Finding the Best Job for Your ADHD Brain
What are the best jobs for people with ADHD? Before we get to that, let’s talk about why finding a job or career suited for someone with adult ADHD is key to your success.
It’s important for you to find the best job for your ADHD brain, because a job is a significant part of life. People spend a great deal of time at work, so jobs play a role in our mental health and wellbeing. ADHD can make a lot of jobs very frustrating, and it’s not uncommon for someone with ADHD to jump from job to job. Just because you have ADHD, it doesn’t mean you’re doomed to struggle in the realm of work. ADHD friendly jobs exist, and you can find them.
Characteristics of Great Jobs for People with ADHD
ADHD can seem to interfere in all areas of life. The symptoms of adult ADHD, such as difficulty focusing and paying attention, distractibility, disorganization, and more can get in the way of job performance. It’s not that you’re incapable of working. It’s more likely that your own unique ADHD-related characteristics don’t match the characteristics of some jobs.
The best jobs for adults with ADHD have qualities that fit well with the disorder. If you have ADHD, look for job qualities like:
- Variety of tasks and duties
- Fast pace
- Intellectual stimulation
- Opportunities to multitask
- Flexible scheduling
- Interactions with different people
- Support from coworkers, an assistant, etc.
- Clear expectations
In addition to looking for ADHD-friendly job characteristics, know yourself and your own unique traits. When considering the best jobs for someone with ADHD, keep in mind that, as with anything else, ADHD isn’t one-size-fits-all. Some people need a great deal of structure to stay on task, and an ideal job for them would be one with a clear hierarchy and regular, structured supervision. Other people with ADHD need freedom, independence, and flexibility in their job in order to thrive.
To find a job you can enjoy, know yourself. Do you do well under pressure and find stressful tasks to be challenging and rewarding? Or do you prefer variety without high pressure? What is your own unique style of working? When you know yourself and your ADHD characteristics, you can describe, and then seek, your ideal job.
Some of the Best Careers for People with ADHD
The jobs on this list are some of the best careers for people with ADHD. Collectively, they fit well with ADHD traits. Again, know yourself so you can identify which careers fit you. Hallowell & Ratey (2010) and Weiss (2005) suggest specific jobs for people with ADHD:
- Trial lawyer
- Small business owner
- ER physician, surgeon, nurse
- Cab, Uber, or Lyft driver
- Entertainment industry
- Airline pilot
This is a sampling of ADHD-friendly careers. All are highly stimulating and allow freedom of movement. Some are flexible, some are structured.
Successful careers for people with ADHD are those that are motivating. What excites you and appeals to you? When you’re in a job that you like, you are more likely to be motivated to succeed. This interest and motivation are far stronger than your ADHD.
Tips for Finding an ADHD-Friendly Job You Love
If you have a tendency to become bored easily or to become frustrated easily, you might find yourself leaving jobs frequently. To increase your chances of success in your ideal career, avoid impulsively quitting one job and jumping into another job that might be just as terrible. Instead, try these tips to help you find and keep the right job:
- Think of your ideal job, and look at your unique strengths, skills, passions, and purpose and consider how your ADHD traits will help and hinder you in the job
- Look at your values and define what is important to you. What type of job do you need to meet your values?
- Volunteer to try out your different interests and work environments
- Connect with people online, such as in forums or groups for people with ADHD; what has worked for others?
- Talk to people in careers or jobs you’re interested in and learn specific aspects of the job for which ADHD might be an asset or a detriment
- People with ADHD can experience remarkable career success. The key is to find a job that you enjoy and that works with, rather than against, your ADHD traits. Find a good fit, and you’ll experience mental- and occupational health.
Last Updated: 01 November 2017
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD