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Living With ADHD? These 5 Jobs Might Be Perfect for You.

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While many people have heard of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), there are also a lot of misconceptions that it’s just a “children’s disorder” and that kids “grow out of it” when they reach adulthood. And while this is true for some, many kids carry ADHD into adulthood. In fact, ADHD is estimated to affect 4% to 5% of adults. That means for every 20 adults you meet, one of them most likely has ADHD.

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Now, with that statistic out of the way, let’s also destroy the misconception that ADHD is a disorder that’s merely a minor inconvenience for teachers and parents to deal with. When ADHD lasts into adulthood it can cause major distress. The symptoms that parents and teachers found difficult to manage are now the adult’s responsibility to bear.

An adult with ADHD can still frequently have problems with following directions, forgetfulness, concentration, organization and getting work done, but now they’re expected to be a functional member of society and act like they don’t have a disorder that impedes those life skills. And I’m not sure if neurotypical adults have ever thought about it, but it’s extremely hard to hold down a job when you have the traits listed above. So, what are some jobs that are “easier” for people with ADHD to take on? Let’s discuss.

1. Education

From early childhood education to general education to special education, teaching is a great job for people with ADHD. As a special education teacher myself, I can attest to the fact that there is so much to do in this field. There’s not a time in my day when I’m not doing something, and oddly enough, being so busy is extremely helpful. It doesn’t give me time to get distracted. And since there’s so much to do, it’s easy to jump back and forth between tasks. If I get bored of lesson planning for one class, I can switch to lesson planning for another class or subject. When I get bored of that, I can look at my students’ IEPs and data collection. When I get bored of that, I can respond to the plethora of emails I always have. And the last perk? I’m moving around the room all day long, so I never have to questions like, “Why are you fidgeting so much?” or “Why can’t you just sit still?” Sometimes, being extremely busy is exactly what you need.

2. Jobs Related to Artistic or Creative Outlets

Now, this job is harder to pursue — I’ll admit that. There’s currently a teacher shortage, so teaching jobs are easier to come across, but when it comes to graphic design or trying to make commissions off of artwork, it’s a lot harder. It would involve building a portfolio, putting yourself out there and the beloved “networking.” However, social media and the internet have changed the game. Now, it’s possible to make a platform for yourself and your art, reach out to an audience who may be interested in your art and submit your portfolio online. If you’re one of the adults with ADHD who hyperfixate when they’re being creative, this may be an excellent option for you.

3. Content Creation

It’s not a secret that in the past few years, social media has begun to have a greater influence on Millennials and Gen Z than TV networks or movie stars. Most of us pay attention to “famous” YouTubers and TikTokers way more than the latest Hollywood drama. It’s why so many A-list celebrities have made a TikTok account. Additionally, there are so many different facets of content creation you can go into. There are platforms for comedic skits, minority communities, ASMR, medical conditions and (of course) the beloved story-time videos. You’ll probably start out slow, but once you get your follower count up you can be sponsored, paid for ads and maybe even secure a bigger role for yourself, such as a movie role or journalist position. Being a creator is hard work — I’m not going to lie about that — but if you’re passionate and determined to succeed, the possibilities are endless.

4. Restaurant-Related Jobs

This one is a hit or miss. Some people with ADHD hate the restaurant industry but others thrive. Like teaching, if you’re working in a busy restaurant, you’re almost forced to focus. There’s so much going on that ADHD-ers who love multitasking can find great success. Even at a “simple” job like drive-thrus, you’re taking orders, revising orders, taking payments and listening to management. That’s a lot to balance, and while it can be a source of stress for some, others thoroughly enjoy it.

5. The Medical Field

While the hard part would be getting through schooling, this field is filled with success for people with ADHD. Which I know can sound surprising to some. But picture being a nurse. You’re moving all day, working with multiple different cases at a time and have very little downtime. Plus, your job is a matter of life and death. Your mind is constantly on high alert, and while that can be stressful for some, it can also be extremely helpful for others because it gives our minds less time to wander. If I was focused on making sure I have the right dose of medicine or ensuring my patients stay alive, I’d be a lot less likely to get distracted. It’s a job where your head always has to be “in the game,” which I’ve found can be extremely helpful when your mind tends to wander.

In my experience, the main qualities in an “ideal” job for people with ADHD are typically jobs that have you moving around a lot, whether it’s mentally or physically, require a lot of mindfulness and require the ability to shift your focus multiple times a day. Jobs that are “stressful” to a lot of people tend to be the jobs people with ADHD thrive in. And while organization can still be a problem, it’s easier to be organized when people tell you exactly where things go. For example, in my classroom, I have a place where everything goes and it doesn’t change throughout the year. In the medical field, everything is documented on charts that are mostly digital, so it’s hard to mess it up as long as you make sure you’re under the right patient when you’re documenting.

However, I know these jobs aren’t ideal for everyone with ADHD. There is no job that’s one size fits all, so what I may view as a great job isn’t going to appeal to someone who doesn’t have the passion or motivation to do it. The most important thing is that the job brings you dopamine and happiness. Dopamine keeps you motivated, and ADHD is a dopamine-deficient disorder, which is why we’re either extremely invested or couldn’t care less. So, ideally, just find something you care about and like focusing on. That’s probably the thing that will help you the most.

Photo by ThisisEngineering RAEng on Unsplash

Originally published: April 4, 2023
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