Job Hunting with a Chronic Illness

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I recently decided that it was time to get a job. I’ve been self-employed since early 2009 as a writer, but I’m not very good at promoting myself. I write a weekly newsletter for an NGO, and write other stuff as well, but it’s just not enough. I knew that I needed to find an additional source of income.

I finally applied for a part-time editing job at a media monitoring service. The job doesn’t pay much. The working hours are terrible, too. I start work when the rest of the country is still asleep. I finish work when everybody else just about starts their day. There’s no paid sick leave and there are no paid vacations. I get paid an hourly fee – if I don’t work, I don’t get paid.

Yet this job is perfect for me, and I am happy – make the deliriously happy – that I was hired to do it. This job has one big advantage: I telecommute. All I need is a computer and Internet access. I can work in my pajamas, if I want to (I want to, I really do), from my own home. I won’t get rich, but I’ll be able to pay all my bills. That’s all I ask for these days.

I have an auto-immune disease, which robs me of most of my energy. Leaving the house, travelling to an office, and working 9 to 5 (or longer), would be impossible for me. I’m exhausted whenever I leave the house for just a few hours and usually spend the following day on the couch, resting. I also take steroids, which contain cortisone. The medication impairs my immune system, and whenever someone just so much as sneezes within a five-mile radius, I get sick. It then takes me several weeks to recover. I’m not able to hold down a full-time job, and even a part-time job would be a real challenge. Finding work, which I can do from home, is a blessing. Finding challenging work – as an editor - is a dream come true.

This is something than not everyone understands. My mom still doesn’t quite get how sick I am, and no matter how many times I tell her that I’m not able to do a full-time job, she keeps telling me that this new part-time job is fine as a temporary solution (but only until something better comes along). She means well – she loves me and wants the best for me. I stopped telling her that “better” isn’t something I’m physically capable of anymore. My tax accountant also keeps informing me that my financial situation is “not satisfactory,” (and that I need to earn more money). I don’t want “more.”

“More” means leaving the house more often (to do some sort of job), to be more exhausted, to be sick more often, and more drugs to manage my disease. It’s almost funny to see that healthy people simply can’t understand that the chronically ill have other priorities.

For us, less is more.

job hunting while chronically ill

Credit Image: cyberruly via Flickr


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