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Here's Why You May Job Hop If You Have ADHD

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Was any other millennial sold the idea of a “dream job?” 

It’s supposed to be the job that you spend your whole adolescence preparing for. This is the job that dictates what you major in college, and even what extracurricular activities you take. For some people, it works, but for people with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) it may not be that simple.

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Speaking from personal experience, life with ADHD is like a never-ending game of “find the dopamine.” Some things like Tik Tok, games, and fidget toys give us a very short burst of dopamine, and other things like jobs can give us dopamine over a longer period of time until the honeymoon period ends. Once that honeymoon period ends, in my experience, executive dysfunction starts kicking in more and more daily until every aspect of your job is horrible. 

The first time that ever happened to me, I was devastated because I thought I was working my “dream job.” That wasn’t supposed to happen at your “dream job.” That’s when I found a new “dream job.” Surprise surprise, it happened again. After I learned that I had ADHD, I realized that the reason I struggled to maintain jobs for a long period of time was because of the lack of dopamine over time. It’s not that I was bad at my job, or that I hated what I did. My brain was just done and needed a shiny new toy (new job).

While that feeling hasn’t happened in a while and I’m happy to be where I am now, I have seen a lot of ADHD folk get a lot of flack because they job hopped a lot. While this may not be what other generations want to hear, there’s nothing wrong with that. In my opinion and experience, the ADHD brain was made for job hopping and in today’s economy, there is nothing shameful about that. 

Once upon a time you could work a dream job for years, climb up the corporate ladder, and retire with a nice pension that comes with working for a company for 20-30-odd years. Nowadays, promotions are a bit more scarce and more people are reporting increases in salary due to switching companies and positions, compared to staying where they are. Job hopping used to be a sign that someone was unsuccessful or not skilled in their area of expertise, when in reality, it has no official bearing on that. 

If you are someone with ADHD who struggles to maintain a love for this job past a certain amount of time and you’ve noticed a pattern, don’t feel bad. Yes, you do need to learn how to stick it out when things get tough, but there’s nothing bad or wrong about job hopping, or having a brain that quite frankly prefers it. According to studies, it actually leads to more money.

You should make your life work for you, you shouldn’t have to work for your life. That made more sense in my brain, but you get what I’m trying to say. Do what works for you, and screw what anyone else has to say.

Getty image by Luis Alvarez

Originally published: September 27, 2022
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