The ideal candidate will be skilled at multitasking and working in a fast-paced environment.

Well, that’s more than enough to scare away the anxiety-disordered job-seeker, isn’t it?

Finding a job is tough. Finding a job that’s a good fit for someone who has an anxiety disorder …

7 Comments to
“Oh No, Multitasking!?”: Handling the Job Search (with an Anxiety Disorder)

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  1. I thrive on multi-tasking, I can never stay focused on one thing at a time, so I smile and nod when a hiring manager tells me the candidate must be able to multitask. I also had panic attacks more than once a week most weeks before I was fired from my last job for attendance (due largely to call-offs from anxiety attacks and migraines.) I fear that within the next few years I might face the same scenario in my current “multi-tasking required” position, so I will certainly take the advice about completing one task at a time whenever possible. And I completely agree about breaks being for relaxation and not errands. I get bored too easily on my lunch breaks, so I have got to remember to take a book and escape the work environment mentally, instead of getting in my car and escaping physically to do meaningless errand-running that could honestly wait.
    Thanks Summer, once again, an awesome job.
    Your next article should be how one with fear-of-rejection-anxiety gets to be a successful freelance writer…

  2. Thanks Amber! It’s interesting how you said you “thrive on multi-tasking” — I wonder to what extent multitasking is a behavior developed as a result of (or quasi-coping strategy for) our quickening pace of life (which is mostly due to technology). Just to throw out a random example: consider television ads from the 1980′s. You can find plenty of them on Youtube, and they all have one thing in common: they’re paced very slowly. A commercial for, say, soup could take up to 60 seconds. Now, you can turn on the television and find 5-second fast-food advertisements that are sticky enough to remember.

    Granted, I’m not versed in any research data regarding this exact topic (but I’m sure it’s out there); still I would bet that today’s fast-paced commercials lock our brains into fast-forward. And as a result, we’re always looking for something to busy our minds with…even if we’re already engaged in a task. And multitasking is born.

  3. There were only two new websites added to About.com’s list of Top 10 employment sites this year, Linkedin.com and Realmatch.com. There are lots of news ways to find jobs nowadays. If your looking to network, try http://www.linkedin.com, if you want a job try http://www.realmatch.com

    Top 10 Employment site list here:
    http://jobsearch.about.com/od/joblistings/tp/jobbanks.htm

  4. nice post, thanks for sharing.

  5. I have a job that requires insane amounts of multi-tasking in a retail banking setting. I am currently investigating new job/career opportunities. When I read a job description that says it requires great multi-tasking skills it sends up a red flag to me. To me, it is really saying, “We are understaffed and you will be required to do the work of two or three people!”. I think this is an excuse for not staffing and organizing effectively.

  6. Nice article. I am a final year student also looking for jobs.

    Almost all the job application I see have a question that asks whether I have suffered any illness including mental illness.

    I know that these questions are not asked in the USA since it is discriminatory and you guys are protected under the ADA(so lucky!!!).

    I live in an Asian country(a well developed country) but people here have a huge stigma against the mentally ill and once you state it in your application, it is highly unlikely they ever call you.

    If I choose not to state, they may do background checks and immediately dismiss me for lying.

    My life is so screwed I feel like crying. All the years of studying and getting into a good university seems like a waste! :’(

  7. Bunny, I wish you luck and really feel for you right now. I hope you found a decent job and are thriving. Keep on keeping on and one thing at a time. That’s what I try nowadays.Summer, thank you for writing this piece! I hope you also found a place that is accepting of you in every way.It is so strange and illogical that employers keep asking for multitaskers when the research shows that multitasking actually reduces productivity and accuracy. But it sounds good, so I guess they will keep on asking for it.Anyway, best of luck to all of you!

  8. This article is right on target with what I have been feeling lately- gradually, for some time, actually.

    Why is that those that become aware of their anxiety are the ones that are supposedly unhealthy? To me, quite the opposite is true, while many are unfortunately in denial as they cope with the stresses with more and more coffee, more and more sugar, more and more alcohol, and you name it. They handle stress well, according to them, with some reporting having heart attacks, strokes, and/or neurogical disorders that have them out for about 3 weeks a year.

    In my learning observation, how is that possibly healthy or is handling stress well? I think it is unfortunate that many jobs require fast pace, rush tasks, and doing a lot of tasks at once. While some can be done easily, with theh added technology working at the same time (copying while scanning a document or printing documents while on the phone), other matters benefit by focusing one task at a time.

    Is it any wonder that people are living their life for the job instead of the job supporting their choice of living? Stress kills and it is sad that many are willing to sacrifice their health for the sake of their job, so they can have more tangible, etc. While it is understandable , to some degree, when it comes to a certain sense of security and freedom, there is truth in choosing wisely when it comes to one’s life work.

    In my 40′s now, with a college degree, I have come full circle after pursueing a dream and realizing it was not financially realiable (education or non-profit, for instance) and I am rethinking the direction I am going now. While reverting to past career skills, prior to college, all the old stresses have arose again. I realize now that has to do with the human interaction component as a primary part of my job (education, for instance) vs. multi-tasking paperwork on rush timelines in the office world.

    So, for me, it is a matter of adjusting how I use my time, my finances, no matter what amount, because my health and overall life fulfillment are worth far more- especially after living a big portion of my younger years in fear of my life.

    Life is precious to me, for those few moments of meaningfulness that are at the heart of living. I aim to make my life count for what time I have here.

    Thank you for understanding and I wish you all well on your search for what works best with you. I think it helps to be honest with yourself and write down key components of a job that are stressors for you, such as rushing and multi-tasking, which I can relate to very much.

    I think this quote says it very well…

    “The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, answered, “Man, because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”

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