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Work Distractions 2010-12-20T16:50:15+00:00

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  • #98182
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    Robbo
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    Post count: 929

    Here’s a thread with lot’s of folks going through similar work environment troubles. Maybe you can find some more strategies to cope, as well as ideas to help you make the right choice on your next job. http://totallyadd.com/forum/topic.php?id=2533 It’s a fun one to read too. Talk about crazy zany goofie people!.

    One on one therapy as well as group counseling are an important part of the process for me as I move foreword making peace with my ADHD. I’ve got some PTSD stuff I’m dealing with as well. There’s a lot of layers to the whole mental health puzzle that we’re navigating our way through here. I’m feeling like the counseling and therapy are essential for me to have a happy and productive future.

    As a rodeo clown. (not really) I want to be a monkeys uncle when I grow up.

    It’s important to have some fun along the way, so I’m working on building healthy relationships, n holding on to the friends I do have. It’s quite a puzzle dealing with an ADHD diagnosis a little bit later in life. At 47 it can seem like a pain in the ass, well… actually it is a pain in the ass, but as long as I keep a balance of plenty of play mixed in with all the work we do to get our brown stuff together. It’s not too hard.

    Remember to clown around, as an ADDer, it’s your responsibility to act like an idiot every now and then. People need someone to make fun of n laugh at. That’s us!. I’m always happy to force a miserable person to crack a smile when they really want to punch me in the face ;-) doesn’t that sound like fun to you?.

    Yep, that’s what I thought.

    9-13-12

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    #98183
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    Scattybird
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    Post count: 1096

    Misswho23 – have you thought about doing a part-time job and doing your freelancing for the other half?

    If you’re good at freeelancing then why not stick with it? But a part-time job would give you some contact and a regular income and keep you up to date with any changes in your field? Just a thought….also it might relieve the stress of being in a work place full time and/or having to get regular freelance work.

    I re-read my post when I saw you’d mentioned my name. It’s interesting to me because a year ago I wasn’t on medication. Now I am and my yo-yo is rarely played with at work now! Even my powerball doesn’t get bounced around as much.

    I still get distracted but it’s not as debilitating when I take the meds. It’s useful in some respects to see these old posts – they’re a record of life before Ritalin.

    I am still hopeless with deadlines and with time management though…..and I still get distracted by the internet…..and still have to pull allnighters. :)

    Robbo – maybe all that’s really changed is the Ritain’s ability to make me feel more grown up has stopped me clowning around so much….is that good or bad?

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    #98184
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    Robbo
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    Post count: 929

    I’ve been doing tons of research on all kinds of medications, how we expect them to work has a definite, maybe not measurable, but a very real affect on how they work. I’m learning that our thinking actually has more control on our emotions than we realize. Faith, the placebo affect… This is helping tons with pain management. I originally found this therapist by going to a pain management support group. She has fibromialgia, so I’m also getting therapy about pain management, dealing with my disability, as well as the wreckage of ADHD.

    I think maybe it’s how you look at it that makes it good or bad. With me for a while I felt like maybe I lost some of my sense of humor. Now I just see that I still have it, I have more choice about when and where to let myself have fun. I’m less impulsive.

    I do still struggle with grinning when I think up something funny at an inappropriate time though. I can’t hide my emotions very much, sometimes not at all. I discovered a way to “wipe that smile off my face” That’s something parents used to say when I was in trouble, getting yelled at, but I would be in another universe laffin it up…. Both parents standing above me taking turns at grilling me. I would hallucinate!. I would see them get giant, then small, back n forth…. n off I’d go to my other universe.

    wups. off topic… To make the impulsive grin go away, I blow out all my air, and don’t inhale… weird I know. But running low in oxygen probably triggers the same panic I used to relish wiping out in large surf. You just have to hold your breath or die… So it’s like instant absolute control over my face. The grin’s gone in a heartbeat. Adrenaline makes some people feel superhuman. That’s why there are so many people into “X Games” n extreme sports. These days. I don’t believe in the evolution that says we come from monkeys, I do believe that humanity is evolving. We were created this way.

