View Full Version : Can't Hold A Job Because Of How I LOOK with ADD


bpike11
07-07-16, 11:53 PM
I have pretty bad ADD/Sluggish Cognitive Tempo. At the workplace (waiter/bartender) I have found that when I really put my mind to it, I can get my condition under control to the extent that I can multitask, work really fast in a short time, and essentially do an excellent job. I can fix most of the cognitive symptoms that the disorder causes. However, what I can't fix is how my face physically looks as a result of the disorder, in that I pretty much always look like I don't want to be there, am bored, and don't care at all about the task at hand. I am giving off this look even if the opposite is clearly the case (in that I am working incredibly hard, all the customers think I'm a great guy, making the most tips of anyone, etc...) . Because of this, my bosses usually judge me that I'm not even trying even if the reality is that I am actually doing the most work of anyone (and even if all my customers like me.) People think I'm being dismissive when I'm not.

This causes me to feel like I am being prejudiced against to a degree. It's like even if I am actually doing an amazing job and clearly really care about it, because of how my face looks, it's not good enough and I'm just inherently screwed.

Additionally close people to me often tell me that I'm being rude and dismissive, based solely on how my face looks, when inside I feel I'm being the exact opposite

I feel like when I take medicine for the disorder it's really just to fix the superficial negative effects of it (so that I give off the look that I'm a hard worker as well as actually being one) and I feel like I'm conforming to how generally superficial society is (which I feel is really a lame reason to take medication!)

This thing has been bugging me for a really long time now, and I am wondering about other people who have had similar experiences.

Fuzzy12
07-08-16, 01:50 AM
People often read ny face expression wrongly too. If your customers are happy your bosses shouldn't have a problem with your face.

Cyllya
07-08-16, 01:52 AM
I have that problem to a very small degree, but it seems like a more common issue with autism spectrum disorder, where it's actually listed in the diagnostic criteria.

I think the term for this is "reduced affect display (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reduced_affect_display)" (and flat affect, etc).

I do think it's pretty stupid for your bosses or anyone to base so much on your facial expression. It's bad enough that their communication skills are so stunted that they base their conclusion on ONLY your facial expression when all other evidence points to a different conclusion, but it's also kind of nuts that they care that much about how much you care. If you were actually able to do a good job without caring, shouldn't that be okay? Why do they need you to care? (Power trip, maybe. Employers usually want people who will stick around at the job for a while, and in many cases, that means they value people who are kind of desperate.)

sarahsweets
07-08-16, 04:29 AM
Have you ever heard of "resting b*tch face"? (try google)I am not saying this is you, but sometimes I think it can be me. I am usually the kind of person that is easy to read. My feelings are always out there, and I usually share them. However when I am in an environment where everything is unfamiliar and Im by myself I tend to hide the emotions behind a mask which can seem like I am standoffish. I think its a form of self protection in an unknown environment. I dont mean for it to look this way.

Its EXTREMELY rude for your employer to criticize you based on how they think you feel by looking at you. Thats just a silly way to evaluate someone. Most people hide behind an invisible when they are anxious, and some people just appear a certain way until you get to know them. Unless you are walking around with a scowl on your face I think its way out of line for anyone to base your performance off of how you look.

By that logic, women are at fault for assault because "they looked like they wanted it" or dressed too sexy.

Pilgrim
07-08-16, 07:18 AM
I can relate to the feeling you get. Maybe one problem is that you think this way. I use to get a complex about what my bosses thought in regards to this. Medication helps me here. Normally, if medicated, if I've been dismissed it's due to another reason.

Also, I find that the right type of work is necessary to a fault. I worked in hospitality, couldn't do it again, just to much customer focus. I think there is something a little subconscious about this. If all else fails, if I turn up on time and do my job, the world can go to hell.

Little Missy
07-08-16, 09:39 AM
Are you saying that you have been fired from jobs because of how you look?

stef
07-08-16, 09:52 AM
I've had a problem with this recently. When I'm concentrating and busy I can look "indifferent. In past jobs this was good; but for months this bothered my boss because he thought I "didn't care". I kept making a lot of mistakes, so kept getting annoyed (understandably) and i was just trying to stay calm. I actually have to rush around if he needs copies or whatever, and "look" very busy.

