July 6, 2010 at 4:28 pm #88449
AnonymousInactiveJuly 6, 2010 at 4:28 pmPost count: 14413
To give you my path in a condensed version- I was 22 and in my third year of university (and flunking all of my courses that year). i couldn’t even start to read a text or start a paper. I was referred by my psychiatrist to have a learning assessment done ( I originally was diagnosed with depression and things started to improve while on Effexor which is why she suspected there may be something underlying my difficulties). I then got the diagnosis of ADD. the specialist suggested i go to NSCC because it was more hands on and interactive instead of the traditional university setting of read-memorize-paper/exam format. so i did office administration course. i found a dream position and but found it very hard to adjust to my first desk job. i didn’t know a lot about social cues or faux pas (i knew a few basics but there were still sooo many i didn’t) I felt so self conscious! i went from a outgoing teamplayer and creative to introverted, quiet and focusing on my own stuff to get through. there were some things i really liked about the job but i don’t think i would have been happy there for very long. they wanted me to multitask- what ADHD person let alone regular person can do this efficiently?
has anyone ran into this problem of common traits employers look for (ie multitasking) that we simply can’t do without screwing something up? how did you handle it?
anyone run into the social faux pas? or been told there is a “lack of professionalism” but weren’t able to give good specifics?
anyone gotten that and then had the thoughts of maybe i’m just not cut out for this? what did you do?
I even got a representative from a local support agency come into the workplace to help me! and they still didn’t want to keep me despite my best efforts (although i understand they wanted to train somebody new before their rush season) i guess thats what hurt the most of that i was starting to get a handle on things but they couldn’t give me more time to master it.
any workplace social life rules and pointers would be freakin awesome!REPORT ABUSEJuly 6, 2010 at 8:02 pm #94581
Patte RosebankParticipantJuly 6, 2010 at 8:02 pmPost count: 1517
Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt. And, by the way, multi-tasking has been debunked. Jumping from task-to-task actually results in less efficiency and more errors—and that’s in ANYONE who does it, let alone someone with ADHD!
ADHD is a legitimate medical condition which has a major impact on the life of the person who has it. So many educators, employers, and even doctors, fail to grasp this most basic of facts, despite overwhelming evidence. Our brains function differently from most other people’s brains. We’re not lazy or stupid or deliberately being difficult, but many people treat us as though we are, and tell us to “just do it”, or “just focus”. This is like telling someone with severe depression to just “pull yourself together and smile”. Or telling Stephen Hawking to just try harder to get up out of his wheelchair, walk up to the microphone, and talk to us.
Some jurisdictions have officially declared ADHD a disability, which means that if an employer punishes you or otherwise discriminates against you because of your ADHD and the effects of it, they can be prosecuted under Human Rights legislation and fined. If you live in a place where this is the case, you might look into it. A warning from the Human Rights Commission can often convince an employer to make the necessary concessions to help you, instead of firing you.
But the best solution is to find a job and an employer who understands your condition and will make adjustments to capitalize on your strengths and minimize the impact of your difficulties. This could include flexible hours, a private workspace where you’re free from distractions (one of the biggest causes of our workplace frustration), and someone to help you with paperwork (Kryptonite to someone with ADHD). Often, the not-for-profit sector is more accommodating than the for-profit sector. There are websites listing jobs in the not-for-profit sector. One is called Charity Village. Or, you may want to consider a job in a different field altogether.
Office jobs generally pay a lot more than customer service jobs, but people with ADHD seem to be particularly good at customer service jobs. We love the variety and the personal interaction with people. And if there’s a crisis, we’re the ones who spring into action to solve it. I’ll never get rich in my current job, but I’d much rather be working here, than go back to the world of office jobs.
Maybe the support agency that came into your workplace can help you find the right job & employer for you. Ask them if they have a job assistance service, or can refer you to one.
Good luck!REPORT ABUSEJuly 12, 2010 at 5:20 am #94582
AnonymousInactiveJuly 12, 2010 at 5:20 amPost count: 14413
I did make arrangements with my caseworker and i to meet with the Office of Human Rights, Equity and Harassment Prevention and an HR rep. they heard my supervisor’s side and still deemed the term as unsuccessful. they said however they were willing to work with me on a few issues that i had. so far it hasn’t been that productive. I figured that they were trying to have me fit a mold rather than having some of the position mold to me.that and i didn’t even know what i needed to have adapted and when i did it was too late.
