Worst Jobs for People with ADHD (7 jobs to avoid)

In this blog post, we will see what the worst jobs for people with ADHD are. We will also find out what are jobs that suit people with ADHD, how to find the right career path for them, identifying their limitations, and what are some things they can do to attain job satisfaction.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterised by hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention. More than half of the kids diagnosed continue to have ADHD into their adulthood. In adults, ADHD manifests as restlessness, difficulty concentrating and being unorganised. 

Worst Jobs for People with ADHD

People with ADHD tend to be excellent at many vocations. They usually tend to struggle in jobs that are dull, boring, and monotonous. 

The worst jobs for people with ADHD include:

  • Legal Clerk
  • Event Planner
  • Customer Service Representative
  • Therapist
  • Clerical jobs

Legal Clerk 

Being a lawyer requires careful analysis of a considerable amount of mundane documents, which makes people with ADHD get easily distracted. Whatever the job may be, such as creating wills, contracts, finding evidence for testimonials, it requires the individual to be detail-oriented. This job makes them restless, and they may make mistakes.

Event Planner 

Despite the nature of the occasion, an event planner is required to plan and figure out logistics to the T. These are areas with which people with ADHD usually have trouble. Moreover, they are expected to put on a smile at all times and perform various societal niceties, also with which people with ADHD may have difficulties.

Customer Service Representative

It could be exhausting for people to make calls throughout the day. Additionally, there may be clients who are rude and may err, so the representative needs to keep their temper in check. People with ADHD tend to be impulsive and may not be able to refrain from reacting badly in such situations, making this job not an ideal one for them.

Therapist  

People with ADHD are empathetic but have a shortage of the neurotransmitter dopamine (plays a role in bringing pleasure) in their brains. Consequently, anything that triggers a rush of dopamine is always desirable for them, which can be, say eating carbohydrates, or even “drama” of any sort. The latter can explain why they have issues in relationships.

Clerical Jobs 

Clerks perform monotonous yet tedious jobs involving excellent organisation, logistical, and time-management skills. They may be executive assistants, library clerks, or even bookkeeping clerks. Apart from specific skills, all of these require general requisites like structure and repetition that people with ADHD would find challenging.

Alternative Jobs for People with ADHD

As psychotherapist Mark Spurlock says in an interview Dr Gina Loudon, focus and interest are directly proportional; as interest declines, focus declines along with it. As a rule of thumb, people with ADHD dislike repetitive, monotonous tasks. On the off chance they do love such responsibilities, it could allow them to tackle some of the problem areas of ADHD.  

Here are some jobs that would engage people with ADHD, as they are creative, interactive and favourable for ADHD attributes like empathy, enthusiasm, and energy:

Teacher and Daycare Worker

Several adults with ADHD rejoice to work with children directly. This job is an excellent source for channelling their dynamic personality and innovative thinking, albeit it may test their patience. It requires them to make decisions quickly and move from one task to another in rapid succession. 

Writer, Editor and Journalist

This field is exciting, makes proper use of their creativity and can be highly rewarding. They have the opportunity to explore a wide array of topics, have meaningful interactions with various people, and produce assignments quickly. All of these cater to many ADHD attributes, such as high energy, low boredom tolerance, and short attention span.

Food Industry

The culinary industry may be satisfying for people with ADHD as it utilises their creativity, demands focus only on the task at hand, and allows flexibility in working hours. Additionally, it does not require too much planning, making it an excellent option for them.

Entrepreneur 

Autonomy and flexibility in work hours and settings are the highlights of being an entrepreneur. Besides that, individuals with ADHD can concentrate on their passion and add meaning to their professional and personal life. 

How to Find the Right Career Path for People with ADHD 

There are several considerations to be made while searching for the right career. These include:

Finding out Interests

Understanding their interests is essential. If they are unaware of this, they would require more experience and opportunities to explore various interests.

Satisfying Activities

It is essential to understand the activities that make them feel energetic and satisfied. Further, recognising what about these activities that bring them energy and fulfilment is also beneficial. Keep this in mind while exploring certain content of jobs in which they are interested.

Skills

Identifying their skillset can aid in choosing an ideal job. Sometimes, an individual’s interests and skills may not align. For instance, if their interest lies in becoming an architect, but they are not detail-oriented, then architecture may be the wrong choice for them.

Inherent Abilities and Talents

Certain things come naturally and effortlessly. If a person with ADHD can identify their talents, they can look for opportunities that provide them with an outlet for these abilities. Doing so would bring them much more happiness than being in one that feels like an uphill battle.

Values

Identifying what is important to them can help bring a sort of holistic satisfaction. For example, an individual who considers spending quality time with loved ones to be vital may find that a time-consuming job (e.g., corporate lawyer), even if enjoyable, would go against their values. 

