The Crazy Working Life of an Un-Managed ADDer
Always in the top 10% academically, I played hockey and swum but was never quite good enough for a first team in anything. I was a diligent student who had learned mostly by rote. An average matric because I got an "F" for Maths. I had no understanding of the purpose of maths and when I panicked and went blank in the Geometry Paper I had no idea what to do. A big fat zero was the result.
My ADHD affected many of my career decisions and this is why I am including my career history in this series.
If truth be told I never actually made decisions as I was either told what to do or I did whatever came up ... typical of many ADDers. All I knew was that I was too squeamish to be a nurse, too shy to teach and I had unfortunately never done typing and shorthand as we were an "academic family" according to my Mother.
Here is my working life between 1974 and 2006 in a nutshell.
Qualified as a Medical Technologist specialising in Blood Transfusion; Studied Typing and Shorthand; Veterinary Technician who also looked after sheep;
Started a Librarianship Course - didn't last long; Textile Dyeing Lab Technician; Studied Bookkeeping.
And then ...
Following a spell as a volunteer I was asked to become the Administrator for a Political Party regional office; Put my newfound admin skills to work in a short lived family business;
Salaries clerk for an insurance company; Creditors clerk for a Construction Company doing Low Cost Housing Projects; Contracts Administrator for same company - calculating building quantities and selling houses too.
And then ...
Financial Manager, HR, Marketing, Sales, Tea-maker for family Industrial Automation and Software Development business; Pat's Pantry made a brief appearance as did the chickens on our smallholding; a desire for an English garden in Gauteng almost led me into importing moulds to make garden gnomes - I kid you not.
Creation of a software training company. We developed software and needed to train end users. This became my baby and I acquired a licence to be a Pastel Certified Accounting and Payroll Business. Natural progression to training small business owners to set up accounts and admin systems.
And then ...
Studied Financial and HR Management; a year as the Bursar and Estate Manager at my son's school which was threatened with closure during his matric year.
December 2001 - spectacular crash and burn.
Suffice to say the next few years were horrendous. After escaping to backpack around Europe for a few months, I got divorced after 25 years, re-located, was unemployed, indulged in an unsuitable romantic relationship which cost me a fortune emotionally and financially. I behaved appallingly and my young adult offspring were left humiliated, hurt and confused.
Became an Estate Agent who didn't sell houses but worked as a Financial Manager of a Property Management Company.
Qualified as Tourist Guide. I bought a bright green bus because I liked the colour.
Despite all the changes and lurching from one career to the next, there was only one job in all of the above that I loathed.
I threw myself into each new career with gusto and again as a typical ADDer, I over-delivered until I broke.
In the next post I share with you how I was diagnosed with ADHD.
PS: If you have also had many careers it does not mean you have ADHD. Conversely if you have been in the same job for 40 years doesn't mean that you don't have ADHD.
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