View Full Version : I need help.
03-21-04, 11:46 AM
I need to know what I should do. I am going to start looking for a new job this week, but until I do find a new job, I plan on staying at my current one. (I currently work in Publishing...a very type "A", very detail oriented field. It is not the industry I planned on entering. I have my degree (B.F.A.) in Theatre Performance.
On Wednesday night (March 17) my diagnosis was confirmed....ADD and I was put on medication (Metadate ER). The day after I was diagnosed (I was not planning on telling anyone at work about this) I was called up to Human Resources. My boss (A female) had written me up. She was there with a HR girl. The things she wrote me up for:
1)Socializing to much
2) Disorganiztion at my desk and in my work
3) Getting terminology confused (she said I have been there over a year, there is no excuse).
4) Poor time management/missing deadlines.
5) Skipping steps and making "careless" mistakes in my projects.
I was then informed in the write up if these things were not corrected immediately, I would be terminated.
I have not spoken to my doctor regarding this note yet, but I will, especially since everything she wrote me up for is a TEXTBOOK symptom of ADD. I was diagnosed by a Psyciatrist who is a specialist in ADD and LD's. Do I need to be diagnosed by a neurologist? My company is a public company, not a private one, so I know that I am saved in that respect (private companies can fire you because they don't like your hair cut and not need a reason).
I just need advice, because I am dealing with the reality of having ADD (I always knew in the back of my head that I had it) and being on the meds, and now this write up (even though, in my honest opinion), the timing couldn't have been better.
I ended up telling my boss in front of the HR girl that I had this. The HR girls face went from a poker face to a look of "oh sh*t", asking me if there were any accomendations I needed and yadda yadda yadda. I was so upset about this write up and thrown off guard by it (I knew these were problems, but I had been working on them) that I said "no" not realizing she was saying these things to cover the company's butt.
I just need advice.
03-21-04, 02:44 PM
Well first of all, you are doing awesome things in such a short time.
Two now 'school is in session' for you. You will be educating yourself both legally and about your disorder. these things will do two things, help you feel safe in your job and give you hope and understanding about you.
Three, there are so many ways to time manage and help us cope in a type a world. i use day runner, alarms on my pc, phone and timers. i also use schedules ( man it took me a long time to get a master one done to ensure recurring jobs got alarms etc, but once done, so much was easier) Outlook and other pc programs have incredible usage. Ask many of the members and go to the resources area. i pay my bills online because I cant forget to lick a 'send' button and put it in the mailbox.
We are a creative think out side the box type of people. be prepared for some of the most ingenius methods.
Hugs and Im so glad you joined us.
03-21-04, 03:10 PM
Thanks, I also just found out that at age 3 my parents were told by a doctor to put me on Ritalin. They have documentation, but I was never made aware of that fact. So from the research I have done, I am pretty sure I am covered under ADA
03-21-04, 03:11 PM
yes ma'am yes ma'am. I am finding out my legal coverage too over this weekend
Originally posted by BarbaraAnne1975
Thanks, I also just found out that at age 3 my parents were told by a doctor to put me on Ritalin. They have documentation, but I was never made aware of that fact.
Been there, done that, wrote the Autobiography :)
Sounds like you're doing the right things so far.
What would help you at work? Things to help you get organized? Timers? A tape recorder? More quiet? Make a list of things that you want to improve, and if need be, use us at the forums as a sounding board. We'll try and give you some ideas. Then you can go back to the HR department and ask for appropriate accomodations. Its never too late to ask :)
Glad to see you posting!
03-21-04, 03:31 PM
Well the thing is, My title is Scheduling Assistant....the other scheduling assistant on my floor has her own office (she started after me) and we get paid the same crap salary (so it's not like she's higher than me) but *I* sit out in a cubical. I don't know if I would be out of bounds to ask for an office too. (just to be able to every once in a while close the door and concentrate.
Perhaps you can phrase it like..."I could really use an environment where I can concentrate without distraction. Right now I'm in a cubicle." Then let them come back with an accomodation.
03-21-04, 03:55 PM
Ok. My question is now this...how should I present the write up to the dr. who diagnosed me. I want to find another job, but I want to do it under my terms...so I am going to stay at this job until I find a new one...use it as a learning tool. I do not plan on letting my next employer know that I have ADD. But I know I will not be able to handle the stress of dealing with all of this change and knowing that the littlest thing will get me fired.
In fact the day after I informed my boss of this (the day she wrote me up I told her as I stated above) she said "Well Barb, you need to know it's your little careless mistakes and slight disorganization that I am not going to put up with and watch like a hawk".
I just gave her a look like "What are STUPID or just on a power trip..did you NOT hear what I told you yesterday"
I just need this to be as stress free as possible.
