I just started with my job a month ago. I sit next to my supervisor which makes me very self conscious and triggers my anxiety even though I know I am not doing anything wrong. Also, it's a high traffic area because the trainer also sits in front of me so there are also a lot of people who comes all the time asking her questions.

I am also diagnosed with ADHD so all of those people coming and going distracts me and it's just sensory overload. At the end of the work day, I am exhausted and burnt out, which affects my family life.

I tried asking my supervisor about switching cubicles, she asked why, I said because I want to immerse myself more with the team because I didn't want her to know about my anxiety and ADHD fearing it would affect how she sees and treats me. She said no, because they are hiring more people and those people will be seating in the empty spot but none of them have started yet.

My supervisor is very nice but my seating arrangement is really affecting me.

Thank you to everyone that's answered so far. I am located in the US. I am very bad with confrontation. My anxiety gets the best of me and so I am not able to articulate myself well. What should I say? Should I send an email to her?

  • 4
    Well, you need to learn to talk about your anxiety. And you need to learn not to lie in the workplace. Just come clean and ask her mentioning the anxiety.
    – bharal
    Oct 5, 2018 at 14:59
  • What country is this in? Some countries would require legal accommodation of your situation, although that would require you acknowledging your ADHD to HR or the equivalent department.
    – cdkMoose
    Oct 5, 2018 at 15:24
  • 2
  • At the moment you are new and your desk position favours the transfer of knowledge. You also have a very direct line to your boss. Seating also can reflect hierarchy on some places. It is unfortunate you cannot take advantage of that. Just a different point of view for you to consider. Oct 10, 2018 at 3:52
  • I presume you have tried the common solutions; headphones to block auditory distractions, positioning your work I'm a back corner that block the view of people passing, erecting a cardboard or cloth sight barrier... Also, if you've only been there a month, you're still developing the skills to work in that environment ; they are skills and can be learned by most (admittedly not all) people.
    – keshlam
    Apr 29, 2023 at 20:42

4 Answers 4


I would recommend approaching your supervisor again, and being up front about the reasons you want to move. As a supervisor, I would appreciate honesty in this situation and see it as you learning to manage your anxiety and ADHD, rather than use it as a reason to judge you. Simply stating that the trainer's through traffic is distracting you too much might be enough, too.

If you have a diagnosis of ADHD and anxiety, consider asking your doctor to write you a note saying you need this accommodation if your manager is still unwilling to move you.


Do you have a good relationship with your supervisor? Is she somebody you could trust with a sensitive, personal but still work related issue? Then I advise you to follow the advise Taffy gave you in their answer. Talk to your supervisor and be upfront with them. Explain your issues, why your having them and how their affecting your ability to do your job. This kind of information is useful to a good manager because it helps them manage you more effectively.

Now if your supervisor is not somebody you can trust with this kind of information but still somebody you can talk to then talk to them but leave out the part about ADHD. Explain that the noise and constant distractions are making it hard for you to be as productive as possible and ask if you can move somewhere that's a bit quieter and more isolated.

In the mean time, or if your supervisor says "no you can't move. End of discussion" then I recommend you get a decent pair of headphones. As somebody who also has ADD and ADHD I know from experience that listening to music (I recommend something calm with no lyrics but your millage may vary) can help tune out a lot of the distractions.

If nothing works then it might be time to consider changing jobs. Fact of the matter is some companies aren't good fits for some people and working in a company that does have a suitable work culture / work environment can make a world of difference for somebody. Especially if you struggle with mental issues like I do. Its well worth the time and effort to find one that's the right fit for you.


Unless there are more issues caused by your ADHD and anxiety or they won't accommodate you, you don't have to tell them.

Your supervisor cares about you doing your job. They don't really care about what is stopping you from doing your job, instead they want to know how they can accommodate you so you can do your job. If moving cubicle solves your problems, suggest it like that.

Boss, I don't do so well in busy areas. I have trouble concentrating in this cubicle because there's so many people passing by. It's distracting/making me anxious. Is it possible for me to move to a more quiet cubicle?


You don't have to reveal your diagnosis specifically; you can just say that you don't deal well with distractions. You can also see about what options there are for reducing how distracting the people are, such as wearing headphones or putting up barriers. Another option would be finding someone within the company to advocate on your behalf; even if you end up having to disclose your diagnosis, it will be to someone you don't have to interact with on an everyday basis. If there a Diversity and Inclusion Department, they would be someone to talk to, otherwise HR.

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