Working in radio, how to work well with a chronic condition or illness
On the way to work you may find your balance, mobility, or ability to travel difficult to anticipate, this is why working from home some days can be of use, on the days you need to travel, planning your route in advance, from bed to getting dressed to out of the house and beyond is useful. Leaving extra time by preparing other things the day before work, like clothes , a lunch , travel arrangements, time for self care and making use of calendars and alarm clocks can all help to keep you on schedule if required (and on balance). I sometimes find it hard to eat in the morning but getting some protein and fruit in you is probably the easiest thing to eat that will not leave you feeling drained 20 minutes late
If you are ill or slow that day, don't be overly apologetic to employers , they can subconsciously come to the realisation that you should be apologetic or have done something wrong by being impaired, or limited by a condition or disease, you never asked for , it is just how it is . Instead be respectful and appreciative of co-workers patience (in them trying to understand/accommodate something they may not be able to fully understand). At the end of the day you can only do your best, there is no one on earth who would be able to say , yes I am better off because of this pain / condition , I wouldn't be better off if I didn't have this pain. Not all pain or impairments can be switched off.
Plan your time / make your day , actions and efforts more efficient , we don't always have the foresight but if you've suffered with a chronic condition long enough , you may already find it takes you more time and effort needed to plan things , work , fun , travel , sleep.
When you are able and working , you are present and hardworking , your every intention is on your work. When you are well embrace this feeling and put in that extra 30% then, at the very least you know that you put in the effort when you are well and at least deserve some rest (even if your mind still wants to be on work). If you can apply this , regardless of other people's opinion (or your own perceived opinion of yourself), you will know you work hard and can evidence that by being disciplined.
Sometimes a co-worker can misunderstand your needs , limitations , efforts or communication. What should you do if this happens?
Firstly, don't overreact, I've learnt that sometimes it's your reactions to things that can make you look bad, even if you've not done anything wrong. So if you feel like an injustice has happened be sure that if you feel the need to speak, you are able to speak calmly, directly and assertively.
Is it worth explaining yourself to a co-worker? Occasionally, yes it can be , lack of understanding , compassion or familiarity can change an employees’ attitude or opinion towards you (sometimes even unconsciously), if I do feel there's a situation that needs talking, I'll try to explain it concisely and in a way that is as positive and constructive as it can be, I find if I can show people I'm still alive and willing they don't look at me like I'm failing. Then again, after a point there's no point trying to explain yourself, either the job becomes great for you or it doesn't, but don't let someone's opinion stop you from work.
Finally, don't let the idea that owning a disability can stop you from being powerful, given the right tasks, access arrangements, or roles you can be unstoppable.
by Victor Wilks
Victor is on a Kickstarter placement with ICM