It is often said that there is a “right” job for everyone; however, for millions of adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), it can be a challenge to find it. With proper treatment, adults with ADHD can excel in many fields, although some jobs can be more suited to those living with this condition.
This article will explore the 25 best jobs for people with ADHD and tips for managing ADHD symptoms at work. If ADHD is making it difficult for you to perform professionally, then maybe it’s time for a career change!
Klarity makes accessing online ADHD treatment fast and simple through convenient telehealth appointments. We can connect you with an experienced healthcare provider who will diagnose your symptoms, create a personalized plan to treat your attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and help you combat issues like procrastination, disorganization, and poor time management.
All from the comfort of home.
No missed work or lost wages to make your appointment. Klaritiy offers modern mental health treatment for busy, working people.
Schedule an appointment today to speak with a medical provider about your ADHD symptoms in 48 hours or less.
What Is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?
ADHD is a neurobehavioral mental health disorder characterized by impulsivity, hyperactivity, and short attention span. In general, no two people with ADHD express the disorder precisely alike. Some patients may be highly social, while others are withdrawn.
Some may have a high concentration level with things that interest them, while others are continuously challenged to concentrate regardless of interest. Once diagnosed, individuals with ADHD have responded to treatment for their symptoms and report greatly improved satisfaction in their work and personal lives.
The 3 Types of ADHD and Their Symptoms
There are three main types of ADHD:
- Inattentive Type
The patient generally displays most symptoms below but also a few hyperactive-impulsive type symptoms.
- Carelessness resulting in mistakes
- Inability to stay on task
- Inattention/Not appearing to listen/mind wandering
- Inability to follow or comprehend instructions
- Task avoidance, especially for tasks that require sustained attention
- Lack of focus
- Constant procrastination
- Difficulty in organizing tasks (i.e., poor time management, messy, disorganized work product)
The patient generally displays most of the symptoms below but also a few inattentive-type symptoms.
- Inability to remain still, i.e., fidgeting/squirming
- Getting up often when seated, i.e., moving away from the workplace
- The necessity to “burn off” excess energy/restlessness
- Inability to work quietly
- Talking too much, inappropriate conversation patterns
- Often “on the go” as if “driven by a motor.”
Combination Type is the most common type of ADHD, where the patient displays a relatively equal amount of both Inattentive and Hyperactive/Impulsive symptoms.
Adult Vs. Child ADHD Symptoms
Adults and children can both have ADHD, and while there are some similarities between adult and child ADHD, there are also some key differences.
Here are some of the main differences between adult ADHD and child ADHD:
- Symptom presentation: In children, ADHD is characterized by hyperactivity, impulsivity, and difficulty paying attention, often leading to problems with academic performance and behavior in school. In adults, the symptoms of ADHD may be more subtle and may present differently, such as restlessness, difficulty with organization, forgetfulness, and difficulty completing tasks.
- Diagnosis: ADHD is typically diagnosed in childhood, and many individuals with ADHD continue to experience symptoms into adulthood. However, many individuals with adult ADHD may not have been diagnosed until later. Their symptoms may have been less apparent or misdiagnosed as anxiety, depression, or other conditions.
- Co-occurring conditions: Children with ADHD are more likely to have co-occurring conditions such as oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), conduct disorder (CD), and learning disabilities. In adults, ADHD is more likely to co-occur with anxiety disorders, depression, and substance use disorders.
- Impact on daily life: Both child and adult ADHD can significantly impact everyday life, but the specific challenges may differ. Children with ADHD may struggle with academic performance, behavior in school, and social relationships. Adults with ADHD may struggle with work performance, organization, time management, and relationships.
- Treatment: While the same medications and therapies used to treat ADHD in children can also be effective for adults with ADHD, there may be some differences in treatment approaches.
Because this article deals with the workforce, we’ll focus primarily on how ADHD affects adults.
Turning Disadvantages into Advantages
The disadvantages of ADHD, with proper treatment, can be turned into advantages. Characteristics of ADHD such as excess energy, creativity, and hyperfocus are “in demand” skill sets in many career fields.
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Strengths of Those with ADHD
Channeling high energy into work problems or long shifts is beneficial to an individual with ADHD. High energy/hyperactivity is a common symptom that can help employees do more and accomplish their goals more quickly. In today’s workplace, the ability to “do more with less” is a prized talent.
Individuals with ADHD also tend to be creative thinkers. Just as there is no “one size fits all” treatment plan for ADHD, solutions to workplace issues can be equally complex. The ability to look at things creatively leads to out-of-the-box thinking and solutions—another highly prized talent in the modern workplace.
Hyperfocus, also known as a high concentration level while on task, to the point of blocking everything else out, benefits the employee and the employer in many ways. This characteristic allows an individual with ADHD to focus keenly for extended periods of time entirely on the tasks at hand. When properly treated, hyperfocus can be invaluable in workplaces with many distractions and promote workplace profitability.
