I’m Coming Clean With My Illnesses At Work

When I go into work on Friday, I am going to let my bosses know about my chronic illnesses and hopefully they will be understanding.  I have been there almost 7 months now and I am finding that it is getting harder and harder to hide what I’m going through physically.  When I am having bad days my co-workers and bosses can tell and I just don’t like being dishonest about the whole thing.  I know it is no one’s business but my own, but there are always situations coming up at work where I can’t perform certain tasks, can’t work longer than my scheduled shift, or can’t pick up extra hours when they need me.  I’m a Type A – I feel as though I need to let them know that it’s not because I don’t want to, it’s because I physically can’t.

It took a few months to get my schedule worked out after I first started and now I have a new boss and I’m going through the same mess I did in the beginning.  I have to repeatedly remind him that I can’t work more than 12 – 15 hours a week and out of my three shifts a week I need to have at least two of them as a cashier.  Every week I check my schedule and I’m scheduled for 20 hours, which is way too many, and I might only have one shift scheduled as a cashier.

I feel as though I have been at my job now long enough that my employer can see that I am genuinely a hard worker.  I have found over the years that if you tell a potential employer upfront about your poor health history they will either, a.) not hire you or, b.) get the job but be stereotyped from the get go as someone who will not be as “productive” or as “reliable” as a healthy individual. 

It can be frustrating for someone like me too because I know how sick I am and I still do more in a day than the kids I work with who are healthy and at least 15 – 20 years younger than I am. 

I hope everything works out okay when I talk to the bosses.  If they don’t understand – oh well.  I will feel better knowing that I am no longer hiding who I really am.

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  1. I’ve had to do this a couple of times over the years. Both times I got a very short note from my doctor listing the chronic illnesses (no explanations, just the names) and a statement about how many hours I could work and a description of job duties I could and could not perform (like no overtime and heavy lifting and being on my feet for a specified period of time). Doing it this way means you don’t have to give long explanations and, if the boss is not cooperative, feeling defensive. This also gets everything in writing so that there will be less of a chance of being “let go” because the boss doesn’t want to deal with it.

    Just something to consider 🙂 Good luck. I’ll be anxious to hear how it goes.

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