Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) comes with numerous characteristics that may make some jobs more suitable for individuals than others. For example, people with the condition could seek out high energy, creative, and flexible roles. There are many career paths they could follow, but suitable examples of jobs may include entrepreneurs, police officers, and teachers.
ADHD is a complex and chronic mental health condition that affects individuals differently. However, it typically has a specific set of symptoms such as forgetfulness, lack of focus, and disorganization.
While it may feel like a struggle to live with these challenges at times, there are many benefits to having ADHD, including:
- enhanced creativity and innovation
- higher levels of empathy
- superior problem-solving abilities
- excellent social skills
- being exceptionally productive when feeling stimulated
In addition, people with ADHD may be energetic, inquisitive, and more outgoing than their peers as they feel less inhibited by social norms or expectations.
These characteristics mean individuals with ADHD have the potential to perform at a very high level in jobs where their passions and skills align with their work responsibilities. That said, there are also certain careers that may be more challenging for those with the condition.
This article explores the characteristics of ADHD that could suit specific jobs, as well as legal factors and disability rights surrounding employment.
Those with ADHD present with a
Likewise, jobs that require extended bouts of concentration tend to be challenging for an individual with inattention issues.
All people should consider their strengths and skills when looking for a suitable career. In addition, those with ADHD should take their specific symptoms into account when reviewing potential roles.
Those with ADHD may feel they have a disadvantage compared to those without a diagnosis of this condition. However, some characteristics of ADHD could make them the perfect hire in a position that would benefit from their unique attributes.
Those with the hyperactivity and impulsive symptoms of ADHD are usually energetic, which they can use to their advantage. While hyperactivity and impulsivity could be negative factors in some lines of work, there are plenty of jobs where this added energy can be extremely useful.
This added energy could simply make someone more fun and enjoyable to be around at work. It could also lead to people being very good at dealing with high workloads and multiple tasks. Labor-intensive work may also be suitable for people with added energy due to their ADHD.
Those with ADHD can be visionary and creative, meaning they generate ideas easily.
People with the condition may not consider themselves intelligent because they had academic difficulties in school. However, this is often due to challenges with learning in a school environment that does not cater well to those with different learning needs, rather than a lack of ability or intelligence in terms of processing information.
The combination of creativity and resilience means that those with ADHD may be “out-of-the-box” thinkers, able to generate ideas that could significantly benefit an employer in multiple lines of work through risk-taking and even resilience.
This is immensely beneficial in a position where people must make quick decisions or work under extreme stress. Examples include fire and rescue personnel, emergency room doctors and nurses, and police officers. Amid a crisis, those with ADHD can be calm, cool, and collected, even if their immediate peers are not.
Growing up differently from expected societal norms due to their experiences of the condition can often lead to those with ADHD feeling like they do not fit in with their environment. As a result, people with ADHD often get into trouble for simply being themselves in their younger years. Although this may feel painful, it helps the individual become more caring, understanding, and accepting of qualities that make individuals different.
Individuals with ADHD may be compassionate to their workmates and clients and show high levels of empathy, which can be extremely valuable in many lines of work.
People with ADHD can be a huge asset to employers. The following are some more specific examples of careers in which individuals with ADHD may excel due to the traits of the condition.
Social worker, therapist, or guidance counselor, social carer
These jobs attract highly compassionate and empathetic people who can put themselves in another person’s shoes to really understand others through empathy. These jobs also require passion and dedication to help those in need. Individuals with ADHD tend to have these qualities and could excel in such roles.
This may be even more true in working with children who also have ADHD. Naturally, it is easier for someone with the condition to understand how a child with ADHD feels, thinks, and acts. The child may also be more willing to be open with an adult they feel understands them genuinely.
Police officer, firefighter, or emergency dispatcher
These careers require individuals who can not only think on their feet but thrive in stressful environments, where they have only seconds to make life or death decisions.
People with ADHD may notice things that others miss and can be extraordinarily intuitive. These characteristics are helpful in jobs requiring individuals to be highly observant and make reliable choices. In addition, they may find unique solutions to complex problems, see patterns where others only see chaos, and see all sides of a situation, which are essential skills in these careers.
Teacher or daycare worker
Those with ADHD are not only
Individuals with ADHD may enjoy careers such as teaching, where they can take advantage of their creative powers without the need to remain still. Compassion, empathy, and a caring nature are also vital characteristics in the world of educating children, and more reasons why a career as a teacher could be a great option for those with ADHD.
Entrepreneurship is a career where those with ADHD may flourish. Uncertainty is the leading quality of an entrepreneur’s job, which may cause anxiety and inaction in many individuals. People with ADHD can also be impulsive, and they may be more likely to take risks, which can be a great advantage in this demanding but rewarding vocation.
The flexible nature of entrepreneurship could also appeal to those with ADHD. They can set their own rules and schedule and do not have to follow the routine that comes with many typical “9–5” jobs.
Journalism involves meeting many people, often being on the move, and a great deal of creativity. This career also usually requires people to work on a variety of topics in many areas. It also avoids the typical routine of many jobs, which could pose challenges for those who struggle with the inattentive and hyperactive symptoms of ADHD.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 states that no workplace can discriminate against individuals with a disability. ADHD is one of the disabilities included within this legislation, meaning no employer can refuse to hire or discriminate against someone with ADHD.
It also means that the employer must provide reasonable accommodations for the individual, with the caveat that it does not result in undue hardships upon the business.
However, not everyone with ADHD qualifies for ADA protections. The protections only apply to those with ADHD that substantially limits their major life activities. For example, the legislation does not apply if an individual cannot do their work and concentrate because of noise in the office or individuals frequently walking past the desk.
However, even though not everyone may fall under ADA protection, employers can be willing to oblige small requests that improve an individual’s productivity.
Individuals with ADHD often have highly desirable qualities that make them excellent candidates for specific roles.
Those with the condition should concentrate their job search around roles that require high energy, creativity, crisis management, and flexibility. Some careers in which people with ADHD could excel include entrepreneurs, social workers, police officers, and teachers.
Sometimes, individuals with ADHD may feel overwhelmed, with their symptoms only negatively affecting their lives. However, seeking a job that highlights their strengths and allows them to enjoy their work can help minimize challenges due to their condition.