ADHD & Your Job – 5 Ways to Increase Success During Career Transition

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

Change and Transitions are difficult for just about all of us, depending on the situation; why?

  • Change means that we are moving out of our comfort zone in one form or another
  • We fear rejection or failure in this uncertainty
  • Structure may be shifted
  • Knowledge requirements may be different
  • Speed or pace may be increased in new areas

Those are just a few to get you thinking about the uncomfortable feelings and emotions that may become evoked during a transition. Whether you are starting in your first “real” job after college, your department has been absorbed and your job duties have increased, you ae starting with a new company or in a new field you have some work to do. We aren’t talking about your standard 8-5 duties, we are focusing on work you need to do to ensure your own success. That’s right, YOUR OWN SUCCESS, believe it or not YOU ARE IN CHARGE.

Why or How is your ADHD affected during transition? Well, depending on who you are personally some of these things may fit:

  • You have most likely created structure in your previous role/position that works for you to be successful; you may know that you have to do a little work on Sunday to prepare for a Monday meeting or you have to set up your tools a certain way, or you have a colleague or partner near you that helps you with certain mundane work you typically struggle with in exchange for your help in another area
  • You become flustered or impatient when it comes to reviewing new guidelines, protocol or instructions and typically wait until you get to that point in your work/training to try and really figure things out
  • You need things outlined clearly or you can become focused on the wrong things
  • You become nervous or anxious in new situations or when you don’t have all of the answers

How to make the best possible transition?

1. Record any meetings, seminars, presentations or instructions/lessons so that you can play them back on your car ride in to work or during a morning/evening walk on your iPod. I know it sounds silly, but YOU MISS THINGS when they are shared with you

2. Get a work partner or mentor to keep yourself on task and accountable. This is not someone you share your personal issues with, keep it professional. Poise it like this, “A friend of mine’s company has this really interesting mentor program where he works, basically it helps everyone, the mentor gets some leadership type of non traditional experience and the mentee gets to have someone invested in their success to help them take their career to the next level. It can be as informal as we want it to be. Maybe we just start by meeting in the morning M, W, F and talk about goals?” (we will post more on this in the future)

3. Make a list of your questions daily and weekly in a notebook and then ask at an appropriate time in the day/week rather than at the exact moment that the questions comes up. Was there anything you were able to solve on your own once you had some time to process? Is there a pattern to the questions you have where you may need to request additional training or self study? Is this a way to find charecteristics of a good mentor?

4. Be accepting of the people, systems, process or requirements around you. Know that they were put there for a reason and that although it all seems new right now, soon enough the bigger picture will become clearer.

5. Make a TO DO list 2 times per day; you can do this one of two ways: split a piece of paper in half and use the left side for the most important and the right side for secondary importance OR you can write it out in a list and mark A/B or use a highlighter to differentiate. As a guide, items that are high priority must get done that day, typically before lunch. The reason you write two lists per day is to be sure you are staying on track AND you may be adding personal items such as scheduling a dentist appt to your afternoon list

These are just a few ways to increase your success during a career transition, what have you tried that has worked for you? What are you continuing to struggle with?

Content written and provided by Danielle Powers of Focus MD