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Is it time to find a new job?

The connection between work satisfaction and ADHD is pretty clear if you’re living through the frustration. There are all kinds of reasons to leave a job, but taking the actual step of resigning is one best approached with a clear head. This week on the show, Nikki and Pete share a set of questions that can help you frame your own perspective at work and help find clarity in your desire to leave, or stick it out and work for change.

Nikki’s list of probing questions:

  • What’s causing you to even think about this question?
  • How much do you complain about your job? What do you complain most about?
  • How would you describe your relationship with your boss?
  • What about co-workers?
  • If you were still doing this job 2 years from now, would be happy or mad?
  • Are you holding on to your current job because you are afraid of change?
  • Are there more things you like about your job than not like?
  • Can you live with what you don’t like?
  • Is it possible to change some of the things you don’t like?
  • Do you feel supported at your job, do you see opportunities for growth?
  • How does your job affect your physical and mental health?
  • Can you afford to quit your job before finding a new one?
  • Do you feel like you have a good work and life balance?

Episode Transcript

Brought to you by The ADHD Podcast Community on Patreon

Pete: Hello, everybody and welcome to “Taking Control: The ADHD” Podcast on trustory.fm. I’m Pete Wright and right over there is Nikki Kinzer.

Nikki: Well. Hello, everyone. Hello, Pete Wrights. How are you on this fine day?

Pete: I quit, Nikki.

Nikki: You quit?

Pete: I quit.

Nikki: No, you can’t quit.

Pete: I quit. I’m leaving.

Nikki: Well, I can’t quit.

Pete: I’m rolling it up. It’s done. Load intern, load the wagon.

Nikki: Load the wagon.

Pete: We’re hitting the road. We’re getting a new job. That’s what we’re talking about today. When is it time to start thinking, “Ah, hey, should I be looking at a new job?” This is come into us. It’s like a meteor shower. At first, you get hit with the little one and then they get slightly bigger and suddenly, the dinosaurs are at risk and that’s where we are with today’s topic. The dinosaurs are at risk, you know, Pete’s metaphors.

Nikki: Where did that come from?

Pete: Let’s talk about Pete’s metaphors for a minute. Sometimes they work, sometimes the dinosaurs are at risk. So, that’s where we’re gonna go today. Before we do that, head over to takecontroladhd.com. You can get to know us a little bit better. You can listen to this show right there on the homepage, on the website, or you can subscribe to the mailing list and we’ll send you an email each time a new episode is released. You can connect with us on Twitter or Facebook @takecontroladhd as always. And if this show has ever touched you, if it’s ever changed your life in any even in a small way that has made a difference in how you live your life with ADHD, we invite you to consider supporting the show directly by becoming a member at patreon.com/theadhdpodcast. Members get access to the fantastic discord community, the ADHD group, access to the ADHD members-only Facebook page and you get early access to this very podcast with no sponsor-membership messages in it at all. That’s right.

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Let’s start with a question. Would you like me to read it?

Nikki: Yes, please.

Pete: I was just listening to your most recent podcast, and you and Pete both mentioned people in your lives that you think could have ADHD but haven’t been diagnosed. I’ve also encountered people who show signs that are borderline and then people who seem like obvious textbook ADHD cases that haven’t been diagnosed. I wondered if you had thought about doing a podcast episode about how to handle these people when you encounter them. Whether to mention it to them tactfully or just leave it or what? I’ve often wondered what to do because on the one hand, I want to share information that might help them but I don’t want to offend them or diagnose them.

Nikki: There was also a similar question that popped up in the discord feed recently to about same kind of situation. So, I thought it’d be good for us to touch base a little bit on this. We can always do an episode later but I definitely, because this came in now I wanted to address it. So, what do you think, Pete? I’m gonna put you on the spot first.

Pete: Well, in this…you know, the conversation for me started because, you know, the conversation about a family member who said, “You know, I think he’s got ADHD and he’s been living with it all his life.” So, when I run into this case, I tend to handle it with humor, and will often say something just like…because people know I have ADHD. I’m pretty loud and proud about that. So, you know, I’ll run-in with somebody else and I’ll say, “So, how’s your ADHD?” When I see something that’s obviously ADHD-related. I’ll just say it out loud. We’ll laugh about it and it depends kind of how what they’ve been thinking about their experience with ADHD, whether or not we’ll have a conversation about it. What I find is, when they’re ready to have the conversation, that little dose of humor will actually cause them to respond seriously and say, “You know, I’ve been thinking about that. It’s funny you should mention it. It’s funny you should say that out loud.” Then we’ll be able to have a conversation and I’ll have the opportunity to, as our commenter says, to share information that might be helpful in, you know, helping them live their lives. I find…if we just laugh about it, and they don’t respond, they’re not ready to talk about it and I don’t wanna push. I don’t wanna, you know…I certainly I’m not selling anything for God’s sake, you know, I just wanna help them out. So, humor is my short answer.

