View Full Version : ADD and the skilled trades


distracted3737
11-05-16, 09:31 PM
hello everyone, i have just begun an apprenticeship in a skilled trade. although i really like it, i am struggling with some focus problems. i read a previous thread which suggested that having the inattentive subtype could cause problems. fortunately my math and visual spatial skills are really good, and i think with some meta-knowledge about how i think and work i could be okay. i am also able to manage details when i set my mind to it; i successfully completed years of uni-level coursework in mathematics although i did have to rely on stimulants from time to time to help me bring my mind to study.

any insights? i feel like a physical job is good for us but i worry that my nonlinear thinking style may cause me to **** things up. it's cliche but the adrenaline from climbing over stuff and doing dangerous **** is hugely motivating & invigorating.

dvdnvwls
11-05-16, 09:46 PM
If you are working with and working for good people, and you like the work, I think it would be smart for you to stay with it.

acdc01
11-06-16, 07:45 AM
I think you should go for it. You like it and it may actually be better suited for you than other jobs.

I can't think of a single job adhd wouldn't make harder. This one actually sounds like one that is the least impacted

distracted3737
11-06-16, 11:25 AM
This one actually sounds like one that is the least impacted
i have to agree with that assessment.

DaveyMSD
11-07-16, 05:42 PM
Go for it!

I'm in the skilled trades and have been for 5 years or so... I work in elevators and the best part of the job (unknowingly prior to being diagnosed ADHD) is that every day is something different.

It's fun, everyday is something new, you learn a lot about all the different trades (we're like all trades in one), there's lots of different components to elevators...
It's just all around an awesome career for ADHD brains IMO.... Especially the exercise when you're walking up 30 floors.. hahaha
Also... when you're troubleshooting an issue and that hyperfocus kicks in oh boy... *gets giddy*... You tend to find and fix long on going issues that others couldn't find.

Plus at the end of each job/day the reward/satisfaction is great!

Feel free to ask any questions on the trade if you're interested!

distracted3737
11-08-16, 07:35 PM
It's fun, everyday is something new, you learn a lot about all the different trades (we're like all trades in one), there's lots of different components to elevators...
It's just all around an awesome career for ADHD brains IMO....
unfortunately i'm add not adhd so i forget details and get distracted. when i know what i'm doing i do great! i may end up on medication to get thru apprenticeship tho.

so do elevator repair people have unions, because literally the reason i joined electricity was because my local ibew chapter is kickass.

DaveyMSD
11-09-16, 11:12 AM
I'm the same... I still forget details and certain aspects but once you've been working long enough (apprenticeship is 4 years here before you're on your "own"), you find ways to remind yourself.
I'll be dealing with an issue I've dealt with many times in the past, but I'll have to go through the same steps to figure out what exactly it was to fix that problem, lol.

There's the IUEC (international union of elevator constructors) all over. Pay rate changes city to city, but out here it's about to hit $53/hr for full license.

distracted3737
11-10-16, 09:50 PM
you find ways to remind yourself.
honestly i'd give up but i had the same exact problem when doing math and finally found a way to overcome my tendency to lose track of details.

so was apprenticeship really ****ty? i don't know how i'm going to survive without pharmaceutical help.

DaveyMSD
11-11-16, 12:06 AM
so was apprenticeship really ****ty? i don't know how i'm going to survive without pharmaceutical help.

Most apprenticeships are in opinion, it was pretty crap until you know what you're doing. Then once you get left alone more and more/become more knowledgeable it starts to become really fun.

With that said, I know people who have/had super easy apprenticeships!

distracted3737
11-11-16, 08:48 AM
that's it, right?! unfortunately learning opportunities are few and far between. mostly i'm just taking out the trash. ;(

DaveyMSD
11-11-16, 05:17 PM
Yeah... I know some people who just start as shop workers. But it's all about getting your foot in the door. Some move up faster than others (showing interest, hard working, etc.)

