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Worker with ADHD

  • 19-01-2022 12:03pm
    Registered Users Posts: 8,105 ✭✭✭ Ray Palmer

    I have some work I am doing and there is a fair amount of simply moving stuff around and physical work that doesn't require much thinking. A friend's son was at a loose end so I offered him work to do this stuff. He is only 18, ADHD and left school early but I thought as the work is straight forward and would involve simple instructions this would be OK.

    The thing is I can't make any sense of his behaviour. He has not turned up on time once even after adjusting time from 9am to 11am. He is being left to his own devices to a certain extent in that I am not on site but give him things to do. I ask him to text me when he gets there and text when he is leaving, let me know if he is not going to be there and if he anybody else is going to be there ask the day beforehand. These seem like simple instructions to follow but he just doesn't do it after numerous conversations. Had a big conversation On Friday about time keeping and notifications with the whole agreement Monday things start from scratch, he was an hour and a half late and didn't turn up the next day letting me know at 14:30

    Is this all normal for somebody with ADHD and is there a way to approach it? As this goes on I think I am going to stop offering him work but I also know the family could do with the money. I really thought I could help him out and get him ready to work a more standard job. He is very nice, well spoken and is bright enough but I don't know if this is ADHD behaviour or something else.

    Post edited by Big Bag of Chips on



  • Registered Users Posts: 8,105 ✭✭✭ Ray Palmer

    He just acts all upset and promises but "forgets" the next day. He seems to sleep 14 hours a day and has difficulty getting up. His mother gets up late in the day which may have some effect too. Discipline maybe a a bit of a foreign concept to him.

    Just don't know what elements would be ADHD related. I asked him to pick up a notebook and pen in one of 2 shops. He cameback saying they had none, the next day I went in and both sold them. He looked around but never asked so that was why he didn't get any. I just don't understand him and am beginning to think he is actually a liability as I find it hard to trust he will do the right thing. It could be just about being young and inexperienced but not able to pick up a copy book and pen in a Spar sounds like a very basic life skill to be lacking. He didn't know what a fool's cap or A4 pad meant.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,105 ✭✭✭ Ray Palmer

    A4 is very standard and I ended up with any copy book and pen which he claimed the shops sold no stationary. Both shops had stationary

    Stripping wall paper, throwing stuff into a skip etc... One of the reason I wanted him there was so I could get stuff delivered but as he doesn't turn up at time I can't do that and have to get it delivered at home and then bring it down.

    I could well believe he is depressed as said but if he can't do basic functions I may not be able to work with him and he made need medical help to get on track. His parents are not exactly helping him stand on his own 2 feet with him getting his mother to drive him to the property rather than make him get the bus and manage his own time. They have also gone down and done the work for him or with him. Very hard to organise work when suddenly work planned is done way sooner than if he did it on his own. They are not exactly used to a formal work environments.

    He is looking at a future where he becomes long term unemployed and/or permanently on disability allowance but I guess it is not my problem but I did want to help. It is a bit upsetting for me

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  • Registered Users Posts: 141 ✭✭ Humria

    Having worked with children with ADHD, I honestly do think it's part of the problem.

    ADHD leads to executive functioning difficulties. What that means is the part of the brain that's to do with planning, organising, problem solving, getting things started ect don't work very well. I could honestly see some of the young people I've worked with going into a shop and not finding the stationary/not thinking of asking. Unfortunately, for the young man, a job with a list of things to do but no immediate oversight isn't the best fit with ADHD.

    You are obviously trying to be considerate of this young person and their family. If you were willing, what I'd suggest is having a meeting with this young man and his parents. Outline the problems and brainstorm some solutions. I'd also make it clear what your limits are. For example, you can tell them that if things don't turn around by x time, you don't think you can continue to employ him. It sounds like his parents have been doing so much for him, he hasn't figured out how to manage these difficulties himself.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Regional East Moderators Posts: 17,801 CMod ✭✭✭✭ The Black Oil

    Moved from Psychology. Personal Issues charter now applies.

  • Registered Users Posts: 31,743 ✭✭✭✭ Princess Consuela Bananahammock

    One of the things about ADHD is insomnia and irregular sleep patterns caused by over active brain simulation at night and not getting to bed until way after midnight but you seem to have accommodated that.

    The rest is more down to laziness. Sit him down and confront him: if he can't work under these conditions, no problem, you go your separate ways, no bad feelings, hire someone else

    Do NOT ask me how I define the terms "man", "woman", "male" or "female" when you reply to this post. You know the answer and it's probably irrelevant to the discussion :)

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  • Registered Users Posts: 31,743 ✭✭✭✭ Princess Consuela Bananahammock

    I'd argue telling him the store didn't have what he needed was not adhd related.

    Sleep issues, I know, I've had them myself, but these can be catered for with later starts.

    Do NOT ask me how I define the terms "man", "woman", "male" or "female" when you reply to this post. You know the answer and it's probably irrelevant to the discussion :)

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,382 ✭✭✭ Jequ0n

    Ultimately it’s up to the young man and his parents to seek the support they need, and this is unlikely going to happen as long as the enabling continues. I can’t see how the OP can do anything else than suggesting professional help- the initiative has to come from them.

  • Registered Users Posts: 27,007 ✭✭✭✭ Wanderer78

    yea id have to agree, the op has stepped into a complex situation out of their pure kindness, but its not really their problem, they have a business to run after all, but being a friend, they could suggest professional help and guidance, but this to can be a tricky thing to approach, its a sticky one....

