Time was, when we were younger and had more energy, people who wanted a job would easily get one.
The key word here is wanted.
People who really wanted to work and make money could find jobs that paid anywhere from $1.25 to $3.00 per hour. I’m talking about most of my friends from college, but if a head of household made $10,000 per year, he or the occasional she, made a fantastic salary.
I even had a friend who got a job at a local bank in the evenings working for the new Master Card system. She made the enviable salary of $500.00 per month. To me, it seemed a fortune.
Scott never seemed to be without a job in those days, either, and he wasn’t afraid to work difficult hours such as third shift. If it paid his bills and gave him spending money, he was willing to work.
He tells of the years when he was a teen and worked at the neighborhood drive-in movie. One of his jobs was to pick up trash throughout the parking area: beer cans, candy wrappers, used diapers, and used condoms. Yes, it was work that suited his ADHD because he could move around a lot and get snacks from the snack bar.
It didn’t pay much, about $.75 per hour, but that salary and free cokes made up for the humiliation of trashing the condoms and dirty diapers.
In the early 1970’s we knew nothing about ADHD or disclosure or other Human Resource protections. A person applied for a job, seldom, if ever, negotiated salary or benefits, and worked at it until the employee or employer got tired of the relationship.
After working at a metal-treat company for a few months, Scott got a job at a local aircraft company two weeks before we married. It was an increase in pay and had good benefits. Two weeks really cut it close to our wedding, but that is how he did things in those days.
Actually I can’t guarantee that he wouldn’t do things the same way these days, if he could.
That first aircraft job proved a good fit for him; he worked in shipping and receiving from 3:30 pm to midnight. The hours gave him time for college courses during the day, where he took classes in whatever appealed to him such as French.
His mother worried that his hours would put a strain on our young marriage, but we made it through that first year when he transferred to Parts Catalog and used his people skills obtaining parts for broken airplanes.
Again it fit his need for variety and flexibility, and allowed him to walk around his work area. But when the opportunity came for him to apply for a job in Technical Publications, he did so. He said, “This is an OK job, but now I need more. I was looking for a job when I found this one.” He got the Tech Pub job two weeks before our second child was born. He stayed there until retirement for the simple reason he had a family to support.
Again it often provided the fit he needed for ADHD.
You might ask, “So what can I learn from this?”
1. Persons with ADHD want to work. They are not lazy, but they may find it difficult to hold a job for long periods of time. They also are the same people with creativity and talents that benefit many companies.
2. Employment is a highly important goal for persons with ADHD, and jobs can provide the structure needed to progress in life. Work limitations provide needed boundaries.
3. A good fit might mean a variety of tasks the worker can flow back and forth between when bored. It can mean customer relations skills and a keen, quick ability to learn new tasks.
4. Persons with ADHD should always look for work that best fits their interests and ADHD needs. These will vary and be highly individualized.
I encourage the person with ADHD to look closely at his or her own strengths when choosing a job. Talents and successes form an inside-out relationship which can make employment a win-win accomplishment.