    So anyway, yeah I’m a clown and that’s how I cope. Just a little bit of ritalin gives me more control over the impulsive actions, thinking, talking. The wellbutrin makes a difference too. The first adjustment we made early in my diagnosis was to cut the wellbutrin in half. I started smoking tobacco again within about a week I think. The Prozac was the wrong medicine for me.

    Yep, we’re more able to behave like a grown ups. Actually being a grown up is highly over-rated don’tcha think?

    I’ve got some difficult homework from my therapist. Answering questions about my past, relationships, family history… That’s why I’m a bit more nutty that usual lately. She’s very ADHD, but the warm hearted, good people, down to earth, and honest kind. Isn’t that pretty much all of us? yeah, huh? So we go off topic and it may take longer, but I need to take therapy slow dealing with rebuilding my identity minus the low self esteem, piece of crap identity…

    Pearl Jam is on PBS absolutely Rockin out! live… They ROCK. I love music.

    Whoops, another long answer to a short question. It’s both good and bad.

    Good morning :-)

    Hendrix

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahXTw_v96ek&feature=related

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    #98185
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    Misswho23
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    Post count: 146

    Hey thanks for the replies. I’ll look at the link Robbo, It’s 2 am where I’m at now and my dog is up and so are all my cats. One of the reason why I don’t get enough sleep.

    I did have a part time job for a while this summer. It was seasonal so it only lasted a couple of months. Home Depot Paint department which I loved doing but the pay was really low. I make about 4 times freelancing. So a part time job with a little higher pay than that one would be nice. I’m also looking at a temp place.

    The good thing about the Home Depot job was it was faced paced I moved around a lot and the days would go by really fast. I also liked working with the customers. And could actually help pick colors and tell people how to do faux finishes. And the people overall were nice and more odd ball like myself so I fit in that way. Actually I seemed more normal than some. LOL

    I always joked that if I were to do something else it would be work at Home Depot. Little did I know haha. I can cross that one off the bucket list now. I get a lot of pent up energy out working on my house. I even turned the broken down shed like thing in my backyard into a Tiki Bar for a summer party. It’s been an annual theme with my friends. So I do have a pretty good sense of humor and wackiness. That was another thing I would get into trouble for at my old job. Doing anything “overly creative”.

    I know the place was a really really bad fit, It just went on for so many years. It’s like getting out of a bad relationship. LOL I think part of the anxiety is the long history I have with jobs is never being able to get there on time, careless mistakes which I now know was not me being careless but ADHD related. Being really on top of things one day and then totally off the next. And then the time management thing. I’m trying to be forgiving of myself and give myself a break because I did manage a lot with out knowing what was going on. And operating on about half a brain.

    This is the longest time since I was a teenager that I haven’t worked. (I’m 44 so late diagnosis as well ) I’ve always been good at finding jobs but this time around it’s taking longer and I’m being more thoughtful about what I apply for. Just a bit panicky about money coming in since the reserves are at the end.

    I’m taking adderall and have an appointment for a med check. I can try some samples of strattera since adderall does have some side effects fpr me. But I do get more done on the meds. I’m hoping to get working so I can have health insurance again and see my therapist on a ore regular basis. I did find a support group here. But they meet once a month. Better than nothing.

    Some of this is me just having a bad brain day. I started off chipper until I sat down to send out resumes then It all comes flooding back. So I’ll keep you guys informed of anything I come across that works for me.

    FINALLY the pets have settled down.

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    #98186
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    Misswho23
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    Post count: 146

    FYI Love Pearl Jam. Another listen to in the morning band.

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    #98187
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    Robbo
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    Post count: 929

    Right on, a “Tiki bar” that’s real cool n creative.

