I hate that sometimes I can see well within the details and eventually figure things out. However, sometimes I don’t look for alternative routes because of the information given. I worked off the information the person provided me, but they gave it to me backward. It didn’t make sense, and something had to have been altered from their explanation. They said nothing was. However, I thought it would make sense if it went this way, yet I never pushed them because I was thinking, “It can’t be you are telling me it is this way.”
Once we found out they did give me the information backward, I felt even worse than before. I should’ve seen this as the correct answer. I hate that sometimes when people tell me things, I go off their word completely. I may question it, but I don’t think they are wrong because I still doubt myself. I work in IT and don’t have 100% confidence; even if I am right, I always question myself. I am sitting here quietly, not talking at work because I feel like I don’t know anything. I can detach pretty easily, which is what I am doing today. I stay quiet and hope I am ignored because I feel like those around me think I am incapable of my skills/work.
First thing that comes to mind for me is, that you are probably correct to note that your own deference, i.e. self-criticism is unnecessary or otherwise wrong-headed. I’d like to suggest that, like many ADHDers, you’ve been told all your life, in a thousand ways, that you’re “different” and “wrong” and “don’t know what you’re doing” when those are unfair accusations. We ADHDers receive a lot of negative messages, merely for the fact that we won’t do things in the (usually ineffective, backwards, inappropriately conformist) typical or plodding way. Many ADHDers believe themselves to be mentally less capable, because they didn’t fit in to school or work in the way that school or work required. We all would do well to remember, actually, it’s school or work that’s mentally less capable, for its failure to accept our smart solutions merely because they’re novel, even when those solutions are proven to be effective.
You’re not the problem here. You did good, they couldn’t see it.
Check out BPD (borderline personality disorder), and then see a health professional as I am not. But I had similar experiences and once i knew what I had my brain literally changed. If you have questions after and feel like asking you can pm me, or reply here, but i feel like i can finally live my life after 34 years of suffering with uncontrollable comorbidities.
Outside of dealing with ADHD day-to-day, all the underlying processes accumulated around it are taxing. Learning to break from all the previous criticism, even with context now, is complicated. It is less of wanting to seek validation but not being burdened with this being seen as a crutch. I struggle with hoping and wanting others to know that my actions are excused because of the ADHD. Rathe that there is an understanding of my actions because of the ADHD. I apppreciate the sentiment!
This topic has been on my therapist’s radar for a bit. As of recently, though, she wants to assess me for autism since she has, as she put it, “picked up on some things…” I am not sure what this will mean for me other than finding more answers to questions I have had and things I didn’t know to ask. It has been nice learning more about “why” I do the things I do or don’t. I appreciate the outreach!
I also work in IT, and how you describe yourself sounds just like me!
Two important things to start with:
First, simply be accepting of yourself, including your ADHD.
Second, you are as deserving of grace from yourself (and others) as any other human being.
About how the customer related the issue:
They might have observed or realized the difference points in the reverse order, or maybe they simply related the points to you in the wrong order. That’s no fault of yours.
From my experience in IT customer support (11 years, and counting), I’ve learned the following:
There is no perfect IT worker, and the neurotypical ones aren’t necessarily any better than those of us with neurodivergent brains.
Having a neurodivergent brain can actually make it possible to come up with innovative solutions than neurotypical people would completely overlook.
Some people, colleagues and customers alike, try to save face rather than be completely honest. Thus, they might leave out important details.
Some customers will make inferences about things they don’t understand. (Someone use techno-jargon to appear to understand, even if they’re using it entirely wrong.)
I was fortunate for the first several years of my IT career to have had a couple of good managers, excellent colleagues who were patient enough to teach me where I was lacking, and customers who understood that the majority of our customer support team were undergraduate students.
Even though I started working in it in my 30s, I had a long customer service background from retail before that, and brought my people skills from that environment. This actually made me a favorite with many of my customers, even if I wasn’t always the quickest at resolving issues.
Here are some of the best things I’ve learned along the way…
If an issue stumps you:
Tell the customer something like “let me make sure I got all the details right”, and read back the issue details to them as best you understood them. This is their opportunity to correct or add to any of the details.
Use your colleagues as a sounding board, talking through the issue. (And be their sounding board, too. As the saying goes, “two heads are better than one!”)
Write down anything new that you learn along the way, preferably in a knowledge base or a reference file you can search through.
Also, one lesson it took me many years to learn is that people in leadership roles aren’t better than you, not more knowledgeable or skilled. Not everybody who’s qualified on a piece of paper (fancy degree or certification) is qualified for the position itself (they may be lacking skill, knowledge, or even adequate decision-making skills).
I learned this lesson after getting stabbed in the back repeatedly by two leaders I thought I could trust.
Trust yourself, Andrew. Trust your knowledge. Learn to listen to your intuition, and it will speak up more
The fact that you can look back afterwards and recognize what was happening means you do understand IT. You’ve just learned a little more about IT problem solving, about how you sometimes have to look at the issue backwards and forwards, dissect it, put it back together…
And if customers fully understood their issues and how to fix them, then why would they need to ask us for help? Always assume an issue is more complicated than it seems. (Then, when you are knocking out problems left and right because they were actually simple fixes, you’ll look like a miracle worker! ← That’s a reference to Scotty from Star Trek )
Luckily, I have a solid team, and my boss is fantastic! My one coworker is friendly about raising my spirits, but I still struggle with acknowledging myself. This customer is the demanding type who has had issues before. We were going back and forth explaining this problem, and end-users need to understand we are only as good as the information we have. I don’t have eyes in the room. It is just the little voice that creeps in and says, “Well, they said X, so it must be true.” I kept quiet and let them control the situation because I doubted myself. :sigh: Hopefully, I can get better at this and will use your words in situations like this!
Our role is to try to help solve tech issues (with as much empathy as we might be capable of, under the circumstances)…not to be harsh judges of the people we help.
(Although, we’re as human as the rest, so techies will talk. I was in a supervisor position, so I took the role of trying to promote empathy for even the most difficult customers, and trying to minimize the snickering in the room…both for professionalism, and because there might be an open mic in the room .)
By the way, I’m curious what your observation has been of the prevalence of ADHD & other neurodivergence in the IT career field.
ADHD has been estimated to affect up to 10% of the population (reported as 10% in kids and 5% in adults, but even though some people grow up to be sub-clinical…it doesn’t go away).
At the university where I worked my first 10 years in IT, my estimate is that about 30% of the entire team had ADHD &/or other neurodivergence (ASD/Autism/Asperger’s, OCD, dyslexia, or other)…with ADHD being the most prevalent.
The next tech team I worked on was for a small regional hospital. There were only three of us on the team. The manager seemed to be hyperactive-impulsive ADHD (even he recognized it) but was undiagnosed. Then there was me, with my new diagnosis. Then there was my coworker who had been diagnosed with some form of ASD (similar to Asperger’s) and possibly undiagnosed ADHD, too.
A friend and I were talking about this, and we both felt the same way. I wasn’t diagnosed until a little after I transitioned into this industry, but before, I also worked as a bartender/manager in breweries and restaurants. I have picked up on my “ability” not to be phased by hectic situations. I thrived and loved busy nights and could get in the zone. Working now in IT is excellent because it is pretty much nonstop problem-solving. I have started noticing things in two other coworkers, and I keep learning more from sessions with my therapist. I have always felt that those in this industry are drawn to it for similar reasons related to our neurodivergence. I feel there has to be much correlation between the two.
This is true. And yes, we will talk, many of us just about those that were rude during the exchange. I’ve never judged anyone for their lack of knowledge (mainly of computers) due to ignorance. However, negligence is a different story!