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Do You Get To Do What You Are Good At?

September 18, 2019

I have ADHD. Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

Some people don’t think it’s a real thing.

I guess it’s good that my therapist and I aren’t those people.

It definitely is a thing. But, for me, anyway, it’s not a disabling thing. Not normally. People with ADHD are as different as people without ADHD. But, we do have a few things in common. We get easily distracted. It’s not really boredom. We dread detail oriented tasks, until we cross some magical threshold called “hyper-focus” and then you can’t draw us away from them.

Our brains are often (always?) always active. You’d think this is a good thing, right? Not always. In fact, not often. I have often have to focus on what I’m going to say next in a conversation. Not because I’m not paying attention to the speaker but because the conversation in my head is going so much faster than the conversation in front of me that I am in real danger of actually forgetting what my point was.

But, there’s one aspect of my job where my ADHD is a benefit. I’m the designated crisis manager for my account. If something goes wrong with any of the computers, I’m the guy that gets contacted to coordinate the recovery effort.

We have over 2000 computers in four different states across three time zones. Lots of things can go wrong. Not big things. At least not always. But even the smallest thing might generate a call. Of course there are also big things that can go wrong.

And that’s where ADHD kicks in. The worse the issue, the more engaged I become. The bigger the crisis, the more my tendency to think on a million things at once kicks into high gear. But, this time I’m thinking of things to test, try, check to resolve our issues.

And during those times something kind of cool happens. I start to focus. I’not bored. I’m not tired. I don’t even really notice the clock. My entire attention is brought to bear on the problem at time.

The ironic part is that I don’t like outages. It’s like my watching my son play football. He plays defense for his high school football team. I love to watch him play. But, I have trouble rooting for his team. I don’t want to see the offense on the field. My son doesn’t play offense. I want to see the defense. And I don’t want them to hold their opponents to three-and-out. I want the opposing team to have a nice long sustained drive so I can watch my son play.

That’s not a great recipe for winning a football game. (My son’s team wins a lot of games.)

Managing outages is the same mentality. I’m good at it. I get energized by it, but it’s not something I actually want to have happen.

People that I work with don’t understand my attraction to my job. They cannot imagine doing my job. In fact, on the rare occasions that I’m not able to take calls, the people who have to back me up absolutely dread it.

I’m actually pretty good at my job. In fact, I excel at it. And, I enjoy it.

Do you get to do what you enjoy and you are good at?

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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(c) 2019 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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