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Decisions, Decisions: Out at Work and in Life

Decisions, Decisions: Out at Work, and In LifeThis week I experienced a new development in the  “whether or not to come out with ADHD at work” scenario.

My boss was under a lot of stress. At one point he got so angry with me his face went red. While I didn’t take it personally, for the first time since my disclosure of living with ADHD, I began to wonder if I’d done the right thing.

Up ‘til that moment, things had been going well. I felt that my relationship with my boss had improved.

Suddenly, I found myself thinking, have I set myself up for disaster?

My boss was stressed to the max at the same time as me. Having observed offensive and uncalled-for remarks towards other employees in the past, I had to wonder: am I going to become a scapegoat? Will I be picked on because I’m an easy target?

Is the workplace more dangerous for people with ADHD now?

It didn’t help that I had just interviewed author and ADD coach Michele Novotni for an article for ADDitude Magazine. We got talking about her ADHD clients and today’s work environment. She mentioned how her clients can get overwhelmed at work much more easily than their non-ADHD peers. (No kidding, I thought).  She said that she feels a lot of people with ADHD get criticized more often than others, and are told they’re not living up to their full potential when in fact they’re doing their best.

That day at work, as I thought about my potential for failure, her words came back to haunt me:

“You have to realize though, from a work perspective, especially with decreasing staffs, decreasing resources, and the need for increased production, people are not as forgiving of ADHD because everybody’s moving fast.

They have a lot to do, they don’t have time to go back and catch some of the glitches…this whole work environment right now is not necessarily ADHD-friendly.”


What have I done?!

Hear me out…

Ya, ya, I know a lot of you are thinking right now: Duh! We told you so!

But for me, it’s just not that black-and-white. And later that night after work, I realized why.

My A-ha! moment came after watching a debate between the leaders of our major political parties here in Canada.

I found myself being won over by one of the leaders I had had no intention of voting for.  I had been planning on voting for a party who was not included in the debate because they’re still too small. Shockingly, I found myself wondering: “Should I be voting for this guy instead? Do I really want to throw away my vote on a party that might not win?”

I was shocked, and not a little disgusted by my reaction. Even though I admit the candidate in question surprised me by his performance, where was my loyalty?

Then I saw the connection between this quandary and the one at work.

The only games I want to play are on the hockey rink, tennis or basketball court…

Do I stand on my values, or act strategically? And what does that mean, to make decisions based on “strategy”?

I’m well aware that the majority choose to act strategically at work in regard to disclosing their mental health issues [see my previous blog, Love or Fear? (I Was Afraid to Post This, But I Did It Anyway)].

Same goes for politics: there’s a lot of talk about so-called strategic voting when Canadians are trying to oust a leader we’re not happy with. Without getting into the nitty-gritty of the Canadian electoral system, suffice it to say that the guy (or gal) that wins isn’t necessarily the one that most of us want in power.

Until now, I’ve been consistent in making choices based on my values and integrity. I’ve worked toward personal authenticity. That’s all a fancy-schmancy way of saying, “what you see, is what you get.” I try to walk the talk.

Living my life “strategically” smacks to me of deception and manipulation, when I’d rather have cards-on-the-table, clear communication in every facet of life.

Can you say, paradigm shift? [HINT: the “g” is silent!]

I realize this way of being in society, should we all adopt it, would be nothing less than a paradigm shift. But I firmly believe in the tenet, “Be the change you want to see.”

I’m still glad I came out at work. I still want to lead the way for others to feel okay about who they are, with all their human emotions and complexities. If I get fired because the guy snaps, or I snap and become incompetent (and whether I do or not is entirely up to me and how well I’m managing my stress and ADHD symptoms), I still made the right decision for me. This IS the change I want to see.

With my country’s future hanging in the balance, I wonder if I’ll have the guts to stick with my principles and values when I vote on May 2?  I wonder how many will?

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Decisions, Decisions: Out at Work and in Life

Zoë Kessler, BA, B.Ed.

Zoë Kessler is an award-winning author, journalist, and speaker specializing in women and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD / ADD).

A frequent contributor to ADDitude Magazine, Kessler has also created video, standup comedy, and guest blogs on ADHD and Marriage covering ADHD-related topics.

Zoë, an internationally recognized ADHD expert, has been interviewed on radio and featured in magazine articles, documentaries, and books on the topic of women and ADHD across North America.

Her newly-released memoir ADHD According to Zoë - The Real Deal on relationships, Finding Your Focus & Finding Your Keys (New Harbinger Publications, 2013) about life with ADHD is now available.

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APA Reference
Kessler, Z. (2013). Decisions, Decisions: Out at Work and in Life. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 30, 2020, from


Last updated: 26 May 2013
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