    Being late really hurts a lot, I happens less now, burns up my insides when I’m late. I still struggle some. Mostly just when/if I say I’m doing better at being on time. As if I’m not allowed to say I’m doing well??? I don’t brag, but one of my demons likes to kick me back down when I have success. Especially if I actually tell people I’m doing better. I just need a lil faith in my integrity. I’ve only been fired for being late one time that I know of for sure. I quit some jobs because I thought I was going to get fired. Not many.

    Home Depot is one of the only jobs I’ve considered since I became disabled. That would be fun.

    I’m glad you’re not working at that 11 year insult to your creative freedom any more. Half an ADHD brain is still better than a linear brain. JMHO. I’ve stayed at jobs too long just because training at a new one was always so painful. I learn slow, but I would keep learning way past the rest of the crew, end up being the boss because I couldn’t stand being told what to do.

    Good post Misswho23, sounds like you’re doing good even though you’re not having fun with sending out resumes. Maybe when you’re done, just run around and get yer pets all hypered up again, just for fun and to get some dopamine flowing in yer blood. Pet’s are great when you want to feel better.

    The last Pearl Jam CD I got was “Live On Two Legs” great stuff.

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    #98188
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    Scattybird
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    Post count: 1096

    Ok so as a PS to last post – the meds haven’t limited distractions so much as reduced impulsiveness and the need to fidget in order to concentrate. External extractions like co-workers typing still irritate. Not reading your posts above til tonight cos should be at work and not got there yet!

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    #118612
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    Blue Yugo
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    Post count: 62

    I know this is an old thread, but it addresses my distractions issue in the work place…so don’t mind me weighing in.

    I have a knack for being assigned “cross-roads” cubicles every place I work…probably left vacant ’til they bring me on because no one wants them since they attract congregations of people who stop there before going separate directions down a dividing pathway or something.  Some people don’t find it irritating, but I do.  Some people probably enjoy a free sample of office gossip…but I don’t want to listen to it.  I’m trying to listen to my own inner voice, keep my thoughts as collected as the box of restless kittens they are, and really just have a cubicle free of giggly girl chatter or male egos arguing sports.  These days I at least have an MP3 player and earbuds, but the volume only goes so loud.  I wish I were extroverted…I might get up the nerve to scoot my chair closer and stare at them while deliberately looking like I’m soaking up their conversation.  But I’m a terrible actor.

    Another note on music, though…I absolutely cannot stand having to listen to other people’s music in the work place – particularly if a) I can only hear it half way or only hear certain bits of what’s playing, b) there’s more than one radio / source of music, each one playing something different, and of course c) something playing at any volume that I simply don’t like…which is most of today’s music.  I can actually listen to my own music on my laptop or MP3 player just fine and not be derailed in my work, which sounds like a contradiction, although it does nothing at all to help the habitual foot-tapping and leg-shaking I’ve done since I was 5.  Oh well.  Bottom line is that, out of consideration for people with issues with attention, distraction, etc., work places do need to be more accommodating to those of us who don’t want to hear it and whose all so important quality and quantity of work depends on reducing distractions we’re powerless to overcome.

    The habitual music players have had iPods and MP3 players, not to mention headphones / earbuds, for decades…if they abhor silence (and how sad that is), they should keep their music to themselves.  Where I work now is blissfully free of other people’s music, and even though I still get the chatty congregations outside my cubicle, at least that’s rare and there’s no silence-fearing, sing-along co-worker playing music adjacent to me.  May my current luck never run out!

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    #118629
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    ADDled
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    Post count: 121

    I work in a cube farm, unfortunately, and the office background noise is extremely distracting regardless of the counter-measures I use to keep what’s left of my sanity.

    These include the use of “noise-reduction” headphones that enclose the entire ear. But, the big misconception of noise reduction technology is that it does not totally result in complete sound reduction: there is still “leakage”. So it merely reduces the volume, and  if you are sound sensitive, an audio distraction is still audio distraction, regardless of the decibel level. Sometimes I’m forced to use ear plugs as well as the headphones to reduce the audio distraction to the point where I can almost fully concentrate on my work. I have listened to my tunes on my iPhone, but the volume has to be at “11”.

