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Just curious how others have dealt with this topic when they go for interviews.
I feel like, in most cases, it would be a non issue; not something you really need to mention.
But if I'm applying for a job that could potentially have me doing something for hours at a time with no breaks.. I feel like I need to tell them, and I'm not sure how to address it.
In my case, it's that one of the clinics I've applied to does a lot of orthopedic surgeries.. if they expect me to assist with those, it could mean being scrubbed in to surgery for as many as 8, 9 hours...
They responded that they are interested in meeting me, so I am going to try to go down this weekend. Trying to think of everything I need to cover, and this is one of the topics that might have to come up :(
I am a real stickler for rights. As far as I am concerned (under ADA), the only reason you have to reveal your diabetes is if it would interfere in the performance of your job. Your employer "must" provide reasonable accomodations. Lots of jobs require you to do things for extended periods of time, but it is a reasonable accomodation to enable you to take breaks to deal with diabetes.
If you are applying as a commercial airline pilot, diabetes can affect your performance. But taking a break during an 8 or 9 hour surgery to check your blood sugar, correct and then scrub back in is a "reasonable" accomodation. Personally, I would not tell them. Once I'm hired, tough noogies. I would tell HR I have diabetes and I would personally tell everyone around me. And I would not expect to be treated any differently than any other employ except I might need some minimal accomodations which I "will" get.
With respect, I disagree. Part of the analysis one should undertake in deciding about disclosing diabetes to a potential employer are not just my rights, but the rights of others. Would my need to attend to my diabetes potentially cause harm to the employer, fellow employees or, in this case, patients being treated in an OR? Frankly I'd rather be totally honest up front instead of having something bad happen along with the "you should have told us about this" conversation.
At issue here is "reasonable accommodation." What is reasonable for one job is not necessarily reasonable for another. When considering your rights also consider the rights of the employer, co-workers and those you serve.
Thanks for the replies.
It is a small business, a veterinary clinic, with 4 doctors and 15 support staff. They see all species, and I've already been told they do a lot of small animal orthopedic surgeries. I have to be honest that I really have zero interest in being involved in orthopedics at all for small animals. I know they are hiring at least two associates, and she has seen my resume (it's almost exclusively horse-related though I don't mind doing companion animals and small ruminants).. I feel like every other aspect of the job would be completely manageable even though I have diabetes.
I just hesitate to avoid telling them, as it seems (at least in my mind) rude to apply for a job that will require accommodations in at least one aspect, and not tell them until after they've hired me.
I will be calling her later this evening; I think I will just ask what they are looking for in a new hire, and see what she says. I'm trying not to close any doors; veterinary jobs are just as hard to come by as any job in this economy. And I would be able to at least do some equine work if I go after this job, which would make me happy.
I gave this a lot of thought when I was diagnosed, especially in my line of work. Being that I deal with people in emergent situations, I need to always be my best. I could potentially go all day without a break for food etc. Taking all that into account, I looked at it this way, How many times do you realisitically think the surgery is gonna be 8-9 hours or more? AND THEN, How many people in that OR are gonna step out at one time or another to pee? How long does it take you to check your sugar, bolus, eat a small snack, whatever it might be that you need to do? About that long... I realize not everyone leaves to pee, but I guarantee you people leave from time to time. I am officially a speed eater. I can eat graham cracker (which are provided to EMS workers by the local hospital in between calls) in like 20 seconds... If you want the job, you can make it work, you just have to work around the diabetes. Instead of trying to figure out how to tell people, whether to tell people, I try and think how can I make this work so I can do what I want? Then, if I HAVE to tell, I share when and if the time is right.
An asthmatic doesn't apply for a job and say they are asthmatic in the interview. If they were in the OR and had an asthma attack they'd step out handle it and come back in, no big deal. Same with someone who had a heart condition, or epilepsy. You don't have to tell and they by law can not ask.
I agree with juliannagrl. There's a reason they cannot ask. If you tell them and they have a choice between two equal in every other way candidates - you and a person who they think needs no accomodations - who do you think they will choose to hire?
I've never disclosed my diabetes in an interview and I've always found a way to fulfill my job responsibilities by finding ways to make it work, as juliannagrl said. That means I probably work a little harder than the average bear, get to work earlier, maybe stay a little later, so that my work ethic is recognized. But I take the few minutes I need to take care of myself and nobody has a problem with it. I make sure my employer is not getting short changed because of my needs.
I pretty much agree as well. There really is no reason during an interview to disclose your diabetes. MOST jobs you will be able to work around. I worked 12 hour shifts in the hospital and managed. Of course lol for years I never enjoyed a meal cause I inhaled my food. BUT if its what you want to do, you find a way to make it work. Short of being a commercial pilot, going into space, maybe some types of law enforcement, or military their really isnt any job that is off limits.
Thanks for all of the replies. I've had some people telling me that I should tell them up front, and did not feel comfortable even considering telling a potential employer.
I know that it's illegal to discriminate; but I also know that discrimination happens all the time.. it's just hard to prove.
I'd rather get hired and tell them later; but at the same time, they could later be like, "Why didn't you tell us?" All I can think is to just not make a big deal out of it once they do find out.
Hey, thanks, those are great ideas for how to deal with it when it eventually comes out. I'm not really good at coming up with things like that on the fly.
Turn those lemons into lemonade.
Tell them that because you occasionally need to check blood, have a snack, etc. you are serving as a role model for good health practices in their workplace.
Tell them you keep a mental clock in your head and that when you spend a minute to take care of D they get 3 extra minutes of work from you out of gratitude.
Mention you are less likely to take a sick day on the first perfect day of spring because you know you might really need it for real.
Remind them that D forces you to take great care of yourself ALL the time, unlike other "seemingly" healthy co-workers.
If you get hired, then casually tell everyone. But diabetes isn't a factor in whether you should be hired or not. You may think that telling them is a courtesy, but it isn't. Being objective when hiring is hard. Finding out an applicant has diabetes or otherwise disabled means that you have to actively ignore and reject that piece of information. If you come to interview with me, please don't tell me you have diabetes, I just would rather not know.
That makes me feel a lot better about what I was initially planning to do- not tell them!