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Old 03-09-09, 12:11 PM
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dololly dololly is offline
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Should you tell your boss you have ADD??

Ive been employed with the same company for 10+ years. About a year ago, we got a new boss. The new boss was in the army and is OCD. I have improved so much in a year, but still frustrated. I applied for a teamleader position and did not get it. At first when I found out I did not get it, I was disappointed. I had worked in that department for at least 6 years, graduated with a two year, and I know everyone that would have been my team would have been so excited I was their teamleader. When they made the announcement that he was the teamleader, almost half of his team talked to my boss about not wanting to be on his team. Since I was not picked, it was a bitter/sweet for me. I also got to see how the team would have reacted if they promoted me. It took me about two weeks or so to figure out why the other person got the position and I did not. I think one of the reasons was that I do not keep my workspace neat/organized (hello - Im ADD, I know peeps may think I am not organized/neat, but I do) at least by his standards. I think the second reason was because even tho I had a two year, the one that got the job had a four year and a masters...(no way i could beat that). About a week ago, I told my boss that I know why I was not picked to be the teamleader. I told him that he made the right choice and that I hope to grow even more so if the opportunity came, I would be a better teamleader. I am glad somewhat, that I did not get the job, but I am struggling with my large workload. I am to the point of should I tell him that I am ADD or should I just leave it be? The only reason I would even think about telling him I am ADD is because I am really struggling. I have not said anything because I am afraid that they will use that against me or find a way to fire/get rid of me because of my ADD. And of course they can always find a reason to fire/get rid of you and will say that they are letting me go because of other reasons...What do you do?? Would you say something, or would you just keep it to yourself??
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Old 03-09-09, 12:34 PM
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Re: Should you tell your boss you have ADD??

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The only reason I would even think about telling him I am ADD is because I am really struggling. I have not said anything because I am afraid that they will use that against me or find a way to fire/get rid of me because of my ADD. And of course they can always find a reason to fire/get rid of you and will say that they are letting me go because of other reasons...What do you do?? Would you say something, or would you just keep it to yourself??

Wow...that is a tough one. I would do some serious research and carefully weigh the pros and cons of disclosing this information. You don't want to come off as using it as an "excuse" instead of a reason. For instance, ADD or no ADD, you acknowledge that your workspace is "messy" and disorganized. Therefore, you have no legitimate reason for not taking care of something you know is frowned upon by your boss. It may take more effort, but you still need to conform and not use your condition to excuse yourself from a task you are capable of completing.

One thing you may want to look into is how your condition is viewed in regards to the Americans with Disabilities Act. Although ADHD is not specifically listed as a disability, there have been a couple of court cases that set precedents relating to ADHD:

In Brown Vs. Cox Medical Centers 286 F.3d 1040 (8th Cir. 2002), the court noted that the "ability to perform cognitive functions" is a major life activity.

In Gagliardo v. Connaught Laboratories, Inc., 311 F.3d 565 (3d Cir. 2002), the court held that "concentrating and remembering (more generally, cognitive function)" are major life activities (Fram, 2004)

So, there may be a benefit to disclosure regarding to job protection under the ADA if you fear being let go because of your cognitive functions.

I wish I could give you a "yes or no", but I hope it helps a bit.

Good luck!
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Old 03-09-09, 01:19 PM
chamaleon chamaleon is offline
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Re: Should you tell your boss you have ADD??

I am so tempted to tell my boss, as we get on very well but my thoughts (in general) on this topic are do NOT tell your boss, it would probably be daft, in my opinion, as ADHD is still seen as a DISORDER by most of the world, so the wider world, I suspect does not know about the gifts of ADHD (and is uninterested).

Tell your boss and it will backfire. Tell your boss and it will be used against you - i'm sure of that and dont want this to happen to any of the good people on here.

Remember: you may get on with your boss, but ultimately the boss is the enemy. Mess up (and its highly likely this is happen if you have ADHD) and it will be used against you. Your boss is the first person who will turn on you, no matter how 'nice' they seem right now..

Only tell your boss about your ADHD if your circumstances are very unusual or unique - as i suspect is the case with the OP. I wish everyone the best of luck with it.

Chamaleon.
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Old 03-09-09, 05:01 PM
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Re: Should you tell your boss you have ADD??

I thought your reply to your boss was perfect as it is - I'd have to say, don't tell him.
I told my boss - only - because he ASKED me, how was it that I was so distracted. (I'm pretty sure I posted this before!) so I said - I really have trouble focusing etc...
Later I printed out some stuff, he was extremely interested. but I'd say, this is really exceptional. - the whole thing is a little "30rock" !
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Old 04-01-09, 11:44 AM
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Re: Should you tell your boss you have ADD??

