Working With Adult ADHD? Check Out These Professions

Spike Team
By Spike Team, January 20, 2022

It’s no secret that we live in a world full of distractions. Between constant message notifications, emails, phone calls, and more it can be hard to stay focused on one task at a time. To make matters worse, we’re also in the midst of a pandemic, with many of us working from home, where the temptation to put off our to-do lists and binge-watch Squid Game is all too real. Now, if you’re an adult with ADHD, staying on track in this new way of normal can be even more challenging.

 

Read on to learn more about working with adult ADHD and the professions you can pursue to make it your professional superpower.

 

 

What is ADHD?

 

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common mental health disorder in which symptoms manifest in a combination of persistent problems, such as difficulty paying attention, hyperactivity, and impulsive behavior. While ADHD is widely known to affect adolescents, it also affects many adults. Adult ADHD symptoms can range from mild to severe, and many are unaware they even have it.

 

Working with Adult ADHD can make it difficult for individuals to focus and prioritize, negatively impacting both their professional and personal lives. Difficulty paying attention can lead to missed deadlines and forgotten meetings or social events, while the inability to control impulses can present as impatience waiting in line to mood swings.

 

 

ADHD Treatment

Signs and symptoms of ADHD in adults can be hard to identify, however, core symptoms usually begin before the age of 12. According to the Mayo Clinic, no single test can definitively diagnose ADHD, but a medical provider will likely conduct  the following examinations to determine a diagnosis:

  • Physical exam

    To help rule out other possible causes of symptoms

  • Information gathering

    Asking questions about any current medical issues, personal and family medical history, and the history of your symptoms

  • ADHD rating scales or psychological tests

    To help collect and evaluate information about your symptoms

 

Once diagnosed, individuals with ADHD have several treatment options available to them including but not limited to:

  • Medications to boost and balance neurotransmitter levels.

  • Psychological counseling to educate patients about the disorder and help them develop key coping mechanisms. Common types of psychotherapy for ADHD include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Marital counseling and family therapy.

  • Lifestyle changes such as creating and following a routine to assist in the management of ADHD symptoms. Whether it’s putting together an easy-to-follow daily checklist in a notebook or tracking appointments and deadlines on a mobile device, having a visual and tangible representation of a daily task list can help people stay on track.

  • Mindfulness and meditation may be beneficial for reducing stress and calming a chaotic mind.

ADHD in the Workplace – Popular Career Paths

 

There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to the perfect job for someone working with adult ADHD. As with any individual, one’s chosen career and their subsequent success hinges on their passions. However, roles that are high in energy, creative, and flexible may be suitable for those with ADHD as they can enable the person to leverage key ADHD attributes such as:

  • Heightened creativity

  • Empathy

  • Superior problem-solving abilities

  • Strong social skills

  • Enhanced productivity when stimulated

While not an exhaustive list, those working with adult ADHD may thrive in the following career paths:

 

 

1. First responder and critical care roles

Occupations: ​​law enforcement officer, firefighter, emergency room doctor, critical care nurse, Emergency Medical Technician

 

Roles with an inherent sense of urgency are often a good fit for those with ADHD.  According to a study conducted by researchers at Tottori University​​, the brains of people with ADHD produce more theta waves (indicating a state of deep relaxation) than average brains, meaning they are great at crisis management and can perform well under pressure.

 

 

2. Hands-on and creative roles

Occupations: Copy editor, journalist, chef, hairstylist, beautician, architect, interior decorator, artist

 

Individuals with ADHD can be highly creative and innovative, so roles in fields that nurture those attributes are ideal. Results of a recent study suggested that “adults with ADHD may be less constrained by knowledge during creative generation,” supporting the notion that jobs in creative pursuits that require out-of-the-box and imaginative thinking can be ideal for those with ADHD. In addition, careers within the arts space allow individuals to focus on a wide range of topics while exercising their problem-solving skills on a daily basis.

 

 

3. Independent risk-taking roles

Occupations: Entrepreneur, construction foreman, electrician, commercial driver, mechanic, airplane pilot, stockbroker

 

Strong social skills coupled with the willingness to take risks and think critically mean that people with adult ADHD may thrive in fields requiring a lot of independence. Many independent professions allow for flexible work schedules and work environments can vary from day to day combatting the restlessness and boredom many with ADHD face.

 

 

4. Human interest roles

Occupations: Teacher, social worker, personal trainer, psychologist, humanitarian

 

Adults living with ADHD may have encountered difficulty in school and social settings during their formative years. Due to these experiences, adults with ADHD tend to have increased empathy and acceptance of qualities that make individuals unique. This increased compassion is a highly valued quality in fields where connecting with people on a personal level is key. In addition, strong social skills also come in handy during daily interactions with others.

 

 

ADHD in the Workplace – Accommodations

 

Employees who disclose an ADHD diagnosis are protected from discrimination under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (RA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), which includes the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA). These laws prohibit discrimination against people with disabilities in school and the workplace, and employers may be required to provide reasonable accommodations to help individuals with ADHD perform essential job functions.

 

While accommodations may vary on a case-by-case basis, even small adjustments to the workspace can make a world of difference in the job performance of an employee with ADHD, such as:

  • Noise-canceling headphones to reduce ambient noise and distractions

  • Extended or flexible deadlines to complete work

  • Flexible work hours to accommodate the employees preferred hours for focus and creativity

  • Task trackers and timers to help the employee prioritize and complete to-dos

  • Clearly written out instructions with supporting materials for the employee to reference

 

Spike Helps you Stay on Track

A productivity workspace at its core, Spike helps you stay organized and on task without being intrusive. With a plethora of productivity-enhancing features, Spike is the perfect tool to help adults working with ADHD manage their task lists and excel. From a smart Priority Inbox to a zero-fuss calendar and online collaborative Tasks and To-dos, Spike helps you take on your day with limited distractions, helping you cut through the noise so you can get more done in less time.

 

To learn more about Spike and productivity tips and tricks, check out our extensive blog and Help Center. Have ADHD and want to share tips, tricks, or suggestions for making it your superpower in the workplace? Tweet us and tell us @spikenowHQ.

Spike Team
Spike Team The Spike team posts about productivity, time management, and the future of email, messaging and collaboration.

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