From time to time, everyone confronts such things on the job and could use a little career advice. But for adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), staying on top of details at work is an endless struggle — one that brings conflict with managers, missed promotions, and a stalled career.
On average, studies suggest, college graduates with ADHD earn $4,300 less per year than their peers who don’t have ADHD. People with ADHD change jobs frequently — often impulsively — and are more likely to be fired, to miss work, and to have troubled relationships with co-workers. It doesn’t have to be that way: Adults with ADHD frequently excel in the workplace, once they adapt to their disability and develop coping skills.
“When people with ADHD come to me for treatment, they’re often unhappy in their professional life, and have a very low self-image,” says Kathleen Nadeau, Ph.D., a Silver Spring, Maryland, psychologist and the author of ADD In The Workplace. “I help them see that having ADHD is not a negative thing. A lot of entrepreneurs, entertainers, politicians, and business leaders have ADHD, including the CEO of JetBlue, David Neeleman. In fact, Neeleman invented e-tickets because he kept misplacing his airline tickets every time he flew. So he created a system that wouldn’t require paper tickets.”