In many ways, managing your diabetes is a full-time job. But it doesn’t come with a paycheck. Job hunting, whether it’s for a permanent career or a side gig, takes a lot of time and effort. It requires you to put yourself out there and makes you vulnerable to other’s opinions, including discrimination. This can be difficult for anyone, but especially for those living with a health condition like diabetes.
But no matter where you are in your job hunt — whether it’s just on your mind or you’re deep in the interview process — it’s important to remember that millions of successful people have landed amazing jobs despite having diabetes. Here’s just a sampling of what some of these individuals have done to get where they are today.
"I have gone for many job interviews in the past, and believe me, diabetes has been the least of my worries. Usually it’s the ridiculous question they asked me that had nothing to do with the job, or that the role sounded completely different to what was advertised online ... I believe that an employer absolutely has the right to know about my diabetes. If I were hiring someone to work for me, I would definitely want to know what to expect. I would want to make sure that my employer is comfortable with my having diabetes. If I were successful in getting through those application “hoops,” I would then proceed to disclose my diabetes before accepting the job. In my opinion, however, until I find an employer who likes me and wants to hire me, there’s nothing to tell."
– Frank Sita, blogger of Type 1 Writes and living with type 1 diabetes
"Last week, after a seemingly average Sunday afternoon gym session, Monday morning saw me battling a hypo that just wouldn’t respond (to glucose tabs and a reduced basal rate plus bread with strawberry jam for good measure). At 9 a.m., with heart still racing and a foggy brain, I emailed my boss to let him know I was somewhat delayed but I’d be in soon. Moments like this make me glad that I’ve been open with my boss about being a type 1 diabetic but also make me anxious that I will be judged as less capable because of it."
– Kerri Sparling, blogger of Six Until Me and living with type 1 diabetes
"I’m pretty straightforward with my family, friends, and co-workers. As a truck driver, I keep them pretty well informed now about my diabetes ... My supervisors and co-workers have been the most supportive when I’m sick. Or if I have a doctor’s appointment in the middle of the workday, I can call in and they won’t question my need for time off. I also do my part, too, by letting them know in advance if I have an appointment coming up and by staying active and as healthy as I can so that I can pull my own weight and do my job well! If I wasn’t wearing an insulin pump, no one would ever know I had diabetes based purely on my performance at work."
– Leonard Auter, quoted in “Dealing with Diabetes Burnout” and living with type 2 diabetes
"I don’t feel comfortable “selling myself” and thinking of ways of describing my roles in a purely positive light, so it took a number of rewrites to describe my employment history in a way I was happy. Once this was done, I was still left with what I felt was “the elephant in the room”: diabetes. Should I mention it or not? I didn’t have to but felt it would come out sooner or later, and I would rather be open than hiding it. Diabetes is nothing to be ashamed of."
– Helen May, blogger at Diabetes UK and living with type 1 diabetes