Nikki: Good too.

Pete: Yeah. What do you do?

Nikki: So, in my situation or in the situations that I’ve been around, humor has not gone over real well with my husband. So, he gets mad.

Pete: That, you know, I gotta say that doesn’t surprise me. I don’t think it would go over well with my wife either.

Nikki: No.

Pete: But there are different reasons for that.

Nikki: Yeah. There’s different reasons for that but, you know, I’ve definitely still on a very serious level said, “You know, you may wanna look into this.”

Pete: But you’re in a different place too, because you’re a coach, like that’s your badge. You come into this with a badge.

Nikki: Right. With my daughter, we’re in the process right now of getting…I don’t know if it’s a diagnosis yet. We’re in the process. We’re in the process of having her get tested. And that was an interesting thing, because I’ve always suspected it for a while. And we have kind of talked about it back and forth and then there was some humor that kind of went into it like, “Oh, okay, there’s your ADHD, you know. What’s going on? Focus, Paige, I’m right here.” You know. And then it got to the point where she had said a couple of things about school that made me think, “Okay, this is not just funny. This is something that we need to address.” Then it became from humor to more seriousness, like we need to go talk to a doctor about this. My daughter is very insightful and so, it wasn’t a hard conversation to have with her about it. Again, you’re right I come from a different background, right. I’ve got the ADHD badge I guess, you say. But with people that you don’t know very well or like co-workers or friends or even extended family members, I think it is a little trickier.

You know, I like your approach of being humorous. And I also like the approach of just being transparent about your own self and saying, “Hey, I have ADHD and man, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been late to something,” or and try to kind of relate to them in a way whatever you’re seeing. I think that can help because then they’ll see that if they really are struggling with, you know, whether this is them or not, and they see you talking about it, it may give them that open door to come in and talk to you about it. I would just be careful not to necessarily say, “Hey, I think you have ADHD,” or be too direct or anything like that, because it could offend somebody. And if they really are, trying to figure that out, it could hurt their feelings. I mean, we just don’t know. But I think if you’re transparent about your own self, and you go into it with a little bit, like, lightness to it, that it will evolve. I mean, something will probably open up if it truly is a diagnosis. But I think it’s great that this question came up because it just shows, you know, that our community cares, right? I mean, we care about other people, we care about what’s going on with them and if we see something that they’re struggling with, we wanna help them. I think that’s a great thing and a great characteristic and whether it’s ADHD or not, it, you know…just keep doing that because that’s really nice.

Pete: Yeah. I love it. Now, let’s seriously quit. Let’s quit the work.

Nikki: Quit. Nah. I don’t quit.

Pete: Under this, it’s…the dinosaurs are struggling.

Nikki: Yeah, those dinosaurs. They quit a long time ago.

Pete: So, this came in inspired by members of our community and the response this morning was I have to say, hysterical. The people who commented to the live stream post saying, “Yeah, I relate.”

Nikki: “It’s this about me?”

Pete: Yeah, right. I assure you, it’s not about you, right? It’s about all of us.

Nikki: As you’re nodding your head, “Yes,” though nobody can see this except for the people who are watching the live stream. But yeah, you are nodding your “Yes.” This is not about yes. It is no.

Pete: This is not about you. It’s about “Yes.” So, I think it’s a great place to have a sober discussion because there’s so much emotion that’s wrapped up into where we contribute a large portion of our lives every single day. So, we feel strongly about these things and it’s very easy when you’re compromised, to get…to respond emotionally, to respond from a place of frustration or anger. So, how do we have this conversation?

Nikki: Like fear.

Pete: Definitely fear, Sure.

Nikki: Yeah. So, as I was telling Pete earlier before we pushed record, this is definitely something that is a very common topic in my conversations with my clients. That maybe they’re not happy in a current job, but they don’t know if it’s time to move on. But they’re also wondering, you know, “Is it something that I could be doing different and I could stay in this job? And maybe there’s a way that this job could be better.” I mean, there’s a lot of different kind of scenarios here. I thought before we kind of go into questions and things like that, if maybe you and I could just, you know, share our experience a little bit about when we left jobs, like what made you decide to actually pull the plug and say, “I’m leaving.”

Pete: Well, that question is not a can of worms at all.

Nikki: I know, right?

Pete: Yeah, sure. Let’s do that. You wanna go first? You want me to go first?

