Re: ADD/ADHD Problems and Tech Writing/Editing Careers

Subject: Re: ADD/ADHD Problems and Tech Writing/Editing Careers
From: Chuck Martin <cm -at- writeforyou -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 15 Jun 2004 09:46:21 -0700

Anne G. Davis wrote:
I am

struggling with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and, looking back on my
career, it makes sense that I was diagnosed with this problem. Even though I
consider myself a decent reader and writer (many of my past supervisors would
agree, but some would disagree) and made it through school (painfully--like
pulling teeth without anesthesia) with an average GPA and a B.S. in English, I
continue to have a lot of trouble concentrating and focusing on large or
complex documents, following instructions (written and oral), following through
on writing tasks, getting jumbled up when handling forms and paperwork,
ineffective time management, trouble being on time, and generally feeling/being
lost in space most of the time. Apparently I am one of those people who fell
through the medical cracks so-to-speak and was never diagnosed as a child,
aside from being told I was fidgety, not a good listener, "couldn't sit still,"
"why can't you just sit and read a book in a week like everybody else" and "out
in left field." But when I went to grade school in the mid-70s, you were
either hyperactive or normal, with not much in between.
In any case, my question is, where to go from here. Do I continue to try to
make my ADD brain fit a highly-focused, attention-to-detail technical writing
career, even though it's been a struggle for 10 years with no promotions, 5
layoffs (some were due to the economy, but not all), and numerous difficulties
on the job with frustrated coworkers and bosses, not to mention the work
itself--or search for a completely different career path. It gets to be
frustrating and even demoralizing when bosses tell you "I know you can do
this," only to find that "you missed so much" and "what's wrong with you, why
aren't you getting it?"


I cna relate to your dilemma. I have long suspected that of myself, although I've never formally been tested. (Not getting around to things is one of the idicators.) Whenever I read about ADD/ADHD, I say to myself "That's me."

For me, though, I love what I do. I woulnd't think of doing anything else. It's why I've struggled through the Bush economy, staying in this field and staying in my home, the Bay Area. I'm not giving up. Yeah, it's sometimes frustrating. But I get plenty of satisfactions.

If I ever had a manager who literally asked "waht's wrong with you," my next step would be to begin a job search. Such insensitivity borders on incompetence. Even if your disorder had been identified, there is absolutely no excuse for belittling. If that actually did happen, it's time to document it and go up the ladder.

While I'm no physician, I do not believe that ADD/ADHD and dyslexia are related. Dyslexia is an issue with the brain processing and interpreting information.

As far as propotions go, I've never worked for those. My satisfaction is in getting a good job done--and it does get done, although usually very close to deadline. Unless you're looking to go into management, there's not a whole lot of career path. You get better at what you do, learn to do more things, and do them better and more efficiently, and get paid more for doing it. Meanwhile, the title stays the same. I'm happy with that. Can you find a way to be, or do you seek more?

Finding a job where you mesh well with your team and your manager is a difficult process, one that has a very strong parallel to the dating process. yes, you cna find ways to work with "difficult" managers; all human relationships are about learning to adjust and deciding when to compromise. But people are different, and sometimes the relationship just doesn't work out. If it doesn't, that's not to say it's your fault--or anyone's--and the ability to recognize that and move on can go a long way.

If you love what you do, you'll find a way to make it work for you, and you'll find people with whom you can work well together. Dont let the you-know-what bring you down.

Chuck Martin
User Assistance & Experience Engineer
twriter "at" sonic "dot" net

"I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me.
The day may come when the courage of Men fail, when we forsake our
friends and break all bonds of fellowship. But it is not this day!
This day, we fight!"
- Aragorn

"All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given you."
- Gandalf


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