happy work, doing good

I got this comment on a post from a little while ago and I really want to reply to it, so I'm quoting it here.


Love this statement from your post: "I would like you to stop fighting to be better at something that isn't your strength. You'll have more energy to use for good."  This speaks DIRECTLY to me. I've spent 20 years in the I.T. field [….]but felt for years that overall, i'm trying to put a square peg into a round hole. [I….]finally admitted my current occupation does not come easy to me[…] does ADD feel this way with ALL jobs and i just don't realize it yet ? Your statement makes me feel freed from the chains though, that i myself have created. Staying in a career that pays great money — but i spend all the money trying to buy happiness. Following my natural gifts to pursue a new career is tough, but believe any cut in salary will be worth feeling good and valuable and effective in life ! Thanks so much for your inspiration! Your words hit me at a time when most needed, as I keep looking into college options for a new direction in life. But need guidance on where to be most effective and happy. How do we find that part out ? Have been spinning for months trying to figure this out, with no plain answer in sight. -A Very Overwhelmed Geek Chick in NC


I am so glad this got through to someone, and not just as a bunch of sappiness (that it can sound like to me even as I say it.) Really, this is why I work with people; why I coach. And believing that you will have more energy to use for good is the best way I know how to be optimistic.

As a coach, this is what I think: as people with ADHD  particularly we have to piece together the answer to Geek Chick's question about where to be "most effective and happy."  What I mean is that ADHD seems to make us particularly sensitive to, and responsive to, our environments. That's not all bad, but firstly, it is reality. It's the part that doesn't come up on career assessments necessarily, or our ideas as kids, or as college students, or as adults, of what we want to do "when we grow up," or what would be great for us to do.

It feels kind of like a messy sell when I'm talking to people about coaching and I want to explain that I support people in reaching their goals- but sometimes their goals change while they're working with me and figure out more about the combination of their goals and themselves. But it's the truth.

I haven't read it in a while but I think I've been influenced a lot by the classic career book What Color is Your Parachute? and how the author breaks down career into skills and tasks and not just job titles. For people with ADHD I think we need to break it down more. A job might be fabulous in theory…but… only if- depending on the person:

-you have windows or

-you have coworkers who are decent human beings or

-you don't have to work on a team or

-you get to collaborate all day long or

-it's ok if you get up and walk around every 20 minutes or

-you have a work room with a door you can close or

-you can work from home or

-you work every day around people or

-you can put your music on in the background or

-you don't have to hear other people making noise or

-you don't have to get to work until 10am or

-you can wear all natural fabrics without seams or

-you have a very regular schedule or

-you can change your schedule or

-you don't have much paperwork

Sorry, I just went on a little long there . The point I'm trying to make is this: you might have a set of requirements and a set of deal-breakers that make up the parameters of effective and happy work for you. They won't necessarily look like what other people see as the kind of criteria that seem reasonable or "normal" for work life. But if you don't figure them out for you, you are setting yourself up to be very frustrated. I want you to figure them out so you can do good instead of floundering. These things are for real- just like the handicapping forces of boredom are real and handicapping if you have ADHD.  We are not talking excuses not to work or excuses to say no to every opportunity; we are talking about knowing what makes a work environment good for you, about the ingredients for success. 

I've watched people in coaching put together their ingredient list over time, with self-awareness, and I'vce seen it change lives.

Geek Chick, and everyone else, do you know what your deal-breakers are for work? Do you know what your absolute necessities are for a happy work life? Please share in the comments or email me about them (becca at coachbecca.com.)