Nikki: I can go first because mine is pretty simple. I mean, if you look at my job history, It’s not anything like real complicated. I think for me, when I look back at my, you know, since I’ve been working since college graduation, it was one of those things that it maybe it started off well, but if I started really dreading it, like, “Oh, man,” Sunday was, like, depressing, you know. Then I probably…I kind of knew that it was probably time to kind of start moving on. I think that when you’re young too, you sort of have this, like, advantage of being able to move on and it’s not that big of a deal because you’re really probably not making that much money anyway. It’s not as hard to leave. You know, there was one particular position that I really hated, and that was being in sales. I just knew that that was not my personality. And so, after doing that for a while I just knew that this was not something I was ever gonna do or be happy with. So, I think that there’s lessons to be learned too when you try new jobs and you realize yeah, this is not for me, or this is for me. But yeah, you know, I never just hated a job so much. I’ve had a pretty good experience for the most part. And then I was just staying at home for a while too before I decided to coach. So, I had that job.

Pete: I think that the frame for this, for my part of this conversation, is all around like pre-ADHD diagnosis and post-ADHD diagnosis. The first job I left was out of television and I had been working at a TV station in Denver, shout out KMGH-TV. And I found myself frustrated about everything. I was frustrated about the guy I worked for, I was frustrated about the work I was doing, even though by all rights, they were giving me amazing, you know, opportunities, right? They taught me new things. This was just at the advent of nonlinear editing for those who, you know, are familiar with some of these things. They gave me avid certification, they gave me all kinds of these great tools that I would have in my resources. I didn’t know why I hated it so much.

Like, I’d grown up in television and I was just really confused and I literally left the country. I moved to Korea to teach and that was a great transition for me. But in hindsight, I have no idea. Like, I now know that it was, in large part, because I didn’t know how to rationalize my ADHD symptoms with the work that I was tasked to do every day and I was confused and I was young, and I just didn’t get it. I came back from Korea and I got a job at a consultancy and I was doing project management consultancy and I found myself… I remember this experience very clearly. Like, I was so frustrated. It was like a tea kettle, you know, that was about to boil over.

One day I was asked to set up an email address for a new employee, a new peer and the new employee’s last name was Neil Brabazon [SP]. It was like long. It was a very long name. And my director, my boss came and said, “You have to use the standard format for the name.” which was, “First name dot Last name,” even though this new person said, “Just use my nickname, JNeil@,” whatever the company was. And my boss said, “You can’t do it. You gotta use the long name.” And I blew up in the middle of the office. I blew up at her about how stupid this email address system was and I walked out of the office. Now, here we are, you know, 20 years later and I look back at that and I think I was frustrated and overstimulated about so many other things that one stupid little task that I don’t even normally have responsibility for at the office caused me to explode, and leave the office. Now, I didn’t quit that day but that was the long road down, you know. That began the road down for me just ending up leaving that job. Since my diagnosis, I haven’t left a single job.

Nikki: Right. That’s interesting.

Pete: So, long story…short story long is what happened.

Nikki: Well, and everybody’s gonna have a different story, right? I mean, everybody has different job experiences and things like that. And I think that if you’re even considering leaving your job, there’s probably something wrong, right?

Pete: Yeah.

Nikki: It wouldn’t even be on your radar if there wasn’t something going on.

Pete: Well, and I think that’s a point I want to make because my experience, because of the way I integrated my ADHD diagnosis into my life and because I got it late and, you know, I guess that’s a part of it. But for me, I put a lot of weight on ADHD as a reason that I was unsatisfied at other jobs. Therefore, my jobs after that… and I haven’t had that many. But the fact that I’ve had so many clients that I’ve been working with for the longest time, I think as a result of me realizing when I am compromised, I go to the ADHD first and try to solve it as an ADHD problem and not as an “I quit” problem. Like, “I hate the job” problem or “I’m not happy with the client” problem.

Nikki: Right. Because there may be an accommodation or something you can do to tweak that a little bit and it will be better for you. Absolutely.

Pete: Exactly.

Nikki: And that’s telling too whether or not it is an ADHD issue versus I just really hate working with this person. Or, you know, this boss is not very nice or whatever. The other words, but we’re gonna stay PG–13 or PG-R. Okay. So, this is the thing. I have some questions because I’m a coach, I ask a lot of questions. What I’d like you to do, Pete, for me, and for our listeners is that, take some of these questions and put them into our show notes so that people don’t have to take notes right now as they’re listening to this podcast.

Pete: All right. So, stop writing, everybody. Stop writing. You can find the show notes. This is Episode 403. Public Service Announcement, if you go to the website, takecontroladhd.com/podcast/403. You just type the number 403 and then hit “Return,” or “Enter,” whatever your keyboard says. You’ll go to the show notes for this episode directly. You can also find them in the podcast player that you’re using right now. So, there you go.