This is all based in Toronto though! There's some places in the States where it wouldn't be close to the same. The jurisdictions aren't as heavily regulated in some places than others. Ontario, Canada has one of the most strict safety regulations in North America for Elevators... Blessing and a curse!

distracted3737
11-11-16, 07:38 PM
Blessing and a curse!
no kidding i got laid off the other day because my foreman was yelling at me to move it and i lost track of my tie-off. i have excellent balance and many years of tree-climbing experience so the danger was minimal but i'm a first year apprentice and a grill what's worse, so everyone assumes i'm a moron. :(

i think add + female construction worker is a fatal combination and i'm worried imma get kicked out of the program. i'm literally the only grill in my class had i known that was the deal i'd have never signed up for this ****. who wants to be a feminist hero??!! it's all too much pressure :(

john2100
11-11-16, 10:23 PM
I think that ADD people can be even better at skill trades that non add.
If we make past 1/2y let say, we will be more then ok.

From my experience, that certain obsession and that weird need to find out how seemingly not-connected things work ,will give us an edge compering to non-add people.We just have to be sure all the time , so we double check, we compere ,analyze,over-analyze ,,,normal people just don't it like this.But it creates a different experiences for us.

I've never met an add person who didn't know and understand a lot of subjects .
If something breaks we will try to fix it,we fail many times but , it's an experience too.

anonymouslyadd
11-11-16, 10:58 PM
My ADD coach said there's nothing the ADD brain can't do.

I've thought if I ever had to do it again and my parents approved, I would be an electrician. It's a little physical and you have to use your hands a lot.

However, in my family, the trades were used as a punishment when I did poorly in school. What great parenting.:rolleyes:

stef
11-12-16, 09:18 AM
goodness if you have the skills and passion for a trade, go for it!

i.ve always thought that here on the forums we all have very diverse careers and passions.

And it's easy to forget that outside of and beyond the adhd we all have something, we're really quite good at.

edit:i just was thinking, i really could've done a tech thing like soldered small parts. or restoring tapestries.
im way too distracted for things where you have to move around

distracted3737
11-12-16, 10:44 AM
goodness if you have the skills and passion for a trade, go for it!
that's what you think! maybe i'd be happier as an engineer; unfortunately i've never quite had the opportunity!

john2100
11-12-16, 11:59 AM
that's what you think! maybe i'd be happier as an engineer; unfortunately i've never quite had the opportunity!

Why not?

distracted3737
11-12-16, 04:00 PM
Why not?
well at least in my country (US) college isn't exactly fully accessible to everyone! i was able to scrape thru a ton of math classes while working minimum wage service jobs but as it got to the upper level stuff i didn't have the time to devote to the coursework.

and i was in the natsci department; i can't imagine what engineering is like. i hear they really punish you.

i've been playing around a lot with the idea of re-enrolling but it's so difficult to find a good online program and i don't want to move and have to deal with the working student juggling act again.

and, like most ADDers i imagine, i have zero patience for sitting in a classroom.

john2100
11-12-16, 07:44 PM
no kidding i got laid off the other day because my foreman was yelling at me to move it and i lost track of my tie-off. i have excellent balance and many years of tree-climbing experience so the danger was minimal but i'm a first year apprentice and a grill what's worse, so everyone assumes i'm a moron. :(

i think add + female construction worker is a fatal combination and i'm worried imma get kicked out of the program. i'm literally the only grill in my class had i known that was the deal i'd have never signed up for this ****. who wants to be a feminist hero??!! it's all too much pressure :(

Prove them wrong. (in regard, them thinking you are a moron)
The fact that you are a women doesn't help you , but in construction there is always this new guy who is always considered to be a moron .
I was that moron too, for 2 years.
I worked hard, I read everything there was to know about my trade, then I practiced at home, then studied ,then every day go over my mistakes ,write them down and so on. Now I have my own biz, but I was the biggest moron in the company too.

