Changing focus between two jobs fights off my ADHD boredom
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Rachel Basoco has ADHD, and she works in two very different industries. She’s a full-time director of advancement and growth for digital communities at Fidelity. She also works part time for 11:11 Media, Paris Hilton’s company, building their Web3 community. She considers herself “the finance bro AND the finance bro’s girlfriend.”
Having two very different jobs makes planning the workday easier for Rachel. She can be flexible with her schedule, pivoting from one project to another when her brain gets bored. And in both positions, she works on her passion: fostering community.
Listen to this week’s episode to hear how Rachel developed a community among Latina business owners. Plus, gather advice for self-advocating to your managers.
Rachel: If I had stayed in one place at one time and been bored, I would not have picked up the skill set that I have today.
Eleni: From the Understood Podcast Network, this is "How'd You Get THAT Job?!," a podcast that explores the unique and often unexpected career paths of people with learning and thinking differences. My name is Eleni Matheou and I'm a user researcher here at Understood. That means I spend a lot of time thinking about how we find jobs We love that reflect how we learn and who we are. I'll be your host.
Rachel Basoco is our next guest. Rachel has ADHD. Her passion is community building, and she does this in her two jobs in two very different industries. She's a full-time director of Advancement and Growth for Digital Communities at Fidelity, a financial company. She also works part-time for 11:11 Media, Paris Hilton's company, working on building their Web3 community.
Rachel was only diagnosed with ADHD in the last two years. We reflect together on how some of her past experiences shaped her self-image and how things like boredom taught her to pay attention to what ignites her, and also guided her to seek the supports and positions that make her shine. Let's hear from her about how she builds her work to work for her. Super excited to have you on the show, Rachel.
Rachel: I know. Yay. Exciting to talk this way.
Eleni: I know. We actually haven't talked that much about work, which is funny. I feel like I have a bunch of friends in New York City where, like, it literally took me over a year to even find out what their day job was.
Eleni: Because there's just so many other things to talk about. So, this is exciting. Rachel is a friend from New York City. We know each other from overlapping communities, and so I feel like it's very appropriate that we're going to talk about community and community building in our conversation. You know, I know that you're doing two jobs at the moment, so maybe you could just tell us a little bit about them.
Rachel: Yeah, definitely. Exactly what you said, I work two jobs, I'm always kind of picking up jobs here and there. I mean, I think that is just the way my brain works. If something's exciting and new, what can I do? Can I jump in? But I do need structure in my life. So, I work two roles.
My full-time role is at Fidelity. I am the director of Advancement and Growth for Digital Communities there, extensively helping to build a digital peer-to-peer space and community for financial wealth advisors, kind of creating that space for them to find that sense of belonging amongst one another in this digital space. But because there really isn't something like that and to the size that we're looking to build it.
And then part-time, so every week I go in and I've been building out the digital presence and digital community for Paris Hilton. So, I am the web3 community manager there, really kind of maintaining that community on Discord, working with our VP of Growth to design really how we're moving this Paris Hilton audience. And so, those are the two roles that I have. I kind of joke, I'm the finance boyfriend and the finance boyfriend's girlfriend.
Eleni: I love that.
Rachel: But like during the day, I'm on calls talking about the market and capital gains. And then in the afternoons I'm talking about, you know, the simple life and glitter and, you know, unicorns and rainbows. And so, I really love that kind of duality of my day jobs.
Eleni: Yeah, it really is the polar opposite. It's great. I love it. I would love to hear a little bit more about like how this setup, you know, works for you. Like, what do you like about it? Like, how does it relate to like how your brain works?
Rachel: Definitely. I mean, so I think something that's been really super helpful in both of these roles is I've just had like massive over-communication with my managers, like and there are boundaries that I have in place. Like I don't do calls before 9 a.m. because I am a night owl and I need to be a night owl and I need to be able to work kind of like the way that I work, because sometimes my day might look like on paper, like most people do, like an 8 to 5 or a 9 to 5, you know, right? I can't work that way. I need to take breaks. I need moments where it's, I stop doing what I'm doing and can focus on something else so that when I come back to it, it's now exciting again because I get very bored very quickly.
So, you know, a typical day for me and the way that I've structured it might look like, hey, I have two or three meetings, but for the rest of that day is like open space that I actually do block off on my calendar as like focus time. You get to decide, is that focus time being used for a Paris project or a Fidelity project? And that really depends on the priorities, but it allows me to kind of go back and forth between them without getting bored with one of them.
