Hey, Coach! So What If I’m Sick?

What about your diabetes and your job? Whom do you tell at work? When? And WHAT exactly do you tell them? And afterwards, are you somehow branded as damaged goods? All tough questions… not to mention the fatigue, frustration, and guilt that often accompany these issues. Couldn’t you just use a personal coach here?!

Not as far-fetched as it sounds.

Four years ago, Rosalind Joffe of Newton, MA, launched a chronic illness coaching service called CIcoach.com. She’s struggled with multiple sclerosis (MS) herself for decades, and is all-too-familiar with the challenges illness presents in the corporate world. I’ve penned an extensive feature story on her and her work in the newest diaTribeRosalind06 newsletter. Take a read!

In a nutshell, Joffe offers individual and group consulting on living with a chronic illness and the specific workplace issues it presents. To date, she’s helped over 60 people diagnosed with an array of illnesses –- cancer, MS, lupus, Crohn’s disease, and of course, diabetes.

From the profile, some nuggets of interest:

  • “In reality, anyone with chronic illness is dealing with essentially
    the same stuff… But as long as we don’t talk about it to our
    bosses or others, nothing will be done about the problems people
    encounter with chronic illness until it’s too late, and the person goes
    out on disability,” Joffe says.
  • “Some common missteps occur when people try to ignore their illness
    altogether, or simply attempt to ‘charge through it’ and perform as if
    their health didn’t matter.”
  • “According to Joffe, very few people struggling at work due to
    chronic illness engage the Human Resources (HR) Department. HR simply
    isn’t trusted, since people assume its members will always have the
    company’s interests in mind, and they may not keep the information
    confidential.”
  • “While chronic disease used to be considered an aberration, those days
    are long gone. More than 125 million Americans – and 40% of Americans
    in the workforce – now live with at least one chronic health condition,
    according to the think tank Partnership for Solutions at Johns Hopkins
    University.”

Joffe has actually developed concrete guidelines on how to discuss your illness in the workplace, and ask for any special accommodations you may need.

Along these lines, she has a new book coming out called Keep Working, Girlfriend!: Women, Work and Chronic illness.

Keep your eyes peeled for that one, and get some very useful tips on thriving in the workplace, at her co-authored blog, www.keepworkinggirlfriend.com (not just for the ladies).

Thanks, Coach!

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3 Responses

  1. Kassie
    Kassie August 27, 2007 at 7:34 am | | Reply

    I may buy a copy of her book for Fran Carpentier ;)

  2. jimvegas
    jimvegas August 28, 2007 at 1:17 am | | Reply

    I recently became very open about my Type1 diabetes at work because a co-worker was worried about what her supervisor would do if she revealed her Type1. I have to say it felt great& I think it helped her out as well. Another layer of denial gone.

  3. Women, Work and Autoimmune Disease | Joan Friedlander.com

    [...] why do we need a guidebook for this? That’s pretty clear, in my eyes. Have a look at my last post about Rosalind’s work coaching all sorts of people (men and women) on workplace issues. The hurdles begin with disclosure [...]

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