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The Challenges of Traditional Employment (Thriving Differently 101)

Hello again, my fellow pioneers of the path less traveled! Marty here, back with another heaping helping of “Thriving Differently 101”. Today, we’re cracking the code on the enigma that is traditional employment. More specifically, we’ll be talking about why, for those of us who identify as neurodiverse or are managing chronic illnesses, it’s about as comfortable as trying to navigate a labyrinth blindfolded. 

Traditional Employment: The Not-so-Hidden Dragon

In the traditional adult world, employment is the dragon that guards the gate to stability, and it’s a beast that most people wrestle with at one point or another. But for neurodiverse individuals and those dealing with chronic illnesses, this dragon isn’t just big and intimidating—it’s breathing fire, too.

You see, the world of work operates on a certain set of norms: a 9-to-5 schedule, an office setting, a set way of doing things. It’s not designed to accommodate those of us who function best in a less structured environment or those who have unpredictable health constraints. It’s a system that can often feel like it’s designed to exclude rather than include.

The Jigsaw Puzzle of Neurodiversity

Let’s take a look at ADHD, for example. This neurodiverse condition often results in a brain that is constantly buzzing with ideas, thoughts, and impulses. It’s like having a thousand browser tabs open, all playing different YouTube videos at the same time. Now, try to concentrate on a single task in that kind of environment. Tough, isn’t it?

In a traditional workplace, this often translates to difficulties with focusing, sitting still for prolonged periods, managing time, and staying organized. Then there’s the sensory overload from open-plan offices and constant background noise—because who doesn’t love the incessant clicking of keyboards and never-ending small talk, right?

The Never-Ending Marathon of Chronic Illnesses As Barriers to Traditional Employment

Chronic illnesses, on the other hand, are like running a marathon that never ends. There are good days, bad days, and downright ugly days. And the problem is, you never know what kind of day you’re going to have when you wake up in the morning.

The unpredictability of chronic illnesses can wreak havoc on traditional work schedules. A flare-up could mean being unable to leave your bed, let alone commute to an office and put in an eight-hour workday. Plus, brain fog, fatigue, and the need for frequent medical appointments can make meeting the demands of a regular job near-impossible.

It can be exhausting living with the effects of chronic illness even without the extra challenges of traditional employment!
Even before the challenges of traditional employment living with chronic illness is exhausting

The Silver Lining: The Digital Era

But don’t despair just yet. In the wise words of Alexander Graham Bell, “When one door closes, another opens”. And in our case, that door leads to the vast world of online income opportunities. 

The digital era has ushered in a new way of working—one that isn’t bound by geographical locations, strict schedules, or even dress codes. (Hello, pajama pants!) It’s a realm where your skills and the results you deliver are more important than your ability to sit at a desk for eight hours straight.

Unlocking the Potential of Online Work as an Alternative to Traditional Employment.

From freelance writing, graphic design, and virtual assistance, to online teaching, e-commerce, and digital marketing, the possibilities are as diverse as our neurodivergent brains. These roles often come with the flexibility to set your own hours, work at your own pace, and create an environment that suits your needs.

Most importantly, online work presents an opportunity to harness the unique strengths that come with being neurodiverse or living with a chronic illness. Your ADHD might make you a master of rapid-fire ideation—a boon in creative industries. Your experience with chronic illness could lend you an empathetic approach that’s golden in customer service or coaching roles.

In our next installment of “Thriving Differently 101”, we’ll be venturing into the realm of online income streams and giving you a tour of some of the best options out there. So strap in, because this ride is about to get exciting.


Why is traditional employment challenging for neurodiverse individuals and those with chronic illnesses?

Traditional employment can be tough due to the rigid structure and lack of flexibility. These factors can exacerbate symptoms of neurodiverse conditions like ADHD and pose problems for managing chronic illness flares or scheduling medical appointments.

How can online work help those thriving differently?

Online work provides flexibility to work when and where suits you best. This flexibility is a game-changer, allowing you to work around any challenges related to your neurodiversity or chronic illness. 

Can I earn a living wage with online work?

Absolutely! With the right skills, dedication, and a bit of strategic planning, many individuals thrive in the online work environment, earning a sustainable income. We’ll be covering different online earning opportunities in the next post, so keep an eye out!

I’m not tech-savvy. Can I still pursue online work?

Absolutely! Many online jobs require only basic computer skills. Moreover, the internet is brimming with tutorials and courses that can help you upskill and get comfortable with the tech side of things.

I’m not sure what kind of online work is suitable for me. How do I decide?

That’s what we’re here for! Our upcoming posts will explore different online work opportunities to help you find something that suits your skills, interests, and lifestyle. Stay tuned!

Marty Denial

Marty Denial

Meet Marty, the trailblazing founder of Thriving Differently. With a background in Theology and a life rich in unique experiences, they were compelled to change career plans after an autoimmune disease diagnosis. Their journey through the realms of chronic illness and neurodivergence has reshaped their understanding of life, strength, and resilience, leading to the creation of this platform. Living with ADHD diagnosed late in life, grappling with the complexities of autoimmune arthritis, and consistently navigating mental health challenges, Marty leverages their personal experiences to empower others on similar paths. When they aren't sharing insights and laughter on Thriving Differently, you'll find them delving into a good book or honing their digital money-making skills. Join them as they embrace the joy, chaos, and creativity of thriving differently.View Author posts