Impulsivity can be channeled into the ability to recognize issues and problem-solve at high rates of speed quickly. If properly treated, this common symptom of ADHD doubles as a highly prized set of skills for many career paths.
25 Best Jobs for People with ADHD
People with ADHD undergoing treatment for their symptoms can be excellent and inspired employees when performing the right job with the correct structures in place.
While there isn’t a one size fits all career that is the “best” job for people with ADHD, those roles that allow for an individual to have a varied approach to their work, non-monotonous nor highly repetitive in nature and allow for freedom of physical movement can be highly beneficial. Here are 25 ADHD-friendly jobs for people with ADHD.
1. Computer Programmer
The unique creative challenge of computer programing makes it a perfect job for people with adhd traits. Computer programmers can envision and implement solutions and new ways to do old tasks. This appeals to many individuals with ADHD who want to work independently yet in varied work that celebrates creative and solution-based thinking.
The creativity and hyperfocus that many ADHD individuals exhibit can make the engineering profession very attractive. With so many fields within the engineering profession, variety in tasks and settings is virtually assured. No time to get bored with this job.
The most successful entrepreneurs have the creative ability to see things in a different and highly profitable way and the impulse to act upon their instincts. Adults with ADHD tend to approach tasks with astounding creativity and are generally curious about making things better and hyperfocus to find that solution.
4. Small Business Owner
Like the entrepreneur, this is your business; you are your own boss and set the rules. Problem-solving and the ability to act on educated impulses are key attributes to being a small business owner, as well as the ability to set your own schedule and pursue your passion.
Few professions benefit from creativity as cooking. The best chefs can think out of the box and create amazing culinary works of art. Chefs are constantly moving, and out-of-the-box thinking is key to their success. With properly treated symptoms and a love of food, this job may be the dream of ADHD individuals.
Being a teacher requires high levels of creativity, hyperfocus, and problem-solving. It also allows you to move around physically and expend a lot of energy. There is never a dull or monotonous moment when dealing with students, and as a teacher, an adult with ADHD can also recognize and help students with the condition.
7. ER Nurse or Critical Care Nurse
The emergency room is an adrenaline-packed, fast-paced workplace that requires high energy and quick reactions (impulsivity and hyper focus). This job is the opposite of monotonous. An adult with ADHD is well suited for the emergency room.
Seeing the project from many different angles and creativity are hallmarks of this profession. Individuals with ADHD can excel in this job where hyperfocus on a project can yield incredible results for the clients.
9. Sales Representative
Sales reps must be able to exercise high creativity and work long periods in various fast-paced work environments. There are a variety of environments and techniques that an individual with ADHD seems well suited for, such as inside sales, outside sales, and direct sales.
10. Computer Technician
Similar to the computer programmer, this job is broader in nature and provides even more variety. Rarely a dull moment and many opportunities to solve problems and interact on teams appeal to many ADHD individuals.
11. Fitness Trainer
Meeting new people, offering solutions and ideas to help them look and feel better, and moving from client to client quickly are vital qualities of a fitness trainer. Rarely is there a moment for boredom or monotony to set in so individuals with ADHD and energetic, social personalities can excel in this job.
Highly similar in nature to the fitness trainer, this profession helps others look and feel their best and requires a high degree of focus, energy, and creativity. ADHD individuals can benefit from the structure of appointments but the constant variation in their clients.
13. Graphic Designer
Creativity and variety are hallmarks of a graphic designer. Generally, this job sets its own work pace, and each project is separate and unique. This career offers a rewarding challenge for individuals with ADHD and attributes that align with creativity and independent thinking.
Journalists deal with multiple topics, and their work is ever-changing. This appeals to adults with ADHD because monotony does not happen. The broad range of topics is usually limited in duration, and hyperfocus is a considerable benefit to completing the often time-sensitive assignments.
15. Police Officer
Being situationally aware and making split-second decisions in various environments are necessary things police officers must be able to do. With constant challenges and adrenaline-induced situations, high-energy, hyperfocused, and creative ADHD individuals find being a police officer highly rewarding.
Creativity and the ability to see the world with a unique perspective are common in individuals with ADHD. They are also the qualities of great photographers. With a multitude of different opportunities of work location and topic, this is an excellent field for someone with properly diagnosed and treated ADHD.
Extremely similar to police officers, being a firefighter requires courage and focus on fighting fires. Creativity and the ability to problem-solve quickly are all advantages necessary for this critical profession.
Intricate ability to understand how things work and to solve problems are hallmarks of this job. For an individual with ADHD who likes some routine with varied assignments and challenges, this can be an ideal role.
19. Copy Editor
The hallmark of this job is constantly being busy with many things to focus on at once. High energy, lack of boredom, and the ability to move between tasks can be highly gratifying to an adult with ADHD.
20. Emergency Room Doctor
Helping others as you help yourself is possible. Emergency room doctors are known for their problem-solving abilities, creative thinking, and varied schedules. All of these are conducive to adults with properly diagnosed and treated ADHD.
