Career Tips On How To Handle Major Health Issue At Work

Often and unexpected, you might get diagnosed with a serious illness and it is also the time when you are at peak of professional success. You need not worry, for know that there are a few who are facing the same situation and also successfully overcoming it. Here we share some career tips on the same to help you during that phase. To know more, keep reading the blog.

Let’s start with the instance of Channing Barker who says she likes to think of herself as Leslie Knope. Barker is communications director for Benton County, AR.

Leslie Knope, the “Parks and Recreation” character is persistent and nothing can stop her from pursuing her dreams in life, though she has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) at age 16.

Yes! Working with a serious illness like MS, cancer, or lupus isn’t easy, mainly at the early stages of your career when you’re on the verge of building a reputation.

Rebecca Nellis, executive director of Cancer and Careers, says that many of us can’t afford to work, but the reason is not necessarily just because of that.

Here we share some tips from experts like Nellis and young professionals like Barker, in case you are dealing with a new diagnosis at work or concerned about switching to the social-impact sector with your serious illness.

Discuss with your physician

Seek the advice of your doctor to find out how to carry forward your career with a serious illness. You have the best knowledge about your job, and your doctor knows about your diagnosis and probable side effects of your treatment.

Discuss with your doctor about the following:

Your work environment.

Who you interact with at work because if your immune system might get compromised due to treatment and you spend a lot of time in public-facing roles, your doctor must know about your chances of exposure to germs.

Your work schedule.

Discussing with your doctor is a regular conversation, not anything on a specific note because despite the common symptoms and side effects of certain medications, none can predict how an illness or medicines can affect you.

Know your legal rights

You can learn them from several online and offline platforms.

Where you work also affects the legal protections available to you. For instance, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment and other areas, basically applies to employers with 15 or more employees. So if you are working at a smaller and non-profit organization, you might not get protection under the ADA.

Similarly, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), offers up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to take time and address a family or medical issue, and this applies to employers with about 50 or more employees. Other restrictions include a requirement that you were at your job for at least a year before taking the FMLA leave.

Where you live also matters because some states passed their own anti-discrimination laws or family and medical leave laws which apply to smaller employers.

Decide if you should tell your employer and how to take on the conversation

Whether you should disclose and to what extent about your illness can impact on your career, like legal implications, so take some professional advice before moving forward.

Besides the legal issues, there are other reasons you might wonder or think about.

Remember, if you decide to disclose your illness at work, you must be careful on how much to share, and you must be prepared for all types of reactions, even what your boss must do next.

To mention, Cancer and Careers offers a manager’s toolkit for employees to share when they tell about their diagnosis. The manager’s toolkit has information on what to be expected if an employee has cancer, laws applicable, and ideas of creating a supportive work atmosphere.

Tell your co-workers if you are comfortable with it

Disclosing to your co-workers about your illness is your personal choice. If you decided to tell your co-workers, you must let them know if they can share that information or if you wish to keep it within a small circle of trusted people.

Barker says that she chose to be quite open about her experience with MS. Instead of thinking much about, whether to disclose her illness in the workplace, she tries to focus more on educating people on the same, how MS can affect her energy level, short-term memory, and other issues at work.

Find adjustments or accommodations that is good for you

Suppose you decided not to disclose about your illness, you might be able to make adjustments that help you cope.

Even if you’ve thought not to disclose your illness, you might be able to make adjustments which help you cope up with the situation.

And if you have decided to disclose your illness, clearly tell your boss about what could help you to continue with your work and succeed.

Take care of yourself

The fact is that both your physical and mental state matters you the most.

If you work from home while going through your treatment, you might feel disconnected and lonely. To overcome those feelings, you could periodically call co-workers with whom you share a good rapport.

Nellis of Cancer and Careers helps cancer patients and survivors carry out job searching, and she says that taking care of self is quite important.

Nellis said that Cancer and job searching are two highly charged experiences, with several ups and downs. It’s natural to feel sad and loose at times, but it is essential to take care of you.

Today’s blog must be very helpful for you. Do you have any experience in the same? Share with us your stories, how you dealt the situations and emerged successfully and inspire others.

With this, we conclude. Yes, choosing the right career is important but you must also be aware of some unexpected situations that might arise and how to cope with them. Awareness is always good!

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