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ADHD Jobs to Avoid: 6 Jobs That Are Not So ADHD Friendly

ADHD Jobs to Avoid: 6 Jobs That Are Not So ADHD Friendly

If you have ADHD and are considering which jobs to apply for, you may benefit from this article. We will provide an overview of jobs that may not be very ADHD-friendly based on the nature of the work.

But remember, they are not definitive. We believe the essential thing is to Do something you find interesting!  If you’re not engaged, you’ll end up disliking everything

ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is characterized by symptoms such as difficulty staying focused and paying attention, difficulty controlling behavior, and hyperactivity

In 2011, approximately 6.1 million children (11% of children/adolescents aged 4 to 17 years) had ADHD diagnosis in the United States

Approximately 8.7 million adults in the United States have ADHD. Globally, the prevalence of persistent adult ADHD is estimated to be 2.58% (139.84 million) and symptomatic adult ADHD is estimated to be 6.76% (366.33 million) in 2020

ADHD rates have been increasing in recent years. While the exact reasons for the increase in ADHD diagnoses are not entirely clear, some experts suggest that it may be due to a combination of factors like increased awareness, changes in diagnostic criteria, and environmental/lifestyle influences.

Understanding ADHD is crucial not only for those who live with it but also for their families, educators, and employers to foster environments that support effective management of the condition.

Generally, it’s more helpful to take a good look at your personal strengths and areas where you face challenges. By doing that, you can make well-informed decisions about which careers might be the most fulfilling and suitable for you.

Here’s some challenges ADHD faces at work:

For individuals with ADHD, managing time and meeting deadlines can often feel like trying to catch a slippery fish with bare hands. 

Distractions are everywhere, and it can be really tough to guess how long tasks will take. Plus, sometimes a person with ADHD might get super focused on one thing (this is called hyperfocusing) and forget about everything else they need to do. This can lead to missed deadlines and projects that aren’t finished on time.

The stress of trying to meet deadlines can really pile up, making someone feel anxious or even doubting their own abilities, which isn’t great for anyone’s self-esteem.

For someone with ADHD, staying focused on tasks that need a lot of attention can be really tricky. It’s like trying to read your favorite book in a noisy cafeteria; even if you love the story, all the chatter and activity around you might make it hard to keep your place on the page. 

For people with ADHD, distractions can come from anywhere—noisy environments, things happening around them, or even their own thoughts.

This constant battle with distractions can make it tough to stick with a task long enough to finish it well. 

This can lead to mistakes, like missing a small but important detail, or not getting as much done as they hoped.

For someone with ADHD, it can be tough for them to line up their tasks in order, decide which ones are the most important, or stick to a plan.
This happens because the part of the brain that helps with planning and organizing—often called executive function—doesn’t work the same way in people with ADHD.

Impulsivity is a common trait in individuals with ADHD, which means they might act quickly without thinking things through.

For example, in a meeting, someone with ADHD might blurt out an idea or an opinion before fully considering what others are saying or how it might affect the team. It’s like shouting out an answer in class without waiting for the teacher to call on you or without making sure you know the question properly.
In projects, this impulsivity might show up as jumping into a task without a clear plan or switching from one task to another without finishing any of them.

These actions can affect relationships at work, too. Just like in school, where suddenly cutting in line or grabbing a game without asking can upset your classmates, making quick decisions without considering others can lead to misunderstandings or frustrations.

Working memory is like a sticky note. It’s where your brain keeps bits of information handy for a short time while you need them. 

For someone with ADHD, this sticky note might be a bit smaller or less sticky, making it harder to remember things like instructions, names, or even what they were just about to do.

In school or at work, this can mean forgetting details of a project you’re working on or losing track of an important thought during a conversation.

This can be frustrating, not just for the person with ADHD but also for others who might be relying on them to remember those details. It’s like when you’re telling a story and suddenly forget a key part of it—both you and your listeners might feel a bit confused or disappointed.

Switching tasks or multitasking can be especially tough for someone with ADHD. It’s a bit like trying to write several different articles at once, each one needing a different meaning and mindset and strategies. Just as you start getting the hang of one article, you have to switch to another. This can be confusing and make it hard to do well in any of the articles.

For someone with ADHD, their brain might find it more challenging to shift gears quickly from one task to another. This is called context switching. When they have to do this often, it can be overwhelming and can scatter their focus, making it difficult to complete any of the tasks well.

For example you’re working on a puzzle, and every few minutes, you have to stop and do a completely different activity—like drawing or reading a book—before you can go back to your puzzle. It would take a lot longer to finish the puzzle, and it might not be as fun or satisfying.

In a workplace, this might look like starting an assignment, getting interrupted by emails or other tasks, and then struggling to get back to where you left off. Each interruption resets their focus, and they might forget important details or lose track of their progress.

Hyperfocus is a bit like getting super absorbed in something. Everything else around you fades away, and all that matters is what’s right in front of you.

For someone with ADHD, this can happen with tasks they find really interesting or engaging. While this might sound like a superpower—and it can be in some situations—it also has its downsides.

When someone with ADHD hyper focusing, they might lose track of time and forget about other important things they need to do. 

In work, this might mean spending hours perfecting a single project while neglecting others, that you don’t realize it’s way past your bedtime or that you missed dinner. While the castle might turn out great, missing sleep and meals isn’t the best for your health and work’s performance

Social interactions and effective communication are crucial in any workplace, but for individuals with ADHD, these areas can present unique challenges. Impulsivity, difficulty in reading social cues, and maintaining conversations can sometimes make workplace interactions more complex and can impact relationships and collaboration.