I ve realized I wasn't a moron for them when I could solve the problem faster and better, when I asked for a raise and I got it. Every time actually I 've got a raise when I asked for it. That moron started to get more valuable for them .


But if you think you have that hard, watch this movie:Something the Lord Made 2004. It's not religious ,but it just sounds like it.

distracted3737
11-13-16, 08:49 AM
But if you think you have that hard, watch this movie:Something the Lord Made 2004. It's not religious ,but it just sounds like it.
wow alan rickman what a gem! thanks for the rec!

honestly i'm not much good with my hands and although there's room for improvement i suspect my hand-eye coordination will always remain mediocre. like you? i'm much more of a problem solver. i don't know how this speaks to my longevity in this career.

Lloyd_
11-13-16, 03:47 PM
Prove them wrong. (in regard, them thinking you are a moron)
The fact that you are a women doesn't help you , but in construction there is always this new guy who is always considered to be a moron .
I was that moron too, for 2 years.
I worked hard, I read everything there was to know about my trade, then I practiced at home, then studied ,then every day go over my mistakes ,write them down and so on. Now I have my own biz, but I was the biggest moron in the company too.

I ve realized I wasn't a moron for them when I could solve the problem faster and better, when I asked for a raise and I got it. Every time actually I 've got a raise when I asked for it. That moron started to get more valuable for them .


But if you think you have that hard, watch this movie:Something the Lord Made 2004. It's not religious ,but it just sounds like it.

wow alan rickman what a gem! thanks for the rec!

honestly i'm not much good with my hands and although there's room for improvement i suspect my hand-eye coordination will always remain mediocre. like you? i'm much more of a problem solver. i don't know how this speaks to my longevity in this career.



I am still that "Moron" where I'm working now and the particular crew I'm with are pretty good at what they do which can be daunting at times to live up to their expectations.

Some days I get yelled at and like the other day bossman told me I did a good job but of course in the back of my mind I'm always telling myself I'm not good enough, etc.

Glad to hear your story John2100, it gives me hope that I might live through this. :)

acdc01
11-13-16, 04:10 PM
I am still that "Moron" where I'm working now and the particular crew I'm with are pretty good at what they do which can be daunting at times to live up to their expectations.

Some days I get yelled at and like the other day bossman told me I did a good job but of course in the back of my mind I'm always telling myself I'm not good enough, etc.

Glad to hear your story John2100, it gives me hope that I might live through this. :)

Lloyd, didn't your boss personally recruit you?

Lloyd_
11-13-16, 05:31 PM
Lloyd, didn't your boss personally recruit you?

Yes he did.

john2100
11-13-16, 06:30 PM
wow alan rickman what a gem! thanks for the rec!

honestly i'm not much good with my hands and although there's room for improvement i suspect my hand-eye coordination will always remain mediocre. like you? i'm much more of a problem solver. i don't know how this speaks to my longevity in this career.

You don't mention what kind of trade do you do .But if you like or have to work with hands , as the engineering degree doesn't seem to be happening now, you could eventually do some similar trade, where a women would be more accepted. But I have no idea what you do now.

Let's assume you are doing framing or wooden floors. That's 99.9% of men on the job. You could work in a wood-working shop, where you would see and interact every day with the same people. You would feel more comfortable there I think. I can image if you go every day to different jobs and interact with different crews it will be difficult for a while if not forever.

You could learn also construction management and end up running a job, doing estimates, so the practical knowledge will be very helpful down the road.

distracted3737
11-13-16, 07:18 PM
You don't mention what kind of trade do you do .But if you like or have to work with hands , as the engineering degree doesn't seem to be happening now, you could eventually do some similar trade, where a women would be more accepted. But I have no idea what you do now.
i'm in electric, which i think is an excellent place for women. i'm finding that i really, really like it too, which has me all kinds of worried that i'm gonna get kicked out of the program due to my poor preliminary performance. i feel that i've learned very little within a month; although some guys have provided positive feedback it's always in terms of my gender. i'm doing a lousy job at following directions and thinking on my feet; what's worse one of my journeymen developed a crush on me and we had to avoid each other for a little while just to let things cool down. what a mess!

