I'm starting to come to grips with the fact that diabetes does have an impact on all parts of my life, including work. Specifically, my work performance. When i'm high, or low, or just frustrated, my work suffers. I've had to take phone calls when i'm low, only to hang up and realize I couldn't even remember who I talked to. I've snapped at people cause i'm in a cranky mood cause i'm high. I treat lows and highs without issue but, it does take time...time that i'm not very productive LOL.
My current job is the first where i've ever disclosed that I have diabetes... and sometimes I'm not sure if that was a good thing or not. I feel like i've got more to cover up now, cause I don't want diabetes to come across as an excuse or to have people think it effects my work (which, of course it does, I just don't know if I want anyone to know that).
So, does Diabetes effect your work performance? How do you deal with it? Are you afraid to lose your job because Diabetes keeps you from doing a great job?
I also deal with depression.. equally damaging to work performance, etc. so i'd be curious how you deal with it as well.
Hey otter. Yes, my diabetes affects my work and my work affects my diabetes. In a perfect world, I could treat highs and lows with whatever time I needed. Unfortunately, it doesn't always happen that way, no matter what the law says.
I've had to pop sweetarts or glucose tabs in meetings to get my bg level up quickly to avoid having to remove myself from the conversation. The result of that is sometimes overtreating leading to highs. Ideally, I'd excuse myself and test and treat and come back when I have my mind back but in some meeting situations you just can't do that if you want to keep your job. So that's why I say that diabetes affects my work but work also affects my diabetes.
The best way that I've found to deal with it is to put in whatever time it takes to do my job well. I come to work earlier than most others and leave later than most. The times I have to take care of myself are never questioned, I feel partly because I don't allow the overall quality of my work to suffer. Establish a reputation of doing quality work and show that you're willing to get it done no matter what.
I agree, I worked for 4 years after I was diagnosed and always made sure to put in extra effort. I'm T2, not on insulin, but because of severe neuropathy and other complications that affected my muscles, could not walk for a year or so. When I couldn't drive, my son drove me to work. Because the office was set up well for handicapped people, I used a wheelchair there. I worked at a computer all day, my work did not suffer. I would have to get up earlier at home because it took me a long time just to get my clothes on and get ready. When my son dropped me off I was usually the first one there. The only time I had an attitude problem was when I'd answer the phone in the morning and it was a coworker calling in with the sniffles or some other minor or made-up malady. It was all I could do not to snarl at them. It's very easy to become self-righteous. But mostly I was just glad to be busy all day and not sitting at home (the doctor would have written me out) feeling sorry for myself. I know, it's a different situation that you T1s have with your insulin, but I think it helps to be proactive. Don't become a victim of your circumstances.
This is a great topic
I think there is some difference depending on how old you where when diagnosed and how your social skills and responsibility's develop during your life. I was 34 just married second wife and had/have two small children. I could not put my life on hold for even one day without my family suffering some negative impact. I have two businesses and I worked 6-7 days a week for the first 10 years. I was already a war veteran, my work habits and social skills where already cast in stone when I was diagnosed. I have suffered from depression and some discrimination in the work place but this just made me want to work harder, I like to win. After my children moved out of the house I started taking better care of myself but there where many years that Little league, dance classes, my children's lives took precedence over my BG and health.
I think it was easy compared to how people are expected to manege their BG today , the old insulin was slow, steady (two shots a day) , and for many of us Low BG was a much slower proses the new fast insulin sneaks up on you fast and creates a more intense low. (The new) intensive Insulin Treatment is much harder to manage and offers little or no forgiveness if you make a mistake . I'm sure it would be much harder on me if I was just starting today.
One more problem we have today is technology overload...and this is a real problem that uses up a huge peace (chunk) of our daily ration of (brain power) try to reduce this as much as possible and get some rest.
Remember everything always works out in the end....or it's just not yet the end.
I can totally relate to your story, JohnG. I was 27 when diagnosed, married for only 3 years, a newborn, and working 12 hours a day for our state legislature. My daughter danced for 14 years and played basketball. I used to say (only partly joking) that my job was "to drive and pay". But you're absolutely right that my child's life took precedence over my bg control. When she moved out for college, I was able to refocus on me.
I don't remember having a A1c test when my children where at home but I think some how nature gave me strength to take care of them. And now my grandchildren are such a blessing I only wish I could live forever and take care of them. When your in the Fourth quarter of life family is so important, there is no substitute.
