Re: New TECHWR-L Poll - ADD
ADD and the ability to effectively multitask are two
completely different things. I see the former as a detriment to work
requirements, and the latter as an advantage.
There's a partial analog here, though, to the tech-comm / mar-comm issue.
For instance, my natural state is right-brained non-linear, digesting and evaluating complex webs in realtime. Creative, persuasive, and instructional (for general audiences) stuff comes easily to me. When folks whisper "scary-smart", they're talking about that end.
But I can write code too, and debug code, and *see* systems. Have to work to stay in a structured head, to stay productive in that realm, but it's definitely in my kit. I value structure, it's just not my first inclination.
What's for sure is that my best right-brained and best left-brained work can't happen at once, and can rarely happen in the same day. Question: Is that ADD? Answer: No, because there's no such thing as ADD: The Disorder. Yet there's something to the underlying notion of ADD: there's a reason we invented it.
Sometimes I think that multi-tasking is a kind of modern workplace macho. "Look how many balls I keep in the air. Look how they never fall and break."
But they do fall a little and break a little; good multi-taskers (whatever that means) are simply good at recovery and making sure nothing hits the pavement in public. And they *are* good at juggling.
What's not clear is whether the enterprise benefits from this impressive skill as much as its internal socio-politics are impressed by it. From 10,000 feet it's a badge to nowhere. In the office you're a star.
I haven't found my perfect job yet, but the outlines are getting clearer. It's somewhere astride an org (maybe a not-for-profit) that needs help in both its left- and right-hat realms. Somebody who can talk with and enable everyone, see it all, make the tough calls diplomatically, and articulate it all in words and pictures.
If ADD sufferers exist -- and they don't -- you'd want nobody else for that job.
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