Polydor’s Ali Tant has discussed his experience of living with ADHD while working in the industry with Music Week.
The senior marketing manager was re-diagnosed with ADHD in 2018 and here opens up about why more education is needed on the subject, and the impact Universal Music’s #CreativeDifferences project has made so far.
Tant’s piece, which was first published in our recent wellbeing special issue, which focused on the ripple-effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on physical and mental health, can be read in full below.
After being re-diagnosed with ADHD in the summer of 2018, I initially wanted to understand more about how I could get the best out of my brain in what is a fast-paced and intense role. In my life I hadn’t met many people who had ADHD, especially in the creative workplace. The diagnosis wasn’t an easy process and I’d left it to the point where I was on the edge of a total breakdown. I felt strongly that others shouldn’t have to get to that point. Not enough is done to educate adults about ADHD and there is still an underlying belief that it’s just something children have.
I was part of a group who finessed the findings of Universal Music’s #CreativeDifferences project. It was helpful to contribute so others who have ADHD could get the best out of it, but also so the teams working with neurodiverse members can get the best out of their staff. Then at the handbook’s launch event I was invited to be part of a panel, which was a wonderful experience. I was also able to network with many guests from the music and creative industries who also have ADHD.
The impact this work has had at Universal Music is clear to see. Both HR and senior management within Polydor listened to what I needed, and have been incredibly understanding of the aspects of my role I can excel in and the aspects I will struggle with. I have been given the tools I need to work to the level I expect of myself. I, like many others with ADHD, have crippling self-confidence issues in part because I spent years not understanding why I struggled and behaved like I did. But I’ve learnt to channel that into a drive that, combined with hyper-focus, has allowed me to deliver for Polydor. Whilst not everyone who has ADHD, dyslexia, autism or any other aspect of neurodiversity is the same, the reward for Universal Music in developing and nurturing individuals is huge and if other companies can do the same they’ll see the results.
You can read other personal reflections, including Q Prime Management's Tara Richardson on anxiety, here.