Lupus and Your Career

With the economy bouncing back, many of us (myself included) are going to be entering the workforce again.  For those of us that are living with Lupus, this poses many challenges besides the quality of our resumes!  Many of the butterflies wrestle with themselves about whether or not they should disclose the illness to perspective employers, and if they do, when is the right time?  What should I say?

As a recent MBA grad, I have put some thought into this process and have offered some tips that may help my fellow butterflies and anyone else living with a chronic illness:

Should I say something?
Yes, it is definitely in your best long-term interest to disclose your illness.  We all know that a flare up can occur at anytime.  When it hits, we have enough to worry about.  Worrying about our job security shouldn't be one of them.  That's why it is important for your employer to know what you are dealing with before it becomes a problem.  Letting them know in the midst of a health crisis can make you look unreliable and untrustworthy. 

So when is the best time?
You should disclose your illness whenever you feel comfortable. I would say the sooner the better. A few times I have waited a while after I was hired to say something, but I have also mentioned my condition during the interview on several occasions.  I would rather know in advance that the organization has a problem with my condition.  You will be able to tell by paying attention to non-verbal and verbal cues, even if they do not come out and say so. Even though it is against the law to discriminate, companies can still do it and hide the real reason. So I say if it flows naturally in conversation, and you feel comfortable, TELL them!! If you are lucky you will have a supervisor that is understanding and supportive.  I hope that you all will have successful careers, which are fulfilling and make you super duper happy.

With Love,