Attention Deficit and Work: A Look at the Issues

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Attention Deficit and Work: Job Hunting

The task of finding a job itself can be a challenge for a person with attention deficit disorder (ADD). One huge barrier is their low self-esteem and lack of belief in their own abilities. In addition, they may have low levels of motivation and even depression. People with ADD may find it difficult to focus on job hunting and may not spend the time brushing up on interviewing tasks. At the interview they may have poor social skills, and find it difficult to follow and respond to verbal conversation. Besides this, they may not pick a job that will suit them and their working style and skills. All these factors affect their ability to find the right job.

Attention Deficit and Work: Issues


The main issue that people with ADD face is inattention, and this is often the biggest problem at the workplace. People with ADD find it difficult to concentrate on a task for a long time, and this leads to inefficiency. In many cases, environmental factors can add to the distraction. Bright lights, background conversations, people moving, and things happening outside the window can all decrease the attention span of a person with ADD. Even the photocopier or the fax machine can be a distraction. ADD people tend to be more distracted when working on tasks that do not have adequate immediate consequences on completion. If they have many different tasks to do, they tend to shift frequently from one to the other without getting anything completed.

Time Management:

Time management can also be an issue for people with ADD. They have difficulties prioritizing tasks, sticking to deadlines, marking time as it passes, and judging the amount of time that has passed. This can result in getting carried away with one task and not focusing on others. Preparing for work activities that occur later in the week, month or year is almost impossible.

Meetings and Lectures:

People with ADD find it difficult to keep up in meetings and lectures. Being easily distracted, they may not listen to what is being said.


Most people with attention deficits also have memory deficits. They tend to easily forget tasks that they are supposed to do, and miss appointments and important deadlines.This can result in work not being completed on time.

Social Issues:

People with ADD have poor social skills. Their inattention makes it difficult for them to follow and contribute to conversations. For some people, their low self-esteem interferes with their ability to make friends. In some work environments, colleagues may not understand the difficulties faced by a person with ADD, and may tease them. Some professions, for example sales, require great social skills. People with ADD struggle here, because it is hard for them to maintain eye contact and listen to others which gives the appearance that they are rude or ill mannered.


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Margaret D. Weiss, J. R. (2004). A Guide to the Treatment of Adults With ADHD. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry (Suppl 3) , 27–37.