Feeling Undervalued and Underproductive as an Adult with ADD and ADHD

Image courtesy of Master Isolated Images / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Master Isolated Images / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Many of my adult clients with ADD and ADHD often share the same concern…why do I feel like I am not living up to my potential?  It certainly is a fair question, but one that doesn’t have a simple answer. From having a job that one feels is not up to his or her ability level to being passed over for promotions or positions that one feels should be his or hers presents some real frustrating moments. Here is how I can best explain the whole situation…

Having ADD and ADHD presents many challenges that do not quite fit into the normal world. In other words, things us folks with ADD and ADHD are expected to do just don’t get done as simply as others. For example, when we’re given a task involving a mundane thing like filling out forms, it can be torture. Our brains have to work especially hard to just focus on the task. So in reality, we are working harder than our non-ADD and ADHD peers on certain things that seem easy on the surface. Keeping up is essentially like running a race from behind and trying to keep up with the group. To an employer, it appears as if we are not as productive or efficient as others in our work environment. Appearance often defeats reality

While the above statement may seem obvious to some, it really isn’t that simple. Just because we may have a greater understanding of our ADD and ADHD doesn’t mean the rest of the world will play along. A boss may get upset with a certain form not being filled in properly despite the amount of time it takes us to do it. In reality, we’ve worked harder on that form than our work peers, but not as productively. It causes us to begin to doubt ourselves and our abilities. But, keep in mind that your boss isn’t this horrible person, it just means that we aren’t living up to his or her expectations. Often times, the easiest thing we can do is blame our boss or employer. I will hear, my boss is horrible or my boss just doesn’t understand my needs. But in reality, your boss is dealing with pressures of his or her own that have nothing to do with you. In one of my other entries, I discussed Narcissism of ADD and ADHD. It is important to keep in mind that these situations aren’t always about you and your feelings, but a bigger picture that is out of our control.

The best advice I can give anyone dealing with this type of situation is to start working with an ADHD coach. You can find a list of coaches on different Websites including the ADHD Coaches Organization, CHADD or ADDA. Having someone help you better understand, manage and plan for your ADD and ADHD will make a huge difference. Relying on yourself isn’t a recipe for success.

For more information on my ADD, ADHD and Executive Functioning coaching, please visit www.adhdcoachchicago.com. To learn more information about some of the other services I provide, please visit www.carrolleducationalgroup.com and www.iepexperts.com. I can be found on Twitter at ADHDEFCoach. You can also find me on FacebookDigg and Tumblr. My good friend and fellow ADD/ADHD Coach Tara McGillicuddy invited me as a guest on ADD/ADHD Support Talk Radio. Tara does many wonderful things and you should check out her website here. Feel free to email me at jonathan@adhdefcoach.com if you have any additional questions.

Comments

  1. Great article. I left my ADHD unchecked well into my adult years, and it really held me back professionally and caused some problems in my relationships at home. I finally went to a therapist and got some meds in my early 30s and life has been so much more fulfilling since then. A coach would be a good option too but I feel like I have a handle on things now.

    Cool site!

    -Pat

  2. Great article. I’ve definitely struggled in the workplace with my ADHD, whether it be the myriad distractions of the internet or a boss that thinks I’m slacking because it takes me a while to think through things. I think one of the most important goals that one can set in the workplace is to not only get their ADHD under control, but to hone their strengths and create a niche that no one else on their project team is filling. Making connections between seemingly disparate phenomena in the companies I consult is definitely one of those strengths. It always helps to show how you’re adding value. I’ve found links to some great resources on adultswithadd.net as well.

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