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Posted (edited)

@Rabbit37 thank you. I've been debating for years to disclose my MI to employers. I'm paranoid private about it.I am highly functioning, hide it well but rumors ALWAYS spread. People judge, ask questions "Why do you leave early? How was your vacation!? or How did YOU get a cush flex schedule?" Coworkers can be backstabbing & resentful. I've considered lying about a physical illness because there's no stigma!

Have you ever been let go, returning from legitimate medical leave, with all the proper authorizations, docs, etc? I've taken med leave from 3 jobs (very brief hospitalizations, then OP), MI was exacerbated by very toxic coworkers, then a workplace bully, undermining me, mistreatment, verbal abuse. No immediate interventions after these individuals became a problem.

Illness is an expensive liability I guess. I was never counseled about poor performance, had good attendance, but then laid off, job suddenly "phased out" right after returning from illness. Later, I see job postings for the same damn job!!!  I didn't have money or energy to pursue legal action. Afraid I'll have to take shit low-level, low paying job I dislike, outside field, just to get a bit of schedule flexibility.

Edited by Blahblah
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@Blahblah, those are horrible experiences. I’m grateful that I can be self-employed, and gratefully the arts community is usually very understanding when it comes to MI. I think the only reason that I’m as stable as I am is because I don’t have to deal with people. That sounds like a bit of a joke, but it’s serious, I just can’t handle work environments. Deadlines, stress, discipline are all very manageable, it’s just... people. 

Good luck, that just sucks that there’s not more support in this day and age.  

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Oh man, the gap between what's technically illegal and what you can actually do anything about is wiiiiiiiiiiide. If you're sick enough to get into trouble with work, navigating the EEOC, lawyers, and lawsuits is going to be an extreme ask. I've been fired before in ways that are technically illegal, but when the system leaves it up to you to enforce the law it's, frankly, a really bad thing to rely on. 

I never, ever, ever disclose to work or anyone I work with even though some of my coworkers are pretty decent friends at this point. I'm lucky to be high-functioning enough to be able to hide it. I just come off as really odd, most of the time. Any therapy I need is a "doctors appointment," any time I need off for MI is a "migraine." Luckily (again) my job is really flexible with attendance and never requires doctor's notes or anything like that. My coworkers know I have some chronic illness of some sort that I take medication for, but they're respectful enough not to ask about it. 

Really, I've just had a lot of luck with vaguely referencing "medical problems" and then refusing to elaborate if anyone asks about it. Most people I've dealt with are, thankfully, socially aware enough not to ask about it. 

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Keep in mind most people are employed under "at will" rules so they can discharge you for any or no reason at all. Reasons you were discharged only come into play in getting unemployment insurance, generally, but exceptions to this include protected class status. Often people are discharged not for the true reason but some other, easier to prove issue like attendance. 

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Sync said:

Oh man, the gap between what's technically illegal and what you can actually do anything about is wiiiiiiiiiiide. If you're sick enough to get into trouble with work, navigating the EEOC, lawyers, and lawsuits is going to be an extreme ask. I've been fired before in ways that are technically illegal, but when the system leaves it up to you to enforce the law it's, frankly, a really bad thing to rely on. 

I never, ever, ever disclose to work or anyone I work with even though some of my coworkers are pretty decent friends at this point. I'm lucky to be high-functioning enough to be able to hide it. I just come off as really odd, most of the time. Any therapy I need is a "doctors appointment," any time I need off for MI is a "migraine." Luckily (again) my job is really flexible with attendance and never requires doctor's notes or anything like that. My coworkers know I have some chronic illness of some sort that I take medication for, but they're respectful enough not to ask about it. 

Really, I've just had a lot of luck with vaguely referencing "medical problems" and then refusing to elaborate if anyone asks about it. Most people I've dealt with are, thankfully, socially aware enough not to ask about it. 

