In my twenties I worked for a big corporation as a legal secretary. Now imagine an off-the-chart ADDer doing this job in the first place.
After being shuffled around the legal department to various attorneys who the company thought I could work with, I ended up with a woman attorney who was three years my senior.
In the morning she gave me personal tasks like writing her friends’ letters, paying her bills and basically anything but the work I was hired to do. Rather than just roll with it, I adopted an adversarial attitude and refused to be her personal assistant.
Instead, I was indignant, arrogant, felt put upon, taken advantage of, bored and angry. Who did she think she was anyway? I was not a team player. I simply refused to acknowledge that I was given a job to do and was expected to complete the tasks put before me.
Looking back, what mattered was that I had a job in a nice company that paid well. In fact, I could actually avoid doing the legal secretarial work I abhorred in the first place for a little while.
Of course, I WAS in the wrong job. With my BA and Teacher’s Certification, I was supposed to be a high school teacher. I thought I was too good for this stuff.
I was fired…again.
I had friends who worked there. The company was generous in a way that is rare today. It was a comfortable place to be on the way to figuring out what kind of professional I was going to be. There were very few jobs for teachers in California.
So, I started the ADHD isolation process early in my career.
Had I displayed one ounce of maturity and shifted my attitude toward doing my best, there is no doubt my generosity of spirit would have been rewarded.
With ADHD, we often cut off our noses to spite our face, resulting in diminished self confidence and anger.
I repeated this scenario until age 29 when I entered a Master’s program and started heading down the path of career fulfillment with a clear direction. I was lucky. But it was a LONG road.
If you are in a job that doesn’t measure up to your expectations, but is a means to an end, consider the rewards of making the most of it.
Here are a few tips to feel fulfilled enough for now!
- Adopt an attitude of gratitude
- Be determined to do the very best work you can do, no matter how much you are not loving it
- If time permits, ask coworkers if you can help them.
- Smile and encourage your coworkers
- Act as if you love it for a day and see what happens
- Get coached to change career directions
- Think of your “job” as a living in the present meditation.
- Try to do more of the tasks you enjoy
- Reward yourself for a job well done
- Remember you do have choices.
The road to career happiness often hurls us in a number of directions before we eventually recognize the path we are meant to take. Recognizing that path makes the “means to an end” job so much more palatable.
Shell Mendelson, MS, Career Coach for Adults with ADHD helps clients go from chaos to focused career choice with unparallelled planning and support, www.shellmendelson.com, firstname.lastname@example.org.