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.