View Full Version : What is the workplace really like for ADDers?

06-19-10, 10:17 PM
I am doing some research on employees with ADHD (and Asperger's Syndrome although separately) to see what kinds of experiences they haveat work. Available literature and laws seem to indicate that bosses should be aware that these are frequently considered disabilities covered by the ADA in the U.S. and that accommodations should readily be made to keep such employees.

I was wondering if anyone has any positive or negative experiences they would like to share?

06-19-10, 11:28 PM
I have only been in one situation where my employer was aware of my ADHD, but by that point my immediate supervisor had already misinterpreted my behavior as disrespectful and insubordinate and she was determined to get rid of me anyway.

Although the HR department did try to go the route of "providing accommodations," my supervisor used the suggested accommodations to her own advantage and turned them into requirements for ME to fulfill each day.

For example, instead of simply having a written list of my daily tasks to help keep me on track, she required me to write a new list each day, consult her at the beginning of each day to go over it with her, follow-up with her during the day if anything changed, and then stop by her desk again at the end of the day to be sure I stuck with the list.

If I failed to let her know about some last-minute change, or if something happened out of the ordinary that I didn't let her know about or I wasn't able to complete something I'd planned to do that day due to another project coming up at the last minute, she would write it as a "mark" against my performance.

Of course, she reported back to HR that she was "complying" with the accommodations. . .but that they just weren't working out. . .and I was terminated.

06-26-10, 02:25 AM
It depends on what social class you're asking...

But I guess it wouldn't change the fact that the ADA and accommodations are B.S.

In the workplace, in schools, wherever...

The problem order to enforce the ADA, the individual citizen has to bring a lawsuit.

If the person is not wealthy, and has to scrimp and save enough money to hire a $6,000 attorney...
that attorney will just take the $6,000 and screw the person over.


Most times, the person won't even know she was screwed. She'll just think she lost the case.

These attorneys are bottom-feeders...they stand poised at the bottom of their social class, waiting for the
working class people to come knocking, looking for a respectable attorney to take their cause to court.
These attorneys know that a person who can only afford a $6,000 attorney will not have the money to sue
THEM for malpractice or fraud! In fact, under the law, the attorneys can only keep the money they have
earned through actual work. But clients don't know that. So attorneys keep $6,000 for 3 hours of
work that consisted of nothing but brief court appearances - earning $2,000 an hour! And their clients get
nothing. Minus $6,000.

If the person suing to enforce the ADA workplace accommodations can afford a $10,000 attorney,
then she stands a chance of winning the case.
(Especially since we're assuming that the employer was indeed violating the law.

If she can afford more, then she's probably going to get whatever she wants.

But the point is, if a person can afford a $10,000 attorney to force her boss to let her walk around at work, or take breaks, or be on medication, or whatever....


I've known rich kids, and I've known poor kids.
I've known rich parents, and I've known poor parents.
I've known rich young adults, and poor young adults.

The kind of person rich enough to actually win an ADA case is not poor enough to get stuck in that workplace
situation in the first place. That kind of person works at a place where people are paid specifically to
make sure that the office is in compliance with all the various health and labor codes!

Just my opinion, of course...

06-26-10, 02:57 AM
pssssttt michinyuga I think she's asking for personal experiences of people WITH adhd.. don't worry about being all embarrassed we're an understanding OOPS crew! :)

06-26-10, 03:07 AM
I don't mean to go off topic, but just FYI, many employment discrimination lawyers work on a contingency basis, meaning they get paid from the award or settlement, or not at all if you lose. There are also federal, state, and local equal employment agencies where you can file a complaint for free, without a lawyer. Some of the state and local laws enforced by these agencies also provide broader protection than the ADA.

I haven't had a lot of jobs, but I have been treated fairly.