Little Missy
07-08-16, 10:07 AM
I've had a problem with this recently. When I'm concentrating and busy I can look "indifferent. In past jobs this was good; but for months this bothered my boss because he thought I "didn't care". I kept making a lot of mistakes, so kept getting annoyed (understandably) and i was just trying to stay calm. I actually have to rush around if he needs copies or whatever, and "look" very busy.

With a smile plastered on your face. :eek:

I used to be picked on by the other waitresses for being happy and in a good mood. :confused:

stef
07-08-16, 10:25 AM
With a smile plastered on your face. :eek:

I used to be picked on by the other waitresses for being happy and in a good mood. :confused:

Not too happy though.
Well aren't waitresses supposed to be in good moods though? I mean bright and friendly ..?

Pilgrim
07-11-16, 09:35 PM
I've had a problem with this recently. When I'm concentrating and busy I can look "indifferent. In past jobs this was good; but for months this bothered my boss because he thought I "didn't care". I kept making a lot of mistakes, so kept getting annoyed (understandably) and i was just trying to stay calm. I actually have to rush around if he needs copies or whatever, and "look" very busy.

Actually I have found this recently, I'm a contractor, and due to my disposition, two people have basically picked on my presentation, ironically that's what I'm not about at all. My experience is that they have an issue of their own.

Tetrahedra
07-13-16, 09:23 PM
Are you sure that they're treating you a certain way due to your facial expression, or are you assuming that this is why? Maybe there's something else that you're doing that you aren't aware about, or maybe you're not as happy/positive as you think you are. Is there a way to get feed back?

Shessuchariot
07-13-16, 11:37 PM
I've had this all of my life too. I can utterly be full od rainbows and lollipops inside, but on the outside people think I look angry or sad. I always hear "smile more", even when I think I'm amiling. Guess my smile looks like a scowl. At times though I really am numb and emotionless. I have empathy and lack it all at the same time. When in that sort of mood, I totally get the comments, but when I'm generally upbeat and positive it can be really hard to hear those comments. If you're doing a good job though, that is no means to get fired.

stef
07-14-16, 11:50 AM
As i posted elseHere i went into town this morning with no " plan" ( not a peoblem - i had a couhple of errands and its a holiday)

so i had a coffee and i was trying to fix my makeup in the ladies. room ( thinking how tired i looked and trying to remember whet the hell i was supposed to get at the store, and what to make for dinner tomorrow) and this girl asked me if i was ok because i seemed stressed. ok so that's how i look sometimes! yikes. i was fine and in a good mood actually

Corina86
07-14-16, 01:51 PM
I look... stupid. I'm not joking or having low self-esteem here. I look younger than my age, since I have a small frame, I have big eyes, heavy eyelids, a slightely droopy face, a very "dull" unfocused look, small mouth and I often realize that people talk to me like they would talk to a child. Plenty of people with whom I've talked to on the phone or through mails were absolutely shocked when they saw me in real life.

And I have a resting b**ch face. If I don't make an effort to smile, people think I'm upset either in general or at them. It's the downside of my inability to focus on things: either I stare into space or, if I make an effort to look at a person, it's forced and weird. Other times, I'm daydreaming and I can't even see what's in front of me, but people still think I'm looking at them. Again, it's something I've been told, it's not out of my own head.

Yes, how you look influences how people treat you and how they feel about you. The only way to overcome that is to make an effort to look extra friendly, by smiling all the time or by getting a job in which it's not so important. Medication didn't help much because it doesn't change my appearance. Glasses make me look less dull-eyed, as for the unfriendly face, I work in accounting so friendliness isn't a necessary trait anyway. I'm still pretty avoided by others at social events and I have to put in a lot of extra work to socialize, but that's just a personal frustration.

cwf1986
12-23-16, 02:20 AM
Maybe this thread will never get looked at again, but who knows. Just in case it does, I just want to add another perspective.

