Thursday, June 24, 2010

Why Having ADD makes me Fantastic Support at a High Energy Software Company

ADD affects my life in so many ways, mostly negative, like when I go grocery shopping with my husband and completely zone out starring at the magazines in the check out line.  My husband is ofter flabbergasted at how gnat like my attention can be.  It's rare, very rare, EXTREMELY rare for ADD to affect my life in any positive way.  But lately I've found that in the software industry, and especially in the world of support, it can be an asset.

My life is a series of interruptions, one after the other, and most of support is one person asking how to do this, followed by a problem with that, with someone in sales asking for a demo of something else.  So as the job jumps from one thing to the next my attention is easily moved on to the next thing.  You jump and I'm already there.

That's the good part, but I suppose there's a down side to flitting from crisis to crisis.  There's rarely enough buffer between interruptions.  I'll get off the phone and start writing up a support case when the phone rings again, and while I'm explaining to that customer how to do whatever they're asking about I'll have three other e-mails come in that need a response or few so I trade e-mails for a while, and by the time that's done I've forgotten what I was doing with that window looking at that support case or more often it's hidden behind those e-mail windows and I don't find it again until I'm cleaning up my desktop at the end of the day.  Each day is one run on sentence after another.  By the end of the day I can forget about reporting on what I've done, I've probably forgotten more than half of what I've done that day, so I'm looking at my e-mail log just so I can figure out what I was doing six hours ago.

And then there are those dreaded slow days.  They happen, usually in pieces, an afternoon here, a couple hours there.  I get caught up, having told everybody what they need to know to do what they want to do for the time being, written up any support issues, waiting on logs or responses or whatever, and I'm supposed to be doing REAL work, probably writing documentation which really means I'm trying to take some bit of documentation and developing training documentation, usually a PowerPoint presentation.  This is where my ADD really hurts me, when I'm starring at a sentence on the screen and wondering how I can make this visual, really how can I keep folks from falling asleep starring at this slide.

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE PowerPoint.  I love visual learning, and I love diagrams and tables and charts that get the point across.  But sometimes you don't want to show something.  Sometimes information can't broken down into pretty pictures, or graphs, or lists.  Sometimes you want to SAY something and PowerPoint doesn't lend itself to paragraphs or explanations.  So I find myself lost in thought as I stare at a paragraph wondering how I can break this down into something interesting. 

And now I'm already distracted from writing this post cause I'm watching Babylon 5 and want to go read the biography of Melissa Gilbert on IMDB.  Hey!  You're reading a blog about how ADD I am!  What did you expect, a conclusion?


  1. How awesome that something that can often be a pain in the ass can sometimes totally nail your work life. I don't know if you have kids or even want them or whatever but if you ever become a parent you will be effing fantastic. ADD moms never get bogged down because they just keep on moving. Or they leave their kids buckled in their car seats on the driveway as they drive off to the grocery store. I'm not saying that happened to me. So shut your mouth.

  2. Thanks so much for your analysis of my motherhood possibilities. I know enough to not criticize another's parenting skills. I am not a mother, yet, but I'm sure you'll hear about my infertility strugles here.

    I've just finished reading all of your blogs and I hope you'll continue writing. I find it very encouraging to see how you've overcome adversity. A lot of that adversity is similar to what I have faced or am facing, and it's really fantastic to see what's possible. Thanks.