21. Event Planner
Event planning requires a high degree of creativity, organization, and problem-solving skills, which can align well with the strengths of many people with ADHD. The constantly changing tasks and the need to stay on top of multiple details can also be highly stimulating.
22. Marketing Specialist
Marketing requires a high degree of creativity and the ability to think outside the box, which can align well with the strengths of many people with ADHD. Working independently and as part of a team can also be highly rewarding.
Music requires a high degree of creativity and the ability to hyperfocus on playing an instrument or composing music, which can align well with the strengths of many people with ADHD. The variation in tasks and opportunities to perform in different settings can also be highly engaging.
Writing requires a high degree of creativity and the ability to hyperfocus on a project, which can align well with the strengths of many people with ADHD. Working independently and controlling your schedule can also be highly enticing.
25. Emergency Medical Technician
EMTs play a critical role in emergency medical care, requiring quick decision-making skills, the ability to stay focused under pressure, and strong communication and teamwork skills. It can be a rewarding career for individuals with ADHD who thrive in fast-paced and unpredictable environments.
It’s important to note that while these jobs can be a good fit for individuals with ADHD, they may not be a good fit for everyone. It’s important to explore different options and find a career that aligns with your strengths, interests, and values while also providing the proper management of your ADHD symptoms.
Managing Your ADHD While at Work
Recognizing the triggers to your symptoms is the first step to managing ADHD at work. Workers with ADHD can more successfully manage their symptoms using the following techniques.
1. Remain Focused
Focus is the ability to concentrate. Minimizing distractions helps your focus. A quiet, uncluttered workspace, putting your phone away, having no food or beverages next to you, and having a list of priorities and instructions immediately available are all techniques to help you remain focused.
2. Deal with Impulsivity and Temper
Interpersonal relationships at work and within work teams are critical. Outbursts of temper rarely end well. Recognizing your triggers and pre-planning how to avoid them can minimize potential incidents.
When you feel that you are about to engage in an impulsive act, an effective technique is to immediately stop what you are doing and take a deep breath. Ask your colleagues for a minute to regroup your thoughts.
Take calm, deep, and reassuring breaths. If possible, walk away to allow yourself the time you need and return when the symptoms have passed.
3. Cope with Hyperactivity
Many adults with ADHD feel the need to be in constant movement. Proactively setting up a system of breaks in work to allow for scheduled movement can greatly assist you. Changes in diet, i.e., avoiding caffeine and sugars (stimulants), regular exercise, and a good night’s sleep, are additional techniques that help address hyperactivity.
Items such as stress balls and under-the-desk leg exercisers are also helpful, but be careful to limit the number of devices to avoid them becoming distractions.
4. Deal with Memory Issues
Memory issues are frustrating and a great embarrassment for adults with ADHD. Write down the details or instructions and a timetable for each task at the time it is assigned. Once written, it is helpful to repeat it back to ensure accuracy.
Memory Challenges can be significantly diminished by exercising good communication, such as the “repeat back technique” and reiterating project directions in writing.
5. Deal with Boredom
Boredom and monotony at work are triggers for many of the ADHD symptoms. While time and task management are important, setting up a series of breaks and rewards for certain levels of progress can significantly improve boredom with a task.
Meditation or “mindfulness” techniques can help alleviate boredom. In addition to trained therapeutic techniques, there are smartphone apps and online guided meditations that an adult with ADHD can use for free or inexpensively.
6. Avoid Procrastination
To avoid procrastination, “don’t put off to tomorrow, what you can do today” is an excellent motto for adults with ADHD. It is easy to bargain with yourself over completing necessary tasks and inadvertently create a no-win situation.
Ask yourself why when you find that you are putting off a task. Take a few moments to gather the reasons and determine if it is due to a real need or is it due to your ADHD. Recognition is half the battle, and mental discipline is needed to put yourself back on task. Reward yourself at regular intervals for staying on task.
7. Practice Effective Time Management
“On time, every time” is the goal of successful adults. Few things are as satisfying as ticking off a completed work assignment. Hence, a priority list with an estimated time for each task is a great reward and reminder system.
Keeping a clock nearby helps you track your time on the job, which is crucial for time management. Be realistic about time frames and discuss any needs or concerns with your supervisor.
Need ADHD Treatment Online? Book An Appointment On Klarity
People with ADHD thrive when they seek jobs that reward innovative thinking, enhanced creativity, and unconstrained creative generation. Your ADHD brain was built for fast-paced environments and loosened restrictions like flexible hours and the ability to be your own boss.
If ADHD symptoms are getting in the way of your successful job search, you should speak with an ADHD-trained medical provider on Klarity. We make access to online ADHD treatment easy!
Schedule an appointment on Klarity today, and we’ll connect you with a board-certified mental health provider who can prescribe ADHD treatments online.