 

Yeah, I feared that disclosing to get a small accommodation would not be worth it either, what's the advantage if employers are At Will & can fire you anytime for any reason anyway??? That doesn't seem to get you any more rights.

The more I'm around people, the more I find they suck. Dealing with them in close quarters, 40 hours per week is soul sucking. I really need to find another line of work. @Rabbit37 Are you an artist? Have you ever worked full time for companies in the past?

Edited by Blahblah

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Posted (edited)

@Blahblah, yes, I’m an artist, self-employed for 30 years. I usually send my work out, don’t have to typically directly deal with people. When I was in my very early 20’s, I spent 8 years as a directory assistance operator (remember that, folks? 1411?). It was fucking hell. Probably where my phone phobia really developed. It wasn’t dealing f2f, so maybe it made it worse, as people are more bold on the phone. I could never do that type of job again.

ETA: I should state, though, that I am very much a solitary type person. I do absolutely thrive being by myself all day, I’m good with self-discipline... and the thought of working in my “pajamas” (actually I just sleep in whatever I’m wearing 😂) is repulsive. I treat it like a “real” job (sigh, I’ve had snarky comments from in-laws), and try to keep established routines. That’s just the way I work best, but I’ve read a whole range of types of working scenarios, as working from home at least part-time is becoming very attractive here. 

Edited by Rabbit37
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@Rabbit37 8 years of that. yuck. being on the phone all day in a service job is the worst. People are assh*les over the phone also. I also really like to be solitary when working, so I can concentrate in peace and have my own schedule that aligns with my energy levels. I hate rigid schedules. I am very committed and have a lot of pride in finishing a job, doing it the best of my ability. I'm always curious what other people here do for work.

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@Blahblah, do you feel comfortable sharing what your specialties/abilities/talents are? I’m curious too, what other people do. And there really are starting to be more opportunities for people to work at home. Wondering if you could incorporate/develop something on your own? 

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Posted (edited)
19 minutes ago, Rabbit37 said:

@Blahblah, do you feel comfortable sharing what your specialties/abilities/talents are? I’m curious too, what other people do. And there really are starting to be more opportunities for people to work at home. Wondering if you could incorporate/develop something on your own? 

I really don't specialise in anything, more a generalist as far as skills to be honest. I've worked in many industries and had different professional roles (none managerial, but mid level)  I personally don't feel like I'm outstanding at anything. I just keep discovering things I don't like doing and it's starting to become a long list!

Edited by Blahblah

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Yeah, I also urge caution about disclosing, especially in the US where many of us are, as @notloki noted, "at will" employees. That said, if you need an accommodation or leave, you may have no choice. I would limit the extent of disclosure to what needs to be known. Right now, at work, I have a flexible schedule accommodation that allows me to see my therapist mid-day twice a week. My supervisor knows it's a medical appointment, but not what it's for. She knows I have a chronic health issue, but not the diagnosis. I managed similar level of disclosure at my last position also... until I needed ECT and took 3 months of short-term disability leave.

My previous employer eventually got impatient with "constant" accommodations. I got written up when I went IP and missed 5 consecutive days of work. I followed procedure and called daily to inform I wouldn't be in, that I was in the hospital, and wasn't sure when I'd be released. When I returned, I brought a doctor's note from the hospital. However it upset them that I didn't disclose why I was in hospital (they eventually bullied it out of me). They accused me of abusing PTO, "even" for pre-approved time off. I had the basis for an EEOC lawsuit, but I didn't have the energy to pursue it. I left that company by my choice, and they were angry that I left after they'd been "so generous" to me. In a company with fewer than 25 white collar workers, no one above my direct supervisor spoke to me at all after I turned in my resignation.

I work for a much bigger company now, and there's a lot less questions being asked. Supervisors are better briefed on the basic HR/ADA stuff. Also, I'm not the only one who needs minor accommodations and many of the people I work closest with I've never met face-to-face. I guess we'll see how it goes over when I need more extreme accommodations or have unplanned time off.

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