it’s your Friday good news

It’s your Friday good news!

1.  “Quite a while ago I read a question on your website from someone who was struggling with a project management role because their brain just didn’t seem to work in such a way that they could be successful at the role.

The whole time I was reading that letter, I was going ‘yes, yes, yes!’ I too had tried a project management role and found that whenever I was in charge of the deadlines or had to motivate myself, the wheels would fall off and roll merrily down the road. Yet I respond well to external deadlines (mostly) and can have periods where I am wholly focused on work and can smash through tasks like nothing else.

ADHD was mentioned in the comments section and it started me on a journey that finished yesterday with a diagnosis for inattentive ADHD. I had long suspected that something wasn’t quite right so it’s been a relief to know that I’m not lazy, unmotivated or incompetent – it’s just some slightly wacky brain chemistry.

Thanks again for your brilliant website and to the lovely commetariat for their chatter that never fails to make me smile.”

2.  “I’ve been reading AAM since I was a freshman in college. I’m decently early in my career and have used advice and tips from you and commenters throughout all my jobs and internships. I was in a decently cushy contracting job in Major US City for a couple of years when the pandemic hit. I ended up quitting due to my manager sexually harassing my colleagues and the escalation of my own mental health issues, exacerbated by global circumstances.

I ended up taking a fellowship with a small nonprofit in a very remote part of the country (off the road system). While I really enjoyed the change of field and the people I got to share that space with, my boss (the director) was detestable in her behavior both as a manager and as a person. She, among other things, made me physically come into work while I was sick with Covid, repeatedly lied to colleagues and external partners about me and other coworkers, and withheld any constructive feedback until I handed her my resignation letter, at which point she shared all of it.

I decided to move back to (expensive) Major US City earlier this year, and the job search was pretty brutal. I was extremely demoralized and lacking professional confidence after my last two workplaces. I used your tips to revamp my resume (twice!) and polish up my cover letters. After four months of very little response, I landed two first round interviews on the same day. One of those interviews landed two follow-up interviews and a writing exercise. I diligently prepped for these using your guide. I’m so thrilled to tell you they offered me the job! The pay is great for this kind of position and allowed me to secure the apartment I wanted. The benefits are awesome. The job will let me go to grad school extremely cheaply. My bosses so far seem very kind and upfront with their communication. I can’t express how excited I am for this opportunity, and it’s thanks to you and your advice.”

3.  “My small team expanded our scope to take on a responsibility that I managed long ago in a different role. We already needed help with our existing workload so I leveraged this new duty to justify another position. I hired a candidate who looked great on paper but proved entirely unable to do the job. HR made a mess of the whole thing, dragging it out nearly a year. The replacement hire came out of nowhere and is a true superstar. Even if we’d chosen a different candidate from the first hiring pool, none of them would have been able to perform at this level. I’m finding myself thankful for the lessons learned through the mess and for the timing that led to having a job posted when my superstar was on the market. Still digging out of the hole, but life will be very good in a few more weeks!”

{ 19 comments… read them below }

  1. NotAnotherManager!*

    OP#3, I had a candidate whose due diligence process dragged on for months and then, once it cleared, they immediately leveraged our offer for a counter from their current employer and withdrew. At that point, I’d been doing two full-time jobs for pushing a year. When we reopened the position, one of the first people we interviewed was the one we hired, and she is just phenomenal. Having the first candidate bail ended up being the best thing that ever happened out our team, and the superstar we hired has been promoted twice now – her team loves working for/with her. When the stars align and you get the opportunity to hire someone amazing, it can make all the (relatively) short-term pain seem worth it.

    1. LW 3*

      Nice to see other people chiming in with similar experiences. About to hire for another position and I’m going to be hoping with all my fingers crossed that we hit paydirt on the first go-round this time.

  2. Anon ADHD*

    OP 1: Thank you for sharing! I had a similar revelation and diagnosis a few years ago. The relief knowing it’s not laziness/incompetence is incredible. I really did wonder why everyone could get their life together but me. Enjoy this new phase!

