By Lisa Alloto in her Chronic Illness: Realistic Optimism Blog.
Life with any chronic illness is filled with unending challenges, whether its finding proper medical care, a way to afford it and your daily expenses, or maintaining employment. On top of that, and most of all, you must deal with the chronic illness itself and all that comes with it. So why does society oftentimes put more on our already full plate?
First, let’s talk about employment for those of us that are still able to work to some degree. So many people tell me that their employers refuse to accommodate their requests for a reasonable accommodation or that they are even afraid to ask for it. Or, worse yet, they have asked for it and are threatened, demoted, or fired. This is very sad to hear. No one should be afraid to ask for what they reasonably need to perform their job.
Ironically, oftentimes it’s these same companies that publicly tout how they promote and encourage diversity within their workforce. I personally can attest to the fact that having a chronic illness has changed me in many ways; ways that I think have made me a better employee, including one with more diverse perspectives and unique ideas. Like so many others I have talked to, I bring more to the table than before; yet sadly we are often thought of as less than. We are frequently tapped into for projects less often, which also reduces our opportunities for advancement and success.
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