I was reading an article recently about whether you should or should not disclose your invisible disability (LD, hearing impairment, seizure disorder, ADHD, etc.) to potential bosses. The answer was a loud and clear NO. Why? Because, even in this day and age, you still risk being stigmatized, losing potential job opportunities. One woman, with a hearing impairment, feared she’d be seen as “old” and incapable, so she told no one of her struggles.
Even though there are laws in place (ADA) to protect people with disabilities from being discriminated against, it still happens. Over and over again. In fact, I hear about this all the time from adults with ADHD who chose to share with their employer that they have ADHD. Sadly, it’s a rare occasion that an employer will understand and offer support to an employee who discloses.
So what do you do?
I advise people with ADHD to, in most cases not disclose their ADHD to a potential employer but instead, talk in general terms of their areas of difficulty and offer solutions.
For example, if you are distracted by too many people coming and going in your office, say that you want to give your very best effort and having few(er) distractions would ensure better quality work. If you’re restless and have a desk job, take frequent breaks by visiting the water cooler. Or work while standing up, if possible.
Fidgets are a great way to maintain focus. Here are some great ones that are small enough to hold in your hand or keep on your desk or in your purse: FIDGETS.
If people are constantly interrupting you, throwing you off course, put a sign up on your door or desk “Please do not Interrupt.” Let calls go to voice mail. Set up a visible schedule where you have blocks of time open when people know they can chat with you.
It’s all a very sticky situation and sadly, we have a long way to go before employers can understand the strengths, gifts, and capabilities people with ADHD bring to the table.
Have you figured out how to make your ADHD work for you on the job? Please share your story with others by clicking below in the comment section.
I mention that I work best on a project basis, since I have found that putting work in perspective of a project helps me to focus better.
I was actually pre diagnosed with Adult ADHD in 2007? because of various employment issues but it progressed and then I was diagnosed with BP disorder. It is so difficult not to hide or reveal it to your employer when things “kept going wrong” in their standards! I had to talk to my employer about it because it interfered with my work all the time and caused me more harm than good. I worked in a well known grocery chain of stores and because of my disability, I was subsequently fired now I am in the process of suing them! I really think its up to the person suffering with the disability if they should/should not tell, although I agree with the article …. I had to tell and ask for help! When I told I was able to get an adequate diagnosis, the firing came later! Its up to you! #GODSPEED
I don’t tell anyone in job place. I’m also hearing impaired and no one knows at work place I hide it well. I can read lips at times.and since my hair is long I cover my hearing aids. It’s very hard. After 25 years working as a nurse assistant, I just moved to another state and I’m having a hard time finding work.
NO I will not share my disabilities with no one. I feel is up to how you feel. I’m 54, I work out every day and I’m always on the go. This is who I am.
Great question. I really do wonder if there’s a difference between social acceptance in the US versus Canada, city versus rural. I work in a part-time job in a small rural town where a couple of us were very out about our ADHD and it wasn’t an issue in any regard.
On the other hand, I have heard of professionals being fired from their jobs in Canadian cities for disclosing, so I do wonder…
Admittedly, I didn’t come out until I forgot to take my meds and made a very big error at work. I felt so badly about it. My mistake was a first in three years, so I decided to reveal the reason why I’d screwed up. I wrote about it in my blog post, OMG! I Came Out at Work Today!
Psych Central followed up with the question on their Facebook page and the answer (from dozens of readers) was a resounding “NO” – one should NOT reveal their ADHD (or any other mental health condition) in their workplace.