Finding a Career You Love When You Have ADHD


If you’re an adult with ADHD, your skills and weaknesses in the workplace may differ from those of your neurotypical colleagues. It might be harder for you to remain focused on an unstimulating task, stay organized or be able to meet deadlines – which will cause challenges at work. There are three types of ADHD, and knowing which type you have is a good starting point for deciding a career path:

  • Hyperactive - This is the least common type of ADHD, and is characterized by impulsive, hyperactive behavior and distractibility.
  • Inattentive - This type of ADHD is characterized predominately by inattention and distractibility, without hyperactivity.
  • Combined - This is the most common type of ADHD, and is characterized by impulsive and hyperactive behavior, along with inattention and distractibility.

Adults with ADHD change jobs more frequently and have higher rates of unemployment or part-time employment (Kuriyan et al, 2013). With this in mind, choosing a career path that would be a good fit for someone with ADHD could be a challenge. Here are a few things to consider when deciding on which career may best suit you. 

What are your interests? 

It’s well known that those with ADHD need to be engaged and interested in their field of work in order to maintain attention, be productive and feel fulfilled. Do you get a kick out of analyzing numbers and organizing data? Maybe you like working with your hands and being creative. There isn’t a “perfect job” for people with ADHD, but doing something you’re passionate about will encourage motivation, focus, and lead to higher job satisfaction.

What are your strengths?  

The right job will turn your unique ADHD symptoms and traits into strengths and assets. Studies show that people with ADHD tend to be more curious, creative, imaginative, innovative, and inventive – both inside and outside of the workplace. Make a list of your strong suits and think of times when those strengths have led you toward success or recognition. Evaluate whether or not any symptoms like hyperfocus, high energy or impulsivity helped you get the job done. Input from others may be helpful when answering this question!

Is there a pattern to your energy level throughout the day? 

Think about your day-to-day energy patterns. Do you notice that you’re more productive in the morning, or you feel more motivated later in the day? Are there specific tasks that make you feel invigorated or drained? All jobs can occasionally include boring or mundane tasks, but some careers might require more physical and mental energy than others, or require work hours outside of a standard 9-5. 

Do you need structure, or freedom?

Shift work, flexible hours or a hybrid environment can be beneficial for one person with ADHD, whereas another might require structure and routine to quiet their busy mind. If you tend to get easily overwhelmed, you might do better in a quiet, low-stress workplace that follows a standard day-to-day routine. If you value your autonomy, consider careers that allow you to make your own schedule or work off-site. Knowing what kind of environment you work best in can narrow your search for the ideal career.


Once you have a better understanding of who you are as a person, it’ll be easier to start exploring different career options. It’s important to remember that ADHD is unique. One ADHDer may consider a more low-key office job mentally stimulating, and another might thrive in a fast-paced retail job. The key is to choose a field or specific position that capitalizes on your skills and the traits that make you an asset to any workplace.

If you're interested in working with CADDAC to educate your workplace about ADHD, check out our ADHD in the Workplace Workshop and fill out our presentation request form!

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