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Being open about your needs, abilities and functional limitations or restrictions can facilitate accommodation from your employer.Getty Images

Content from The Globe’s weekly Women and Work newsletter, part of The Globe’s Women’s Collective. To subscribe, click here.

Ask Women and Work

Question: I was recently diagnosed with ADHD. It’s helped me gain insight into how I work best (and worst), but I talked to a mentor about it and she said, “Whatever you do, don’t disclose it to your boss. They will hold it against you and you will never get a promotion.” Thoughts?

We asked clinical psychologist Dr. Katy Kamkar to tackle this one:

It is understandable to have concerns about potential stigma or discrimination. However, there are steps you can take to navigate this situation and advocate for your needs without jeopardizing your career advancement.

Disability management in the workplace involves a comprehensive and holistic approach aimed at optimizing employees’ performance and well-being. Tailored accommodations help address the unique challenges individuals may face in their professional roles.

Being open about your needs, abilities and functional limitations or restrictions can facilitate accommodation from your employer. By sharing your experiences and needs, you may be able to access resources and support systems tailored to your unique challenges, thereby enhancing your productivity and well-being at work.

An organization’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, as well as the manager’s receptiveness to accommodations, can make a difference. Some organizations have robust support systems, including accommodations and resources to help manage symptoms. Reviewing your company’s policies – including any diversity and inclusion initiatives – and accommodation resources can provide valuable insight into the level of support available.

You should know that an employee is not required to disclose any diagnosis, but is required to provide enough information to help the employer provide the needed accommodation. A note from a medical doctor, health care provider or clinical psychologist, for instance, can help outline that accommodations are necessary, along with any work-related restrictions or limitations.

Accommodations might include task modification, time management support and environmental adjustments. Examples of accommodations might include reasonable adjustments such as noise-cancelling headphones or assistive technology. It might include getting support in managing workload to prevent overwhelm or under-stimulation, or setting realistic deadlines and reducing time pressure where possible. It might include flexibility in work hours and schedules to accommodate varying attention spans and energy levels. It might include creating an environment conducive to concentration by minimizing distractions such as noise, poor lighting or crowded spaces.

You can frame the conversation in terms of your engagement and commitment to your professional growth and your desire to ensure that you have the necessary support to excel in your role, highlighting how accommodations can facilitate your success.

Remember that accommodations are not about treating disabilities; they are in place to help with symptoms, thereby boosting productivity, health and well-being.

Submit your own questions to Ask Women and Work by e-mailing us at [email protected].

This week’s must-read stories on women and work

Strategic job-hopping may be good. Here’s why staying put also works

“I remember when work histories that chronicled short stints were viewed as a symptom of something wrong – perhaps of a worker without loyalty or one who simply can’t get traction in any role. Times have changed,” says Amber Winters, senior marketing director for Pizza Pizza Ltd.

“Job hopping today has become a popular career strategy. The idea is simple: every one or two years, find a more senior and higher-paying role in another company. The strategy appears to work: a 2024 ADP analysis of 18 million U.S. workers’ salaries found pay gains for job changers were almost double the rate of those who stayed, at 10 per cent over the previous year versus 5.1 per cent.

“But there are trade-offs. Job hoppers may be missing the benefits of staying longer, such as knowing the natural ebbs and flows of the business and innovating beyond this. They may lack a sense of belonging.

“Employers, too, are losing out. Strategic job hoppers are likely ambitious, goal-oriented and highly adaptable. They’re probably fast learners too, focused on acquiring new knowledge and skills for their next job.”

Read why staying in a job can be a good strategy for long-term growth.

These businesses are flourishing by serving Indigenous needs first

Deanne Hupfield was 19 years old when she taught her first Powwow dancing class. She and her best friend rented space in a community centre in her hometown of Thunder Bay, Ont., printed flyers and handed them out at the bus terminal.

Hupfield laughs when she tells the story. “Some women showed up and said, ‘Okay, what do we do?’ I said, ‘Just dance behind me,’ because that was how I learned as a child. It wasn’t the best way to teach, and none of the women came back.”

Her first attempt may have been unsuccessful, but in the two decades since, Hupfield has built a thriving business that includes instruction in Powwow dancing and making regalia – the clothing that Indigenous dancers wear during traditional dances. Now based in Toronto, she offers both in-person and virtual courses and has garnered hundreds of thousands of views on her YouTube channel.

Hupfield, who is Anishinaabe, is one of a growing group of dynamic Indigenous entrepreneurs finding success – and personal fulfilment – sharing their cultures with a receptive customer base of Indigenous Peoples across Canada and the United States.

Read about more business owners finding success with products and services that serve Indigenous peoples.

We’re here to remind you of what business leaders can learn from Alanis Morissette

Jagged Little Pill – recorded 30 years ago and released in 1995, when Morissette was 21 – sold 33 million copies (making it the biggest debut of a female artist), won the Ottawa-born songwriter seven Grammys, formed the basis of a Tony-winning musical, and provided the soundtrack to countless breakups. This spring, Morissette, now 49, is embarking on a North American tour that’s bound to be a multigenerational outlet for collective female rage.

Read what you “oughta know” from Alanis Morissette.

In case you missed it

These women moved countries to gain career opportunities and explore new markets

Gone are the days of decades-long service at just one company. Today, many Canadian women are moving abroad to seek career opportunities and explore new markets as entrepreneurs.

According to a 2022 Statistics Canada report, approximately four million Canadians lived abroad in 2016, representing roughly 11 per cent of the Canadian population.

Alesha Bailey, co-founder of Yard + Parish, an online retail shop for Black and African-owned lifestyle brands, moved from Toronto to Berlin, Germany, in June 2022 without ever visiting the country after finishing a degree in German Studies.

Ms. Bailey says that the move was a strategic decision based on creating a bridge to the European market.

“Germany has been one of our top locations for visitors to the Yard + Parish website,” she says. “With [Germany’s] proximity to the U.K., it showed a lot of promise as a hub for innovation in products for diverse audiences.”

Read the full article.

From the archives

Leadership programs for women – what really works

Over the past decade, leadership programs focused on women have become more common in large Canadian organizations. While these programs may not have spawned major changes in corporate Canada’s gender diversity numbers – only 6.6 per cent of Canada’s largest publicly traded companies had a woman CEO in 2023, up just one per cent from 2020 – they have facilitated development opportunities for the thousands of women who have participated in these programs.

But what really makes a difference for women in these kinds of programs? What are the activities and sessions that women have found most useful in pursuing their career ambitions? The Globe Women’s Collective spoke with representatives from four leadership programs to find commonalities in what really moves the needle.

Read the full article.

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Interested in more perspectives about women in the workplace? Find all stories on The Globe Women’s Collective hub here, and subscribe to the new Women and Work newsletter here. Have feedback? E-mail us at [email protected].

Do you think you may suffer from ADHD and live in Florida, California or New York?

If so, please consider scheduling a proper virtual online ADHD and Anxiety diagnosis with one of our physicians. Although we have an online ADHD and Anxiety diagnosis tool, a proper diagnosis from a Board-Certified Medical Doctor will help you know for sure. If appropriate, a customized treatment program will be recommended at the conclusion of that initial visit.

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