Identifying Limitations

The list above applies to almost everyone. Following are certain things that apply to people with ADHD:

Level of Disability

Understand their level of disability, whether on or medication or not. Often, people with ADHD may have other conditions, such as generalised anxiety or social anxiety disorder. Such comorbidity may make it even more challenging for them at their workplace. Therefore, it is necessary to identify problem areas to know which jobs would be comfortable for them.

Work Hours

It is imperative to determine whether they prefer a fixed schedule (e.g., nine-to-five), flexible hours, or different types of shifts. Typically, people with ADHD have difficulties related to sleep, so that also needs to be taken into account.

Distractions

What is the level and type of distraction that they can handle? Can they manage to work in spaces where people enter and exit continuously (e.g., restaurant, grocery stores, clinics)? Can they take desk jobs where phones may ring, and emails need to be answered frequently? How do they feel working in teams? Such questions need to be considered.

Stressors

They need to identify stressors such as deadlines, frequency of travel, changes in the work environment, planning for projects, or even presenting or speaking in public. This identification would aid in choosing their job.

What Can People with ADHD Do to Attain Job Satisfaction?

There may be an occasion when a person with or without ADHD may be in the right career but does not enjoy their job. It may be more challenging for people with ADHD to make shifts in their life when such occurrences take place.

Suppose the person, with the help of a professional, discerns they are in the right field, are passionate about their job, and their output is impressive. In that case, they can create processes and systems to manage every aspect of their profession. Doing so would help them feel more grounded and feel better about their abilities, and not like an impostor. 

Many times, people do not consider the possibility that their work environment is toxic. They almost always think that the fault lies with them. In that case, altering the surrounding could be sufficient. Following is a list of signs that the workplace is toxic:

  • Stringent rules that do not enable for subjective creativity and adjustments;
  • Making mistakes are frowned upon instead of being viewed as opportunities to become better;
  • Expected to be responsive at all times, and to reply to emails through the day;
  • Does not factor in employees’ responsibilities independent of work;
  • Lack of teamwork; and
  • The boss is always considered to have the final say with no room for disagreement and discussion.

Conclusion

In this blog post, we saw what the worst jobs for people with ADHD are. Further, we learnt of alternate job options, understood how to and how not to find the right career path for them, while also discovering what they can do to be satisfied professionally. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Worst Jobs for People with ADHD

What is the ideal job for people with ADHD?

People with ADHD can perform great in a job of their choice if it interests them deeply and brings joy to them. Specifically, people with ADHD love working with children directly, so being a teacher or a daycare worker would be an ideal fit. Other great jobs include:

  • Freelance writer or journalist
  • Chef
  • Entrepreneur

Is ADHD a disability?

No, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is not deemed a learning disability. However, as per the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), this can be considered a disability, allowing an eligible student to gain special education services. 

With that said, ADHD is classified under “Other Health Impaired” and not “Specific Learning Disabilities.” It is, however, common for children with ADHD to also have a specific learning disability such as

Does ADHD have an impact on one’s employment?

Usually, people with ADHD quit their jobs as a result of a lack of support from their employers. With adequate understanding and appropriate alterations to optimally tap into their abilities and overcome their difficulties, people with ADHD can be excellent assets to an organisation.

What kind of difficulties do people with ADHD face?

ADHD in adults may manifest as follows:

  • Behaving impulsively
  • Inability to manage time well
  • Difficulty dealing with stress;
  • Being disorganised; 
  • Facing difficulties in prioritisation;
  • Incompletion of tasks;
  • Inability to plan appropriately;
  • Problems with multitasking;
  • Difficulty following through;
  • A low threshold to frustration;
  • Regular shifts in mood; and
  • Short-tempered

Is there anyone famous who has ADHD?

There are close to eight million people currently living with ADHD. Therefore, it is a condition many people have, including some famous personalities, such as:

  • Adam Levine 
  • Michael Phelps
  • Paris Hilton
  • Karina Smirnoff
  • Justin Timberlake
  • Ty Pennington
  • Solange Knowles
  • Simone Biles
  • Howie Mandel

What is the thought process of someone with ADHD?

Individuals with ADHD are usually stuck in their present. They have difficulties learning from past experiences or contemplate their future to understand the ramifications of their actions. This sort of an “acting without thinking” or “impulsive” style is characteristic of their thought process and is a primary reason that disallows them to learn from experience.

Does ADHD imply autism?

No, having ADHD does not mean being on the autism spectrum. However, ADHD and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) share some common symptoms, such as difficulty paying attention and inadequate social skills. It is possible for a person to be diagnosed with both ADHD and autism, according to DSM-5.   

References

Juanita Agboola

Juanita Agboola is the editor in chief of HFNE and an expert in mental health online. She has been writing about online behavior, mental health and psychology issues since 2012. All Guides are reviewed by our editorial team which constitutes various clinical psychologists, PhD and PsyD colleagues.