I just checked out the Charity Village website- that looks awesome! thank you so much! i’ll be digging into all that for sure That and some career counselling is now in the works
I did have six years of retail experience but the last one i had caused my stomach to be in knots with the pressure. when it was getting to about a breakdown each shift and four trips to the emergency room that year due to stomach issues (they disappeared since i left there!) . with that and not regular work hours it was killing me- i had NO energy left. With your customer service position did you have to have any accommodations made?REPORT ABUSEJuly 12, 2010 at 5:13 pm #94583
Patte RosebankParticipantJuly 12, 2010 at 5:13 pmPost count: 1517
The key is finding the right type of customer service job, and the right type of company to work for.
Long before I ever found out I had ADHD, I worked some sales & promotions jobs, but they all felt horribly sleazy to me, since they were completely profit-driven. I was raised with a very strong set of ethics, so the principle of “do anything to get their money”, makes my skin crawl. But, in most sales jobs, all that matters is selling as much as possible—and the management insists that the only way to do that is to say and do things exactly the way they tell you to.
Even if I’d known I had a medical condition and had asked for concessions, I wouldn’t have gotten them. At those places, it’s commission-only, and if you don’t make your quota by the end of the month, you’re out of there. To them, you don’t have a medical condition; you’re just making excuses.
For me, the best customer service jobs are the ones geared to welcoming people, and making their experience as pleasant, efficient, and memorable as possible…giving them directions and information, helping them with any special needs, etc.
Where I work now, they embrace people who are outgoing and creative, because they recognize that those are the traits that our customers find appealing and interesting. They also recognize that we can be rather eccentric at times, so they’ve taken the time to learn how to work with this. They control us enough to keep us grounded, and keep the place running smoothly, without stifling our creativity. There’s a bit of selling involved, but instead of having to meet quotas, the top seller each week gets a prize. It’s a case of leading with the carrot, not the stick. And it really works.
Sure, there are good days and bad, but overall, I love coming to work, because they appreciate me and value my contributions. They know they can trust me to do my job very well, whether things are running smoothly, or if it’s a bumpy night. And I know that I can trust them to back me up if I need them. They’re generous with praise when it’s called for, and constructive with criticism.
It’s a place where, generally, I don’t need any accommodations, because it fits me pretty well as I am.REPORT ABUSEJuly 12, 2010 at 7:37 pm #94584
AnonymousInactiveJuly 12, 2010 at 7:37 pmPost count: 14413
Thought I’d share my blog post from today – I just told my boss I have been diagnosed with ADHD during my annual employee performance review. If I drank, I’d need a beer just about now!
Sharing My Diagnosis with my Boss
I knew it had to come – the time when I’d be sharing my diagnosis with people outside of my immediate circle of family and friends.
On the weekend I mentioned it briefly to a friend of my brother at his wedding, it just seemed reasonable to mention it given the flow of the conversation, plus I was interested to know how someone I did not know would react. I also wanted to see how I would react afterward. The person looked at me a bit knowingly, then seemed at a loss for words, but luckily a distraction arose – a speech at the wedding. They seemed to make an effort to say something nice afterward so I take it I was not deemed completely insane. Plus they may have had some experience or knew about a friend with it – but I don’t know.
And then today at my job, I had the first of several meetings that comprise my annual performance evaluation with my boss. In the discussion, I brought up my recent diagnosis during a specific conversation about some goals I had been trying to achieve last year (for which this performance evaluation would be directed towards). My boss nodded and said they knew all too well – they’d in fact been diagnosed themselves.
I had prepared well for the meeting, and described what efforts I will be making to further advance certain areas of my professional development. In thinking this out, and putting it to paper, I think I have a good road map (in development) of how I will improve my ability to deliver effectively at work in a consistent and timely way over the next few months.
I felt pretty calm about it during the rest of the meeting, and now I think this will help me in my job performance in the future. But now – an hour later – I am a large canvas sack full of varying emotions and flowing thoughts. I guess I feel mostly okay and optimistic about it, but wow. Whoa. This was a defining point in my post ADHD diagnosis life.
Damn, this stuff is HARD. But I’m getting through it, opportunity by opportunity, road block by road block, challenge by challenge and success by success.
