I know that many people with a chronic illness are still working and even have full time jobs. Some are able to get by but for others, particularly if they have a chronic illness that is progressive wonder, "when is the right time for me to consider a career change?"
Our careers define so much about who we are. We want to feel like we're making a contribution, doing something positive in the world, being creative, using our talents and strengths.
I recently spoke to a friend who told me that a fellow colleague was diagnosed with a MS about a year ago. Even though her work is slipping she refuses to ask for an accommodation. Although there could be many reasons why she is afraid to ask, one of those reasons may simply be that she loves what she does and doesn't want to be seen as less than if she asks. The sad part is that eventually she may get fired if her work continues to go downhill.
Those of us who love our jobs are loathe to make a career change; and this is totally understandable. As a life coach who works with people with chronic illness struggling to make that decision, I know how much of a challenge this can be for many people.
To help in your decision, here are some questions you can ask yourself about whether now is the time.
-Do I feel more stressed or rejuvenated when I'm at work?
-Do I get support from my employer in terms of accommodation?
-Is my work making me sicker either because of stress or environment conditions?
-Is the environment one of easy camaraderie or is my work place more negative or even hostile?
-Would I be better off working in an environment where I have total control?
-Is there another job I can take at my workplace (because I love the place I work for) that would be less stressful?
-Would I be happier doing something else—keep in mind that loving what you do can be a huge boost to your emotional wellbeing and decrease your stress levels?
-Have I considered another career that would allow me the time to take care of myself and is this the right time to make the change?
-What support systems do I have in my life both emotionally and financially that could make the transition to a new career easier?
-What else may be getting of the way of making my health more of a priority, rather than my work or finding the right balance between the two?
I’d love to hear whether these questions were useful to you.