Sunday, 15 May 2022

How to Progress in Your Career When You Have a Chronic Illness

Having a chronic illness or another type of debilitating health condition can be extremely difficult to manage, and you might worry that a chronic illness will affect your success in your career, as well as your lifestyle in general. However, this does not have to be the case, and a chronic illness diagnosis does not have to spell the end of your career progression. As such, here are some of the top steps that you can take to advance your career when you have a chronic illness in 2022. 

• Take an Online Degree

Many careers now require you to have a certain level of education to apply for them, at least if you want to be promoted and take on leadership position. However, when you have a chronic illness, studying can be difficult. You might feel uncomfortable with living away from home and may need extra time to complete assignments. Not only this, but flare-ups may make concentration and focus hard, and there might be some days when you cannot or do not want to travel onto campus to attend lectures and seminars due to the pain or discomfort that you are experiencing. As such, many people with chronic illnesses feel as if they may not be able to advance their careers because the task of getting a qualification may be overwhelming. 

Online degrees can change all of this, though. Online degrees allow you to take most of the major qualifications that you may wish to take, including those in healthcare and teaching. However, you will be able to study for this qualification without ever having to leave the house. Instead, you will be able to access everything that you need through a digital portal that holds resources such as lectures and seminars. Online degrees can give you greater flexibility over when you choose to work and study, and you can often choose part-time options that can ensure that you will be able to take on a manageable workload only. As such, you should consider finding an online degree that suits you and your career ambitions. For instance, at Walsh University, they offer an online DNP that can teach you the importance of leadership in nursing. 

• Speak to Your Boss

Many people are worried about speaking to their manager about their chronic illness for fear that they will be treated differently in the workplace or even fired or made redundant. However, many workplaces now have a greater understanding of chronic illnesses with policies and safeguards that can prevent you from facing discrimination or from being unfairly dismissed. Instead, speaking to your boss can allow for certain accommodations to be made that can help you to work alongside your condition and can ensure that you are both on the same page when it comes to what you can manage and what the expectations of your work are. 

It can still be scary to speak to your boss - or anyone- about your chronic illness, though, especially if you are newly diagnosed or do not have a great relationship with your manager. As such, you should make sure that you explain your chronic illness, your limitations, and the way that this will affect your work clearly. You should explain exactly what you want from the conversation and ensure that you remain calm throughout. 

You should also reassure them that you will still be able to do your job, if this is what you want, and you might even show them a doctor’s note that can explain your condition and allow you to get time off if you need it. If you are feeling nervous, you might ask a colleague to be in the room with you when you start the conversation, and you should always try and pick the right time to have this conversation. This will ensure that you can get the results that you want. 

• Find Remote Jobs 

Although you should not allow your chronic illness to limit you and prevent you from achieving your dreams, it can sometimes be easier for you to find remote jobs in your industry that can help you to achieve your dream and get the position that you have always wanted in a different way. Working for remote companies can ensure that you can work to your own schedule and that you can work in a way and place that suits you, whether this is at an ergonomic desk or curled up on the sofa with a blanket and a hot water bottle. As such, if you have not yet started to take any steps on your career path, you should look around for the available remote jobs. The great aspect of remote jobs is that you can choose to work for a company that is based anywhere in your country –or even abroad. Some great remote jobs include becoming a translator, being a graphic designer, and some customer service assistants can also be virtual. Once you have found the job that you think will suit you, you should apply for it in the usual way, and you might have to have a video or phone interview

However, if you are already halfway through your career and in a position that you love and do not want to give up due to your chronic illness, you should consider asking your manager about the possibility of working remotely. Many businesses now cater toward remote work due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, so they should have the infrastructure that they need already in place. Working remotely can even save them time and money. You should emphasize that you will still be able to communicate with them and meet deadlines, and they might decide to trial this before fully agreeing to this proposition. Once this has been agreed upon, you may then be able to work remotely, or at least in a hybrid manner, and perform the best work possible regardless of your health. 

• Take Time Off

It may seem counterproductive to do so, but taking time off can be one of the best steps that you can take to progress your career when you have a chronic illness. When you have a chronic illness, you can quickly feel fatigued and unmotivated, as well as extremely ill. As such, rather than having to battle your symptoms while also struggling to complete all of the work that you need to do, you should try to take enough time off so that you can refresh and look after yourself in the worst of your flare-ups. This time off will then mean that you can return to work full of life and new ideas and that none of your work will ever be below the standard that is expected of you. 

When you take time off, you should try to forget about work completely, as stress can be a trigger of flare-ups, and you might consider performing self-care practices, such as taking hot baths and doing yoga and meditation. If you are desperate to do a bit of work while you are off, you should spend time organizing your work so that you can start working as soon as you get back into the office, or spend time sharpening a skill that you can do with your chronic illness or conducting research that you will then be able to apply when you get back into the office. 

Taking enough time off when you have a chronic illness can be hard, though, especially if your firm does not pay sick pay. As such, you should speak to your boss about extending your sick leave and taking unpaid time off, and you might consider researching the financial support that you can get from non-profit organizations and the government for any chronic illness or disability that affects your ability to perform your job. 

• Find Support 

Trying to excel in your career when you have a chronic illness is hard, and you may feel as if you are alone in your quest and that no one around you gets it. As such, you should try to find as much support as possible, both in terms of your friends and relatives, who will be able to give you the emotional support that you require, and in the form of charities and non-profit organizations which can help you to connect with other people who have chronic illnesses and who might be in the same boat as you or who might have been able to succeed at their career regardless of their physical health. These charities can also help you in terms of your mental health, and you might also consider finding a therapist who can allow you to talk through your emotions when you are struggling at work or going through a stressful period. Getting support can then allow you to cope better at work and can ensure that you canprogress without getting held back by your mental and emotional health. 

• Start Your Own Business

However, if you are struggling to maintain your job and progress in your career and this is starting to affect your happiness at work, you should consider quitting your job and starting your own business. Although starting a business is a lot of work and can be incredibly stressful, it can also be rewarding and can allow you to work as much or as little as you would like. There are many options when it comes to running your own business, many of which are suitable for those with chronic health issues and which can be run from home, such as crafts businesses, drop shipping, and online tutoring. By doing this, you will be able to make money and get a career that you are excited about without the worry ofwhat your manager will think and of being let go or being unable to do your job anymore. 

You might also consider becoming a freelancer, as freelancers can work when and how much they want and work with the clients that they want to without having a manager. They usually work from home, and you might decide to become anything from a content writer to a website builder or a business consultant. As such, if you are looking for freelance jobs, you should consider signing up to websites such as Upwork, which can allow you to find individual short-term projects, or simply using job search websites and filtering these jobs correctly. You might also consider contacting companies directly and inquiring whether they have any need for a freelancer with your skillset. 

• Look After Your Health

The most important step that you can take to progress your career, though, is to look after your health. Looking after your health and body is important, as your body is what carries you through your days and enables you to do the work that you want to. As such, you should make sure that you take care to prevent your symptoms from worsening and to ensure that you can be in as good health as possible. To look after your health, you should consider eating healthily, exercising regularly, and stopping smoking and drinking too much alcohol. You should also make sure that you get enough sleep and that you try to relax and destress when you get home from work. This can then make sure that you are in the best position to work without any issues. 

Progressing your career when you have a chronic illness can seem impossible, and you might associate chronic conditions with the derailing of your career. However, this does not have to be the case, and there are many steps that you can take to maintain your career and even advance it when you have a chronic condition, from taking an online degree to starting up your own business that can allow you to work independently. These steps can then allow you to achieve your career dreamsand go further up your career ladder, even if this is not in the way that you originally expected.

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