We all want to be in a job we enjoy. And, if you are dissatisfied with your current job, the following questions probably keep swirling about in your head:
- “Am I in the wrong career?”
- “Is this just the wrong job for me?”
- “Are there careers that are a good fit for adults with ADHD?”
- “Are there jobs that would work for me?”
Then, if you googled “ADHD friendly jobs” or “best careers for adults with ADHD,” you found articles proclaiming:
- “There are dream jobs for people like you, who are creative and easily bored.”
- “Quit your job if you have one of these 10 worst jobs.”
- “Sales, entrepreneur, medical professional, teaching, etc. are the best jobs for adults with ADHD.”
And so, after stumbling on one of these articles you think, “Maybe I should do that…” Then you start googling how can you can become an entrepreneur, teacher, etc.
Before you go down one rabbit hole after another hit the pause button.
Is There an Ideal Job for Adults with ADHD?
Over the years countless people have reached out to me because they were having challenges in their jobs.
Some, who enjoyed the content of their job, were in careers listed as worst for adults with ADHD. These have included therapists and attorneys. Yet, while they needed help managing their executive functioning challenges, they were not necessarily in the wrong career.
Others were also unhappy in their jobs and needed help managing their ADHD symptoms. Yet, they were in careers listed as ideal for adults with ADHD, such as attorneys, teachers and entrepreneurs/small business owners. Attorneys are on both lists. Interesting, right?
So, what are the ideal jobs for adults with ADHD?
Is Ari In the Right Career?
The following account, while fictional, is representative of these clients and can give us insight into this question.
When Ari, a solo practitioner, first came to me he was questioning whether law was the right field for him. And, though he was excellent at his craft, he was beginning to consider other options.
As we began to work together it became obvious that Ari was in the right field. He was passionate about his area focus. And his finished work was excellent. It also seemed being a solo practitioner was the best way for Ari to practice law.
But it was also obvious he would need to make some changes if he wanted to build a thriving business. The first step he needed to take was to create processes and systems to better manage all aspects of his business.
Without this, the business was languishing… He didn’t always follow-through with prospects. Current clients were frustrated with his lack of timely communication. He also wasn’t tracking his time and billing regularly. You get it. His business was a mess.
This may sound familiar to some of you.
Ari’s business began to grow and he felt better about his skills as an attorney once he:
– adopted the right process and systems for managing all aspects of his business
– became more selective in who he accepted when he learned how to better prequalify clients.
– used his energy to focus on the essential parts of the business, including clients who were a good fit for him.
– managed distractions more effectively.
– and once he felt solvent enough he hired an assistant to help him with many of the administrative tasks.
After creating his business in this way Ari began to enjoy his practice much more. And no longer thought about leaving the legal field.
Even if you’re dissatisfied with your current job, like Ari, you may discover you’re still in the right career.
Best Jobs for Adults with ADHD
I suggested above that there is no ideal career for adults with ADHD. Likewise, it is impossible to generalize about the fit of a particular job for all ADHD adults.
Because you are not your ADHD.
Rather, you are multifaceted. You know that. So, it would be a disservice to reduce you to just your ADHD. Instead, you will want to explore the many factors intrinsic to you in considering whether a job suits you well.
Moreover, ADHD symptoms manifest themselves differently from person-to-person. Sure, there are often common challenges. But the way they show up for you and your ability to manage them will be different from another adult with ADHD.
The bottom line is the question you need to ask is, “What is the best job for me?” Continue reading on below to get some ideas on how you can do this.
Uncovering Your Strengths Through Reflection
The first step you can take is to inventory the talents that come naturally and easily to you – your strengths.
And one way to do this is by reflecting on what you know about yourself by answering the questions below. You can do this in one sitting or answer them over time as you observe yourself in action.
- Start with the most obvious. What are your strengths? This is not the time to be modest!
- What activities capture your attention and keep you consistently engaged? Often the activities we get excited about are those that use our strengths. What are your strengths related to these activities?
- What types of tasks do you learn and understand quickly? If you are a “natural” at something, there may be a strength related to the skills required for the activity. What are your strengths related to these tasks?
- What are you passionate about? How are your strengths related to your passions?
- Under what conditions and in what environment do you work best? When these conditions are present and you are in this environment, what strengths do you notice?
- What are the strengths you can use most directly related to achieving your career goals?
If you are not able to complete this exercise on your own, ask one of your fans, such as a friend or family member, to help you.
After reflecting on your strengths, you may want to continue your exploration.
Using Assessments to Explore Your Strengths
Another way to extend your understanding of your strengths is by completing the assessments listed below. You can choose to do these either on your own or with the support of a professional.
- The VIA Survey of Character is a great place to start if you are interested in measuring your character strengths.
- The Kolbe A Index measures your instinctive way of doing things, which may, of course, be dictated by your strengths.
- The DiSC gives you insight into your preferred way of being in the world. Again, you may have a preferred way of being in the world because you are able to use your strengths in these contexts.
- The MBTI also gives you insight into your personality. And can help you think about what career or job might be a good fit for you.
- The StrengthsFinder 2.0, as its name suggests, is another popular assessment to uncover your strengths. You can start by checking out the free strength assessment along with a 20-minute video by Marcus Buckingham.
If you’ve used one of these tools already, what did you discover that can help you in your career exploration.
What Are Your Preferences?
It is just as important to know your preferences as it is to know your strengths. Of course, you may have a preference for a certain activity because you are strong in that area. But you may also be strong in an area and not enjoy using that talent.
So, the next step is to do an inventory of your preferences. To begin this process of uncovering your preferences think about your current and past jobs and ask yourself:
- What activities give me energy? What is it about these activities that energize me?
- What activities do I get satisfaction from? What are the specific aspects of these activities that give me satisfaction?
- What do I enjoy doing? Again, what is it about these activities that I enjoy?
What did you discover after answering these questions?
What Are Your Challenges In Your Job
Remember, your journey is about figuring out what career or job could be a good fit for you. So, once you look at your strengths and preferences, it’s time to look at the flip side. That is, you also want to explore what you find challenging and/or dislike in your current or past jobs.
This information will help you assess the suitability of your current position, as well as future positions. You might decide to avoid jobs that require you to focus heavily on activities you find challenging.
Ready? Take time to answer the two questions below.
- What type of activities do I consistently put off? What is it about these activities that I don’t like?
- What activities sap my energy at work? What is it about these activities that deplete my energy?
- What is my least favorite part of my current job or past jobs? Again, what is it about these activities that I don’t like?
Yes, ideally you want a job that requires a minimal amount of time in these activities.
But it’s also probable that some of the activities you find challenging are found in most jobs. So, if you can’t avoid the task entirely, you might also decide to build your skills in these areas.
Does Your Work Environment Work For You?
You might find you really enjoy the content of your current job for the most part. But the environment where you are working is just not a good fit for you. While the list of factors is lengthy, here are few I often hear from clients who are dissatisfied with their job:
- strict rules that don’t allow for individual accommodations or creativity
- lack of teamwork
- mistakes are seen as a strike against you, rather than as opportunities to learn and grow
- a hierarchical system where the boss is always right and can’t be questioned
You get it. Just try googling “toxic workplace.” And, if your work environment isn’t working for you, you’ll likely find a few that sound familiar to your situation.
If this is the case for you, the only solution might be a new job. Maybe you already know that.
Next Steps for You
I know the above is a lot to digest and may seem overwhelming to do on your own.
So, if you feel you need professional support, you may want to seek out the services of a career coach or counselor.