Nikki: Awesome, thank you. So, I’m gonna actually change my plan a little bit here, because you made a really good point about is, you know, where does my ADHD come into play? So, I’m gonna ask the question, and then I’m gonna ask a follow-up question about where does the ADHD come into play? So, gonna be fun. So, first question, of course, is what’s causing you to even think about this question of whether I should stay or go because as we know, if it was not on your radar, there’s not an issue, but there’s a radar. It’s on your radar, there’s an issue. So, what’s causing you to think about it? And what are you complaining about? When you talk about your job, what is the most painful piece of it? Right?

So, we wanna look at what you’re complaining the most about? Then I want to take that to, does this have anything to do with your ADHD? And, you know, is there an accommodation or something that if it was taken away or… you know, it’s so hard because we’re talking about in such broad terms. But I again, I just want you to think about why you’re considering the question, what you’re complaining about and how does that relate to your ADHD, probably the simplest way of putting that. How would you describe your relationship with your boss? Something that I found when I was in HR, Human Resources, is most people when they leave a company, it doesn’t have to do with money which most people think it might, right? “Oh, it’s better pay if I go to this other company.” But that’s not the case. Most people leave because of the relationship that they have with their boss. So, if they don’t have a good relationship with their boss, they’re more likely to leave. Even for less money, they’ll go to a different job because they don’t like working with the person that they’re working for. So, that has a lot to do with, I think making that decision. If you don’t have a good relationship with your supervisor, you know, that’s definitely something you have to think about, because that’s going to be the quality of your days working there, right?

Pete: There’s a wonderful business educator, Roger Martin, who is…he’s now retired, but he’s a big deal. He said “In tasks of the mind, monetary incentives are not sound motivators.” Right?

Nikki: Right.

Pete: In tasks…and that, you were describing exactly that. The research bears out, that you’re not going to be motivated by money or if you are, it will be very short-lived.

Nikki: Right. Absolutely. Well, and I think that the only exception to that would be is if it’s a promotion, more money, you know. It has to have a lot of different aspects to it. You love the company…

Pete: Yeah, it’s very…it’s gotta be about the responsibility or the…yeah, something.

Nikki: Yeah. It’s not strictly just about the money.

Pete: It’s not gonna be about the money. You’re gonna forget that in a matter of weeks.

Nikki: For sure. And you also have to think about your co-workers too. Now, this is the thing. As an HR person, I don’t believe you have to love your co-workers. Like, you don’t have to want to hang out with them after the end of the day, you know. But you do have to get along with them and they have to be important, I guess, right? But you don’t have to love them. So, there is sort of a fine line like, you know, is it okay? Is it workable? You know. But again, if you got a co-worker that you absolutely dislike, you have to think about that or if you feel like they’re sabotaging you in some way, you have to think about that. So, the relationships within the job, I think are gonna make a big difference. If you’re still doing this job two years from now, would you be happy or would you be mad at yourself?

Pete: Yeah. Capturing that self-loathing that handy dandy self-loathing feeling, that judgment that you have been long-suffering and made the wrong decision. This is the “Joe versus the Volcano” syndrome, right? You just when you feel yourself walking up to the gate and your world goes black and white, and all you hear is “16 tons and what do you get,” right? I mean, it’s just singing the blues or are you energized? Is your world in color?

Nikki: Right, Absolutely. Are you holding on to your current job because you are afraid of change? I think fear is probably one of the biggest factors of changing a job and why wouldn’t it be, right? Like, I’m not gonna deny that. I mean, there is a lot of risk when you’re leaving a job. So, I think asking yourself that question is like, “Yeah, I’m just afraid. I’m afraid to leave this job and see what the future is.” Then that’s what you also have to dive into is, you know, let’s tackle that fear and work through that because that will continue keeping you stuck, right? And it is a risk. There is a chance that a new job may not work out. We don’t know. We don’t know what the future holds.

Let’s see. Are there more things that you like about your job than you don’t like? Now, I put this in here for a specific reason because I don’t know if there’s ever just, like, a perfect job where you just love every aspect of it, right? I love my work. I love what I do. I love podcasting. But there are still things that, you know, I would be like “Oh, I could be okay without this part.” Or “I could do this. You know, I’m okay with delegating this out or not doing it at all,” you know. So, no job is perfect. So, I think it is really kind of looking at the pros and cons. Are there more things that you like than you dislike? And are those things that you dislike going back to that ADHD factor? Are there things that you could do to get support or help or somehow be able to accommodate yourself on those things that you don’t like?