My natural state is most of the time fairly emotionless and flat. This used to also be the way I appear. This has made me pretty good at science because it gives me a level of objectivity that most don't have, but also makes social interaction more difficult.

So I took it upon myself to see it as a skill that can be worked. Maybe I don't feel like smiling, but I do it anyway. I just try to appear more vivacious and enthusiastic. I work in Grocery and have done other customer service jobs and have had a lot of opportunity to practice.

After being treated with ADHD with the right medications, this process has greatly accelerated and I have been learning to do this much much better.

Pretty, I just faked it until I made it and it's much more automatic now.

ginniebean
12-23-16, 02:43 AM
i can't see someone with sluggish cognitive tempo even beung able to bartend. i did so for years. You constantly have 20 things on the go and juggling orders all the time. Cinsider that your flat affect has nothing to do with sluggish cognitive tempo.

having done this job, my best advice is to practice the smule, you never have any problems, your life is pure bliss. Trust me the customers do not care. that is for your private life. i also have flat affect (expressionless face) I had to learn to keep a slight smile at all times.

GoalieMel33
12-25-16, 10:10 AM
I can relate to your post a lot. I've never been expressive of my emotions nor reactive in my face. It's not that I don't feel anything, I just don't show it (I'm shy so I don't always act 100% myself unless I get to know them). People misinterpret my (lack) of affect/''poker face'' all the time.

It has been an issue sometimes, especially when I'm focused. Once on a grocery packing job, I gave a pretty good performance but my supervisor kept telling me that I needed to smile more (very familiar comment). Well I spoke politely to clients, watched my tone even though I might have appeared busy but guess that wasn't enough. If I force myself to smile, it comes off as terribly fake haha

It's frustrating because I'm working my butt off to do well, making sure that they get nice service but I just look like I don't care about clients/being rude/etc.
Same thing at the gym. When I'm into my zone, I might seem mad and about to rip someone's head off, but I'm really just concentrated lol

When you mentioned how you felt your appearance (face) sometimes undermined your efforts, it hit home. I often get the impression that how people see me (that and some aspects of my reserved personality) get in the way of proving what I'm truly capable of.

cwf1986
12-27-16, 02:44 AM
I totally get the forcing myself to smile looks really fake.

But I also found that like many other skills, the more I did it the more natural it became.

There are many many customer service employees who do this every day. They are not smiling because they are that happy all day, but they're doing it because it's one of the skills required to do their job better.

roflwaffle
12-29-16, 05:30 PM
In my experience it's a combination of things.

* Without medication, I think I rate my performance higher than if I was on medication, which is I guess common with ADD.
* Because of the higher emotional volatility, I've spent most of my life putting a wall between my emotions and my behavior, which leads people to make all kinds of assumptions about how enthusiastic, committed, and so on I am because a side effect of that wall is that I always look bleh.
* I also have trouble engaging in things I don't find interesting, which isn't looked at in a positive way.

If you're like me, than I'm guessing you're internally overemphasizing your strengths and under-emphasizing your weaknesses. You may also be bored silly sometimes, and almost always withdrawn to some degree.

Being bored easily and having my walls up led to people thinking I didn't care about "X", even if I did and just couldn't focus on it because it would put me to sleep, or even I could focus on it, but wasn't as into it as much as most people would have been. I would also overemphasize how good I was at things, probably because I enjoyed doing those things, and would under-emphasize the things I wasn't interested in doing because they were boring, even if my performance wasn't where other people thought it should be. To make matters worse, most people are loss averse, and will focus more on under-performance than on over-performance, even if the net is a positive.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loss_aversion

*eg I take 2 hours instead of 1 hour to do task A, but I can also do task B in 1 hour instead of the 4 hours it takes most other people to complete that task. People tend to magnify the loss (working half the speed on task A) and minimize the gain (working four times the speed on task B), even if the net is positive and more work can be done if they would just allocate the tasks I'm supposed to do differently.

julialouise
01-04-17, 11:34 PM
I've had a problem with this recently. When I'm concentrating and busy I can look "indifferent. In past jobs this was good; but for months this bothered my boss because he thought I "didn't care". I kept making a lot of mistakes, so kept getting annoyed (understandably) and i was just trying to stay calm. I actually have to rush around if he needs copies or whatever, and "look" very busy.

i was NEVER able to hold a smile while performing ballet as a kid.... how could i focus on the steps AND smiling at the same time????

