which I never even knew that I had). And I learned that I could say no to people... which was hard for me as a people pleaser! Taking this course helped me listen to myself and what I wanted for the first time. And that was the key to finding a job that I loved. As an ADHD Coach, I get to use one of my greatest strengths: Curiosity. I also get to do two of my favourite things -- learning and helping people -- every single day. Plus, working for myself gives me the freedom to pursue my creative ideas. All that to say: It's the perfect career for me. *Disclaimer* Just because it's my dream job, it doesn't mean it'll be yours!
You want to know how it is that you already know what job you'll be good at? The key is to understand and discover yourself.
Embrace your strengths
We all have strengths that are unique to us. I remember a time when I could barely name 1 strength of mine; it is a funny thing to do when you aren't used to it! Embracing your strengths is a game-changer! As I already mentioned, I have a love of learning. When I look at a new situation through the context of learning, bingo! - I now have something that gets my juices going! Want to discover your natural strengths? Follow this link to take the quiz!
2. Set boundaries
This one is really tough to do! I recommend working with a therapist or coach. When I first learnt about boundaries, I was trying to set them left, right and centre which those in my life did not appreciate! I was also very defensive thinking "you must respect my boundary - or else", which isn't really the best. A good place to start, if you are looking to set some boundaries, is to think about how you want to be treated. Remember: we have a choice when deciding how we want to act (not react) when we are communicating with others.
3. Respect your needs
Whenever I picture needs, I think of them as our personal gas tank. Our needs are the fuel that keeps us going. Once our needs are met, it is easier to go through the day because our tanks are full!
I have a story to tell... When I was first given a needs exercise, I completed it with gusto thinking to myself "let's get all of my needs met!" I sorted my list into two categories: unmet needs and met needs. I was left with a list of around 60 unmet needs. Challenge accepted! I was determined to figure out a way to get all of my needs met. I then started assigning my unmet needs to the people in my life. I was left with a ginormous category titled "future boyfriend". I quickly realized how many of my needs I was expecting my future boyfriend to fill and how totally unfair that was! This is why it's a good idea to take a look at your needs, you may be expecting too much from the people in your life - or even of yourself!
4. Look at your values I often get confused when I think about the difference between our needs and values...
I am going to try and explain as simply as I can. Our values is like our bucket, the material that our buckets are made of. Whether it be wood, metal or plastic. Each have different characteristics that form together to make the bucket unique. Those are our values. The needs are what go into the bucket to make us whole.
5. Understand what you want
Do you want to wake up at 6am every day? Do you want to work a 9-5 job? Do you want to work weekends? Is flexibility important to you? It's important to identify what we want so that we can go and get it!
6. Let people know what you want
There's this belief that we need to tell employers what they want to hear, and we have to do
what they say. This isn't true and we actually lose people's respect when we bend over backwards for them. Now, I'm not saying to go to up to your boss tomorrow and say NO! to his unreasonable demands. When you have an existing relationship with someone whether it be your boss, co-worker, family member or friend, you have to lay the foundation for change before jumping right into it! People don't like change and they will wonder what the heck is going on!
7. Be true to who you are
Let's face it... we spend a lot of our lives working! Let's figure out how you can work to live rather than live to work! The key is to enjoy what you do! :)
I have a really amazing exercise that can help us investigate and discover what makes you, you! My embrace you exercise allows you to embrace your strengths, respect your needs, and look at your values so we can get you on a path to finding a job of your dreams that suits YOU!
Follow this link for more details on the embrace you exercise.
I look forward to the opportunity to work with you and kick start your journey to finding your dream job!