Oftentimes when I find that I've been bored with a certain task, I just like can't focus. I'm logged off like in my brain. I might be logged on and like green on the computer, right? But I am not putting in my best energy. I'm not putting in my best effort. I can't be as productive as I'd like to be. And so, it's honestly strange to be like "Hi Rachel brain, to be more productive you actually need to, like, stop doing the things that are boring you and do something else that's exciting." And so, it's really nice to kind of make that balance.
Eleni: Did it take some time for you to figure out that this is the kind of work situation that works best for you? Like, what led to that?
Rachel: I think, yes. I mean, honestly, now what I'm thinking about, just like my past roles where I was losing my mind of boredom, nothing was exciting, nothing was new. I was like sitting in this room, like in the office from like 8 to 5, and then, like, everyone would leave, and then I'd like I didn't get anything done today. And ultimately what ended up happening is like, I was so bored at my job, I was like making my own like I started building my own company on the side. And so, like, I ended up building the first online marketplace made by and for Latinas.
Eleni: That's amazing.
Rachel: Because I was just like, "I'm bored and like, I hate..." I used to work in fashion and "I was like, I hate what I'm doing right now. Like, I'd really love to create this online community and space where people can buy things made by and for Latinas, and we can talk about what does it mean to be Latina and have in-person events."
And so honestly, I got into community because I was so bored at my job and I needed a creative outlet and I needed something else to do. As I was telling you, like if I don't structure, if I don't have two things to do, my brain will just do it. It'll just like start...
Eleni: Create something else.
Rachel: It will just be like, "Let's do something else. Let's try something else."
Eleni: Yeah. Because I was wondering, like, if there were any tools and strategies that you kind of needed day to day to support with any challenges that maybe you need less of now that you found like this environment?
Rachel: Yeah, I mean, I definitely think like I will work later in the afternoons or evenings during the week. And so, I think having a work-from-home or a more work flexible work schedule has been helpful for me in that, because it allows me to tap into my most like productive, creative, focused times. Like, honestly, like between the hours of 7 p.m. and like 11 p.m., I'm probably the most focused I am all day. And so yeah, I could just like sit and like hammer out like a lot, like super focused.
But between the hours of probably 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., I'm always like, "I'm useless right now." Like there's not much I can do to like, jump-start that unless it's something that's new and exciting and I have to kind of create a, again, that faux excitement around it. But tools and resources are really just like a) learning how to structure my day so that it works for me, and I can be productive. But b) also being able to communicate with my team and managers and people I work with and having some firm boundaries, which I think took me a while to figure out.
I mean, I wasn't diagnosed ADHD until about a year and a half ago, two years ago. And so, I didn't know. I just thought I was like, "There's something wrong with me. Why can't I do this like everybody else?" And it's actually not, like I can, it just needs to be in this structure and in this format.
Eleni: Yeah. Yeah. How has the diagnosis changed the way that you perceive yourself and your challenges?
Rachel: Yeah, I think oftentimes as a kid, especially as a young girl now looking back, it's like obviously, I had ADHD, but it was just you're a Chatty Cathy, like I had a book like when I was in first grade, that was my talking book, so when I talked out of turn, my teacher had to like, write this thing and come back home with this, like talking book like, "Rachel talks too much in class. Rachel does, you know...." You know, very like I was, yeah, like I wasn't, you know, because I think the diagnosis of young boys and young girls is very different.
And just our upbringing and societal expectations, these are character traits that are that I've then just assigned to myself. So, I think when I got the diagnosis and recognizing like, "Oh, this is interesting, maybe I wasn't a Chatty Cathy. Maybe I just had ADHD." And that kind of, it was strange. Like I love talking with people, I'm a very like, I'm a people person. But I think removing that character trait for myself as, and recognizing, "Oh, this is just how my brain works," was something that was really impactful for me. I think feeling that your brain is, that it's OK the way that it functions and that there are tools and there are other people.
And so, when you do ask for those things like, "Hey, like, the way I structure my day is not strange or abnormal. In fact, it's totally normal for the way that my brain works and operates. And it's a massive superpower in a lot of other ways." You know, I think it's what ultimately, when I look back on my life, it's like, "Well, no duh Rachel, like I graduated a year early from college, and it's people like, 'Oh, you're so smart,' and it's like, No, it's because I didn't want to do things I didn't want to do." Like, I found shortcuts, which is a very, like, ADHD brain. It's like, that's not bringing me joy. That's not exciting. How do I get out of that quickly as possible?