    My concerns have been raised with my supervisors, several times, including performance reviews (and, of course, my performance generally is below average). It even went as far as the HR dept (a tip….HR is not your friend) and even they failed to understand the impact on ADHD.

    There was this female co-worker in the next cube who had a laugh like a demented hyena. It was just that irritating and disruptive. And she would always find something to guffaw about several times a day. I asked my supervisor to speak to her supervisor about reducing the noise. That lasted two days.

    Even though though working in a quiet area was recommended as an accommodation by the psychologist who confirmed my diagnosis, it has been consistently dismissed as not possible. And I know the company is required by law to provide accommodation “up to the point of undo hardship”. This is large, multi-national company that makes more money than Bill Gates, so hardship is not the issue. When I stated during the HR meeting “perhaps I should puncture my eardrums with an ice-pick? Would that solve my problem?” all I got was a dumb stare.

    HR’s recommendation was to start earlier in the AM. But if you have worked in any office, most people start early in the AM to socialize before the boss comes in. So, that won’t work. Or stay late. Or to continue using my headphones. For eight hours a day. Maybe 12 hours sometimes.

    Stonewalling, I thinks it’s called.

    The other thing about headphones is that it isolates you socially from the rest of the office. Like, “what’s up with him”?

    I once worked in a factory, where I saw a machinist who was hearing impaired (to the point of being completely deaf). I asked my wife why would someone with that severe of a hearing impairment would want to wear hearing protection? (Those big headphone-like things.) Her answer was “maybe he just wants to look like everyone else in machining”. Then it hit me. He didn’t want to be defined by his disability as being different”. Lesson learned.

    And yet I always hear from people who are “neurologically-normal” comment that:  “It’s amazing how much work I can get done when no one is around”. Really? How do you think those of who have ADHD are supposed to work?

    What ever happened to being courteous and respectful in the office?

     

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    #118637
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    MarieAngell
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    Post count: 140

    Ugh, @addled, this is really a management problem, isn’t it?

    Do you have any allies at work who understand how disruptive the noise is for you? Sometimes when someone else takes up for you in a kind of low-key way, it  can help reduce the problem. If there’s any improvement in the work environment, maybe management will get the hint. I’ve seen it happen, but it’s not always a sure thing.

     

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    #118638
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    Patte Rosebank
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    Post count: 1517

    @ADDled, did you put together a list of each issue, the cause, and several possible solutions?

    And did you meet with your employer to go through that list?

    If you present it that way, you’ve done most of the work for your employer, and all they need to do is figure out which solutions work best for both of you, and then implement them.

    In the meantime, contact your provincial/state Department of Labour, and the Department responsible for Human Rights/Disabilities, ASAP.  (Do this in a private place, where nobody in your company can see or hear you.)

    Explain the problems you’re having with accommodation in the workplace, and ask for their advice.  You need to find out where you stand, legally, and what can be done.

    Take notes, so you’ll know what to ask, and what answers & advice you get.  Also note the date & time of your call, and who you spoke with.

    The Labour or Disabilities department may send a letter to your employer, clearly stating the company’s legal obligations to accommodate your disability.  Failure to comply with those obligations could result in penalties against the company.

    It’s amazing how many companies need to have their obligations pointed out to them by government officials, before doing what needs to be done.

    Just keep notes on all relevant events & conversations about this, but don’t let anyone know you’re doing so.  If you need to prove ongoing refusal to accommodate, those notes will be very useful.

    Also, request an appointment to look at the contents of your HR file.  When you’re looking, request copies of everything in it, on the spot.  You are legally allowed to do this.

    Take those copies home, and file them in a safe place you’ll remember.  Again, you may need these as proof that your employer knew about your disability, but continued to refuse accommodation for it.

    Those HR file copies were the “smoking gun” in my own Human Rights complaint against a company & manager that discriminated against me, based on my own disability.  Especially the manager’s handwritten note, specifically referring to it.  That note proved that the company’s lawyer’s letter, insisting that the manager didn’t know about my disability, was a complete lie.

