Sunday, April 4, 2010

Diabetes in the Workplace

Sometimes having an invisible disease like diabetes  is hard, for a lack of a better word.  I know, I know, you are thinking "well duh Captain Obvious." We spend our days dealing with  the day to day management which some days can be a full time job and then on top of that we deal with our invisible disease in the workplace.

At the present moment I'm unemployed. I had a good job  but the organization lost the federal grant funding that paid for my position so I lost my job. I have a few concerns as my job search progresses: making sure I can get insurance (although this won't be a problem after 2014) and how to handle my diabetes.

Diabetes is all over my resume so without fail I get asked about it during the interview. I don't mind talking about diabetes, especially because I am proud of what I have done. But when I interview for a company that has nothing to do with diabetes or health care it makes me a little nervous. I can't explain my resume without explaining the fact I have diabetes.

When I was working all my employers were very understanding of my diabetes. Never complained if I was late to work because a low blood sugar kept me from driving to work. The worst was when I'm dealing with a stubborn low that won't go away and my boss would ask me to do something time sensitive.

People are a bit more understanding of the diabetes but when I bring up the fact that I also have Fibromyalgia things change. It is somewhat easier for people to grasp the basic idea of diabetes but being in pain 24/7, well that is just a whole other beast! I try my best to spend the necessary time to make sure I am healthy but without taking too much time that it interferes with your work.

A good boss makes all the difference. Also having an understanding of what your rights are is important. Education is also key. If you are comfortable tell your coworkers or at least your boss about the signs of a low blood sugar and what to do in case of an emergency.

How do you handle your diabetes in the workplace? Any advice for a job seeker like me and when the appropriate time is to tell the boss/interviewer?

1 comment:

  1. It can be hard explaining things to those that are not sensitive to it (diabetes or the pain). I guess I haven't been in that position yet, but I like to imagine that I would talk about how living with diabets makes me a stronger and more able person. That may not make sense on those days where the d throws a curve and slows me down though eh?