the whole "working with your hands" thing i don't understand very well and i don't think i'm very in tune with my physical self although i have excellent balance and no fear of heights. while my analytical and spatial abilities are excellent i have a feeling this, as well as the attention issues will be my achilles heel.

i found when i started taking adderall i could follow directions and complete tasks in an efficient manner. had i known i could tolerate it so well i would have done so a lot sooner.

jesus christ how do you guys manage to not get fired, fml.

any further relevant advice besides, "learn and know your *****?"

the good news is that everyone on the job seems to like me well enough; better incompetent than an incompetent a-hole!

john2100
11-13-16, 08:03 PM
From my experience , people don't really get fired even for mistakes.
Bosses know, that everybody makes them
Mistakes will certainly limit your pay and the speed of advancement, but most people that I know who got fired ,regardless of their experience and position was this:

-taking too many sick days off ,while 80% off those day off were for recovery after heavy partying
-stealing
-not showing up on time
-doing side jobs(stealing customers from the boss)
-using company tools for side projects without permission
-using company car for personal use
-fighting with others on the job and disrespecting customers
-talking behind the back about boss ,supervisions and of course someone told on them from your co-workers
-being lazy,sloppy ,not cleaning up,
-thinking they were too high in command chain to clean up a site (120K yrs) supervisor got fired , because he refused to help to clean up the side.Even the boss was cleaning a site in his suit and $1000 shoes.Long story.
Basically never think you are above of any job.
-being drunk on the job
-being on the phone too much
-adding extra hours ,you never worked =stealing
-coming to job without all the necessary tools all the time
-not caring for your tools constantly and borrowing tools from others.That creates too much tension and lowers the team productivity
-asking for more money constantly
-asking for much more $ then you are worth and arguing about it. That just show your boss you have no idea about this trade.
-being a loudmouth , screaming and annoying guy on the job

If you do too many mistakes but you don't do anything from the above, you will not get fired. You will be given opportunity sooner or later, but boss not gonna probably fire a good responsible hard worker. They will just find you a job where many mistakes can't be made.

distracted3737
11-13-16, 08:46 PM
i've definitely had trouble with showing up on time but i don't call in. i think i showed up late 4 times in a month? that's not great but i like to think that i can get better at waking up to my alarm. i dunno for a while no one else was showing up on time so i kind of slacked off on that one.

other than that "none of the above"; i just don't know anything and thanks to auditory processing issues haven't been picking up on things very quickly either.

Lloyd_
11-13-16, 08:50 PM
i'm in electric, which i think is an excellent place for women. i'm finding that i really, really like it too, which has me all kinds of worried that i'm gonna get kicked out of the program due to my poor preliminary performance. i feel that i've learned very little within a month; although some guys have provided positive feedback it's always in terms of my gender. i'm doing a lousy job at following directions and thinking on my feet; what's worse one of my journeymen developed a crush on me and we had to avoid each other for a little while just to let things cool down. what a mess!

the whole "working with your hands" thing i don't understand very well and i don't think i'm very in tune with my physical self although i have excellent balance and no fear of heights. while my analytical and spatial abilities are excellent i have a feeling this, as well as the attention issues will be my achilles heel.

i found when i started taking adderall i could follow directions and complete tasks in an efficient manner. had i known i could tolerate it so well i would have done so a lot sooner.

jesus christ how do you guys manage to not get fired, fml.

any further relevant advice besides, "learn and know your *****?"

the good news is that everyone on the job seems to like me well enough; better incompetent than an incompetent a-hole!

Fellow sparky here going through the same worry and doubt that you're going through.

If you feel this way in your 1st year then you're going to become even more frantic, heck I'm finishing up my apprenticeship and I don't feel as if I learned as much as I should have being that I only did commercial work now I just started doing residential work which is more difficult even though others disagree, so I feel like I'm back at square one learning new things and all.