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    #118646
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    ADDled
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    Post count: 121

    Thanks, Larynxa

    I have been keeping copious notes about this since asking for accommodations almost four years ago. I ‘ve had several meetings with HR during that time and was eventually granted  some of the accommodations (dual computer monitors and allowed extra time to complete my work). But the real simple, and obvious, accommodations weren’t granted (an audio recording device, locating  to work in a distraction-free area, transferring to a section that relies less executive functioning skills, such as organizing, planning, budgeting). Everything has been documented.

    Now, after the last performance review, the company wants to review my accommodations to see what else has to be done to improve my work performance.

    The result of having to deal with all this stuff at work for the last several years has caused my anxiety to kick into overdrive and now I can’t tell where my ADHD symptoms stop and anxiety symptoms take over. Both augment the already existing negative feedback loop. I’m burnt out and running on empty. Plus the fact I’m, on average, twice the average age of everyone else in my section…and the only one with that dubious distinction. I can’t help but feel there is a bull’s eye on my back.

    And this is where my peasant background takes over and says “Something wicked this way comes”.

    I’m thinking seriously about moving up my retirement from 18 months to six months and just get out, but I feel the company has an entirely different plan.

    Do I stand my ground, call the Ministry of Labour and file a complaint now while I’m still working? Or just let it all go and count the days to retirement…

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    #118648
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    Patte Rosebank
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    Post count: 1517

    Now, after the last performance review, the company wants to review my accommodations to see what else has to be done to improve my work performance.

    @ADDled, that sounds to me like a good thing!  If they’re meeting with you to discuss what else needs to be done, it means they’re still willing to help you.

    Be sure to prepare properly, using the “issue/causes/possible solutions” approach I told you about.  That way, you’ll show your employer that you’re willing to help them to help you.

    It may be premature to file any formal complaints against your employer, especially when it appears they’re still willing to help you.

    I’d call the Ministry of Labour, now, but just to discuss your situation and get some advice.

    I’d also call the Human Rights Commission, now, but just to discuss your situation and get some advice.

    Take note of when you called and who you spoke with, as well as what they told you.

    Familiarize yourself with what the Ministry & the Commission have told you, but do not even mention to your employer that you have contacted them.

    As long as your employer continues to show some willingness to help you, you should keep showing a willingness to help them to help you.

    Most neuro-typicals don’t know just how hyper-sensitive the senses of an ADHD person are.  So, they can’t understand why sounds that most people wouldn’t really notice, can seem like fingernails on a blackboard to you.  You’ll have to explain this to them, calmly, so that they’ll understand that you’re not being difficult; you really are having such a visceral reaction to those sounds, that you cannot stand it.

    Perhaps your employer could move you to a cubicle in a corner, where there isn’t a lot of traffic.

    Or, maybe they could transfer you to another department, which is a better fit for your working methods & skills.

    Or, perhaps they could partner you with another employee, who is strong in the organizational & administrative tasks that you have trouble with, and isn’t as strong in the tasks that you are strong in.

    Audio-recording devices are fairly inexpensive now.  Is your employer objecting to the cost, or do they consider being recorded to be an invasion of privacy?

    As long as everyone knows they’re being recorded, but the recorder isn’t too intrusive, and everyone is clear that this is being done not as a “gotcha”, but because, without that device, you simply won’t be able to remember what was said in the meeting.  (Just as, for example, a blind person would need a special device in order to use a computer, because they can’t simply can’t see the screen.)

    I know it’s really hard to stay open to the possibilities here, especially when you feel like your employer is out to get you.

    But just stay informed, and keep showing you’re willing to help them to help you, by “doing your homework”, so you’re well-prepared every time you meet with them.

    If you ask for a specific accommodation, and they say they can’t give it to you, ask them WHY they THINK they can’t.  Listen to each reason, and be prepared with a way that they actually CAN.  (This is where “doing your homework” comes in.)

    And remember, you are NOT helpless, and you are NOT doomed!

     

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