This was the story of my life when I worked in the corporate world!
One ADHD challenge that I have always been plagued with is lateness. And getting to work at 9am in the morning was never easy. I’d rush in somewhere between 9:10 and 9:30, desperately trying to make it to my desk without anyone noticing. Because if my boss or one of the big shots saw me, I knew they’d be unhappy.
At one point in my corporate career, I got a new boss by the name of Christian. He was Austrian; very composed and stoic. I’ll never forget the meeting in which he was introduced to the department. The president asked him to say a few words about himself and, in his Austrian accent, he announced, “Hello, my name is Christian. I’m thirty-five. And I like a paperless office.”
A paperless office? I thought. Oh shit, I am in for it with this guy!
And to make matters worse, every morning Christian seemed to be wandering around the office as I came rushing in late. He was either getting a cup of coffee, talking to a coworker, or even just walking the halls. And every time he saw me, I’d freeze. “Uh…,” I’d blurt out. “Subway delays!” He’d raise his eyebrows, look at me for a minute, and then go back to what he was doing. And this happened a lot. Almost every day.
One day, my department went out for Happy Hour. After a couple of beers, Christian’s cold exterior was melting and my inhibitions were dropping. “Listen,” I said to him. “I’m sorry about being late all the time. But you know that I also stay late every night, right? And that I always get my work done.”
“Oh?” He said. “I thought there were problems on your subway line every morning.”
Then, to my surprise, he said “I don’t care if you’re late as long as you do a good job. Just don’t let the HR director see you because then she complains to my boss.”
From that point forward, Christian became the best boss I ever had. He allowed me the freedom to work in the ways that worked best for me. And once you got to know him, he was actually a very fun and friendly guy.
And every day that he would catch me walking in late, he’d stop, look at me, raise an eyebrow and ask, “Subway trouble?” “Yep!” I’d smile, and quickly make my way to my desk.
So here’s to you, Christian! Every adult with ADHD should be so lucky as to have a boss like you!