Autoimmune Disease and the Workplace

Maneuvering work when you have a autoimmune disease can be difficult. You may even be good at making it look easy (like me) so no one let’s on that it isn’t as easy to do everything your job requires, as it once was. How do you make work, work? When do you push back a bit to ensure that it’s a win-win for yourself and the company you work for? Depending on the job, there may be easier to get some accommodations made than at others.

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Take me for example, I recently accepted a promotion at the retail store I work at. I did not apply for the position, it was offered to me. It was also offered to me on the condition that I never call in sick. And my boss knows I have an autoimmune disease. I accepted, work hard, and kill my body in the process. Part of my new position does require some manual labour as well. Yes, I delegate as much as I can. But when we sold 50 air conditioners on Saturday evening, I didn’t have much of a choice but to help get them on the sales floor.

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Technically speaking, no boss (or company, etc) can tell you not to ever call in sick. And I’m sure there will be points where I need to. And workplaces are legally supposed to accommodate for people with disabilities. If you work a desk job, sometime providing an ergonomic workstation is a good accommodation. In any job, extra breaks (or longer breaks) can be helpful. If you have the ability to work from home, or that’s an arrangement that can be made, take advantage of it. It’s not worth making things worse for your health in the long run for a job. We all need a source of income, but set up a conversation with your workplace (HR is the best place to start) so that you can find out together what the best way to go about it is.

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I also want to note, that in no way am I trying to throw my boss under the bus. He’s great, it’s just a small bit of understanding he’s missing. And my company has amazing health benefits that cover 90% of the fees for all my appointments and medications. My point is to acknowledge the good things, but to encourage a conversation in areas that can be helpful. It’s better for both you and your company to help you stay a productive member of the workplace as opposed to you having to go on disability which is a nuisance for everyone.

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I hope you all have a great work week! Happy Canada Day to my fellow Canadians, and Happy Fourth of July to my American friends and followers!

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