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Or at least that is what everyone seems to think. I honestly don't know. Before the big meltdown last summer I was in a manic state, burning the candles at both ends and got promoted to a level I couldn't handle stress wise. I tried to go back after about four months and lasted for three months at a lesser position before I had another meltdown.

Networking jobs basically require that manic state. When the network is falling apart, 12 people are flipping out around you until it is fixed. If it's not fixed, you don't go home. I have worked until midnight many times over a broken mail server, router/network issue, etc. Step down a level to a more helpdesk/tech support position and you won't likely be stuck working until midnight, but everyone you deal with is pissed as hell because something is wrong with their computer. Given company cheapness, there are not enough of these techies. So you have 25 tickets at once, all important, and 20 pissed off lusers calling you every 5 goddamn minutes because Outlook is crashing or they can't print.

Is this the kind of job a bipolar should be doing? Is it reasonable? Now that I have been off for a bit and becoming "somewhat" stable on meds it not only seems unreasonable, but impossible. So what the hell do I do now?

Pdoc is saying return to work fall or winter, but possibly see an occupational therapist.

I'm thinking perhaps go back to school and learn something else. But what? It can't be a long course. I could take a student loan and study something for a year.

I guess the question is what are some good/healthy career ideas for bipolar (or any MI for that matter) people? Should I try to go back to my old job?

I welcome any opinions/suggstions.

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Dee,

I have a few thoughts. This is based on my personal experience and I'll admit up front that I am not bipolar. I do have an anxiety disorder and an occasional nasty bout with depression.

First, I don't think there is a perfect career out there. Even the so-called "neuro-typicals" don't have perfect careers. A lot of people with Social Phobia search for that career that requires minimal interaction with people. There are some out there, but is it really the answer? In other words, I think you are just as likely to find stress and significant worries at any new career (not to mention the schooling) that you try.

I'm young (or so others keep telling me). I'm nearly thirty years-old. Yet, I've worked in just about any setting you can imagine. I've worked industrial jobs, retail and service sector, outdoors as a park ranger intern, office job, worked once with police detectives, and the public sector. In that experience I can honestly say that no one treats their employees better than the public sector.

So my advice, if you have not looked at it (and I don't know where you live, but feel free to pm me if you wish and I can help) is to look and see if you might be interested in working for your city, county, state, or the federal government. Especially look for civil service jobs which generally (and again it depends on state laws) gives you specific rights and guarantees.

Another option is to work somewhere with a strong union, but I'm not sure IT people are generally covered by unions.

That's just my $0.02. I don't mean it as a slight on the private sector, but employees there may or may not be a priority depending on company culture, profitability, management, and other factors.

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Dee, we're both techies. I've got the same job titles and responsibilities as you, only when I go spazz, I go off the real deep end and people know to leave me the f-alone until i have their printer working. or they get the real Look Of Death. or i get fired. seems to happen frequently!

i think you should stay off work longer, or do a part time thing, or try tech training. those trainers have it easy and they do nothing and make what network admins make. i always wanted to do that, but when i did, it was for a place where i had to wear a dress suit and heels for 8 hours teaching about proprietary medical devices to a group of total morons. ;)

thinking of you dee-

loon

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Hi Dee,

I dont know if you would consider this as an option, but have you thought about applying for SSI?

It is a fairly lengthly process and you dont always get approved. OTOH, you can still work if you chose to while getting payments (up to a certain dollar amount per year). So if and when you think you might be able to go back to work you can go, and if you find that its too stressful, you can stop.

Just a thought.

Selene

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Hey thanks for replying. I thought this post was just going to dissapear into the abyss. You all have good suggestions.

Since I have the doctor's orders to be off until at least fall/winter I think I will try to quit stressing about it for now.

I am feeling more and more like I cannot work in IT anymore but funny you mentioned teaching Loon. In the past I too thought about that. I have terrible social anxiety though and I don't know how easy it would be for me to stand in front of a class. I would also have to upgrade my Microsoft certifications because I haven't upgraded since 2000. I wonder just how stupid my meds are making me? It's worth considering. You should too. Some of the instructors I have had have obviously had less experience than me.

Selene I am in Canada, but yes I can apply for CPP and Ontario Disability if it turns out I just can't work at all.

I dunno.

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Heya Dee,

Look into colleges if teaching/instructing sounds reasonable. People with your background are in demand. Look to Humber, George Brown, hell even Ryerson. (Although my brother *insists* it's a university.)

(I *think* you're in TO?? If not I mean to say, your local colleges.)

Look at city and provincial jobs for *sure.* They'll have the best benefits and hours.

Also.

I don't know what your financial situation is. But, Ontario Works pretty much insists on retraining (from the forms, and forms, and forms I've filled out) and ODSP seems amenable to retraining while you're disabled. For CPP Disability they seem to want you to be *really, really* disabled and unable to do anything.

In general, I would avoid *any* govt disability until absolutely necessary.

From what I've seen.

--ncc--

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Hey Dee, it is one techie to another! I just got my MS Certified Desktop Tech cert. it is easy and looks impressive. I'd get it if you plan on going into tech again at all.

I used to be shy and afraid to get up in front of people, so I took college internships that put me in very public roles. it was hard at first to talk on the intercom so the whole airport could hear me (big international airport), but when i got used to it, it became second nature.

maybe you do need to switch fields to something less intensive, or go on disability. i taught for 6 months on a contract (wearing the dress-up heels and all), teaching morons how to use this equipment and how to do their jobs (for which i was not trained) and how to use a MOUSE (two hours training a dolt on this subject), but hey, i did get used to it, and made good money doing it. the travel was too hard though. i had a bad episode that put me in the psych ward. maybe teaching isn't such a good idea unless there is no travel involved!

you've got time to think. and there are easy certs that look impressive. also, if you study during your disability period and renew your certs, you can make it look like that was what you were doing during your time off of work, and cover that gap in your resume. that will be helpful if you decide to go to work in any field. more education is never bad. BTW- my certs are mostly outdated too but my work exp. counts more, and my college degree, so people mostly don't care. i can still get their email back so i'm still cool.

but side talk- get this- i TOLD THEM AT LEAST 3 WEEKS IN ADVANCE AND REMINDED THEM that i was changing the firewall, taking it down and replacing it and doing some other work on the network, and that it would be DOWN for about an hour. no big deal. only an hour. this lady got all puffy and mad, and actually told her boss, who made ME change MY schedule because...SHE HAD TO WATCH HER AUCTION ON EBAY!!! i'm NOT kidding. i had to do it after hours and i was salaried. i wasn't pleased. i had warned them so far in advance. anyway...

think it over. you've got time. and laugh at the dorks you used to serve. they know enough to be dangerous but don't know how to fix anything.

melinda

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Seriously, that example is exactly why I can't take the shit anymore!!! People like that woman need a good slap.

I already have MCSE, so I don't think I need to go for the desktop cert but I do need to get at least 1 2003 exam to look more current. My resume looks impressive enough. If I do go back to IT crap I will have to dumb it down so I can be considered for a less than senior position.

If I applied for teaching positions I would probably target the smaller private schools, rather than Ryerson, etc NCC. The classes would be smaller and the qualifications less demanding (cert upgrades, etc.). But this teaching idea is really an idea worth exploring you guys, thanks.

It scares me to hear that it is tough to get disability in Ontario. My biggest fear is that going back to work will not work out and I will be without income. I have enough money in my account to pay rent Aug 1st and about $400 to live on. If my LTD is approved it will cover me until fall/winter then I have to figure something out.

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