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Keep getting Fired Repeatedly


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I keep getting fired from jobs repeatedly. I know that ADHD, Anxiety, Depression, Bipolar, etc (and all the med side effects) have played a part. This year I have been on Prozac, Neurontin, Ritalin, Adderall (with the Prozac), Focalin XR & Ambien.

I am in accounting & finance where attention to detail & organization are key but I keep getting fired for performance issues and many times my mind is not on the job.

I know I need to take responsibility but no matter how hard I try I fail. Others who are 10 years my junior (I am 32) can do the same job with my less drama & hysteria. But when I am popping Adderall pills & washing them down with sugar free energy drinks like Monster Energy or Red Bull on the way to work -- it is not normal.

On Friday I got fired from a contract assignment that was supposed to last 8-10 months. The reason was that they felt 'less confident in my abilities' but only told me this the last week I was there. My supervisor told me in front on everyone that he 'wasn't happy with my performance & would terminate the contract'. A week later (Friday) I was fired. So since January 2006 (2 years ago), I have had 4 jobs, 3 of which I got fired from.

I think that when you have many ADHD symtoms (although I was never formally diag with ADHD), you make supervisors uncomfortable and give ammunition to coworkers to backstab you. I was working for large Hedge Fund in Fairfield county CT. where I felt like I couldn't fit into the culture so I likely sabotaged myself.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I feel your pain.

I am a junior accountant and I know how hard it can be to pay attention to tiny details that can really screw up the bottom line. I have BP2 so I get racing thoughts when I am going hypomanic along with foggy, confused thoughts from the meds. My supervisor wasn't too pleased with me, either. What I did was go over my meds with my pdoc, who basically cut my meds in half. I also make sure I go to bed and get up around the same time every day. This is *so* important; too much sleep caused grogginess and too little sleep causes hyperness. I limit myself to six-seven hours a sleep a night. It's not perfect, but I got my full bonus, so I must be doing something right.

Hope that helps!

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when I am popping Adderall pills & washing them down with sugar free energy drinks like Monster Energy or Red Bull on the way to work -- it is not normal.

It may not be "normal" but neither is any of the other things many people have to do in order to function. If it works and you can tolerate it, that has to suffice.

I am in accounting & finance where attention to detail & organization are key but I keep getting fired for performance issues and many times my mind is not on the job.

One thing that can help is to identify any distractions that take you away from your work and quietly arrange to have them disabled or locked out. In cubicle-land it's hard to close and lock your door, but headphones can block out some noise or substitute noise you can ignore. There are many other schemes for organization and so forth - do some research.

I know I need to take responsibility but no matter how hard I try I fail. Others who are 10 years my junior (I am 32) can do the same job with my less drama & hysteria.

There are many ways to keep one's mouth shut, or to soften what seems to so desperately need to be said; the catch is learning to use them. That's probably where CBT might work best.

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Would you consider working a similar job in a more stress free, considerate environment? I don't know, accounting for an organization in the public sector, rather than a cut throat commercial place? In the health or social care field, I find MI is more understood and catered for than it was in finance or law. Would you consider a job change to something more accommodating? if detail and precision is hard for you, and you need to be good at that, do you need to reconsider what you do?

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karuna may be on to something.

I'd say:

1. think about whether this is what you want to be doing. People who have ADHD need to do something they like at least a little. If you really do feel like accouting and finance are what you'd like to do, stay with it. Otherwise, maybe you need to think about what else you can do with the skills you have.

2. Company cultures vary. I'm an engineer, but some places are a lot more button down than others. (Though sometimes I think it might actually help me to have to punch a time card or something.) I work at a hi tech startup, and the place is full of people who are almost as weird as me. Some of it doesn't fit, such as the intensity, but there are lots of us who are just a little odd, so there's quite a bit of tolerance. On those days when I don't edit the puns and jokes out of my email, I'm exchanging them even with bosses and the head of HR, but they don't batt an eye. (f'rinstance, my boss once asserted that some particular choice of material wasn't strictly "kosher", but was acceptable. I asked him if I could get him a ham and cheese sandwich. ) I'm not suggesting hi tech, I'm just suggesting you think about company culture. Perhaps someplace else needs accounting but tends to be loosey-goosey. (I'd guess the more loosey-goosey they were, the more they needed an accountant.)

3. Easy for me to say but very hard to do: try to keep a regular schedule, eat well, exercise, etc. Try not to change EVERYTHING in your life at once. This may help you steady down.

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Random speculation here, but it doesn't seem that being an accountant is a good job for those with AD/HD (although NickL, you did state that your issue had more to do with your mind not being on the job in general). My mother (closet ADDer who can't take stim meds due to anxiety) was in accounting for a couple of years, and really struggled to keep tabs on her little pennies' details, and only made it out alive by sucking up to some higher-ups that got her a more suitable position in the IT software training department. (Granted, her training's IT, and not accounting, anyways.)

