Check out the very useful information in The New York Times, Patient Money column, Protecting Your Job When You Live with Chronic Illness by Lesley Alderman.
And, yes, there are several quotes from me.
On reading this, a client emailed to let me know that she’s worried that now that I’m famous, I wouldn’t have time for her. She said she was joking but it led me to wonder. Could media attention have that effect on my clients or my prospects? People have commented that after viewing my website media page, they’re intimidated and think that I’d be too busy to work with real and sick people.
Please allow me to disabuse you of that fear. If you know me at all, you know that all of my efforts are designed to attract coaching clients because career coaching people with chronic illness is what I love most to do.
The first time I was quoted about disclosure, in The Wall Street Journal, several colleagues commented that this would open the floodgates. Prepare for more clients that I could handle. One suggested that I hire help to field the calls. Over the next year, I got six inquiries into my services who told me they’d heard of me through the WSJ article. Yes, two became clients. Not bad — but not exactly a bursting dam.
Oh, and unless I have prior permission from a client, I try very hard to give the reporter composite examples (as I do here on blog posts). I blend details from different clients so, hopefully, no one could identify him/herself in print. Although I’m not a particularly private person (or I wouldn’t be doing this!), I know that many folks with chronic illness are pretty fussy about their privacy and rightfully so!
Since the WSJ article, I’ve been quoted several times a year in national press. My family and friends are always happy when I send them a link. My mother, in particular, was thrilled as she’d always hoped for at least one of her children to be on the cover of TIME Magazine and this was as close as she got.
Of course, an article will sometimes lead a new client to me. But mostly, I’m delighted because it’s great press for those of us who live with disease that isn’t curable and gets in our way as we struggle to live productive and fruitful lives.
And, if you know me, you know I like concrete outcomes. I like to think that this press achieves two key objectives:
- It gives healthy people a better idea of what people with chronic illness face in the workplace, leaving them better prepared to address chronically ill co-workers.
- It gives chronically ill workers the knowledge that they’re not alone and there are resources to which they can turn.
And for more details like those in the article, my book, Women Work and Autoimmune Disease: Keep Working, Girlfriend! has many more suggestions in Chapter 5, Success in the Workplace.
So, now, if still you’re hesitating to contact me because you think that I’d be too busy to respond or too expensive, try me.