Have you asked for flex time because of invisible chronic illness symptoms – and not gotten it? Emily, who blogs on Finding Equilibrium, did so and when she couldn’t get what she needed, she quit her job to work on her own in a virtual capacity. That was a big move for her. She regretted that her company couldn’t/wouldn’t meet her needs to work from home.
One person who commented on her blog noted he thinks that working for yourself (freelance) is becoming a “movement”. That could be true.
But only for people who meet at least two criteria: you need to have the right kind of skills that transfer to virtual work. Unfortunately, that’s not an option in many careers/jobs. The other is being able to afford or have access to health insurance (and other benefits).
When I wrote my book (Women Work and Autoimmune Disease: Keep Working, Girlfriend!), it was with this audience in mind: women who have either been given a recent chronic illness diagnosis or who had recently found their symptoms more problematic — and who wonder if work is possible.
The book explores the multiple issues around staying employed as well as the advantages to self employment. I’m self employed as is my co-author, Joan Friedlander but we don’t suggest that working for yourself is easy or necessarily feasible for everyone.
So, here are my suggestions before you make any big moves :
First, see if you can make your current job more amenable for you.
Next, think LONG TERM.
No one can predict how a chronic illness or disease symptoms will behave in the future. You’d need a crystal ball. But you don’t have to leave it all to chance. You can develop those skills that will make you as marketable as possible so you can have as many options as possible.
My advice to Emily is to continue working hard on developing her skills. Regardless of her future career decisions, this gives her more leverage.
When you live with invisible chronic illness, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with difficult symptoms, difficult doctors and difficult employers — and forget about thinking strategically for your long term career health.
Don’t let that happen to you.
Rosalind aka cicoach.com