Pete: It’s easy when you get in and we’ll use James Ochoa’s words, in an emotional storm to magnify the things that you don’t like and make those all of the things of the job, right? To forget the things that you do like and I think that’s where, you know, doing this sort of an assessment really helps because you, I mean, you should just do a, you know, Ben Franklin T-Square Chart, “I don’t like these, I like these,” and just make a list and give yourself the opportunity to see, to actually have that visual stimulus that says, “There are more things when I itemize them, that I do like than those that I don’t like. I just feel so strongly about the don’t likes right now. How do I attack those? How do I make them better?”

Nikki: Yeah. I have an exercise that I wanna share a little bit later that is kind of similar to that pros and cons that you’re talking about. Let’s see. So, basically, from what you’re saying, can you live with what you don’t like?

Pete: Yeah.

Nikki: You know, are those the things that you can live with? Can you change them? Is it possible to change them? There may not be. I remember you and I doing a podcast a long time ago with the…she does the same type of work that your…what your wife does. The therapist, the…

Pete: The speech path?

Nikki: Yes, thank you. And remember all the paperwork and everything that she was talking about? And you were really honest, you’re like, you know, “My wife deals with this, her co-workers deal with this.” It’s like, there is a lot of paperwork to this and so there are things that we can’t change. It’s just part of the job so you have to decide if it’s something that you can do. Can you accommodate for it? If you can’t, then, you know, is that the opportunity then to work for something different? I don’t know, could be.

Do you feel supported at your job? Do you see opportunities for growth? I think the support again goes back to that relationship that you have with your co-workers and with your boss. How supported you feel about it. Can you afford to quit your job before finding a new one? Now, this is a lot of the fear, right? Is that, “I know I can’t quit right now because I depend on this job.” And so maybe that’s the case but that doesn’t mean that you have to stop looking for a job, you can stay in your job and still be looking for another one, right? So you have to kinda know financially where you stand. I also know people who have quit and given themselves about a month or two before they were to look for another job and they had savings and they were able to afford that. So, it just depends on, you know, your situation.

Pete: I’ve never had that opportunity. When I’ve quit…

Nikki: I haven’t either.

Pete: Yeah. When I’ve quit, I mean, it’s usually been out of, you know, exasperation and effectively giving up on a current situation and always put me in the mode to hustle. But, you know, as we record this now, knowing that it’s going into the archives soon, but, you know, it’s 2019, it’s September and the job market is pretty hot. Like, I just read this article saying that the job market is so hot right now that people are hired and then just not showing up on the first day. Like, they are hired and okay. Like, if that’s the kind of market we’re in, maybe now is a pretty good opportunity to look for something new depending on obviously your field.

Nikki: Yeah, absolutely. Well, and it’s interesting because I haven’t been in that situation either. Whenever I have quit a job, I’ve always had another job lined up. So, I made it a point to look for that other job. So, that’s the other piece that we have to look at, is that if you’re complaining and you’re really upset about this job, you still then at that point, what do you do next? If you’ve already made that choice that, “I am gonna be looking for a new job,” then that’s an active thing that you have to do, you know, and that could take time.

Pete: I would also throw out there from the ADHD perspective that the act of looking for a job is a high signal, high-calorie experience, right?

Nikki: Yeah.

Pete: I mean, looking for a job is a job and depending on you’re aware with all your state, you know, relative to ADHD emotional storms. With your current job, you may find it difficult to go into interviews, to go into the process of preparing cover letters and resumes, you know, while you are under the stress of your current job. You may find that a demotivator and a challenge. So I would just throw out there that you might be in a better space if you not look for a job, but focus on just saving a couple of extra weeks of, you know, of living expenses so that you can officially quit your job and devote yourself, your whole heart to looking for a new opportunity, a new place for you to contribute because I think doing both is a recipe for, well, distraction and confusion and it could be a real challenge.

Nikki: So, I definitely agree that it can definitely be a challenge. And that’s where I would actually say, if you can’t even do the two weeks off or whatever, you know, because that’s still scary. What if you don’t get a job in two weeks? You know, what if you can’t start for another month or a month and a half? If that isn’t the option, you know, get support. Don’t do this on your own. This is a project, so ask somebody to help you break that project down, so it doesn’t seem so overwhelming. And it probably starts with updating your resume, maybe you have somebody look at it. Hire somebody, you know, there’s lots of different resume writers out there if you don’t want to do it yourself. You know, write, get that piece done, update your social profiles, do these things that you need to do, and do it in small pieces, small little chunks so that it’s not so overwhelming.

Pete: Right. Yeah, that’s a great point. I mean, there are a lot of things you can do while you’re searching, while you’re working on another job, especially if you outsource to support teams, right?