So that's why I really do advise those whom AD/HD interferes with their jobs to at least find out if there are available jobs and/or careers that don't involve such attention to detail (though keeping one's mind on the job is essentially always necessary). As Ido pointed out, the specific employer and division are also important, and obviously to this end you'll need a conducive work environment. Many people work well with music on (whether through speakers or headphones). I've never had a problem listening to music at work -- My example: regulations tend to be loose in academia (i.e. university labs), and I wore my iPod everywhere I went... my boss at the time said that if it made me more productive, then hey, why not... (of course, then she went suddenly went all sandy on me and had me fired for other reasons, but that's something else).

When I worked in industry, we'd keep a stereo (which had to be approved by electrical safety!) on in the lab and I'd jam to music on headphones whilst in the office area working on statistics/data analysis crap. Again, nobody cared, so long as we were productive.

As null stated, maybe your Adderall is in fact a good idea. I'm not one to define what "normal" is (it's apparently a setting on the washing machine as per one CBer!), but it looks like employers often look for this characteristic in their workers. I know it sounds "low" or even shady to take meds to improve work performance (or avoid getting fired!), ,but there is a chance that meds could help with your job performance (it did for mine; Provigil and Focalin not only awakened me at the proper time each morning, but they also kept me focused at work - though Provigil isn't officially an ADD drug).

Anyways, good luck with the future job, and remember to choose wisely when it comes time.

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I keep getting fired from jobs repeatedly. I know that ADHD, Anxiety, Depression, Bipolar, etc (and all the med side effects) have played a part. This year I have been on Prozac, Neurontin, Ritalin, Adderall (with the Prozac), Focalin XR & Ambien.

Perhaps not having much of a mood stabilizer in your cocktail is your biggest problem. Neurontin is generally not considered a very effective one on its own, at least according to my pdoc and anything I've read. Taking an AD w/o a strong enough stabilizer may be further compounding the problem. Just some thoughts.

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I keep getting fired from jobs repeatedly. I know that ADHD, Anxiety, Depression, Bipolar, etc (and all the med side effects) have played a part. This year I have been on Prozac, Neurontin, Ritalin, Adderall (with the Prozac), Focalin XR & Ambien.

Taking an AD w/o a strong enough stabilizer may be further compounding the problem. Just some thoughts.

More commonly the problem is with the SSRIs, but the AD in question (Prozac) is in that class. I can understand not wanting to add in an AP, which can interfere with the stimulant(s), but Stacia's right - some of the other mood stabilizers/anticonvulsants have shown promise as adjuncts in treating depression.

That reminds me. Wellbutrin can be hell on anxiety, but it may not be as pro-manic as Prozac (Individual mileage varies a lot on this) Also if the anxiety is that much worse with untreated/undertreated ADHD or with a hypomanic episode, it might not provoke anxiety as much as one would expect. Something to consider if you start having problems with breakthrough depression.

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  • 2 months later...
Guest Obieland

Sorry to hear you're having a hard time of it.

Assuming you're attached to being a finance person, is there a cause about which you care deeply, where you could use those skills to help people in that sector? When it's ridiculously difficult to pay attention, motivation is completely necessary to making any progress at all... I know it won't magically solve your troubles, but at least you'll be able to say "Focus, brain. It's for the children!" or whatever. Also, you might find more common ground with your co-workers if you're all there for the same good cause.

Also, some workplaces are more accommodating than others. But I only have experience in Education (which is very accommodating indeed), and my job is pretty much the exact opposite of accounting, so I can't really comment much there.

I've gotta disagree with your theory that signs of AD/HD-symptoms will make coworkers look for ways to backstab you, or supervisors uncomfortable enough to fire you. I believe that your bosses fired you because, based on your (AD/HD-hindered) job performance, they figured you were going to lose their money. I doubt they knew or cared that you had good reasons for your performance issues, they could just see that bottom line, and that was enough for them. (I'm not defending them at all; I find that whole mindset repulsive.) -.-''

Also, while it's possible that you self-sabotaged, that's not evident from your post, which sounds like you were trying really hard to reduce your MIs' impact on your life. People often assume that others' MIs and LDs are just because they're not trying hard enough, which we all know is a load of crap, so please try not to blame yourself too hard.

Lastly, finance/accounting just sounds painful and distressing to my inattentive brain. Do you like it?

If not, it's perfectly acceptable to learn that a profession is sucky and to try something new instead. Many AD/HD'ers are extra-good at a few key things that financing doesn't value all that much, such as creativity, flexibility, divergent thinking, and for some, multi-tasking. Those are extremely useful and quite uncommon, so you might want to consider shifting towards a job that's better at appreciating what you have to offer.

Hope that helps somehow. Best of luck with the next one!

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