Support groups/employment for people with ADHD?
November 29, 2022 4:16 PM   Subscribe

I was diagnosed with ADHD and was fired from my job in a two-week span, and I need help finding and keeping employment.

I've long suspected I have ADHD, but I was recently tested and got a diagnosis for the condition. I took a job a little over a month ago that was pretty far out of my wheelhouse, but in spite of the fact that I made requests for accommodations, I got an email the Monday before Thanksgiving from the recruiter at my agency that my boss* thought I wasn't "a good culture fit".

I've been upset about this change, but--knowing that I have a diagnosis--I also want to look for some support when I'm ready to start looking for work. What kind of support is available for people with ADHD? Are there employment agencies that work with non-neurotypical people to place them in jobs? Are there organizations or support groups for people with ADHD looking for work? I've attended a few meetings at the Clubhouse closest to me, but found that it didn't suit my needs.

* I had disclosed my diagnosis to my recruiter, since I'd been working with her for a few years, but I hadn't said anything to my boss because I wanted to wait and see how long I would be there and if I could trust her. I did suggest some things that would help me do my best work, like creating an interactive checklist and setting up weekly one-on-one meetings. She said "oh, this is a good idea" to both of these, but wouldn't answer emails when I tried to schedule one-on-ones and when I sent her a sample checklist. In retrospect, these were red flags.
posted by pxe2000 to Work & Money (10 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
This isn't directly an answer to your question. Where I work there's an in joke on the product support team that they only hire people with ADHD. That's obviously not part of the criteria when hiring, but it has sort of turned out to be true. The client support roles do seem to suit these folks who talk openly about their diagnosis--something about getting to quickly hop from case to case, interacting with different people in small snippets all day long, and having their case closure metrics tracked. Also for the first line support folks, they can escalate to the next team up for anything they're not able to solve quickly. The nature of the work has a lot of in-built opportunities for certain sorts of brains to do their best work.

I don't know what it is that you actually do, but an entry level help desk role should be pretty achievable to get and stay in at least for a little while. You can bring in a paycheck, feel good about being productive, and have a nice easy "get well" job while you sort out your larger and more long term support needs.
posted by phunniemee at 4:38 PM on November 29, 2022 [7 favorites]

Response by poster: The jobs where I've been the most confident and have done my best work have been in proofreading and copy editing--I know what to find and fix in documents so they are the best, most readable they can be. My one concern with help-desk work is that I've burned out on call center work in the past, since (a) callers can be rude and (b) I tend to get anxiety about rude callers escalating the calls to a manager and eventually getting fired. Are there better help desk jobs that would keep rude people away from me?
posted by pxe2000 at 4:52 PM on November 29, 2022 [2 favorites]

Having ADHD can be hard on work. One resource For ADHD, especially if you are newly diagnosed is CHADD We have plenty of neurodiversity in my family, and there may also be in-person meetings-I found them helpful in the 90’s.

Resources for navigating job accommodations is the job accommodations network Tgere are often real-life scenarios (including jobs) at the bottom of the webpage.

I hope this is helpful, best wishes on the new direction/s.
posted by childofTethys at 5:29 PM on November 29, 2022 [2 favorites]

Lots of ADHD among troubleshooters I know - all sorts of jobs where you respond to issues, fix problems, have some sort of obvious crisis to deal with. Escalation support, field service engineer (warning: travel), that kind of thing. Of course this depends on severity and what kind of coping mechanisms you've got, how good you are at going back to the ticket pool for more tickets (or finding some project for your downtime), etc. But a job where you respond to tickets might actually be perfect since you wanted an interactive checklist anyway.

There may be technical writing jobs that would interest you; I know one friend writes internal help page content and a lot of the work is, "open next ticket, take writeup from engineer, make it fit the corporate style and have the right content, post it, close ticket"
posted by Lady Li at 5:58 PM on November 29, 2022 [5 favorites]

Oh, I also hear emergency room medicine and restaurant work are great places for folks who tend towards ADHD. Lots of stimulation and information to take in all the time. So if you are otherwise ok with it, service industry / wait staff jobs might be a good thing to try and get on your feet.
posted by Lady Li at 6:48 PM on November 29, 2022

I found the constant stimulation of school to be helpful to my (assumed, undiagnosed) ADHD self. Now, as a teacher the deadlines and marking aren't ADHD friendly, but I love the hustle and bustle of a school.
posted by freethefeet at 7:02 PM on November 29, 2022

If you’re in the US, have you applied to the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation? The quality of service varies depending on your location, but this is what they are for.
posted by brook horse at 8:02 PM on November 29, 2022 [2 favorites] only seems to have writing or management jobs (when it comes to content stuff) rather than editing jobs. If you are open to specific kinds of customer support, here's an example of a job that does not seem to be a call-centre nightmare but of course, it might be. As someone who once got fired early in a new job for being a terrible fit thanks to my ADHD, I feel your pain. That sucks but I eventually landed with much better work for me. I hope you will have the same happy ending.

Here is an article that may potentially be helpful. ADDA used to have a job hunters club: perhaps it will return. For members, it does have a bunch of online support groups and work groups apparently functioning.

Job hunting sucks for all of us, with and without ADHD but congrats on the diagnosis, and I mean that sincerely. Getting one and then learning about ADHD helped me enormously (and I was in my 40s at the time). Good luck!
posted by Bella Donna at 3:52 AM on November 30, 2022 [4 favorites]

Helpdesk doesn't have to mean phone calls - software industry tech & customer support often involves replying to written tickets by email, or working with a customer over web chat, rather than over the phone.
posted by terretu at 7:53 AM on November 30, 2022 [3 favorites]

I have no idea where your ADHD-influenced focuses and weaknesses are, from this description, but ...

Have you thought about temporary work with your state legislature? This is often proofreading, research, analysis, word processing, managing a lot of input all at once and sorting it into useful buckets for your supervisor (a senate/house clerk, a state legislator, a legislative committee). It is very fast-paced, extremely variable, and high-intensity/high-focus ... and TEMPORARY. Usually a couple of months.

(I do a variant of this. My ADHD is oriented toward impulsivity, sensation/experience-seeking, hyperfocus, and wanting lots of feedback, and not so much towards the inattentive side of the neurotype. Your interactive checklists sound familiar to me. As do your desires for one-on-ones. If this sounds like you (a systems/gestalt person with executive function fuckups and a tendency to want to just go DO THE THING), you too might enjoy politics from the technical/policy/civil servant side!)
posted by byzantienne at 11:20 AM on November 30, 2022 [4 favorites]

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