One of biggest pain points in my life as a grown woman with ADHD has been to crack what I call the ADHD careers equation. In other words, it has been a struggle to find a fulfilling career that I feel successful at. I will never forget a conversation I had with my sister the week I decided to drop out of law school. That day we met at a picnic table on UCLA’s campus, where we were both enrolled, she as a a PhD candidate in psychology and me as a law student.
With tears running down my cheeks, I told her that I just couldn’t do it anymore. I could not bear one more fruitless hour spent in the library, attempting to decipher the arcane intricacies of future interests and negotiating the dizzying maze of interlocking rules of civil procedure. With no passion for what I was studying, I made absolutely no meaning out of the words on the pages before me. I could read the same page fifteen times without actually processing any of it. Further, I couldn’t continue to waste my days on social media websites, avoiding the studying I so desperately dreaded. Doing so made me feel depressed and deeply ashamed.
“I can’t continue to work against myself like this,” I told my sister. “I don’t believe life has to be this hard. There must be a career out there that would spark my passion. One that exploits my strengths rather than exposes and magnifies my weaknesses.”
That was about 5 years ago, and my search for such a career continues. Just a few months ago my sister reminded me of that conversation, when I once again told her I was leaving my career, this time as an elementary school teacher. Turns out, managing and organizing a classroom of 30+ 10-year-olds, many of whom struggle mightily to organize themselves, was not the ideal job for me. No matter how much passion I had for my students and their learning, it didn’t make up for the fact that the job relied upon my weakest skill set.
“Remember what you said to me when you left law school” she reminded me. “It doesn’t have to be so hard. You CAN find a career you are passionate about that showcases your gifts, not your deficits.”
So here I am, still searching. This website represents a heartfelt effort at cracking the ADHD careers equation, which I believe may go something like this:
Does this equation ring true to you? I’d love to hear about your experiences negotiating the career maze as a woman with ADHD. What jobs have you struggled with? What have worked out for you? Please drop me a note below and I will get back to you right away.