03-21-04, 04:17 PM
Be glad you got diagnosed AND on medication before you ended up getting fired, and it sounds like they were starting to make a case for terminating you. And yes, all those symptoms sound like ADD, and are very much like what I've had all my life. I'm recently diagnosed too. Unfortunately it wasn't soon enough to save my job. I was fired for being late too many times to work, and I had been written up for it already. I never did tell my boss I had ADD until after I was fired, and he never responded. I was denied unemployment because it was considered 'misconduct at work' that I did not follow the employee guidelines of the company, which included being there on time. I appealed it because I felt it wasn't really misconduct as I didn't intend to put my employer out, and I really enjoyed my job, and the last week I was there, I was under so much stress. My dog had gotten run over by a car, and my husband and I had the worst fight ever, AND I had just found out I had ADD and was waiting on my followup visit to get started on medication. That week I was late two days in a row and they fired me. I had been written up many months back and had actually gone many months without being late, but it didn't matter. The fact that the write up was in my file gave them the right to fire me after it happened again. My appeal came back denied as well and I have one last appeal I can do, but it may be useless.
All I'm saying is be thankful you've found out and your HR department seems willing to help you at all. I'm wondering if I should bring up my recent diagnosis of ADD in my final appeal? I don't know that it would help because my boss didn't know about it, and I had only found out the week before I was fired. But it was probably the reason that I was late to work alot. I've had that lateness pattern all my life and it's the main reason I've not kept a job for more than 3 years, and my average is even less than that. Now that I'm on medication, I seem to be able to get going and get places on time more, but I'm still not working yet, so only time will tell if I can do it consistently. I just wish I'd found out sooner. I might still have a job if I had.
Good luck to you, and if you really don't like the job, then by all means look for something else. But if you're with a public entity, the benefits are probably better and you have more job security there, as long as you can get your ADD symptoms under control.
03-21-04, 04:23 PM
That's the one problem I have never had. I am never late for work. I am always late other places, but I have to be at work at nine am. I wake up at 6am...sit around until 7.20 and then run around my place like a maniac getting dressed and run out of my apartment by 7.40. I take the express bus to work (I live in Brooklyn and work in Manhattan) and I usually walk into my office anywhere between 8:15 and 8:30.
I also work in NYC and had a similar problem.
For this post I am only going to say one thing.
If you think the quiet would help you concentrate more, especially since the scheduling assistants I know have to deal with ten thousand tiny details daily,
GET YOURSELF THAT PRIVATE OFFICE.
The same one that your colleague has. Submit that to HR as a formal request for an accommodation, BY EMAIL. DO IT NOW. DO NOT WAIT.
Also put in the email that this may not be the only accommodation you may need and that you need to consult with your doctor and the national ADDA organization (you don't have to do that; it's just a negotiating tool to buy you some time) to find out what else they recommend as appropriate accommodations.
A company can ***** you to the wall if you don't document every breath after this. You definitely did the right thing in disclosing but if you think HR is not going to be watching you like a hawk after this, think again.
I don't mean to be harsh. It's just that I went through something very similar to this.
And one more thing. Your boss may very well have power issues and, further, may think that your "mess" reflects badly on HER. (I didn't say it was rational, I just said that it happens here in New York.) There are some very ambitious people that live and work here, especially in your industry. And get this mess cleaned up before you go looking for another position b/c there are so many people that want to work in your industry that if you quit without a new position you may not be able to GET a new one.
Watch your back.
A private office or a pair of head phones also a white noise machine I heard helps too. All that could be provided by your work.
04-29-04, 03:48 PM
Hey BarbaraAnne1975 -
Sounds like we're in similar situations.
I work for a great firm but currently have the worst boss ever in my life. Grossly insecure, ready to blame at a moment's notice and a 100hr a week (that's right, 100hr a week) workaholic.
Before I got there she fired 2/4 of the staff she started with. And we've been getting along like Fire and Ice the last few months.
Her grossly anal retentive approach to everything did lead to my diagnosis which is a nice unintentional side effect.
HR is there in cases like these to keep the company from being sued into the stone age. And not much else. It took me awhile to realize this in my journeys through corporate America.
When ADD came up at my work, I saw similar behaviors. The whole "Look-at-me-I'm-being-the-most-objective-boss-in-the universe" mode kicked in. To the point of almost being funny. Emphasis placed on what was allegedly wrong before and no mention of what had recently transpired (i.e. ADD).
Plus, when there was something she wanted to bring up, she emailed everyone in the group even if it was only me she wanted to get to. Example: "Everyone, Remember when wearing socks to put them on the right feet. Thank You! D."
To cover their a**, they need to do the following:
1) Make the whole reasonable accommodation seperate from the performance evaluation and appear to be in "good faith".
2) NOT treat you any differently than coworkers.
