Professions for People With ADHD: Why Blogging and Coding Could be Your Perfect Career Path

Being stuck in a profession that our ADHD brain doesn’t like, can ruin our lives; blogging and coding helped me to do what I love while being my own boss.

By Laly Steel

February 10, 2020

Blogging has given me for almost two decades the control of my professional life; coding has even helped me to recover my executive functions when they dropped down to a 2% due to a PTSD.

But, since I started doing it when I didn’t know I had ADHD, I made a lot of mistakes and I lost time and money; and this is the main reason why I want to share with you:

  • a glimpse of my history, so you’ll see how it all helped me thrive;
  • what blogging and coding are, and their benefits
  • how to do it with ADHD (because, yes, we need a different approach)

“Working With People? No, Thank You”

I may have not known what ADHD was doing to my brain in my younger years, but there’s one thing I did know: “I cannot work with people; I cannot study with people.” 

During my firsts group assignments in Primary school, I reacted like the good girl that the army, mother and the nuns wanted me to be; and I just did it. But, I could almost say I remember how I freaked out when I heard, “We’re going to try something new; we’re going to work in groups.” You know the feeling, right?

By the time I got to High School, I had already learned my lines, “Girls, I got this; you can all sign up your names when it’s done.”

I used to say I was a loner, but the truth is I couldn’t find anyone who could keep up with me; now I know that’s ADHD to the core. (Honestly, I thought people were dumb, but I understand that I’m not supposed to say that; so, I won’t)

Then, when I had to choose a “parents’ imposed” career, I aimed for at least a “non-boss” type: a lawyer; but still, it ended up leading me to psychiatrist diagnosing me with depression, anorexia nervosa, panic attacks, stress.

Even though I was on my own, I was not doing what I love. So, eventually I developed a website and started working as a freelance-writer; and then WordPress arrived and I became a blogger.

A neurodivergent brain (and ADHD brain specially) wants to what’s interesting to us; thus, having a job that doesn’t answer to what our neurodivergent nature needs can ruin our whole life; it can make us feel we’re stuck or that we are not good at anything.

That Time I Lost And Recovered My Executive Functions

Long story short! I got a few degrees, gave them to my parents to … frame them, and I began working as a freelance-writer, researching and writing thesis (hundreds of pages, for professionals of all sort of fields) in a month, sometimes two at a time, with an untreated ADHD and PTSD. You can imagine how that turned out …

First, since I had no budget and I wanted my website and blogs to look cool (to have different colors, things flying all over the place!) I started learning how to code on my own… And that, plus the thesis, the ADHD and PTSD burned out my brain.

With a huge depression and without being able to work, I opened a blog to start sharing my writing and to feel I was doing “something;”[1] and then I opened another one (because it was so much fun!) [2] But eventually, my brain really took off…

As I mentioned before, my brain shutdown completely in 2017; I thought I had Alzheimer’s when I went to the neurologist; I couldn’t even remember my own signature! Since I knew doctors wouldn’t offer me proper help to “fix the broken connections in my brain”, I took the reins of the situation as I had done it before: by studying.

With my executive functions gone, I knew that studying would help me to exercise my brain; and since coding was like a game, like playing with a puzzle, I signed up to a course online. In a couple of months, from being able to focus 15 minutes per day I reached two sessions of 45 minutes (without doing sports, without a healthy diet, without ADHD meds; just coding)

For years, blogging had been a hobby and coding an “abstract safe space,” one where my worries had no room; a playground for my creativity; but eventually, it all turned into something greater.

Was that short enough?

What is Blogging, and Why is a Great Career Path for People with ADHD?

Chances are your ADHD has given you a creativity you absolutely need to share. So, how could we have a career doing what we love and what keeps us interested, in our own ADHD ways? By blogging about it!

Blogging is like running a magazine, on the clouds; it needs all the elements, people and tasks a magazine needs; think about writers, editors, people pitching ideas, photographers, an advertisement department, a printing machine! It’s a lot… But who multitasks like we do?

If you look for the best jobs, career paths, for people with ADHD, you’ll find advices such us: 

  • “aim for originality”[3] (artists, inventors, all things creative) And how do you put yourself out there these days? With a blog!
  • “work for yourself”; ditto 

Additude Mag[4] published a list of professions that “make the most of ADD attributes like empathy, energy, enthusiasm, and hyperfocus under pressure;” and most of those professions, can be practiced by oneself. What would these professionals do to promote their enterprises? They would open a blog / website.  

There is a lot written out there[5], but you know it and I know it: we need to let loose our creativity; we like taking risks; we love learning new things; and running a blog to do share what we love gives us all of that. 

What is Coding and Why is it a Great Profession for People with ADHD?

Bring that “blogging is like running a magazine” thought back, and add the following: besides the people and tasks a magazine has, it also has: a place; an structure; a design; a printing machine! And this is what falls into the “coding” field.

Think it like this: how can you see a website? With a browser… So, that browser is doing something quite magical. When we code, we write are like writing letters in different languages to that the browser; and then, it reads them to build and design our website / blog. For instance: we write in HTML and PHP to develop the structure and content of our magazine; we write in CSS to design it. Do you get the picture? 

So, languages to learn! Isn’t that tempting? Have you ever considered it? At Study.com[6] we can read that, “working with computers is a detail-oriented job that requires the ability to hyperfocus on the task at hand, which is a skill those with ADHD tend to possess.”

Blogging and Coding With ADHD: The Other Way Around

Blogging, has given me a platform to do what I love and the chance to work from home, under my own ADHD ways. Coding has given me an exercise for my brain and freedom! Because, if we know how to code we’ll know how to take care of our building if the power goes off and we don’t have a budget to hire an electrician.

However, we struggle with our executive functions; with time blindness, scheduling and… you know the rest. Thus, the tutorials we could find on how to blog and code don’t suit us; over the years, specially since I was diagnosed with ADHD, I’ve come to realize that we need to do it “the other way around.”

I’ve found we need another approach, and that’s what I’m gonna share with you, step by step. Blogging and coding can help you thrive doing what you love; they can give you an income! Besides, we own the clouds; so I’d say you should totally claim your space up here.


References

[1] My first blog, was where I began sharing humor monologs in Spanish and some dramatic essays; is at bubblesandcheese.wordpress.com (now closed) 

[2] I two more blogs besides “Neurodivergent”: nkotbtheblog.com (about the New Kids On The Block) and Laly.blog (where I share my snippets and blogging tips for neurotypicals)

[3] WebMD. Best Jobs for People With ADHD [Last visited: February 2020]

[4] ADDitude Mag. 16 Good Jobs for People with ADHD [Last visited: February 2020]

[5] Check out more at: Green, Rick. What’s the Best Career for Someone With ADHD?  [Last visited: February 2020] HealthLine. Best Jobs for People with ADHD. [Last visited: February 2020]

[6] Tustin, Rachel. Jobs That Might Be a Good Fit for Your ADHD Child [Last visited: February 2020]

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