Harvard to Minimal Wage: My ADD Prognosis Curler Coaster | ADDA
by Aron Croft
Then I was 32 years old, broke, divorced and earned the minimum wage.
But I have a Harvard degree! What happened?
Maybe I should have seen this coming
In retrospect, the warning signs were everywhere. In the third grade, my teacher gave me an award for “Best Mobility at Work”.
In high school my family called me Cliff’s Notes Aron because I never finished a single book.
My behavior was viewed as adolescent disobedience because I still had good grades.
Inside it was nothing like that.
It’s different inside
I longed to sit down like my friends and write an essay before the eleventh hour. I envied the people who meticulously took notes. I’ve dreamed of learning for a test over time instead of just cramming the night before.
But in the end I got to Harvard. “Success!”, Right?
No, my nightmare was just beginning
At Harvard, I lost all of the support systems that got me through high school. My parents, my friends and the structure of the high school.
I hate college and dropped out twice.
I graduated only because of the tenacity of my family, my fiancée, and Harvard.
Ever since I graduated from Harvard, it’s been “success” right?
Six failed jobs and companies later, I can say “no”.
So there I was, 32, broke, divorced and earned the minimum wage.
Climb out of the rubble
Motivated by the sheer fear of my new life situation, I began to rebuild my life and my career.
But shortly after my 34th birthday, history began to repeat itself.
After three months in my new job, my boss told me I was below average. I talked a big game, but my actions did not support them.
On the verge of another failed job, I panicked.
How my life has changed
I had recently met some friends who spoke openly about their ADHD.
ADHD never seemed like something I have, but then again, I didn’t think these friends would have it.
After my boss said I was finished to the last straw, I went to a psychiatrist who diagnosed me.
How could I have ADHD?
The psychiatrist said it was unusual to see my academic success with ADHD. I’ve explained all of the workarounds that helped me achieve this. (My smart friends invited me to study with them; I made heavy use of Cliff’s Notes; my natural intelligence went well with high school tests.)
I explained the attention, focus, and procrastination issues I’ve had all my life and their role in my recent failures.
He said my non-hyperactive ADHD, as well as my natural intelligence and clever workarounds, kept my disorder “under the radar”.
So, when I was 34, I had my diagnosis.
My path in life has changed forever
With the treatment, for the first time in my life, I was able to sit down and work whenever I wanted.
I could not believe it!
Instead of being threatened with my job, I got good performance reviews.
In total, I carried out 4 promotions over a period of 6 years. I am currently working as a senior manager at a Fortune 500 company.
I also met a great woman and we got married through Zoom at the beginning of the quarantine.
We ADHD people are not lazy, unmotivated or broken down
I’ve learned a lot over the past seven years and I’ve recovered from my low of 32.
I’ve found that we ADHD sufferers aren’t lazy, unmotivated, or broken. We just have a different brain and “the most treatable disorder in psychiatry,” says Dr. Russell Barkley.
I am Aron Croft. I was diagnosed with inattentive ADD – and my life has changed! I developed Hidden ADD to raise awareness of non-hyperactive ADHD, which is often “hidden”. I share the ADHD strategies I’ve used to move from broke, divorced, and minimum wage to a career and life that I love. My message to you is that it really can get better.