Diabetes and Your Job – Managing Work and Managing Diabetes

Your coworkers may empathize, but sometimes you might feel like a burden to them or your boss. Well, you shouldn’t.

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Managing your work and Diabetes - Everyday Diabetes magazine

We know it’s not easy. Whether you’ve had diabetes your whole life or you’ve just recently been diagnosed, you understand the struggle of it all.

From taking medicine on time, resting, feeling exhausted and drained, having to eat at certain times –all couple with going to work everyday sometimes we all want to throw in the towel and quit your job.

Your coworkers may empathize, but sometimes you might feel like a burden to them or your boss.

Well, you shouldn’t.

However, there are days that your symptoms do get so bad and you feel like you can’t make it to work. Where do you go from here? Here are some tips to managing your job while you are managing your diabetes.


Let your boss know in advance

It’s a complicated topic to discuss, especially if you fear that you your employer won’t understand that you require some extra time to treat yourself. Let’s face it: most people don’t understand something unless they’ve been there themselves. It’s important to be honest from the get-go, and not hide it. Let your boss know way ahead of time that you need a flexible schedule to accommodate your needs, and that you won’t be taking ‘sick days’ because you simply don’t want to work. Everyone with diabetes knows that going to work can be almost impossible at times. If your employer is harsh or careless, you might need to seek a new job. Your health is always the most important thing.

Create a peaceful work environment

There are kind people in every job, and there are judgemental coworkers that might think you are ‘privileged’ or ‘favored by the boss.’ That’s simply not the case, and you shouldn’t feel embarrassed to explain yourself. Don’t apologize for your diabetes, just explain that there are certain times that you might need extra breaks, and that it’s not for something fun. You’re not going to grab a cup of coffee and take a nap in the breakroom. You are eating at a certain time so your blood sugar doesn’t drop, and you are testing yourself with a needle prick in your finger. I’m not telling you to be harsh, but you need to be confident and explain that this is your life and you are not receiving special treatment –you are doing what’s necessary to keep you safe.

What about all the other sick days?

Sometimes it’s all so frustrating and confusing. Between the stress of work piling up and keeping your diabetes in check, can you even remember how many times you’ve called in during the past month? As a responsible employee, you need to constantly check up with your boss and make sure everything is going steady on the days you are absent.

If you missed a day yesterday and you are feeling great today, ask if there is anything you can do to make up for the lost time, or if you can potentially bring some of your work load home on days that you are too sick to make it to work. You’d be surprised how many employers do comply with this, and how much easier it will make your work environment react to everything. By showing your boss that you are dedicated despite the times that diabetes holds you back, you are sure to stay in a happy environment that will enable you to be progressive.

It’s not impossible to maintain both your condition and keep a steady job. It all boils down to being open and honest, and allowing your boss and coworkers to accept it. If at any time you feel uncomfortable at work and your boss doesn’t allow you to get the breaks to take your medicine or the days off you need to heal, then it’s time for a further discussion with him/her or seeking a job that accepts you for who you are. The most important thing is your health, and you should feel empowered and taken care of.

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