Nikki: Right. The last question that I wanna ask is that, you know, how do you feel about your work and life balance? This is a tricky word, balance, what does that even mean? We could have a whole podcast on it, we probably will at some point but I think that is something to think about. I remember, there was a time where my sister was working and she was working incredible hours, overtime hours, and it was crazy. The job that she had, you know, it wasn’t that important. It was like, why are you busting your butt every day on the weekends to get this stuff done when, you know, in the reality of it, it can be done on Monday? You know, or it can be… It’s not your fault that you’re that backed up. It’s kind of the company’s fault that they didn’t have, you know, enough people to do the work.

So, it was really kind of this, like, sit down, think about whether this was worth sacrificing the time that she was, you know, giving away when the work she was doing was very tedious, it wasn’t that… I mean, it was important to the company, but it wasn’t, like, she wasn’t a brain surgeon, you know, she wasn’t saving people’s lives, she wasn’t going into buildings that were on fire. I mean, this was just clerical work that was backed up, and it’s like, you have to decide, what is that boundary for you? A job. I remember when I first graduated from college, my mom said to me, you know, “A job is just a job. If you don’t like it, get a new one. You spend too much time there to not like it, so just get a new one.” And that’s what he said for me.

Pete: Same thing can be said for mattresses. You spend too much time there to not be in one that you like.

Nikki: That you like. That’s right.

Pete: It should do the same thing. This is amazing. You know what? I feel like I’ve really recovered from that dinosaur metaphor. Mattresses and jobs, now that’s something I can really sink my teeth into because they should both…

Nikki: That’s totally something I would have thought of.

Pete: Yeah. They should do the same thing. You should feel nourished and warm…

Nikki: Rested.

Pete: And rested and encouraged. This is great. No, mattresses and jobs. You’re welcome, world.

Nikki: That’s right. Great. Okay, moving on. So, let’s say you’re looking for a new job, Pete, right? Let’s say you’ve answered all these questions and you’re like, “Yes, I’m ready. I’m moving on.” What do you look for when you have ADHD because you have to consider your ADHD when you are looking for a new job? The first thing that I have to suggest and I think anybody would suggest, if you were to do research on this, is do what you love. If at all possible, do something you’re passionate about. You know, I was reading an article about this and they were saying, “Make a list. What are you good at? What do you like to do? And what will somebody actually pay you to do?”

I mean, this is a good starting point, you know. What do you…I can’t speak. What are you good at? What do you like? What are you passionate about? What will somebody pay you…I mean, there’s so many options and so, part of looking for a new job, I would say, doesn’t even necessarily have to be to get your resume ready. Just start doing some research, you should start looking to see what kind of positions are out there, network, talk to people, do informational interviews. If there’s a position that somebody has that you’re interested in, ask to see if you can talk to them about it. You know, those are the things that you want to start with because with the ADHD, and you know this, Pete, if you don’t like your job, if it’s boring, you’re not gonna stay. You’re just not gonna… It’s not gonna work out.

Pete: Right. The little things will either become massive things, or they’ll become forgotten altogether.

Nikki: Right. Focus on your strengths. I think this also goes into doing what you love. If you’re creative, look for jobs that offer that opportunity for new ideas. Look for jobs that have a lot of variety in them where you’re not doing the same thing over and over again so that you can use your creativity. If you work well under pressure, find a job that is quick pace, constantly changing. I think about the firefighters, paramedics, nurses. Those people, you know, are really good under pressure and they’re calm. 911 operators, you know, all of these different positions that could use somebody that has that adrenaline. If you are social and you love working with people, look for those jobs where you’re of a service, you know, whether that’s customer service, helping the elderly, helping children, teachers, all of those kinds of things, you know, are gonna get you that social peace that you need. And if you really enjoy helping people, it’s gonna give you that peace too.

When you’re interviewing with people, please highlight your strengths and be proud of them and talk them up. You’re not arrogant by doing this. You’re not looking like you’re, you know, you have a big head. You’re competent and I think it’s really important that we recognize the things that you’re really good at and those are the places that you’re going to thrive. If you already know you don’t like something, don’t try to think that you’re gonna like it all of a sudden at a different place.

Pete: Oh, thank you, because you hear this all the time. Oh, this is such a good one. When you’re hiring manager will tell you something and you’ll hear it and it’s a trigger and you realize, “Oh, I don’t like that,” but then they say something like this, “Don’t worry, it’s a small part of the job.” Right? That should be the trigger. “Don’t worry, it’s a small part of the job” means, “Well, that’s a job I’m going to completely ignore.” If it’s part of your responsibilities and you hate it, that’s not a good job for you.

Nikki: Right. Absolutely.

Pete: Yeah, that’s the worst. I’ve made that mistake, it’s a bad one.

