There are things that your boss, supervisor, or employer should know about your ADHD. But oddly enough, not one of those things that they need to know is the fact that you have ADHD.
Now there are exceptions to every rule. For instance, if I hadn’t told Dr. Grohol that I had ADHD, he would probably not have offered me the opportunity to write about it here.
But this isn’t the only place I work, and while he isn’t the only boss I have that knows about my ADHD, I don’t tell everyone about it.
And really, this is a special case. My job here is to tell people about ADHD.
But the law states that you need not divulge any info about your mental health to your employer if your mental health does not affect the job.
So here are those five things you might mention about your ADHD:
- You should mention that you are deadline driven. Some people aren’t. A good boss will do what is best for an employee. If you need deadlines and they know that, they may offer to set them for you.
- Tell your boss that you need a written, and well defined job description. Very few of us are truly irresponsible, but sometimes things go unnoticed in our worlds. I worked in a kitchen for two weeks once before discovering I was expected to drain the steam table every two days and clean it. They said I had been told. I denied that had happened, but in retrospect it may have been glossed over while I was being given my orientation on that first day. But man, have you been in a large hotel kitchen? There’s big and shiny and loud noises and lots of people moving in lots of directions.
- Mention that you might need space to move in. If your job involves thought based problem solving or talking or anything that’s not actually physical, and if you are like many of us, you may need to pace, bounce or jiggle to get through the day with minimal stress. And the deal is that if your work wants the most from you then they want you to be able to keep stress at a minimum. Confining us physically when our jobs aren’t physical is just going to make us less effective.
- Tell them you might need some understanding when it comes to desk space. There are people with ADHD who have immaculate work space habits. But while those people are my heroes, they are the exception, not the rule. If you are working shift work and someone else is following you, do your best to have things ship shape for the next person at your station. But if your work space is your own, you might want to mention that you work best if your things are where you left them because that’s the easiest way for you to find them. Then make sure your work is never compromised because of the messy desk situation.
- Explain how distraction often helps us focus. I know it seems weird, but if they think about it, it’ll makes sense. If parts of our job are boring, we have trouble focusing. Distracting ourselves with music or a radio often gives us enough extra to do that the job at hand becomes a challenge worth attending to. If you work where sound is an issue for others, remember your ear buds, and keep a spare pair of cheap ones in your desk drawer for those days that you forget them.
This list is just a guideline, and of course not all of these items may apply to you. But give them some thought, and maybe schedule a meeting with the employer or boss.
Tell them you might have some ideas on how to improve your production that you’d like to talk over with them.