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Seeing the code in the Matrix

Heads up: there’s spoilers for the movie The Matrix in this article.

The big tipping point in The Matrix happens when Neo, after years of believing he was just some mediocre dude, is suddenly able to see the 0s and 1s of the Matrix.

It’s this big aha moment where he realizes he has powers that make him far from ordinary.

I remember having a moment like that with my ADHD.

I looked around and started seeing systemic ableism everywhere. Society in general, but the working world in particular, are generally designed around the needs and preferences of neurotypical folks.

  • 9-5 working hours
  • Frequent meetings
  • Performance reviews
  • Two week sprints
  • Standup meetings
  • Office environments

A lot of these things seem like “no big deal” for neurotypical folks, but can be huge, invisible roadblocks for people with ADHD.

I do my best work from 10am to 2pm and 9pm to 11pm. I do my best work in a quiet room with Bob Ross playing the background, or outside while birds chirp and chipmunks run by my feet. I do my best work in deep focus, without interruption.

I also do my best work intermittently, with weeks of extremely high productivity, followed by weeks of down-time.

This is the opposite of how office-life is designed.

Arrive by 8:30am. Stay until 5pm. Get interrupted constantly. Meet to review your work weekly (or even daily). Sit in a sterile box with lots of noise and little nature. Maintain a constant flow of productivity.

0s. 1s. Once you become aware of it, you’ll see it everywhere.

And then, you can start to dismantle it.