Question about work. Do you tell?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by PrincessofYoga, Jan 20, 2003.

  1. PrincessofYoga

    PrincessofYoga New Member

    Hi all,

    I havent been on here for a bit. I have one question that I would love to find out what everyone thinks.

    I am working part time, with a wonderful lady, in a pretty high position in the company. I am here for her support so I really dont have alot of "stress" on my own, just daily cognative problems. I am forgetting alot of things and cant keep my mind on one thing for very long.

    My question is this...I have only been working with her for about 5 months and there has been quite a change in my memory problems (worse). Im afraid she is noticing. She does not know why I am part time or that I have fibromyalgia. Do I tell her???

    Any imput is great, good or bad. I am really mixed up about this...and struggling with it.

    Thanks to all
  2. LisaMay

    LisaMay New Member

    if it were me. Working for an executive type female can be trying, but they are quite sympathetic. I don't think she will think any less of you. You may find that she will help you out.

    I just took a new job and opted to tell my future employer about my illness and the limitations that I have. I was hired that same day. They had no problems and offered to help in anyway they could.

    Hope you find your way. Lisa
  3. twal

    twal New Member

    Hi Lisa!

    I would say something to my boss if I were you. That is just my opinion though.:) I worked part time last year doing accounts payable for a company. I was going to school full time too! I tried to hide my cognitive problems at first, but eventually told my boss I had CFS. He was really understanding about it. I remember just sitting at my desk like a zombie. Just staring at a stack of papers and not knowing what the heck to do. I always felt so overwhelmed all of the time too! Well, good luck with your decision. I hope everything works out for the best.:)

  4. sofy

    sofy New Member

    If memory and cognitive is your weak point then you have to ask yourself if it affects your ability to do your job properly or do you just need extra reminders. You have to be careful because we all know that if she feel she has to check everything you do then you are more work than help. If you just need a reminder then you might want to have some helpful suggestions like being sure all instructions are in memo form and not verbal or whatever will help you remember and then explain why she needs to do this. Sometimes extremely busy people are so bogged down with the work load that they cant see you as a person but just as another something to make their workload harder to bear. Approach and presentation will be important here. Good luck
  5. PrincessofYoga

    PrincessofYoga New Member

    She would be empathetic, I know it, but you bring up a great point. I think that is my problem, good reminders. That is what I need to work on first, before I tell her. But, I will need her approval if I need to buy anything that will help me do that. Oh worry!

    My biggest problem, is remembering tasks, and little things. I tried to use Microsoft task list but it just doesnt do the trick. Maybe another program that is more user friendly?

    I need to do some more homework.
    Thank you and please,keep the responses coming!!

    [This Message was Edited on 01/20/2003]
  6. catgal

    catgal New Member

    Hi Lisa~~Honestly is usually the best policy especially if the time comes that you ask for "accommodations" for your chronic illness {such as flex time or varying your workdays, monthly doctor's appts, etc}. There is a Federal Law (can't think of it now--memory isn't working) that protects handicapped and people with chronic illnesses who are employed are seeking employments. Prohibits discrimination in hiring and allows for working accommodations (within reason and as long as the accommodations do pose not a financial or business hardship on the employer), etc. However, the employer needs to be aware of any chronic illness or handicapp.

    However, regardless of the law--I know that handicapped and people with chronic illnesses are discriminated against in hiring practices and on the job at various businesses--only they are slick at getting around the law--and the burden of proof is placed on you to prove it.

    At a previous "government" job that I had worked at for 10 years full time as the Director of Mental Health, my FM/CFS and arthritis got so bad that I requested to step down as Director, just be a therapist, and work part time. I had medical documentation to backup the request. I was refused based on the grounds that the plain therapist position required a full time person, and that it would pose a hardship on the rest of the staff who would have to take on more clients if I only worked 3 days a week. I loved my job, made excellent money, and had great benefits--but my health just would not allow me to work full time any more. Therefore, I had to resign and seek other employment.

    I got another job as a therapist working 3 days a week, and have had this position for the past 10 years. And, it is very demanding as I have to cram 5 days work into 3 days in order for all the clients to get seen, attend all the meetings, and get the mounds of paperwork completed each week. And, with every time we get a new Program Director, I am walking on egg shells to see if they will allow me to continue in the position part time--or if they want to change it to a full time position--which would I just couldn't do. So far, I have managed to survive 5 different directors, but a few of them have been very close calls and caused me months of extreme stress while they decided.

    And two years ago, I was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease with multiple back problems, have missed work, and just can't function like I used to. Last week, I saw a Specialist and was also diagnosed with nerve damage from the top of my neck, down through my spine, to my feet. And, he told me my back and the nerve damage was only going to get worse, and that surgery was definitely in my future.

