I find that I have spent a great deal of time going through all of the mistakes I’ve made, seeking to put all the guilt to rest and identifying the triggers that have created chaotic choices in the past. My way of making peace with my choices and understanding how my ADD/ADHD mind works. Knowledge is power and now I feel I have the power to appreciate the amazing things I have accomplished in the past.
The biggest, most amazing accomplishment in my lifetime has been devoting my work life to doing what does NOT come naturally to me.
I envisioned a normal person as organized, neat and tidy. In my determination to be what I thought was normal I pursued every job that required organizational skills. Tedious, monotonous paper pushing jobs were the norm for me. When those jobs became too boring to ignite even the slightest spark in my brain, I would just quit. Then, I’d get another one, usually one that was pretty much the same as the one I left. Actually, the only new thing about each job was the company I worked for.
I approached each interview with anticipation. No trepidation. I presented myself as outgoing, charming, super efficient and pulled together. My references were always impeccable. Everyone was always regretful to see me go. I always made sure they put their regret into a fantastic reference letter that I could carry with me.
Oh. I burned some bridges. A lot of the jobs I had ended with a dramatic scene, especially if I felt wronged in some way. Losing my temper was always part of it, making the responsibility for me leaving evident for all to see squarely on the shoulders of the person that pushed my buttons. One in particular comes to mind.
I reported directly to the VP of the company. Having moved up quickly from an entry-level (yes, that’s right, I always aim low) customer service position to running a new department, I had to answer to my least favourite person in the company. She was not a “bad” person per se. She was just bad for me. She constantly interrupted me during my crunch times.
I had quarterly deadlines to meet, deadlines that could not be changed, put off or not met. Deadlines created by outside forces such as the government laws with consequences of large amounts of money charged to our clients if their reporting was not done on time. Not paying penalties was the single most important aspect of my duties. Everything else I did prepared for this goal. The work came in just a few weeks before the deadline, and my staff had to input the information accurately and quickly. During these highly stressful times, I was a machine. And I was demanding. Under no circumstances would I accept less than 150% from anyone, especially myself.
Anyway, this VP drove me to distraction with her endless interruptions. Every hour she had to speak with me about some idiotic matter that did not require an immediate answer. NOTHING was ever pressing or important, except her compulsion to get my attention. I took to ignoring her command performances. When that stopped working, I began working at homeand allowing all of my employees to also get the bulk of the work done at home. She became livid at that. For me to be unreachable was unacceptable to her. I had to be at her beck and call, easily accessible to answer any and all questions she might have. When I worked at home, I just didn’t answer her phone calls.
She brought the matter up with the two CEO’s of the company, complaining about my continuous resistance to her authority. When I pointed out to them that 2 out of the 3 months of each quarter I had more than enough time to indulge her every whimsy, they nodded and agreed that during the most important month I should be left to my most important goal. However, one of the CEO’s sided with her, while the other sided with me. I left that meeting with the understanding she was to limit her urgent meetings with me to ONE meeting only during that crunch time.
She did not. Actually, her interruptions became even more numerous and her questions even more inane. It did not take long for me to completely lose patience with her. In a voice that apparently was way too loud for an office, I reminded her of the outcome of the meeting with the CEO’s. She left me alone for a couple of hours. Then she came back, even more determined to have her way. I did my best to ignore her, leaving her standing there talking in the wind. She took to asking me to come to her office. I did not. She started demanding I come to her office. I did not comply. Finally, in complete frustration laced with a lot of humiliation, she screamed at me to come with her to her office immediately.
I grabbed the office keys off my desk as I passed by it. I went into her office, gave her the timeto close her door and sit down at her desk. I even gave her a moment to start speaking. She did not begin by apologizing for yelling at me. She began by chastising me. I did not let her finish her tirade. I slammed the keys on her desk, told her “If you want to know every single thing that needs to be done I suggest you get the training because I QUIT”. I turned around and left that office for good.
The look on her face was priceless. The satisfaction I felt was fantastic for a second or two. The look on every persons face when I stalked out of there was amusing.
Those good feelings ended in the time it took me to make my way outside of the building.
I started to shake with rage. I was completely overtaken with the enormity of what I had just done. I stalked up one end of the street to the other. I could not figure out how to get home. I couldn’t remember how to get home. I couldn’t even remember my husband’s cell phone number to call him so he could come get me. I couldn’t remember my address. I was struck dumb. I think I was making some sort of growling sounds because people were giving me a wide berth as they passed around me. I don’t know how long it took me to get it together enough to look in my purse, find my address and figure out what bus I had to take to get home.
This incident took place in late morning. I got home in the late afternoon. Everything in between was a blank and remains a blank. I have no idea what I did or where I went.
That was not my most glorious moment but I learned a valuable lesson or two from that job and that incident.
I learned that I was a highly functioning machine when faced with a time challenge. I never missed a deadline and the work was superb every time. Even the careless mistakes were handled beforehand because I had the presence of mind to give that final once over job to someone with a good eye for those types of errors. I also learned that I had no tolerance for anything I deemed stupid.
I know now that kind of behaviour is typical ADD/ADHD. Classic. The stress of the deadline ignites the needed spark in my brain to kick-start the hyper focus that is needed to complete any job. The inability to transition quickly and smoothly from any interruption was physically painful for me. Every time that woman interrupted my work, I felt a stabbing pain in my head. Every time she asked a question unrelated to what I was doing made me feel stupid because I couldn’t give her the quick answer she wanted. My entire being was focused on getting one thing done. Her interruptions took my focus away from that and created a blankness in my head. Typical inability for the ADD/ADHD mind to transition smoothly from one thing to another. I thought the painful stabbing in my head was because of the sound of her voice or my dislike for her. I know now it is common and real for the ADD/ADHD mind.
I work in a field that I dislike. I do a job that I dislike. I appear normal at work.
I have gone as far as I can go with type of career goal. When I look back at all the awards I’ve gotten from various jobs, remember the parties thrown for me when I left a lot of those jobs and I look at the job I currently have, I see that for all intents and purposes I successfully pursued my goal to be normal.
Doing what comes unnaturally and getting paid for it as well as receiving appreciation for the job well done is as normal as I am ever going to get.
And, just to be clear, I always thought normal was boring.
And damned if I wasn’t right:)