You'll eventually start to notice others who have been in the trade for years that are as great as they claim to be and you'll notice that the people who point out your mistakes will be sure to not let anyone know when they screw up.

I guess it's pretty normal to feel that self doubt and worry. If they have not kicked me out of the program yet then certainly you have nothing to worry about.

distracted3737
11-19-16, 07:43 PM
I guess it's pretty normal to feel that self doubt and worry. If they have not kicked me out of the program yet then certainly you have nothing to worry about.
i'm really not used to caring about my job and this whole "use your brain at work" paradigm is killing me.

maybe i'm not kicked out yet but i better turn things around real fast.

acdc01
11-20-16, 11:44 AM
i'm really not used to caring about my job and this whole "use your brain at work" paradigm is killing me.

maybe i'm not kicked out yet but i better turn things around real fast.

Was it the people who decide whether you pass the program or not who complimented your Performance for a girl? If so, you'll probably pass. Very sexist comment but still says your acceptable.

Could you get a government job and would the sexism and pressures be less there? Overt sexism isn't tolerated in the government where I live though covert sexism exists everywhere.

distracted3737
11-22-16, 08:24 AM
Was it the people who decide whether you pass the program or not who complimented your Performance for a girl? If so, you'll probably pass. Very sexist comment but still says your acceptable.

he meant it kindly and i think the idea was that i had no exposure to this kind of thing and had to just run with it. others, who are less friendly & kind have said less complimentary things.

i mean, i could have been a lot better too, as i've mentioned before on this thread i didn't realized until about two weeks into it that i needed to be medicating and about two weeks later that i could actually tolerate it.

before that i'm not sure how much i learned as i was too busy spacing the hell out.

Lloyd_
12-15-16, 03:03 AM
i'm really not used to caring about my job and this whole "use your brain at work" paradigm is killing me.

maybe i'm not kicked out yet but i better turn things around real fast.

I know exactly how you feel, it's like walking on eggshells when you're at work but just remind yourself as I try to do as well that we will all have good days and bad days.

Probably the one thing that will prevent me from advancing is the ability to manage other workers in a supervisory position, I already have a hard time managing my own tasks but also having to check other people's work and keep track of what other people are doing? :lol:

I do best when I work alone and when I'm not in a group and having to follow nonverbal cues.

The one thing that's frustrating in particular is not being on a job from start to finish, when I'm involved in all the stages up til the finished product everything works and my workmanship isn't that bad at all.

It's when the previous person didn't strap this or do that and I have to go back and fix their work is what messes me up on top of finishing my tasks.

Just hate that feeling where you know everyone is annoyed with you due to making silly mistakes. But then again there's so much to learn and so many aspects of this trade, it's really a lifelong learning process when you think about it!

jman05
12-17-16, 02:17 PM
It didn't work well for me because I couldn't follow instructions. I would be told to do something and couldn't recall what I was being told. The foreman would come back and see that I did it wrong and get mad.

daveddd
12-17-16, 08:54 PM
I'm a sheetmetal tradesman (fabrication, installation, design , service, commissioning and testing of commercial hvac/environmental control systems ) and i'd say half of my shop has ADHD (im not diagnosing them, they've told me) or their kids have it, the rest of them would be on the lower end of our personality traits

it does seem to fit it well, and my hyperactivity makes me good at it

it also seems to fit and other ADHD people mention it, the being able to super focus on things that interest you

guys and girls their can design and install and clean room for a surgery room of a hospital, but cant fill out their time cards right, its interesting to see

i believe its a good choice for someone with adhd

daveddd
12-17-16, 09:29 PM
reading through here is making me appreciate why the contractor i work for does so well and has a large core of employees ( some companies in our union just call the hall when they get a job and send you back when its done)

the foreman is great about a lot of ADHD issues if you are good at the work

he walks around constantly making sure everybody has something to keep them busy without creating tension, yet also gives a decent amount of freedom

he makes sure to change it up for you, i can be welding one hour and he'll give me prints and tell me start on a duct line the next

he spends most of his morning fixing our paperwork, if its too F'ed up to figure out he will call us in and try to figure it out while joking about it, no matter how often you do it

mine is pretty much daily and he just laughs and said he was the same way before he was foreman

the trades are full of impulsive inattentive people , thats a fact, they should offer courses on how to manage us effectively

