Are you in a job or career where you find others around you are annoyed with you? Are your relationships at work suffering? Are you getting called on the carpet in your job by your supervisor/manager or co-workers and can’t figure out why? Do you keep making little and big mistakes over and over again and you can’t figure out why? Do you feel overwhelmed and increasingly unhappy, even distraught at work? If this scenario describes your situation, relationships at work are likely being impacted. This can cause anxiety which can result in getting fired, downsized, job hopping and depleted self-confidence. My own experience of how Career ADD can impact relationships on the job came to a screaming crescendo as the CEO of the company I founded, KidzArt. I started receiving phone call “interventions” from my business partners who explained to me that my style of dealing with co-workers, and at times, vendors, presented problems that, at the time, I was unaware. Perhaps on some level I knew there were “issues,” but overall I thought I was doing a great job of managing everything. As a big picture thinker, I tended to see the vision of what needed to get done and gave little thought to how the picture would be created, and how that might impact others. A good example was my relationship (or lack of) with our administrative assistant. She was responsible for all the details, provided customer service to our franchisees, and organized our trainings and materials, to name only a few of her job duties. She was organized to a fault – in other words, the opposite of me. Whenever I would request her to do something, she assumed I wanted it done ASAP, no matter what other tasks she had to complete that day. My personal goal was to get the task off my desk. I have never been one to provide extensive instructions, but most certainly have learned my lesson since. I guess I expected her to read my mind. This understandably drove her bonkers. She complained to my partners. Our relationship was strained from that point onward, but she had become somewhat indispensable to my business partners and the franchisees. This situation was stressful for everyone. Looking back, the primary reason for this incredibly challenging – no difficult situation was due to Career ADD! I was no longer happy at my now corporate job. In fact, I never saw myself even being in a corporate environment in the first place. Yet, not only was I in one, I had actually created it! I no longer enjoyed more than 80% of what I did during the work day, which seemed to be endless piles of administrative tasks with no creativity. My relationships suffered dramatically because I felt trapped and unhappy. My communications suffered. This also be a lesson to those of you entrepreneurs without an exit strategy. Does this sound familiar? If you indeed are aware of how ADD/ADHD impacts your communications and relationships with others, there are one or two things I would recommend:
- Think before you speak. Put yourself in your co-worker, business partner or support staff’s shoes. This might seem obvious, but for those of us with the affliction, it might not seem so at first glance.
- Find a career direction that is fun and rewarding. Your communications will likely be positive and supportive. We have to take control our environment to some extent to do our best work.
- Know you CAN compete in the REAL world when you love what you do. Everyone in your presence wins.
- If you take a job that requires you to work closely with others as a team, as a support person, or in a management position, take a class or get some help on how to effectively communicate no matter what your position. Don’t rely on your “gut” to get the job done or expect others to read your mind.
- If you are still unhappy and feel trapped, plan an exit by getting help to create a career direction that meets your mental, physical and emotional need to find enjoyment in how you spend 40 plus hours per week of your life.