    • Impulsivity in conversations: People with ADHD might interrupt others during discussions because a thought comes to their mind and they feel an urgent need to express it before they forget. This can sometimes be perceived as rude or disrespectful, even though the intention is not to disrupt.
    • Difficulty gauging social cues: Understanding and responding to social cues—like knowing when it’s appropriate to speak or recognizing when someone is upset—can be harder for someone with ADHD. They might miss subtle gestures or facial expressions, which can lead to misunderstandings.
    • Maintaining conversations: Staying on topic can be another challenge. Conversations might drift from one subject to another without closure, which can confuse others and make it difficult to reach conclusions or make decisions in a group setting.

These challenges can affect teamwork and relationships in the workplace. Colleagues might feel frustrated if they misunderstand the intentions of a person with ADHD, or if they perceive their actions as disruptive.

-> ADHD can have a massive impact on your performance in the workplace, which is why it’s essential to know where you’ll thrive and what jobs to avoid. 

Air traffic controllers help planes take off, land, and fly safely without bumping into each other. They have to watch lots of screens, keep track of tons of details, and make quick decisions. 

For someone with ADHD, who might find it tough to focus for a long time or get easily overwhelmed by too much information, this job could be extra challenging.

The job is also really stressful because the safety of hundreds of people depends on the controller’s decisions. Stress can make it even harder for someone with ADHD to concentrate and stay organized. 

So, while being an air traffic controller is a job that pays well and is very important, it might not be the best fit for someone who finds focusing, multitasking, and handling stress challenging.

Stock traders buy and sell stocks and other financial items like a game, trying to buy low and sell high to make money. They need to watch the markets closely, which change every second, and decide quickly what to do. 

They also have to notice tiny details that could affect their decisions, like changes in a company’s management or shifts in the economy.

For someone with ADHD, who might find it hard to focus or get easily distracted by all the buzzing activity, this job could be really tough. The stock market is also a high-stress place because money is on the line, and making a wrong decision can mean losing a lot of it. This kind of pressure can make it even more challenging for someone with ADHD to stay calm and organized.

So being a stock trader might not be a super friendly choice for ADHDer

Event coordinators are the ones making sure everything from the venue to the catering and the music is lined up and ready to go. They have to talk to lots of different people, keep track of numerous details, and make sure they stick to a budget. They also need to be really good at managing their time and staying organized because there are often strict deadlines.

For someone with ADHD, who might find it challenging to manage time, stay organized, or handle stress, this job could be overwhelming. Event planning is fast-paced and full of surprises. Sometimes, things don’t go as planned—like a vendor cancels at the last minute or the weather changes—and the coordinator needs to think quickly and find solutions. This can add a lot of stress and require quick decision-making, which might be tough if staying focused and making fast choices is a challenge.

While being an event coordinator can be rewarding and exciting, especially when you see a successful event come together, it might not be easy for someone who finds structured schedules, detailed organization, and high-pressure situations difficult.

Surgeons perform operations, which require them to use their hands and tools with extreme precision to fix injuries, remove diseases, or correct body functions. But their job isn’t just about the time they spend in the operating room.

Before surgery, they need to thoroughly review the patient’s medical history, make diagnoses, and plan the procedure. They also manage a team of other medical professionals during the surgery and coordinate care after the operation to help the patient recover.

For someone with ADHD, who might struggle with sustained attention, patience, and detailed work, the role of a surgeon could be particularly challenging. Surgeries can last for many hours, requiring a surgeon to maintain high levels of concentration and focus throughout. Additionally, the high-stakes environment, where quick and accurate decision-making is critical, can be very stressful.

Moreover, managing a surgical team and ensuring all pre- and post-operative care details are attended to demands a high level of organization and the ability to multitask effectively. These are areas where individuals with ADHD might face difficulties, especially if their symptoms include disorganization or a propensity to become easily distracted.

The profession of a surgeon demands a set of skills and personal attributes that might be challenging for someone with ADHD.

Accountants sift through financial records, analyze transactions, and ensure that everything adds up correctly. They play a crucial role in helping businesses and individuals keep their finances in order, prepare for audits, and comply with laws and regulations.

The job involves a lot of detail-oriented tasks such as bookkeeping, preparing financial statements, and calculating taxes. Accuracy is paramount, as even a small error can lead to significant problems, such as financial discrepancies or legal issues. This requires a high level of attention to detail and the ability to focus for extended periods on tasks that can often be quite repetitive, such as entering data into spreadsheets or reviewing lengthy financial documents.

For someone with ADHD, who might struggle with attention, organization, and staying engaged during repetitive tasks, the role of an accountant could be challenging. The need for sustained attention and precision in a quiet, often solitary work environment might exacerbate some common ADHD symptoms, such as restlessness or difficulty maintaining focus on a single task.

Proofreaders play a critical role in the publishing process, ensuring that text is free of errors before it reaches the reader. 

This includes checking for spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, punctuation issues, and inconsistencies in style or content. The job demands a high level of focus and meticulous attention to detail, as missing even a small error can compromise the quality of the published material.

For individuals with ADHD, who may experience difficulties with sustained attention, hyperfocus on irrelevant details, or distractibility, the role of a proofreader can present some unique challenges. 

The need to maintain concentration over long periods while performing what can sometimes be seen as monotonous or repetitive tasks might be particularly taxing. This could lead to fatigue, decreased job satisfaction, or errors in work.

Some jobs might present more challenges if you have ADHD, but that doesn’t mean they’re off-limits. It’s all about finding the right strategies that work for you. If you’re passionate about pursuing a career in one of these fields, it’s important to equip yourself with tools and techniques to manage ADHD effectively. Remember, with the right approach and support, you can succeed in any career path you choose! 

For more tips on managing ADHD in the workplace, you might find this article helpful:

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