Nikki: Well, and it’s interesting too because I think we fool ourselves. Like, if you hate being in the insurance industry, just going to a different insurance company is not gonna make a difference.

Pete: Right, and you see this all the time in insurance, in pharmaceutical sales in, like, those are people…

Nikki: All of them.

Pete: Yeah, they have a unique set of skills, and they end up bouncing from company to company thinking, “Oh, it’s a different drug that makes me feel better about my contribution.” But that doesn’t last very long.

Nikki: But it doesn’t last very long.

Pete: If you don’t love it, it’s not for you.

Nikki: I gotta tell you, I had a client who was in between…he was going to school and looking for a job, and I just loved his insight because he said, you know,…and he was just looking for like a grocery type of job, just a part time position to kind of get him through school. And he’s like, “But I gotta tell you, Nikki, I’ve worked in the deli before and I hated it. I’m not going back to the deli.” I’m like, “I really get that. Like, good for you for knowing that you don’t like it, and even though there may be an opening at the deli, doesn’t mean you need to go get it because, you know, there’s other jobs.”

Pete: And seriously, if you’ve ever been to a deli and asked for meat from someone who hates their job, you can tell right away because you always… I get this. We have somebody at our deli that hates their job and when I say I’d like ham, and I’d like it shaved, I want thin-sliced ham and they hate that. So they say, “Okay. How much now?” Oh, they hate it. They just hate it. That’s not a good job for you.

Nikki: No. Last point of this, but I still have a few more things to talk about. This is a longer show than I expected. I’m so sorry.

Pete: That’s my fault.

Nikki: I think it’s important that when you’re looking for a job and this is for anybody, whether you have ADHD or not, you gotta look at the company’s culture. And if you get the sense that they’re very corporate and everything has to be done by the book, and they’re very, you know, rule-oriented, it’s probably not gonna be the best place for you. Now, you might like the structure, but at some point, it’s probably not gonna be the right place. You gotta look at the background, like, do your research, look at the company culture, do you need something that’s maybe a little bit more laid back, a little bit more creative, a little bit more, you know, willing to think outside the box?

You know, just do your research, ask those questions at the interview, because you don’t have the job yet, so you’re not at any, like, you know, you’re not really going to hurt yourself by asking these questions about their culture. How would you explain it? You don’t have to tell them what you think or what you want, but have them explain what it’s like to work there. What was it like for this person who I’m replacing? What was it like for them? What was their day to day like? Why did they leave? Why are you hiring this position? Like, get those questions answered. This is just as much of an interview of you to them as it is to them to you. And you want to, you know, do your research and when you find the right one, you’ll be excited about it.

Pete: That’s right. Yeah, that’s a great point, and don’t forget it, that you have every right to ask the same questions back, the very same questions. Why is this position open? How often is it open?

Nikki: Now, it’s been a long time since I have interviewed. So, I don’t know what it’s like in today’s, you know, environment. I know back when I did it, I didn’t get a lot of questions back. And when I did, I really appreciated it.

Pete: Yeah. You’re talking about you as a hiring manager.

Nikki: As a hiring manager, yeah. And very rarely did I get people to actually ask me questions. Yeah. So, this is the little thing that I wanna share with you. I was working with a client, and how she did this was in a different context because she was actually doing it for an educational decision that she had to make. But we were talking about how you could do this process that she went through if you were looking for a job. So I wanna go through it, and I thought it was really creative and it’s really good for people who may feel like they have Imposter Syndrome. So, let’s say, you’re offered a job and you’re not sure if you should take it or not, because Imposter Syndrome has come over you, like the dinosaurs.

Pete: Right. Duck.

Nikki: Right?

Pete: Right.

Nikki: Those dinosaurs, the little ones think they’re big, the big ones think they’re little, it’s just a mess. So, to be clear of what Imposter Syndrome is, it’s the persistent inability to believe that one’s success is deserved, or has been legitimately achieved as a result of one’s own efforts or skills. So, it’s really that idea of, “Oh, what if I get found out? Like, I’m not as much of an expert as I thought I was.” Or, “I am an expert, but they think I’m more of an expert. What if, they find that out that I don’t have all the answers?”

Pete: “I hope I’m not tested because I won’t live up to it.” Yeah.

Nikki: Right.

Pete: It’s an old fav around these parts.

Nikki: It is. Yeah, it’s a constant fight. But this is what the idea was. So, my client, what she did is, she used, kind of, a mind mapping method, and so, I’m gonna just again, kind of, take this into the context of looking for a job. So, you use a mind… kind of, think about a mind map, and you breakdown the job description in categories. So, whether that’s like a group of tasks that you have to have or these are like the responsibilities, and you can use a job description, kind of, as your guide, right? Because most job descriptions are pretty organized in that way, like, you know, “This is the job you’re gonna be doing. These are the tasks that you have to do or the skills you have to have.”