I would be interested to hear in your comments what experiences you have had (or imagine that you will have) in telling or in not telling your boss or colleagues about your ADHD.
MungoREPORT ABUSEJuly 15, 2010 at 1:35 am #94585
ADDledMemberJuly 15, 2010 at 1:35 amPost count: 121
What a great handle, BTW.
The annual performance review, ah yes.
It was another in a series of lousy performance reviews that lead me to investigate further the possibilty of ADD. Although I was working toward the assessment at a slower pace, it was this emotionally significant event that was the catalyst for change. When I received the diagnosis, it was a tremendous relief. All the pieces of the puzzle fell into place. The was finally a reason why I couldn’t perform to the level expected by my supervisor. The diagnosis was presented as evidence that I wasn’t an incompetent employee, just someone with a different “brain-style”.
Then came the skepticism and the stonewalling from a corporation that prides itself on being “diverse and all-inclusive” (unless you have a hiden disability). Even though I had reports and letters from several experts in adult ADD, trying to get the recommended accommodations from the company is the worst experience in my life. It has gone on for almost two years and still continues. I have seen a part of the company that very few people ever get to see and it’s discouraging to say the least. My disclosure is only to management; my coworkers don’t know.
The funny thing is that I can live with my ADD outside of work, it’s really not an issue at all. I’m just more aware of it than before…”Oh, yeah, it’s the ADD thing again! It’s at work where all hell breaks loose.
I have learned that, ADD as a disability (here in Ontario, anyway), your performance as an employee cannot be measured against the performance of your coworkers or peers. The sad thing is, most HR departments are woefully deficient when it comes to understanding human rights as they relate to people with ADD or any other learning/developmental issues.
It’s a long struggle, Mungo. But it sounds as if your workplace is more enlightened.
Hope this helps…and good luckREPORT ABUSEJuly 15, 2010 at 7:05 pm #94586
Patte RosebankParticipantJuly 15, 2010 at 7:05 pmPost count: 1517
ADDled, have you approached the Human Rights Commission about your situation? It’s amazing how accommodating a company can be, when they get a letter from the Commission advising them of the serious legal repercussions of punishing an employee for problems caused by his/her disability.
Make sure that the HR department has a letter from your psychiatrist and/or family doctor, explaining your ADD, and the difficulties it causes for you. That letter should be in your employee file, and a copy of it should be in your own file, at home, with a note of whom you gave it to, and when. Once they know about your disability, it’s rather dangerous for them, legally, to persist in treating you as a “bad” employee.
As for the company’s “people-friendly, diverse” image, that stuff looks good on paper, but often falls flat in practice—at least, based on my own experience with such a company. I had to file a complaint with the Human Rights Commission, which dragged out for 3 years, but ultimately was settled in my favour. So when I see that touchy-feely corporate vision stuff, I take it with a huge grain of salt.
Something to think about: Since your ADD seems to be much less of a problem when you’re not at work, maybe you need to be in a different job, or a different company, or maybe just in a different department with a different supervisor.REPORT ABUSEJuly 20, 2010 at 5:54 pm #94587
AnonymousInactiveJuly 20, 2010 at 5:54 pmPost count: 14413
I’m with Larynxa on this one, ADDIed- you should talk to the Human Rights Commission about the situation. I mean the retail place i was at didn’t quite get how much it affected my work but they were at least asking “how can we help?” . In order for an organization to be successful it has to be supportive of the employees- and that means adapting to something if they need help. I mean they should look at it this way too- if they help you increase your productivity it’s also helping their organization.
and Mungo thank you sooo much for your blog- interesting turn of events with your bosses also diagnosed with it themselves. It sounded like the meeting was quite productive. I’ll be keepin an eye out for more updates on your blog siteREPORT ABUSEJuly 20, 2010 at 11:25 pm #94588
Patte RosebankParticipantJuly 20, 2010 at 11:25 pmPost count: 1517
One business professor feels that performance reviews are “fraudulent and dishonest and they reflect bad management”, so they should be abolished.
Here’s the Toronto Star’s article about Professor Sam Culbert, and his book, “Get Rid of the Performance Review!”: http://www.thestar.com/business/article/837517–the-case-for-abolishing-performance-reviewsREPORT ABUSE
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