Goofycook
01-05-17, 12:17 PM
Ive been straight faced all my life. people always ask me whats a matter usually when I'm hyper-focusing. Other times people I wear my heart on my sleeve. can anyone tell me how it is possible to be both?

20thcenturyfox
01-08-17, 04:28 PM
...and that everyone else thought it made them look like morons.

So I'm surprised to see people from UK, France, Romania and Australia all identifying with this problem.

So is it now a global phenomenon that we must all look "friendly" all the time, rather than merely diligent, respectful, competent, etc?

CranialSlurpee
02-14-17, 08:08 PM
I had this exact problem at my last job. I worked at a products store and ran the whole place by myself, register (ugh), stocking, cleaning, helping customers, etc. I did my work so efficiently that I had to INVENT new tasks to do. At no point on the camera would the boss see me not moving and completing a task. I did everything 5x faster than my co-workers and they complained about having nothing to do on their shifts. Customers liked me more than my co-workers (I had one "rude" customer in 6 months; they had them daily) and I knew all the information on the products in a week whereas my co-workers didn't after months, so customers were always satisfied with the information they asked of me. By some miracle I managed to never be down at the end of the day too. Despite this the boss would ring me and say "you need to look happier" or "you look angry." Basically, my concentration face is not a friendly one. I NEVER felt confident at my job because of my damn face. The unfortunate thing is, I felt fine. Maybe a little bored, but fine.

speculative
04-24-17, 09:34 AM
I don't have RBF: quite the opposite, in fact. Normally, I smile so much that I look goofy. A few times, I have smiled too much when a customer was upset, and it made them more upset.

When I try to concentrate, on the other hand, I get Active ***** Face. I finally had to tell a co-worker that I wasn't upset, but merely concentrating...

MickeMouseFan
04-26-17, 08:13 PM
People associate a lot of things with ADD, but a face?

That is a fair stretch of the imagination.

Letching Gray
04-26-17, 08:17 PM
People associate a lot of things with ADD, but a face?

That is a fair stretch of the imagination.


"Chronic procrastination or trouble getting started." Now that is something more characteristic of ADHD than frowning or smiling, IMHO.

If not, I could smile myself out of ADHD.

fperkins33
04-26-17, 10:59 PM
People associate a lot of things with ADD, but a face?

That is a fair stretch of the imagination.

Not a face as much as affect, social interaction (missing cues, reading/interpreting others' expressions), the fact people can form impressions of or make judgements about others very rapidly.

If someone is seen as usually staring off into space, daydreaming, being absent-minded, then maybe there is something about a resting adhd face :rolleyes:

fperkins33

sarahsweets
04-27-17, 05:59 AM
Sorry, but I cant buy into this.

fperkins33
04-27-17, 12:08 PM
Sorry, but I cant buy into this.

yeah, I was thinking afterwards, that what I threw inhere at least, had alot more to with the AS issues that've been coming up with my nephews (flat affect, missing social cues, etc., ways that they "look" different). Because they are getting hassled a lot right now and it's a drag.

I definitely have a loooong history of RBF and working a public service job was a nightmare. I was just trying to re-frame it for myself so maybe the next time someone tells me to smile (which will happen at least twice in the next week or so) I can try saying

"oh, thanks for your interest but this is how concentrating looks for me because I have adhd and being interrupted is --- "

ennh probably I'll just end up glaring back at them like I always do...

fperkins33

SashaBV
05-15-17, 01:08 PM
I've had the problem through much of my life where people would think I'm sad or bored even when I'm not. People would say "Cheer up" (now, in what universe would that ever help, I always wondered?). I compensated by acting more cheerful and animated on the job. Faking it, sometimes. Thank goodness I'm retired now! Not having to "fake it" has its advantages. I often feel sorry for employees who deal directly with the public and have to smile a lot because they're encouraged to do that. I'd rather they just be themselves, as long as they're polite about it.