06-26-10, 03:14 AM
One of my problems is that I LITERALLY cannot be on time for anything. So.... I was 4 minutes late one day and they fired me. I think that's probably fair. But it's like really hard because I have literally tried doing EVERY idea ANYone has given me to be on time and it just... I mean I can't even explain it but it just doesn't happen lol Anyone else have this problem?

06-26-10, 11:23 AM
Thanks, this is really useful information.

I am interested in hearing your thoughts and experiences in the workplace, and it's an interesting idea that it relates to social class. Do you think that based on the amount of money a person makes, or the type of organization they work for has a relation to how well they are treated as employees with ADD?

Lawyers, well... there are a million lawyer jokes for a reason.

I was particularly moved by what you said about the ADA and Accommodations being BS. It sounds like you have some experience with the way a workplace handles that. I'd love to hear more about that.

Also, there is another post titled "The Best of Jobs, The Worst of Jobs" that has a few more questions in it. If anyone here would like to contribute their experiences to that thread, that would be really helpful to me.

LOVE your responses! Please keep them coming! :)

07-02-10, 06:35 AM
No one at my work site knows I have ADHD, they just think my behavior is quirky, direct and I'm full of energy. I'm lucky in that most of my work suits me and I love my job, although I become quite miserable when I am given a task 'not so suited' to me but is required as I am the only one qualified to undertake the assignment. The Human Resources manager was made aware of my ADHD because I had to disclose my medications due to random drug tests at work and she has said it doesn't bother her as they want to keep me. Then again, I don't really ask for accomodations as I'm not aware of any disability laws in Australia relating to ADHD.

07-07-10, 12:17 PM
I have always worked in environments that were more suitable to my "symptoms".
High paced,action oriented type of work. Although I havent been diagnosed until recently I accommodated myself through out the years.
The job I have now has more "problem areas" for me. Paper work, meetings, detail oriented etc. I'm sure I must seem inconsistent. I am also in in charge of about 15 employees. A couple of which I know have ADD. I am very empathetic to these people and try to highlite their best abilities/ talents instead of harping on their weaknesses.
I believe it is the job of the employer or manager to put people where they are best suited, most comfortable and most productive. To not do that is not only bad for business but also just dumb in my opinion. Every human being regardless of "handicaps" be it emotional, physical or mental has the ability to shine.
I believe its every employers responsibility to seek out the sparkle and use it to not only to help their business but to lift people up.
With that said. Sometimes the best thing you can do for someone is to fire or let them go.

Dont think Im being all high and mighty either. I have a lot of difficulty at work sometimes and I drop the ball.....more than I would like to admit. It is an internal struggle daily when I have to do something that isnt in my wiring. Not everyone at work likes me. Sometimes people take my limitations personally. They may even think Im not "qualified".
My biggest fear is of being "found out". That really Ive just been lucky and Im not really smart or effective or good at what I do. But other times I am so proud of myself I beam.

Boredom is the all time nightmare for the least this one. When Im bored I tend to look for stimulation, or invent it. I have been battling my impulses my entire life. I am trying very hard not to do that anymore. Or at least recognize it for what it is.
Holy God I just rambled.
Sorry bout that. Hope it has some nuggets in it for your research :)

10-16-10, 06:45 PM
Thanks, this is really useful information.

I am interested in hearing your thoughts and experiences in the workplace, and it's an interesting idea that it relates to social class. Do you think that based on the amount of money a person makes, or the type of organization they work for has a relation to how well they are treated as employees with ADD?

Lawyers, well... there are a million lawyer jokes for a reason.

Actually, for several reasons...chief amongst them ignorance. There are some bad/dishonest attorneys, no doubt, but every time I come across the kind of rant posted here I cringe because somebody else reading it might be discouraged from seeking the legal assistance they need.

Just like with any other professional service, do your research. Get referrals from trusted friends. Check the attorney's disciplinary record with the state bar. And remember that often the people who post these rants do so due to either having had the bad luck to hire one of the small minority of truly rotten attorneys, or having a case that was simply unwinnable due to the way the laws are written (or drawing a bad judge, or having no evidence or credible witnesses to support their claim, or the client themself is unsympathetic and that alone tips the jury to find for the other side, or any one of a hundred other problems that can torpedo a case) but refusing to accept that and blaming it on the attorney instead.