And to throw you (or me most likely) out the door without leaving themselves open for a lawsuit, they have to show that they very seriously tried to reasonably accommodate us, and even then performance was dismal.
If your boss is a decent person, and understands what is going on (i.e. you actually have a medical condition which has contributed to bad performance and you're working on getting it corrected) you are probably in a salvagable situation.
If your boss is not, you (and me definitely) are hosed once they decide that they are legally safe from being nailed on not trying to reasonably accommodate. They then just point to the performance documenation and say "gosh, we tried".
You may be in either situation. I am definitely in the latter and screwed once they decide they're in the clear with respect to providing reasonable accommodation and ADA.
Because who is the first and final word in writing performance doc.? You guessed it, your manager. And if they don't like you there is ALWAYS something to find. Always.
("He works too fast. He works too slow. He isn't a team player. He is too much of team player and doesn't show leadership ability. He pays too much attention to detail and can't see the big picture. He only looks at the big picture and isn't detail oriented, etc., etc., etc.)"
I don't mean to bum you out about all this. It's great we found out what was going on. But consider ramping up your job search based on your present situation!
Another thing that helped me when I was diagnosed as an adult, at work, was to remember how I did my homework, papers, and speaches as a teen. For many of the methods might help you know. Example: Post Its - I put reminders everywhere, Outlines of How to's for your job. At home, write what proceedures you use in an outline for and at work fill it out more.
This last thing actually got me a raise. I was asked to post them on the network (Our office only has 7 people) for new people or even others who haven't done CAD in a while, to view to help them start.
Whatever you used as ways to get your work done else where can be adapted to the work place. I listen to music for that always helped, I put my back to the window.. little things like that. You can point out to your superisor that you are doing something about your work by showing her/him these examples.
How are you doing now, by the way?
I am in almost the exact situation! I was pulled into my bosses office and given a "final warning" 24 hours after telling him that I was diagnosed with Depression and ADD. My Boss seems to think that everything is fine because some of my work issues had been addressed prior to my diagnoses. However I am really upset that I am being treated like this is something I need to get over. As a matter of fact he told me when I explained that I have ADD that "well that is all fine and good but we still need to correct these issues". I am not the kind of person that runs around threatening lawsuits everytime I get in trouble at work but I think I may just have a case. I am just very frustrated because as far as work goes I am a superstar for about six months and then I go right down the tubes and there is no getting back.
tmb110-Your statement "However I am really upset that I am being treated like this is something I need to get over." really hit a sour spot with me.
I remember when I was diagnosed and my parents thought I would take some meds and be normal. I am normal. I think there are positive things about ADD that the so called normal just don't have. Hightened sensitivity, rapid learning etc.
I remember when I was younger that I wished I was blind instead of having ADD, it would be more "obvious". But any one who is sensitive can see plainly that ADD is really just a different way of thinking about things. (Yes, I'm simlifying it).
What's sad there are teachers who feel the same way as my parents that ADD is a fixable thing, instead of letting kids be who they are.
I'm off my soapbox.
05-03-04, 09:08 PM
Originally posted by tmb110
I am in almost the exact situation! I was pulled into my bosses office and given a "final warning" 24 hours after telling him that I was diagnosed with Depression and ADD. ... when I explained that I have ADD that "well that is all fine and good but we still need to correct these issues".
I'm not a lawyer whatsoever.
But with that out of the way, it looks like there are some plusses, some minuses:
1) Being given a "final warning" after telling them about your situation looks sort of bad, and could be viewed as a retaliatory measure on their part. ESPECIALLY if you have email or any other tangible documentation.
2) If you have any emails, docs, especially reviews for the prior six months that show to an outsider that you have previously been a success there at your job, they are like gold. Keep them close!
Now, the key is to decide what you want to do with all this.
If you want to get some help and keep your job for the maximum amount of time possible, ask for accommodations. I'm assuming that your company is pretty big and scared of lawsuits. If they're smaller it will probably be tougher, although the law covers companies with 15 or more people.
Theoretically bringing it up with your boss triggers the process.
BUT in real life you should put it in email or get in touch with someone in HR to make it officially official.
And who knows, a few decent accommodations could make this the job you can stick with.
Now for the not so great news:
If they have a really really long papertrail and you've never really proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that you could do the job, you may not have long to go. Like if the "Final Warning" was also .. the 50th for example. Or maybe even just the third.
And even in the situation where you have a previous great review and videotape of yourself telling your boss ... they still can fire you if you don't do what they want ... eventually.
Which makes sense unfortunately.
Consider asking for accommodations if you need the extra time and / or some help in doing your job. Especially if it's a big, lawsuit weary company.
ALSO keep in mind that if the relationship is poisoned between you and your boss (it may be already) you wouldn't have much to lose.