So, one group of tasks is sort of, like, the brain, and then the branches can be like the different skills that it will take for you to do that task. What she did is, she went through each of the skills and circled with a green pen the ones that…I shouldn’t say her, because she did it in a different context. What you’re gonna do as a listener, is you’re gonna go through the skills and circle with green what you know you are 100% comfortable with. “I know this skill, I know how to do this task, I know how to do it well, I mean, I feel really good about it. I’m going to circle green.” Circle yellow for any of those things that you maybe have knowledge about but you could probably still use some training or, you know, gain some more experience but you know, you’re okay, like, you could be all right. And then circle red if you have no knowledge or experience with the skill.

So, this could be something that you’ve just never done before, or you don’t know a lot about. Now, you look at how many greens, yellows and reds do you have. What she was telling me from an academic perspective is that when you actually start to look at the green, yellow and red, it really does give you a different outlook of what you know, what you think you know, what you don’t think you know and it can help you kind of put things in perspective of, “Am I ready to take this job or am I not?” because there’s more reds than greens, and I really don’t know this skill, or I’m really not comfortable with this. So, I thought it was a really interesting kind of creative way of taking a pros and cons list and actually take it even a little deeper into what you really know.

Pete: I love that. It’s a visual indicator of confidence. I adore it.

Nikki: Isn’t it great?

Pete: I think that’s really wonderful. You know, I mean, we could do that. We should be doing that for our own jobs and responsibilities right now. What a great way…if you’re on the fence at all, what a great way to sort of pivot, to write down your responsibilities and say not only what…not just what I’m comfortable doing, if you’re looking for a job, but what am I comfortable doing now? And comfort might mean, “I’m happy and engaged when I’m doing this work,” and you circle in red the stuff that I’m enraged when I’m doing this work.

Nikki: That’s right.

Pete: I put off this work, right. And by the end, you’ll have a great sort of weighted visual indicator of the confidence you might have to stay in the job that you’re currently in.

Nikki: Oh, I love that. I mean, that’s a great way of doing that. How many reds do you have compared to green?

Pete: Yeah, and yellows might be things that are…you’re on the fence on that maybe with some tweaking and accommodations, you could turn those green.

Nikki: Right.

Pete: Oh, I love it.

Nikki: And something else that I just wanna add that I was thinking about when we were talking about this is that, it can also not only help when you have had that job offer but let’s say that you’re afraid to apply for a job because you’re not really sure how your skill-set is going to come into that because maybe it’s a different industry. Well, this is another great exercise to do, is to break down what those tasks would be in that job and then what are your skills that would apply to those tasks. Because maybe you’ve never done that specific job before but you have excellent customer service experience, you have excellent computer experience and, you know, having to deal with uncomfortable situations, well, that could work into this task. So, when you go into an interview, now you can really talk about how your strengths and skills apply to that job.

Pete: Oh, yeah. That’s perfect.

Nikki: Yeah, this is good.

Pete: It’s great. What a wonderful tool, yeah.

Nikki: It’s great, I know. Thank you.

Pete: We’re gonna use this for more stuff.

Nikki: Yeah, I know. When she told me this last week, I’m like, “Can I put this in the podcast?” because this is really good.

Pete: It’s really good.

Nikki: Yeah, and she’s like, “Sure.” So, I love it.

Pete: Huge one.

Nikki: Yep.

Pete: All right. You know what? Can we get…does she…just ask if she has an example of her journey that’s, like, anonymized that we could maybe put up as a screenshot. That would be really fun. I’d love to show people what that journey looked like.

Nikki: I’ll ask her. I know she has an example because she showed it to me, but I have to ask if she’d be willing to…

Pete: Get permission to use it.

Nikki: To share it to the public, I don’t know.

Pete: It’s delightful, yeah.

Nikki: But it’s a great idea and I love it.

Pete: This is great. Thank you, everybody, for downloading and listening. Once again you can find the show notes and hopefully a picture of this handy tool at takecontroladhd.com/podcast/403. Episode 403, can you believe 403 episodes?

Nikki: It’s crazy, isn’t it?

Pete: It’s bananas. Thank you, everybody, for your time and attention on behalf of Nikki Kinzer, I’m Pete Wright and we’ll catch you next time right here on “Taking Control: The ADHD Podcast.”

Through Taking Control: The ADHD Podcast, Nikki Kinzer and Pete Wright strive to help listeners with support, life management strategies, and time and technology tips, dedicated to anyone looking to take control of their lives in the face ADHD.
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