I don't know if the OP is still monitoring this thread, but as to the question of treatment in the workplace, while my ADD is not something my employers have ever known about, I think that indirectly it still causes unfair treatment a lot of the time.

People with ADD tend to be somewhat socially impaired, or at least just "different." Workplaces are often no better than schools in the way people who are outside the norm are treated by their peers. If you don't participate in the small talk, the gossip, the group lunches, show interest in the same stupid things your co-workers do, etc., you often end up being a scapegoat, the one things are blamed on, the one whose ideas aren't taken seriously, the one who doesn't get promoted, and so on.

01-16-11, 06:14 AM
As far as the treatment ai get in the work place, I woudn't treat a dog the way my supervisors treat me, I'm treated as less than all other staff, I'm held to a higher standard than any others are and for the most part asterized by most with in the Deparment of Corrections . I do my job, as I was trianed, and the same as the other officers do it, but Me they are trying to fire , the others, where not in any trouble and are veiwed as doing a good job. This is a blaten case of dispairity and, no one, not even the Govenor of Oregons Office will help, they told me their office wasn't large enough to help me in a case like this. I'm woundering if the govenors office can't help. Who can? Gonzo

01-16-11, 11:44 AM
Does Oregon have a state discrimination agency? If not, you can probably try to get help from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the Department of Labor.

How are they holding you to a different standard? Do they know you have ADD?

01-22-11, 01:47 AM
Don't know if you are still interesed in work details but here is mine.

My background:
I am a materials science chemist (research associate) for a small-medium sized biotech company (250+ People).

My boss knows I have ADHD though it seldom comes up (maybe twice or thrice in the past year and one of those times was in the first week or working here). He has worked with my extensively on how to get things in a workable pattern. We have finally settled on a written task list that is stored on the server. If I finish all of my major projects and am not sure what else to do, I go to the task list. Verbal and written communication are stressed when needed but needless communication is not. The only hard requirement writing wise is my lab notebook. THere is no way around that because it is a working document valid in the court of law and needs to be well kept.

He also is good about reeling my overzealousness to get on to NEW and INTERESTING (oh shiny syndrome :) ) projects before finishing previous ones.

Sometimes I think my ADHD works out as an advantage in this job because it seems like our priorities are constantly changing and I have to be ready for my entire planned day to change when I come in.

I think if I had a desk job or an overly repetitive job things would not be as easy.

01-22-11, 11:12 AM
Well I have to say that your post gives me hope. I'm so glad to hear that your immediate manager has worked hard to help you be successful in your job. And I love, "Oh shiny syndrome"!

My husband has ADHD and was recently laid off from his job of 12 1/2 years. They were working on firing him, but because of how badly his supervisors had treated him, he had a solid discrimination case against them, and he walked out on his own terms with no blemishes on his work record and a generous severence package. But what a battle that was... and it really took a toll on both of us.

Now he spends his days working on his new passion, computers. I have never seen an unemployed person work so hard in my life. All he really needed was some support, and the extraneous BS cut out of his job, but they couldn't be bothered and they were trying to ruin him.

The stories of people being treated so badly at work are so upsetting, and I was really glad to read your post that some managers "get it", will work with their employees, value their strengths, and not take their weaknesses personally.

01-22-11, 02:41 PM
I think science and technology fields are much more open to employees doing things their way. Science, when done properly, inherently values different ways of doing things. Also, my boss is a great guy. It's not to say he doesn't get mad at me. He does at times, but in a productive way and it is usually for something like I left my UHP nitrogen line open overnight (costs ~$300 a tank and if left on will essentially go to empty in one night). Honestly, I LOVE my job. We are striking out in so many directions in our research that it is just constantly fun.