Having spent 30 years working while living with chronic illnesses, I know the challenges first hand. It’s especially tough when you’ve invested time, money and resources because you believe a satisfying career is a key ingredient to a fulfilling life!
I earn my living as a chronic illness career coach. People seek my services when they’re in pain around work. Typically, they’re frightened by what seems to be shrinking opportunities.
They wonder, “Can I continue to have a career that uses my talents? Or should I just look for a job?”
Obviously, there isn’t a simple answer. I’ve found that it’s best to start by defining these terms. The dictionary definitions:
CAREER: An occupation or profession, esp. one requiring special training, followed as one’s lifework.
JOB: A post of employment; anything a person is expected or obliged to do; the execution of a task.
For those who think in terms of a career, a cut in pay, responsibility or role often means stepping off the career track. It now feels like you’re just doing a job — and that’s too great a loss to consider.
But when disease symptoms compromise your ability to do job tasks, your career is likely to be compromised, as well. Perhaps it’s a temporary setback. Or maybe a curve along a road that winds more than you’d expected.
How do you move past seeing only limitations to finding opportunities? How can you stop from spinning in circles — or chasing your tail?
- Identify the limitations that disease is placing on you now.
- Develop clarity about what employment means to you now – Is it career building or a job?
- Develop your capacity to live with what is rather than dwelling on what should be.
What have you tried? How has your view of career changed since living with chronic illness?