Only do what you’re good at, and don’t feel guilty about not being able to do what you’re bad at
From a series of stories shared with me by Hunters in this Farmer's World
When Louise and I owned an advertising agency in Atlanta we’d hired three or four outside salespeople to bring in business. They were great at tracking down leads, pursuing potential clients, and making and closing the sale. But, being ADHD Hunters (as our most truly good sales people), they were terrible at paperwork and follow-through.
So we hired a Farmer — explicitly: we advertised that we were looking for somebody obsessively good with details and follow-through — to do their paperwork and keep them on track.
It worked spectacularly and increased each of our salespeople’s productivity by so much that it more than paid for our new Farmer employee.
Most people, though, have to learn this lesson the hard way:
Victoria tried “women’s jobs" for years, then stopped feeling guilty and found her niche:
I’m in my late thirties and only found out about ADHD in the past year, but of course I’ve had it all my life.
Once out of high school, I got the obligatory woman’s jobs. I started out working as a clerk in a department store. That didn’t pay very well.
I’d taken typing in high school and was pretty good at it, so I moved from the store to a job as receptionist for a building-supplies company.
From there, I had about ten more secretary-type jobs over the next ten years. Every time I changed positions, I rationalized it as an increase in pay, or that I needed to get away from some creepy person, usually one of the guys who was hitting on me. (In this day and age I could probably sue, but that wasn’t the case years ago.) Now I know that I not only wasn’t happy, but also bored by work that didn’t suit me.
Two years ago, before I knew about my ADHD, a friend of mine got me a job selling telephone systems. He was an installer for the company, a guy I’d dated a few times (we’re now just friends). Every one of the other salespeople in the company was a man, as was every person with any authority. (They had a woman secretary, of course.)
But I got the job with them, and I’m now doing better than most of the men. They’ve hired another woman, I think because I changed their attitude about women.
The “close” here is that I’ve finally found my calling, and it’s sales. All those years I felt guilty as hell for hating being a secretary or receptionist, but did it because I thought it was expected.
I couldn’t figure out how some women could stay with their jobs in some of the places I worked and continue doing the same thing for years, or even decades. I thought they were just as miserable as I was and just faking it about enjoying their work.
Now I know that I was the one faking it, and they probably enjoyed what they were doing, if they weren’t ADHD. Good patient Farmers make great secretaries. When I read your book Focus Your Energy, I realized that I was a Hunter, I saw instantly how much sense it made that I’d enjoy this job selling phone systems and why I’d hate being a secretary.
Now I’m on the hunt every day!
This story from my “Hunters’ Stories” series, which shows up under the tab of that name on our home page, is one of a hundred or so I’ve collected from ADHD individuals over the years and shared with their permission. Some were first published in my book ADD Success Stories.