The US National Comorbidity Survey Replication shows that approximately 4.4 percent of American adults between the ages of 18 and 44 have symptoms of ADHD (adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) which translates to approximately 4.6 million people. Having ADHD means your struggles and strengths may be different from those of other people.
Adults with ADHD may struggle with:
- organization and prioritization skills
- time management
- paying attention
- planning things
- getting frustrated with small things
- mood swings
- completing tasks
- having a quick temper
- coping with stress
However, ADHD often comes with strengths that many employers look for, such as:
- willingness to help
- a capacity for leadership
- positive interpersonal skills
If you have ADHD, choosing a career that can keep you interested and focused is key to feeling fulfilled and happy.
It is important to note that symptoms can be different from one person to another - every person is a unique individual. ADHD can make some individuals very restless and easily distracted, and yet can make others extremely focused.
The key is to be honest with yourself and to look for careers where your ADHD traits can also be your strengths. By the same token, it’s wise to bypass careers that will require you to have specific traits that you struggle with. For example, If you are someone who gets bored easily or dislikes a routine, you may need to think twice about working for a company where adhering to rules is important, or a job where dealing with a lot of tedious paperwork is a big part of the day.
If you are creative, you may want to consider careers that welcome creativity and imagination, such as:
- Art Director
- Nail Technician
- Graphic Designer
- Culinary Chef
If you get bored or distracted easily, you may want to consider careers that require a lot of initiative and responsibility, such as:
- Police Officer
- Restaurant Manager
If you thrive in social settings, you may want to consider careers that are relationship based, such as:
- Sales Representative
- Public Relations Specialist
- Advertising Manager
- Motivational Speaker
If you dislike office environments, choosing a career in the trades may be a great option for you:
David Ballard, Ph.D., assistant executive director of the American Psychological Association’s Center for Organizational Excellence says “Research suggests that people with ADHD are often underutilized, underemployed, and in jobs that are below their actual capabilities. Often, how they’re functioning may not reflect how smart and capable they actually are.”
Spend some time learning about different careers and what type of environment they are in. Interview or shadow people who have jobs you may be interested in. For people with ADHD, the specifics of the job really matter. Choose a career that makes the best use of your strengths and where your struggles won’t create any major issues for you.