It’s hard not to blame yourself if chronic illness leaves you feeling as if you have no choice but to stop working. But the fact is that sometimes you just can’t get out of bed on a daily basis and that’s usually what work requires.
Milwaukee morning dj (WLDB-FM 93.3), Ellen Stout, 54, is retiring from radio because fibromyalgia makes it hard for her to get to work each morning (Chronic Illness Forcing Veteran Radio Host into Retirement).
Stout’s boss wants her to continue working at the station in some capacity. But according to the article, her reply is that God is telling her only one word right now and that is: rest. That sounds like she’s getting one powerful message.
The fact is that any of us who live with chronic illness know that there are times when you just can’t keep a schedule of any kind. Maybe you’re not in the hospital but you’re not good for much else other than lying in bed because pain or fatigue puts you down for the count.
So why am I writing about this? Because I worry that at some point, Ms. Stout could feel better enough to want to work in some way. And, because she’s 54 that’s not going to be so easy. In The New York Times Week in Review this past Sunday, the article (For a good retirement, find work. Good Luck) cited statistics about the need to work longer because of the shrinking dollar and possible social security funding.
But additionally, the article also said that when you have to look for a job and you’re over 50, your prospects diminish severely. This is not surprise to anyone, like me, who works with people around career issues. What is particularly significant is that many people with chronic illness choose to stop working because they’re fed up with pushing so hard for so long. They’re worn out. The problem is that there’s often not enough of a safety net to fall back on and the assumption that you can just find another job when you’re ready is unrealistic.
I’m not saying Ms. Stout or anyone else shouldn’t stop working when they’re body is screaming the message. But I urge caution — leave with the message that you’ll come back, part time when you’re able to. This is one door that might not open again if you close it too shut.
Rosalind aka cicoach.com