Thriving in the workplace with ADHD

Andrew Cooper
By , - Responsible Business

ADHD can often be misunderstood. A lot of people think it is only a hyperactive mind and that it mainly affects children. Although this is partly true, there are other aspects to ADHD that I would like to share with you.

I myself have ADHD, and growing up it wasn’t recognised as much as it is now. Often seen as a negative disorder with symptoms such as disorganisation and forgetfulness, what isn’t always recognised is that once managed, in later life these symptoms can become strengths for many adults.

It’s true that most children ‘grow out of it’ as they get older, but there are a small number of adults that continue to have issues throughout their lives.

Living with ADHD

People who live with ADHD tend to manage by finding their own coping mechanisms and workarounds. Some of us do not advertise the fact they have ADHD in case they are treated differently as it can often be met with judgment about someone’s intelligence.

Some tasks, such as taking minutes from a meeting, would be found to be exceptionally difficult and yet writing Java script or programming would be an easy task.

I have risen through the ranks at Fujitsu from Service Desk Agent, to Service Control Officer and now I’m currently a Project Controller.  Even though I find some aspects of this role very difficult, I have been working with my colleagues to manage this –  either with workarounds or by delegating the work to others.

Communication with managers and colleagues is key

I find it very important to always be confident highlighting to managers if something is challenging. Most managers are supportive but they can’t be if you don’t tell them!  This can lead to difficulties if work isn’t complete or if mistakes were made.

Getting the right support from your manager is important, so letting them know what you need to flourish and succeed is key.

For example being disorganised. Due to my own personal focus on coping mechanisms and workarounds, I’m now probably one of the most organised people in my team!

Most people would be able to organise their mind in terms of what needs to be done and in what order, but people with ADHD find this very difficult.  My personal workaround is to have lists and task sheets, all written down and prioritised. Then I would concentrate on one task at a time until it is complete and move onto the next.

How many of you work with a list? I find this really helpful and a great way of prioritising my time.

The IT Industry may not be everyone’s first thought where someone with ADHD can succeed, particularly given the challenges we face.  However, at Fujitsu I have a place and career where I can be myself and where I feel enabled and supported – my favourite role to date.

Never let anyone tell you what you can and can’t achieve, don’t say you can’t unless you have tried it first, and do what you want to do and not on what you think you can do.

Building a strong, supportive network

Our network SEED (Supporting and Engaging Employees with a Disability) is always focused in getting the disability communities within Fujitsu together to meet other people and share experiences and advice.

Awareness and getting the information out there for supporting managers and work colleagues is really important in helping everyone to better understand all the different kinds of disabilities. This understanding helps us work towards a more inclusive workplace where the unique strengths each of us bring to our work are truly valued.

Being the Champion of ADHD within the SEED network here at Fujitsu I would like to extend an invitation to get in touch to discuss more.  You can email SEED or follow us on Twitter.

If you want to know more about exactly what ADHD is, there is a great YouTube video from a specialist that puts it in perfect explanation:

ADD/ADHD | Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

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Andrew Cooper

Andrew Cooper

Project Control Officer at Fujitsu UK & Ireland
Andrew Cooper

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