I am an inattentive ADD-er, and have a difficult time juggling tasks. I recently finished two jobs that were unsuitable for me, and am contemplating a career change. I'd like to hear job or career suggestions that do not involve much multitasking and would play to my strengths. Details inside.
posted by CottonCandyCapers to Work & Money (5 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
I am in my late twenties. Below is a brief description of the jobs I've held thus far:
Job 1: I taught ESL in China. The kids were awesome, but I could not handle so many stimuli coming at me at once - class interruptions would often lead to me losing my train of thought, which provoked in me a lot of anxiety. I learned that crowd control is not something I would like to deal with in the future. Also, I hated hated hated lesson planning.
Caveat: I spent some time tutoring adults privately on the side in cafes throughout my city, which I loved. I was able to build up a decent client base. I learned that I can be an effective speaker so long as the lesson size is small or, preferably, 1-on-1. I realized that although I love playing with kids, I would much rather work solo or with adults so I don't get distracted all the time. Also, using my creativity by tailoring lesson plans to each individual student was pretty awesome. I think what I liked most about this job was that I was able to be creative, only had one (adult) student that I had to focus on at a time and I had a lot of variety in both location and also who I got to work with.
Job 2: Was in a fast-paced, high-pressure office setting. I took this job, the specifics of which I had little interest in, because it paid well and I wanted to remain in China. Big mistake. I knew from the first couple of days that I would not be able to maintain my sanity for very long, and eventually ended up hightailing it back to the good old US of A.
So, I'm taking some time to think more about what I would like to do instead of where I would like to be (China!). I read the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and would like to, as Mr. Covey puts it, "begin with the end in mind" this time around. I recognize that there is no perfect job for me, but would like to decide upon a career track that plays to my strengths and interests.
Strengths: I have a creative mind, and enjoy coming up with ideas, songs and stories. I often have an idea, tune or story in my head. I can write okay. I more or less know myself. I'm pretty good with foreign languages (I majored in Chinese). I learn things quickly when I am able to put my (usually unfocused) mind into it. I am good with 1-on-1 situations. I am good at coaching and listening to people. I enjoy watching people grow.
Weaknesses: Inability to multitask. I cannot get any work done with music on; I will just focus on the music instead. Sounds will irritate me if I am working (white noise is cool). I often pass my own car in a parking lot when with friends, because I am focusing on my conversation with them.
Anxiety in public settings - Even with friends, I've always preferred small groups or 1-on-1 to huge parties. I enjoy playing piano and coaching/tutoring people, but becoming a concert pianist or public speaker would be a nightmare job for me. Never in my life have I focused on one skill long enough for me to be able to call myself great at it. ADD sucks.
Also, although I consider myself to be relatively intelligent, I am sometimes perceived by others as stupid since I am forgetful, highly distractible and horrifically bad at planning. I need to do something or write something down as soon as I think about or am asked about it, or it will vanish into the cosmos for all eternity. I recently started ADD meds and am seeing a counselor to try and improve in these areas, although I doubt that they will ever become strengths. With my therapist's help, I was able to clean my room and organize my desk. This has never happened in the history of, like, ever. I still would like to stay away from jobs that prioritize precision, organization or data, as I am most definitely not detail-oriented. I have always been more about ideas and the big picture.
Please give me career suggestions that would allow me to exercise my creativity and do not involve very much multitasking. Miscellaneous/related advice is also appreciated. Jobs that would provide my ADD-addled brain with constant change and stimulation are a plus - I love learning new things and traveling! Working from home would be nice so I could take my work with me, but might not be realistic. At the moment, I've been looking at careers such as creative/technical writing, instructional design, freelancing/starting my own business (vague, I know), some type of tutoring/counseling, and translation. My dream job, for what it is worth, would either be a young adult/children's fiction author or composer (but I have no degree in music or writing, gack!).
PS: I recently took the MBTI and am an INFP, which I feel fits me pretty well.