OK I guess that there are a few ways of looking at this and it depends on circumstance. I work for a 30,000 employee multinational with a HR department that is geared to assisting with issues like this.

When I joined, the boss I had was by luck someone who presented work to me in the perfect fashion for someone with this condition. He did not micro manage things, gave a big picture of the goal, put some details of general expectations from the task and sent me to it. He trusted that I could take it from there and I was very good at doing just that.

Two years ago I was move to a new position with a micromanaging nightmare around me. I spent two years trying to mold his presentation of information to something I could cope and deal with and had very little success. What success I had was usually short lived. As things became frustrating, upper management wanted me placed on a "plan" to improve my performance.

That was when I went to see someone and got the diagnosis. I wasn't really aware of what caused me to work well one way and not the other way until then. So my first thought was that a plan that does not take into account my strengths and weaknesses but rather focuses on the symptoms rather than the cause would be futile. I decided to tell them the whole story and I am to date thinking that this was a good idea.

My boss has agreed to change some of how he sends me info and priorities, and he has made a concious effort to tone down any unnecessary distractions (my co-worker at the next desk would chew on ice cubes from 8 to 4 every day non stop. Up to 6 and 8 cups of ice a day. It was like working next to a kid that was stuffing themselves with captain crunch non stop... He got her to stop it). HR has called to see if there was anything that they could do to assist during my adjustment period to the news, including their psychologists, physical accomodations etc... I thanked them very much and refused, but it was made available.

Fact is, some folks think that communication style down the chain is at the sole discression of those above. However any good boss wants his staff to be 100% effective, and if they have a reasonable reason for modifying their style, they will. It's a win win.

The one thing I would say however is if you do tell, do NOT use it as an excuse. Use it as a modifying factor and present information about this that makes them know you are not crazy, just wired a little differently. Make certain that you can give them enough info so that they can understand WHY you work the way you do, and what triggers and situations make things better or worse. Also, don't hesitate to tell them about the plus side, such as "Ultra Focus", creativity, perseverance... Don't put yourself down, just show them that you are maybe a diamond in the rough, and they just need to have the correct tools to make you shine.

Randy
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Old 04-01-09, 11:52 AM
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Re: Should you tell your boss you have ADD??

I am wondering if the new ADA update called ADAAA helps us more. If anybody here knows more let us know! I actually came in here today to see if anybody had brought it up yet but zero hits on "ADAAA" in serach her so far.
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Old 04-02-09, 09:13 PM
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Re: Should you tell your boss you have ADD??

I think that klaatu62's experience might be representative of large, well-informed companies with enlightened HR departments. A bright star in a dark universe.

I'm six months into a new job and have been wondering about this question myself. I've decided against telling. My current boss is perhaps the best I have ever had. But I also know that he, like the vast majority of the NT world, has very little understanding of ADD. What he thinks he knows is probably wrong.

A supervisor is very likely to view everything you do through the lens of his/her "understanding" of your condition. This is likely to turn out badly. False assumptions, expectations of behavior, undue focus on certain aspects of performance. It might turn the entire work experience a bit weird.

All that really matters is your performance. If someone doesn't like your messy desk, cheerfully remind them that you can find anything you need on it, or that some of the greatest minds had messy desks, or some other light-hearted reply.

If you have a hard time with the way information is given to you, be up front about it without making excuses. "It will be much easier for me to give you what you need if I can get a clear overall picture first. It's just the way my head is wired." Any manager worthy of the postion knows that no two people work or think the same way.

If you're struggling in your position, tell your manager why as if you're any other employee. "It's very difficult to maintain any momentum with a constant stream of interruptions. Yesterday I had 17 after lunch. Is there anything we can do to smooth the workflow in the department? I can't be the only one struggling with this." (Assuming you aren't.) "And by the way, the ice crusher in the next cubicle is driving me nuts." (Love that story. )

Everyone with ADD has a different story to tell, and my suggestions may not apply to yours. (Obviously if your condition is so severe that people have a hard time dealing with you, putting a label on your behavior might actually help matters.)

In general I think it's important to realize that once you tell, you can't take it back. Unless you have a fabulously supportive employer it's probably best to avoid labels and the preconceptions they bring. Tell only as a last resort.

If the last resort is necessary and they ask why you didn't bring it up sooner, tell them that once they are notified there are certain expectations and burdens placed on the company by policy or law - and you didn't want to do that to the company.

Best of luck,

ZD
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"Normal" refers to a majority view.

If ADHD was more prevalent it would be "normal". It would shape all of society, just as it shapes our individual lives now.

Those with an excessive need for order, consistency and timeliness would face a lifelong struggle. Most of us "normals" would wonder why they don't lighten up and be more open to life's ebb and flow.

"Normal" is a meaningless concept. Reality is what it is. How we choose to deal with it is what defines us.
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