The good news, confided my client, is that so many people are in the same boat I’m in – for the first time. The bad news? The boat is sinking. Was he joking?
No doubt, one difficult aspect of living with chronic illness, especially if you’re under 50, is that you feel so alone. You feel so different from your cohort.
But my client wasn’t referring to illness. He was talking about being out of work and job hunting.
It’s good that he could find a silver lining. When you’re unemployed and you look around today, you see that you’re part of a relatively large group. Unfortunately, if you’re unemployed with a chronic illness, that group shrinks.
But don’t give up hope. In fact, because of the high numbers of unemployed, there are more people marketing their services to this group. Which means that more information than ever is on the web to help you write resumes, job hunt and make career switches. Even though they won’t include specific tactics for those living with illness, your understanding of how disease affects your attitude and your work, allows you to take the points and fit them to your needs.
One place that offers a vast wealth of information is twitter. Here’s one blog that was given a link on twitter: Career Change: 3 reasons for switching horses midstream. Read it first and then read on to see how you can adapt these ideas:
1. Identify your core skills. Be sure that these are skills that you can still utilize. If symptoms that impact your abilities wax and wane,develop your own system to rate degree of disability and how it impacts a particular activity. This gives you an honest appraisal while acknowledging that for you, skill capability can vary.
2. Sell your skills, not your past. This is particularly important if you have multiple gaps in employment due to illness, a particularly long gap due to illness or you are changing your career.
2. Project confidence to seal the deal. Everyone will tell you that unemployment lowers even the strongest person’s self esteem. We, however, know that unpredictable, debilitating chronic illness can do this, too. So pick yourself up, dust off your best work clothes and be prepared to SHOW UP. You might even treat yourself to a new haircut, a manicure or even a new suit. You’re selling yourself and you’re worth the money!
Oh, and here’s another raft to grab so you don’t sink. My workbook, Working With Chronic Illness, includes, self assessments designed for chronically ill regarding values, interest and functional abilities, goal setting, booklets on talking about illness at your job, factors that influence job success and much more.