Eleni: Yeah. Like you mentioned the word superpower. Like are there any other superpowers you want to talk about?
Rachel: Yeah. So, I definitely think my capacity to try new things, like I am so much more, I have a, I have an openness to experiment. I'm far more scientific in that way, right? It's like, I think a lot of, I think growing up I thought I hated math and that's another character trait that I was given as a kid, like, "You hate math, you don't like it." And then I was like, "All right, I hate math forever." Turns out like, I love math. I love, I love, I'm an Excel freak. Like freak in the sheets and Excel.
Eleni: Never heard that. Love it.
Rachel: Yeah. Freak in the Excel sheets. I'm so obsessed with it because it is this kind of game. The way that I build my life has always been gamified. I gamify most things. I gamify cleaning my room. I gamify how I cook meals. It's always there's some little game that I've developed or built, and I think it makes working with me more fun, right?
The way that I interact with team members, the way that I lead and manage teams is different. I think the other thing that I would say that I love about my ADHD is that I can hyperfocus, I can put in the energy and effort to be super attentive, like I will start a project and then I'll look up and it's been like 4 hours later and I'm like, "What happ... Where did that go?" Totally just in my brain and I think that's really cool too, that I can, if I put my, if I set my mind to it, if it's something that is new and exciting and brings me joy that I’m able to tap into. And I don't think a lot of people are able to do that.
Eleni: Yeah, definitely great. Well, thank you for sharing that. Yeah, you talked a lot about being in more open communication with your managers and like, setting boundaries and, like, asking for what you need, like, you know, breaking things down into manageable tasks. What would you say to our listeners in terms of, you know, how to kind of have the courage to talk to your manager and what are the ways that people can learn how to self-advocate in that way?
Rachel: Yeah, I so I definitely think in order to self-advocate and like talk to your manager, like the first step is to understand like what are your needs. So, I think really nailing down like, what do I need to be successful and leaning into that feeling of like, "If I don't have this, if I don't do this, then I can't be productive or successful, and I want to be productive and successful."
And then I think too, is like if you don't already have regular touch basis with your manager, whether that's like a weekly one on one or a monthly, like let's, like a reflection time, if your manager isn't already doing that with you, like set that up with them, make sure you have that constant connection with them and it doesn't have to be micromanagey.
Honestly, like my one on ones the first 10 or 15 minutes, I want to talk about like what I did that weekend or what they did that weekend. I need to like just establish a sense of who I am as a person, like outside of work, so that when I start talking about work, they see me as a person and not as a cog in the machine. Practice asking for it and ask for it in the same you would ask for like access to like a file or a resource.
Eleni: I think that's great advice. Thank you so much for being here and having this conversation with me, Rachel.
Rachel: I mean, this is really great. I'm super, it was super fun to kind of even just reflect in the moment as to what works, and nice reminder for myself. So, I appreciate the time and the questions and giving me the opportunity to even just reflect with myself. It's super, super cool.
Eleni: You've been listening to "How'd You Get THAT Job?!" from the Understood Podcast Network. The show is for you. So we want to make sure you're getting what you need. Email us at [email protected] with your thoughts about the show. Or maybe you'd like to tell us how you got that job. We'd love to hear from you.
If you want to learn more about the topics we covered today, check out the show notes for this episode. We include more resources as well as links to anything we mentioned in the episode.
Also, one of our goals that Understood is to help change the workplace so everyone can thrive. Check out what we're up to at u.org/workplace. That's the letter U dot org slash workplace. Understood.org is a resource dedicated to help people who learn and think differently discover their potential and thrive. Learn more at Understood.org/mission.
"How'd You Get THAT Job?!" is produced by Margie DeSantis and edited by Mary Mathis. Briana Berry is our production director. Our theme music was written by Justin D. Wright, who also mixes the show. For the Understood Podcast Network, Laura Key is our editorial director, Scott Cocchiere is our creative director, and Seth Melnick is our executive producer. And I'm your host, Eleni Matheou. Thank you for listening.
leads user research for Understood. She helps Understood to center its work on the lived experiences and voices of people who learn and think differently.