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Why You Should Consider Working in Hospitality if You Have ADHD

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Having attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can without a doubt contribute to having a stressful time finding a job that just fits. Due to different ADHD traits such as difficulty focusing, impulsivity, bouts of extra energy, etc., certain job fields can feel a little harder. Sitting at a desk for long periods of time looking at spreadsheets may be a personal Hell for folk with ADHD, especially when you’re unmedicated. While there are some jobs out there that people have found mesh well with their brain, I think it’s important to highlight a certain career track that definitely isn’t for everyone, but that I’ve found works well with a lot of the ADHD brains I know. 

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The hospitality industry.

I know, I know. A lot of people don’t love this industry specifically because it means you’re up front with people who typically treat you like crap. Ask anyone who has ever worked in a restaurant, hotel, or in events and entertainment. There’s always not one, or two, but many horror stories based in the dehumanization of service workers. 

That being said, as gross as people can be, there were a lot of rewarding aspects cognitively and functionally speaking that made it worth it for me. 

1. There’s always something to do.

Have you ever been at a job and you have absolutely nothing to do and yet your boss still expects you to be productive? It’s not fun, especially for people who may need something to do to keep their brains busy. 

In the hospitality industry, there’s always something regardless of how small or large it may be. Cleaning tasks, rolling silverware, prep work, etc., If you need to find something to do, I guarantee you, there will always be something.

2. In fact, sometimes there’s too much to do!

Let me paint a picture for you – It’s a full house in your restaurant. You have four tables, all at different stages of their meal, and two families waiting to be sat. You’re juggling getting one table’s drinks, putting in another table’s orders, getting the manager for that one table that decided to just be the worst, and you’re fetching the check for that final table. While reading that can be a little stressful, juggling all of that at once in a fast-paced environment was my bread and butter because my brain was designed to process multiple things at once. It was in those moments that I felt perfectly stimulated and in the zone. 

The fast-paced, always staying on your toes, juggling so many things at once environment makes my brain sing like a well-oiled machine.

3. It’s never the same thing every day.

This is slightly debatable, I know. Yes, the physical job doesn’t change. You’ll still be taking reservations or bussing tables, but everything else changes by the day. You go from slow to busy, great guests one day and horrible the next. Even the most mundane hospitality job feels different day-to-day simply due to all the shifting and unexpected variables which means…

4. It’s easier to stay in the present.

Once again, this could be different for different people, but when those variables are always shifting and you never know what is going to happen next, it could be easier to stay present mentally. 

My mind wanders the most when I’m at rest or bored. Sometimes it happens just because! However, when you can go from empty to slammed in less than a minute, or an event you’re running can go from happy to chaotic in even less time, snapping back and staying present in the moment is that much easier compared to say, sitting in a meeting in an office job. 

Ultimately, there are as many cons as there are to pros working in the service industry, but I feel the latter outweighs the former. The fast-paced, always staying on your toes, juggling so many things at once environment makes my brain sing like a well-oiled machine. 

Every neurodivergent brain is different, of course, and the same reasons I’ve found working in hospitality helps me could hurt you. If you’re looking for a new industry, I do think considering this as an option is worth it though. It was for me.

At the end of the day, you have to do what’s best for you and hospitality isn’t the only “good” industry for ADHD folk. There are a lot more. Promise.

Getty image by ljubaphoto

Originally published: May 20, 2022
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