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,105 ✭✭✭ Ray Palmer

    I had a talk with him Friday the week before last. Told he had to turn up on time and if he wasn't coming down the next day let me know the day before. Made it very clear this was a minimum. He turned up and hour and half late on the Monday and left after 3 hours saying there was nothing more he could do until I had more work finished. Told me on the Tuesday at 14:30 he wouldn't be down that day and hasn't contacted me since

    Went down on Thursday. He had not completed what he said he had, still wall paper up, still tiles up and tools all over the place. I am just not going to contact him unless he contacts me as he just doesn't seem bothered.

    I don't think the education system let him down I think his parents did. They didn't make him go to school nor engage in services that were available. His mother has some of her own issues and hasn't had a job in over 20 years not sure on the father but he doesn't appear to work regularly. He doesn't live with them but is very much involved.

    To give another example of how he doesn't seem to be a functioning teenager was it took him 4 hours to get light bulbs and he only bought 2 and lost the receipts. The shop is 10 minutes away but he went to another shop which was still only 30 minutes away. There were 6 bulbs needed and I told him that and only 1 of the 2 bulbs he got were correct. Told him to buy more and a bottle of bleach and he forgot for 2 weeks of being there Monday to Friday and he was moving the bulb around. That really doesn't sound like ADHD to me because he would be reminded every time he was there. I bought them in the end

  • Registered Users Posts: 31,743 ✭✭✭✭ Princess Consuela Bananahammock

    I'm wondering is there some other form of social anxiety at play here as well as the ADHD?

    Do NOT ask me how I define the terms "man", "woman", "male" or "female" when you reply to this post. You know the answer and it's probably irrelevant to the discussion :)

  • Registered Users Posts: 27,007 ✭✭✭✭ Wanderer78

    unfortunately such disorders rarely occur alone, so its very likely its co-morbid with others, i have autism, add and dyslexia myself, and probably a whole slue of undiagnosed others, so yup, you could be right

  • Registered Users Posts: 601 ✭✭✭ Snails pace

    Well done OP on trying to give him a start in life and getting him on the employment ladder. I know someone with ADHD and they are able to function normally once the tasks are clearly laid out. This lad sounds lazy and totally disinterested in doing anything. If his parents aren't willing to make sure he turns up on time and appreciate what you are doing, then he doesn't deserve your time or attention. I know you tried the soft approach is it worth taking a firmer stand the next time if he comes to work ?

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  • Administrators Posts: 12,363 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭ Big Bag of Chips

    I think he is not responsible enough to be left to his own devices. It sounds like even though the tasks were straightforward with simple instructions he still needed guidance in the sense of having somebody beside him showing him what to do.

    If you really want to stick it out and give him a chance, then I think you should have somebody with him. To explain exactly what it is you want him to do. Some youngsters there days are just useless, because they've never been expected to do anything so genuinely don't have a clue of even basic tasks. With a bit of guidance this fella might turn out alright.

    But honestly, he just sounds not bothered. Turning up 3 hours late. Not turning up at all other days. His ADHD might be an explanation, but it's not an excuse. If he wants to work anywhere then he's going to have to realise that. It sounds like he doesn't want to though.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,008 ✭✭✭ Timing belt

    Having ADHD doesn't make someone unemployable. The biggest issue is finding a job that is stimulating to them so that they can maintain their focus. A person with ADHD is likely to hyper-focus on something that they find stimulating and will regularly turn out exceptional work to a very high quality. It is this reason that certain companies deliberately try to hire Neurodiverse individuals. Yes some allowances need to made in the work environment but that is more to do with understanding how an ADHD brain works and putting support structures in place.

    For example people with ADHD may be poor at timekeeping as people with ADHD can have a poor sense of time and regularly underestimate how long a simple task can take like getting from a to b or become engrossed in something that they don't notice time passing. But I can't see how it would impact not turning up or the fact of leaving early.

    Sleep can be impacted as it's difficult to turn the brain off and when people with ADHD do sleep they tend to go into a deep sleep which can be difficult to awaken from. But the OP made allowances for this with a latter start time and you would expect the individual to end latter as a result not finish early.

    Being forgetful is also common with someone with ADHD but there are always around that such using specific apps on your phone or as the OP tried in writing things down.

    From the sounds of it the OP has made all the necessary allowances and has tried to work with the individual but there must be more at play in the situation than just ADHD.

  • Posts: 1,010 ✭✭✭ [Deleted User]

    Sounds like generational laziness. All of them too comfortable on social welfare or one working family member.

    He doesn't have adhd but it will be the grounds he will get longterm disability for!

    Do yourself a favour and hire somebody else. And remember when on probation you can just let them go without probation. Use that.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    I have ADHD and executive function issues are part of the problem, although these sound quite severe. Is he on medication? It doesn’t sound like it.

    having said that, I survived until 18 months ago not even knowing I had ADHD and never acted the maggot quite like this in any job, but it’s different in every individual.

    if he’s actually diagnosed he has certain rights, so tread carefully when it comes to disciplinary action. If he’s a friends son it might be wise to have a chat with them first about his behaviour.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    How do you know he doesn't have Adhd? The OP clearly states it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,008 ✭✭✭ Timing belt

    Fair play to you for the amount of effort put in

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    It's ADHD he has, not Autism or Asperger's.

    Post edited by [Deleted User] on

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  • Administrators Posts: 12,363 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭ Big Bag of Chips

    You're good for trying to give him a chance, but if it's not working out don't be afraid to let him go saying just that.

    He's not your responsibility. If he can't/won't do the tasks he's expected to do then your business doesn't have to suffer because of him.

This discussion has been closed.