Health

The best type of work for ADHD brains

Whether you love having flexibility at work or thrive best with structure and routine, the best jobs for people with ADHD will draw on your strengths and play down your weaknesses. 

Everyone has a different experience when it comes to the world of work, and it’s important to explore what’s right for you. Speaking with an employment consultant can help open doors that you might not have considered before.

To get started, here are some job features to keep an eye out for when you’re living with ADHD:

Flexibility

For many people with ADHD, a flexible work schedule helps them channel their hyperfocus and be more creative. Having more control over when you do certain tasks could help you make the most of your strengths and find creative work arounds for your challenges.

Long term project-based work tends to suit people who prefer a flexible schedule. The goal of finishing the project provides motivation, but there is freedom with how to organise the steps that get you there.

Jobs with lots of flexibility include:

  • Photographer
  • Graphic designer
  • Massage therapist
  • Virtual assistant
  • Personal trainer

Structure

Some ADHD adults work best when there is clear structure and routine in place. Knowing what comes next may help you stay focused and on-task. It also takes away much of the decision making in the day, which can free up your mind to be more organised and methodical.

If long term goals aren’t enough to motivate you, a structured work schedule might be a better fit. Every day will have a series of tasks for you to achieve which can give you a sense of purpose and accomplishment.

Jobs with a structured schedule include:

  • Accountant
  • Data analyst
  • Factory assembly line worker
  • Administrator
  • Software tester

High intensity

Some people with ADHD thrive in high intensity, high pressure situations where others might feel overwhelmed. High intensity jobs require a cool head, a positive attitude and fast problem solving skills.

Fast pace jobs tend to appeal to people who are good at adapting to changes on the fly. The constant demands can help keep boredom at bay and draw on strengths like fast thinking and creative problem solving. 

High intensity jobs include:

  • Fire fighter
  • Police officer
  • Paramedic
  • Chef
  • Bartender
  • Teacher

Purpose and passion

Those who struggle with boredom and motivation might find they work better if their job is connected to a passion or purpose. Having a larger sense of meaning may help you stay focused and motivated, even when the work feels mundane.

Helping others or working in a field that you have an abiding interest in can be deeply rewarding. Feeling accomplished and fulfilled in your role can make it easier to handle the more challenging parts.

Passion-fueled jobs:

  • Nurse
  • Social worker
  • Advocate
  • Carer
  • Therapist
  • Artist

Creativity

Creative thinkers with ADHD often succeed where innovation and thinking outside the box is encouraged. Racing thoughts and ideas can be an advantage in creative fields, whether it’s a hands-on creative job or an intellectual problem solving job.

Many of the world’s great creatives have ADHD – Justin Timberlake, will.i.am, Mel B, Michael Phelps and Solange Knowles just to name a few. Many of them attribute their success to the way their brain works.

Jobs for a creative ADHD brain:

  • Musician
  • Interior decorator
  • Content creator
  • Fashion designer

Change and variety

Boredom is a serious challenge in the workplace for many people with ADHD. Repeating the same tasks everyday may cause you to switch off or not deliver your best work. On the other hand, jobs with inbuilt change and variety may help you to stay engaged and interested.

Jobs that are client based, such as hairdressing or photography, might be a good fit as every job will be slightly different. Project based work such as graphic design, web design or building management can bring variety, as long as you are able to move on to the next project fairly quickly.

Job ideas with plenty of change and variety:

  • Hair stylist
  • Stagehand
  • Maintenance and repair worker
  • Therapist
  • Events coordinator

Risk taking

Some people with ADHD excel at risk taking and innovative thinking – two skills that are highly sought after in positions such as stockbroker, professional athlete and entrepreneur. 

Most risk taking jobs require independent work, so it’s important to work on skills like organisation, time management and self motivation to succeed. If these are areas you struggle with, look for accommodations and systems that can help you play to your strengths.

Risk taking jobs:

  • Stockbroker / trader
  • Professional athlete
  • Adventure sports guide
  • Entrepreneur
  • Business owner

Movement and independence

Sitting still at an office desk all day can feel restricting and frustrating for many people with ADHD. Jobs that allow lots of movement and independence could give you a greater sense of freedom and satisfaction.

Jobs that allow for movement and independence:

  • Plumber
  • Electrician
  • Sales representative
  • Real estate agent
  • Landscaper
  • Tour guide

Get support finding work that’s right for you

Whatever your strengths and challenges are, there’s work out there where you can thrive. Job searching can be difficult for anyone, but if you live with ADHD you might have a few extra hurdles to jump over. It’s important to reach out for help if you need it.

If you’re struggling to find work or keep your job, you could be eligible for Disability Employment Services. When you register, you can speak with an employment consultant about career options that would be a good fit for you and get ongoing support to find and keep a job.

Related Articles

Back to top button