RamenNinja
12-17-16, 11:19 PM
As a person that has dealt with ADHD/Inattentive type his whole life, and has worked in numerous skilled trades, your success will depend on your environment and the type of work presented. I have been in metalworking since I was 18, I'm 29 now, and I have done everything from welding, machine welding, torch operating, to painting, plating, galvanizing, and now machinist. The curve-balls make the jobs worth it, but some skilled trades can be a little more tedious and mundane.

I always found my jobs rewarding and loved creating things, that's one of our strong suits, we are great creators and can have solutions to problems that a lot of people don't even think about. One main consideration though, when working in a skilled trade, at least the kind of skilled trades I've had; is personal safety and environmental awareness. I've tripped on pallets and banged my legs up pretty bad before, and more recently I had dislocated my right thumb in a machine lathe, I honestly attribute it to my stimulant driving me to work hard and get the job done, while missing some critical details. Those incidents happen "normal people" too though. (what is normal, really?)

Injuries haven't fully deterred me yet from working in my skilled trade, but I had voiced to my psych that I feel like I should be doing something more high tech office oriented, and she said that it would be for the best to do something like that and was glad I had the insight to realize this. I haven't changed careers yet, and probably wont, but now that I'm aware of some of my shortcomings when it comes to safety and attention to details, and that awareness will become a good strength after it becomes part of your regular thought processes. Just a little advice for a fellow ADHD/I type, listen closely, always ask questions until you are 100% sure, and never think you have all the answers, that's how we get into trouble.

sarahsweets
12-18-16, 02:43 AM
My husband has narcolepsy and adhd. We met in college. He has a geology degree which he got by the skin of his teeth. We got married when I was 20 and after he graduated he got a job at an environmental consulting company. He hated it. He wasnt good at office politics and couldnt stand the fact that he was with a company that would be hired by other companies to test for environmental hazards and that his work was to help the client- not what was actually right. When he picked geology Im sure he had dreams of volcanos and glaciers, but in NJ thats not what you end up doing. After three years he decided to go to school through the union for his teledata and journeyman/wireman's certification. He did an apprenticeship and school and loved it. Its all hands on work, stuff that you needed smarts for, but not the kind of banal nonsense of an office job.

School took 6 years and when he was done, the economy took a dump and he was out of work for a long time. He eventually got hired at an Ivy league school and loves it. All the years of school for geology led him to not even work in that field or even really use his degree. He has always been good with his hands- and I am so glad things went the way he did.
I think skilled trades are overlooked and undervalued by society's standards.
F society, ;)

distracted3737
01-31-17, 11:45 AM
It didn't work well for me because I couldn't follow instructions. I would be told to do something and couldn't recall what I was being told. The foreman would come back and see that I did it wrong and get mad.
yeah same here it seems a better fit for hyperactive types. you can write stuff down too, i do.
i had chronic fatigue for a few years and coming back from that has been hard, i'm still experiencing some of that brainfog.

i'm really sick and tired of all the criticism, it doesn't help that i'm coming from zero on this. no one taught me about fixing things growing up.

distracted3737
01-31-17, 11:50 AM
He has always been good with his hands- and I am so glad things went the way he did.
i don't understand this statement, what does it mean to be good with your hands? i think this may be an indication that i am not.

i think tactile knowledge is undervalued by society for sure; plenty of people seem to think i'm smart but i guess it's in the wrong ways.

i'm really struggling to know what is the correct career path for those with inattentive add, it seems that everything is impacted; there's no escaping it.