Adult ADHD Support

Should I lie on my job application?

After losing my last job due to ADHD 4 years ago, we've gotten to the point where we're desperate and I have to go back to work. The last job, and how I was terminated, was so stressful that I have mild PTSD and still suffer nightmares and anxiety and panic attacks when I think about being in an office again, or go anywhere near where that office was.

Truthfully I don't know that I can be a good employee, or that I won't make a horrible mess of things, even though I'm now medicated and under very good care by my doctor and therapist. (I was diagnosed 2 months after my last job ended - I was a loose cannon!) There are several open ended questions on a job application that I would need to answer, and if I'm honest, the answers will paint me to be a total nutter because of my ADHD. If I lie, I'm a liar. And I'm just not a liar. But I NEED this income.

I've spent the last four years learning how to be a Real Person, understanding what I can do and where my difficulties are, and those difficulties are not so good for a working environment (mostly pretty rough social skills, trouble with authority, wandering off, that sort of stuff). I don't want to gloss over this, say it won't be a problem, or say that I have no problem at all. My strengths are significant but the fact that 20% of the time I'm going to be in another dimension is pretty off-putting to a potential employer. (But OMG when I'm ON I'm SO DAMN ON. like one place had to hire three people to replace me kind of on)

What to do? I hate to lie, but I am garbage at diplomatic language. I don't want to mess this up but I don't trust myself not to. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

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OMG, Unfocused, it's like you wrote my life story, too! I walked out of my last job over a year ago and just recently went back to school to prolong the agony of this decision about whether to disclose or not. I was an analyst, which is weird considering I forget things and get distracted, but I'm great with pattern recognition. I've got a huge problem with office politics and that place was rife with the kind of treachery that just turned my stomach every moment of every day there. I'm a 100% believer in we all do our best work and be kind to one another, end of story, but those are sadly just not enough in some areas (it's good enough in New England but doesn't work in Florida). You have to know how to "play the game," as my other half calls it, which, again, turns my stomach. Like you said, they needed three people to replace you! Be that person in an interview; that person is a force of nature! That's my strategy for my next job, too. Legally speaking (nrtw.org and nlrb.org and ADA), you don't have to disclose to anyone. You can focus on regaling them with what projects you've been working on while you haven't been working and how THEIR ad spoke to you in such a way that you believed it would capitalize on YOUR talents, and then have a story prepared for each talent. Don't be cocky, but show them how genuinely interested and capable you are in fulfilling their every need.

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Oh, yes, and for firings - unless it specifically asks on an application, you can say "It wasn't the right long-term fit for me" or "I tendered my notice to attend to ____" or "begin ____." I don't think you have to tell anyone you've been terminated unless they directly ask you "HAVE YOU BEEN FIRED?" I don't even know if they CAN ask you that directly in some states. But you definitely don't have to tell them everything. You can keep some cards to your chest! Consult with those links I posted to remind yourself what they can and cannot ask you in an interview in your state and be assertive.

IE: How old are you? EM, not gonna happen, Bro. OK, when did you graduate college or high school? AH, you stinker, that's the workaround for them to try to guesstimate your age.

If someone asks you a question that makes you uncomfortable, and even though you need this job, remember that this kind of interaction might just be their culture and you could be dodging a bullet by saying, "I'm sorry but I'm not comfortable with that question."

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Tell them what your strengths are and your weakness (needs) without telling them that you have ADHD. Like, I work better in a quiet place or I concentrate better with my headphones on.

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