Thursday, October 13, 2011

Managing an illness while staying on the job

Anita Bruzzese, Gannett, tackles yet another workplace quandary—how to manage a serious illness and stay on the job at the same time.

You may need your sick leave after a surgery, or maybe if chemo becomes too much—you need some leeway to function while you are still on the job.

Still you may feel tired or have a headache for years. Then what? Rosalind Joffe is a coach and author of Women, Work, and Autoimmune Disease--and has autoimmune diseases herself.

The biggest worry the ailing person may have is that their coworkers will think they are slacking or getting some advantage. Is it true? Joffe recommends a self-assessment.

You may not be able to slide by a problem—if doctor appointments and days out mount up. Don’t assume they will know you are sick—they may think you are lazy.

Tell the boss you are functional and want to normalize your situation.

This is not a tragedy and you don’t look at it that way—that is what you want to convey.

Let them know it’s OK to ask about the illness—if you are OK with that.

Some places let coworkers donate their sick leave to another worker in need. This way, everyone has a stake.

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