Ask Kari: How do I stop ADHD from ruining my career?

Dear Kari,

I am soon to be a new college graduate, and I have ADHD. I have always struggled with getting organized for school, but now that I am heading into the workforce, I am scared my ADHD will keep me from being successful in the career I worked for in college. I am trained to be an accountant and want to join a successful firm. How can I be successful?

– Newbie to the Workforce

Dear Newbie to the Workforce,

First, congratulations on your upcoming graduation from college! Second, congratulations on working through your challenges with ADHD and successfully getting through our educational system that does not always make it easy for individuals with ADHD to succeed.

As you start to look for work, remind yourself of your past and current successes, modeling for yourself that you are smarter and better organized than you probably give yourself credit. You would not have achieved what you have already done without adapting your ADHD to your environment. You will do so again in the future in a new work environment.

To prepare yourself for success, I recommend the following:

Use lists, both daily and weekly.
Use a watch/timer to manage your activities/day.
Make a schedule for the work week and one for the weekend. These schedules can have flexibility in them (e.g. flipping a task for another task, moving downtime to work time).
Exercise to help manage your energy each day.

Additionally, I recommend you coordinate care with your primary care doctor and psychiatrist to ensure, if you need medication as an additional form of support for your ADHD, you also have that as a tool. Good luck, you will do great!

– Kari

As published in the May 2021 issue of Connections.

About Kari:

Kari O’Neill, MSW, LICSW, is a licensed independent clinical social worker and a resident of Issaquah Highlands.

This column is for entertainment purposes only. If you are in crisis and in need of support please contact the Crisis Clinic at 866-427-4747.