Hi Ho! Hi Ho! It’s off to work we go (Spoonie Style)…

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Welcome to the Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge brought together by WEGO Health – a social network for all health activists.  Again, I am participating in the annual Writer’s Month Challenge in which I will be writing about my health activism and health condition based upon prompts given.

Today’s prompt reads as follows:

Off to work!…What advice would you give to those on the job search?  How do you juggle your job and a chronic illness?  Any tips for the interview?

Looking at all of the prompts for this month’s writing challenge, this is probably one of the more difficult blog posts for me to write as I myself am unable to work because of my condition and therefore have no experience of juggling working and a chronic illness.  So, as a result I have researched online and have found some useful tips for looking for work whilst chronically ill as well as juggling work and illness.

Job Hunting and Chronic Illness: 

  • Get into a routine: Whilst being unemployed, and especially whilst living with a chronic illness, it is often easy to become stuck in a rut, such as sleeping in late and not having a schedule.  However, if you are at the stage where you are able to start thinking of getting a job despite chronic illness, it is therefore advisable to practice getting into a regular routine beforehand so that you do not find it difficult getting up early and so on
  • Re-examine your CV: Living with a chronic illness really limits us in what we are able to do; however it also provides us with attributes that we might not have possessed before.  Therefore, make sure that your CV currently reflects your current abilities and attributes that you can bring to a job position.  Stress your accomplishments to show that you are more than your illness.
  • Do your research: With my condition, a lot of places such as buildings with high ceilings, or those with wide open spaces can make my dizziness worse, and therefore there are certain working environments which would not be suitable for my particular situation.  For example, being in a call centre with the noise and open spaces would make the dizziness extremely severe.  Therefore, for me and those in a similar situation to myself, it may be advisable to research the place of work and perhaps organise a visit to see if the place would be a suitable place of work.  Or perhaps enquiry whether they could make certain adaptations for your needs, for example, I often feel better if I am close to a wall; near the edge of the room where it is usually quieter and with not as much visual stimuli occurring

Working with a Chronic Illness 

  • Provide the basic information to employers regarding your health condition so they are to provide you with certain accommodations: Depending on your personal situation, if there is a need for you to work or if you are simply able to work but need certain accommodations to make this possible, then you would need to discuss this with your employers.  For example, you may need a different work schedule to accommodate treatments, or frequent breaks because of fatigue and so on.
  • Prioritise work tasks: If you are struggling at a certain point, and you feel that you may need to take time off because of your condition then perhaps it would be advisable to prioritise your work, and complete tasks which are urgent before those which are less important so that you are able to be productive despite living with a chronic illness. Make to-do lists, for example, as many illnesses causes memory problems. , and
  • Maintain a good work/life balance: Many jobs nowadays require a lot of energy, and therefore working whilst living with a chronic illness may use a lot of spoons.  If there are a lot of deadlines due, then you may find that when getting home from work, as a result you may not have the energy to do anything else.  Therefore, pace yourself at work, perhaps ask for certain accommodations that ask for a lesser workload so that your life foes not revolve around work and your chronic illness.
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