    In the meantime, the Program got a new director two years ago who is a militant ***hole. When he was hired, I told him about my health condition. Since then, he has constantly repeated in staff meetings that the therapist position (my job) needs to be full time, and that the Program would no longer hire any people with chronic illnesses. As he has no viable reason to fire me, he keeps trying to get rid of me by saying it is posing a hardship on the Program and our clients to have a therapist who is only there 3 days a week. This past October, he tried to get rid of me, but the staff rallied around me and threatened mutiny if he did. So, for the time being my job was saved by my fellow co-workers. {They can't stand him either and have been trying to get rid of him as he is a terrible director with no administrative skills and has almost destroyed our Program.}

    However, he tries to make it hard on me so that I will quit. When I returned from the Christmas Holidays, he had kicked me out of the office I have been in for 10 years and gave me an office that is nothing more than a closet. Moving 10 years of stuff out of my old office was very hard on me physically as I had to pack more than half of my office stuff up and move it home (packing, loading, and unloading) and try to move the rest into my new office which was a small supply closet clear across the building (again packing, loading, and unloading). And, I am still in the process of getting my new closet arranged, and my clients say it is too claustrophobic for them.

    He also keeps track of how many days work I miss and says I shouldn't be working there anyway because it is a chemical dependency treatment program, and I'm "on drugs". For not only was I honest about my chronic illnesses, but also told him about the medications I was on (narcotic pain management)--as random drug/alcohol tests are run periodically on the staff--and this medical information I shared with him was supposed to be a "confidential" conversation.

    However, I still believe that being upfront & honest is best. There are just some companies and bosses that will hold that against you. You have worked with your supervisor long enough to know what kind of person she is--so let your best judgement be your guide.

    As for the memory problems which affect your competency on the job, I have difficulties with my memory also. However, I carry a notepad with me at all times and jot things I need to remember down. I also have a small, pocket tape recorder that I use to remember things. I keep a 3x5 calendar box on my desk as a monthly "tickler file" divided by months to help me remember monthly reports and things that routinely have to be done in various months of the year. I keep a checkbook size calendar in my purse to keep track of personal appointments and things I need to remember.

    Sorry this is so long, but maybe it will be of some help. Best Wishes to you, Carol....

  7. PrincessofYoga

    PrincessofYoga New Member

    Okay Jaimy pie. I am really struggling with remembering stuff so that is the major reason I want to tell her. I am well on my way to getting "well" and know that it is someting I can lick for sure.

    Thanks again for all of your input. I am going to talk it over with my honey tonight and see what he thinks I should do for the memory. I dont know why I am asking him, he cant remember anything either!

  8. pam_d

    pam_d New Member

    You pose an interesting question, and I'm sure you will find the best way to handle it for your particular situation, knowing the personality of the person involved better than any of us do. I think we might all approach this slightly differently, because there are legal issues, office politics, individual personalities, our own particular health limitations--LOTS of different variables for each situation, so no one way to handle it.

    In the abstract, I feel "telling" is like handing the employer a reason to treat or feel about you differently; maybe legally, he can't discriminate, and he may even be on the opposite end of the spectrum, wanting to be fair and empathetic and accomodating.....yet, even subconsciously, may from that day forward, look at you in a slightly different light.

    As I said, though, only each person in their very unique situation, can make this judgement call, knowing what & who is involved.

    Good luck to you, Lisa, no matter how you choose to handle it, I hope it comes out to your best advantage!

    [This Message was Edited on 01/20/2003]
  9. Annette2

    Annette2 New Member

    Lisa, in my opinion I wouldn't tell her. I had a cognitive problem on my last job. I think it was more to do with menopause than FMS. Anyway, things got bad at that job and to make a long story short, I'm not there anymore. I have been at my "new" job almost 4 years now. I am a part-time legal secretary. I did NOT tell them at my interview about my illness. It's none of their business. The paralegals I work for know I have FMS, but I would never tell them that if I make a mistake it's because of the FMS. I just try harder to remember things. I write everything down. I make notes. I work very hard at concentrating on what I need to do. My job is very focused and I like it that way. I would not be able to handle a job where I had to do a million things at one time. That is why I have the job I have. I don't consider myself to have a handicap. If I felt the job was too much for me I wouldn't stay - I'd get something less stressful. I think you are the only one to judge what you need to do and how your boss would react. Just remember - if you tell her you can't "take it back".

  10. Yawning

    Yawning New Member

    I haven't told my employers about my illness. Even though I'm aware of the changes in my abilities over the past five years, they seem to think I do a good job. So, there's really no reason to say anything.

    However, that said we just instituted a new mandatory 9am start policy which really doesn't work for me. I have sleep apnea in addition to the CFIDS, so I did tell my employer about that because it had specific bearing on the job requirement.

    I would wait to say anything until your boss raises the issue.

    Take good care,
  11. PrincessofYoga

    PrincessofYoga New Member

    I talked it over with my honey last night, and taking in all the input here, and my own feelings, I have come to the conclusion that I will not tell. My mom made an excellent point, that I am not going to be cured of this disease, so I have to learn to deal with the things that come with it, like these ADD symptoms and my horrible memory. I think my fear was that she would think I was stupid, but that is obviously not the case. I found it was a "low stress" job because when I first started with her she told me what to do all the time. Now, I am on my own pretty much and have to figure out what comes next.

    So, I will purchase a daytimer, or some type of program that will help me keep notes, reminders, etc. I think it is the only thing that will save me. As far as telling, I know now that it is not the best thing to do by far. If it gets so bad that something is said, I will say something maybe, but I will try my hardest to "cover it up" as I go.

    Thanks for your input. I have been doing so good, with a few minor setbacks. Thanks and Namaste to all