    1. Squirrel Nutkin (the teach, not the admin)*

      Me three with the late-in-life inattentive ADHD diagnosis! And for me it was also reading Ask a Manager that started me on the path to thinking, “Hey, do I have that?” and finally seeking a diagnosis instead of, as Anon ADHD puts it so well, “wonder[ing] why everyone could get their life together but me.” I’ve found reading social media by people with ADHD for people with ADHD (like r/ADHD on reddit) useful for some tips but also for a little validation that some of my struggles and preferences are normal for people with my diagnosis.

    2. I am Emily's failing memory*

      I cried actual tears in my psychiatrist’s office when I was diagnosed because I was so relieved to finally understand why I struggled so much and that the reason wasn’t just that I had a character flaw.

      1. Rainy*

        I didn’t cry, but I was definitely grateful, and meds have been an absolute game-changer for me. The most hilarious thing is that I was keeping it all together before meds and thought “hey, I’m fine, I got this” and then started meds and…well, I was keeping it together but it took so much work. I thought I wasn’t struggling because I was used to it and I didn’t know what it felt like not to struggle.

        I had trouble getting my meds a few months ago and ended up being off them for a week and I came home from work the second day and couldn’t stop crying because everything is so hard without them.

        Also finally understanding why I struggled as a kid with stuff that came easily to others and it wasn’t because I was lazy or a bad person, it was because my brain doesn’t make the right chemicals in the right amounts.

        1. Trippedamean*

          My experience was similar except being off my meds made me realize why I used to be so anxious all the time – I was terrified of always letting people down by not being able to remember or keep up with my responsibilities.

    3. FionasHuman*

      I’m 60, and was just diagnosed a month ago. Right now this is throwing me for a loop, but the stars aligned and I’m seeing a therapist next week. And yes, this explains SO MUCH of how I’ve struggled for decades.

    4. Lyra Belacqua*

      Huge thanks to AAM commentariat for my ADHD diagnosis as well! In my case, it was an “ask the readers” question about serious, chronic procrastination, which was a problem that was causing me pretty serious problems at work and at home, and the number of folks who responded “I only stopped procrastinating when I treated my ADHD” inspired me to get diagnosed and treated myself.

    5. Random Dice*

      I loved that letter too!

      I was diagnosed accidentally this year – looking for something else, after hours of neuropsych testing they told me I had ADHD. I resisted it, because I’m insanely, neurotically organized and driven.

      Well turns out that when I’m medicated properly, I don’t HAVE to be so externally organized, and can finally relax. I had no idea how much grit and sheer anxiety was keeping me going.

      And how helpful fidgets are to allow my brain to listen! I am the fidget queen now.

      The days I forget my meds, I feel overwhelmed and helpless. Now, my son (also ADHD!) will tell me some mornings “mom, you’re wandering, take your pills,” and darn if he isn’t right every time.

  3. cmdrspacebabe*

    I got my ADHD diagnosis years ago, but I still needed to read “I’m not lazy, unmotivated or incompetent” today. Congrats, LW1!!!

    1. LW1*

      Thank you! It’s been such a relief and six weeks into meds, I can honestly say my life has changed for the better.

      1. Magenta*

        I was diagnosed and started Lisdexamfetamine last week, its too early to know if it will help yet, especially as they start you on a really low dose.
        However knowing that I’m not lazy or stupid or awkward (ok maybe a bit awkward!) is a big relief after 40+ years of not understanding why things that other people do with no apparent problems seem so difficult for me.
        I got good grades in my exams, but never in class/course work and I have 2 unfinished dissertations that mean that I don’t have the qualifications I did 90% of the work for.


    PO #3, that’s great news! It can be very challenging to find the right person for a roll and I love to hear great hires. We have had hits and misses over the years, but it’s nice when you get a hit! We have customer call us sometimes to tell us how great our delivery driver is. We have always known that he is a superstar, but it is really nice when our customers recognize it. Every part of team is valuable and necessary.

    1. LW 3*

      I try to reach out to supervisors and let them know when someone is going above and beyond, so it’s good to hear from the other side that these gestures make a difference.

    1. LW 3*

      Haha! Would be nicely aligned, but no. :-) I know enough background to acknowledge there are a few similarities, but definitely not the same story from both sides. @Alison – has that ever actually happened? I’ve seen a few stories where people were “busted” by their coworkers in general or even the specific person being discussed, but never independent submissions that happen to be both sides of the story.

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