I guess I have always been lucky as far as work goes. Having been type 1 for 37 years and having worked since I was a teenager I have never really found that it has truly affected my job performance. The only time it was really difficult was when I was pregnant. Having to be so mindful all the time was wearying and I was carted off to the emergency room on a few occasions because of low bs. But I have spent the last almost 20 years of my working life working for my husband. Actually I should say we have been working together for almost 20 years. We run a small biochemical company with 24 people working. My second in command is also a type 1 diabetic who has been using a pump almost since he was diagnosed. It is awesome to have a colleague to share with. I run a chemical synthesis lab and if my blood sugar is not in line I could so some serious damage either to the machines I work with or myself. Obviously I don't worry about being fired but I also realize just about everyone in the company has something to deal with. One colleagues' daughter was almost killed in a motorcycle accident and had to have her hip joints completely rebuilt, another one has a father who is about to kick the bucket. So long as I don't obsess about it, diabetes can be dealt with and I am pretty thankful I was diagnosed well after they found out how to treat the disorder. With the newer gadgets I think control is a bit easier, a cgms, or glucometer is certainly better than dropping urine in to a test tube and hoping it doesn't turn orange.
I inform all after hire--teach a class and post directions to my team and move on. They are all instructed on what to do if I have problems, and I have actually gotten a lot of "recognition" of how I have handled my chronic disease compared to others on the teams. I actually taught a phone seminar where (informed) students many miles away recognized my low, and got me help.
Depression, don't even go there. We all have that, whether we recognized it or .... But good work helps calm a lot of that for me.
You are diabetic and cannot hide from it (except in the job application process.) Just believe that diabetes or not, you are a great, competant employee. The rest will follow.
I can't say that having diabetes affects my work. It actually provides some stability in my life. I work a desk job which is fairly predictable. I can test and use an insulin pen without anyone even noticing what I"m doing. I keep my personal business quiet as far as work goes. My co-workers are on a "need to know" basis and most of them don't need to know I have diabetes. What does have an effect on my work is the retinopathy that I have developed over the past two years or so. I've had a lot of lasering and have suffered some vision loss. I do accounting work and sometimes sevens look like ones, threes look like eights, etc. I have had to increase the font size on all my reports so I can read them accurately.
On the weekends, I sing in church and do weddings and funerals. That's a little bit different story. Live music is a very much an "in the moment" thing which does cause a bit of an adrenalin rush. That makes my blood sugar go up. Fifteen minutes before the start of the service, I have to do a glucose check and usually take 3 to 5 units to cover me for the inevitable spike that's going to happen. A little bit of pre-planning goes a long way.
Right now I'm on crutches after falling down five weeks ago and breaking my leg. I missed a few days of work the first week after the fall, but I have been right back to work at both jobs, full-time. Absolutely, sometimes it can all be daunting but so far diabetes hasn't stopped me from doing what I want and being productive.
Thanks for all the info everyone! It's not so much a question of having people know about me having Diabetes, just that it does seem to take time to deal with and that is time that i'm not working. I work alone, long hours, but constantly feel like I should be doing more. If I have to take time to treat a low, I worry that is viewed as time I should be working - I've worked through many a low, but I'm finding it harder to do.
Clare... your point is poignant.. everybody is dealing with something, so true! I can't believe what some of you do, and deal with!
What do you think? is "taking some extra time in my day to deal with Diabetes" a good excuse for putting in some extra hours at the office? (i'm about to face disciplinary action because I work longer than a "normal" work day to get the job done, I come in early and stay late, and my boss doesn't like it)
(Some background info...i've had Type 1 for 34years, 26 of them working, working hard, just never getting "ahead" - given up a few good opportunities cause I was scared)
I don't like what I am reading in your last post. How long could it take you to recover from a low, 20 minutes? a half hour? If you work extra to get the job done to accommodate your having to care for yourself during the work day then I think you should be applauded. Your posts don't say whether or not you are in the USA, but we have the Americans with Disabilities Act to protect us from this very situation. Employers are supposed to make "reasonable" accommodations for us. If that means giving you and extra half hour to get your work done (which you will make up at the end of the day), I fail to see anything unreasonable about that (unless, maybe, you were looking to get additional pay for that extra half hour). Now, I know none of us wants to think of ourselves as "disabled" because most of us are, in fact, quite "able" to do pretty much any job. Still, I would look into my local ADA office and see what's up with what your boss is trying to do to you. If you are competent to do your job in all other aspects and you get the job done, i.e. meet deadlines, work with accuracy, maintain positive attitude, then disciplinary action does not sound right to me. Please keep us all posted as to how you make out with all this. Best of luck.
ADA only requires the employer to make reasonable physical accommodation.
We are not entering into a marriage for better or worse and they must be able to perform the job, we are not required to take up the slack with another person. We do not have to agree to let an employee make up time or lost production and in most cases someone (supervisor) would have to stay with them and if it's shift work someone else will be filling that position. Most employers are not cold blooded devils we understand people have problems and we need people.I have employed thousands of individuals over the past 30 years and PWD's do not score high on the trouble list in fact we look and act just like everyone else on the planet.
One of the biggest problems in the work force today is all the people from broken family's...at some point we will have to find a solution to this huge sad problem.