work place

By lindaga Latest Reply 2008-06-12 02:35:52 -0500
Started 2008-05-01 04:39:49 -0500

why is it so hard for a company you work for understand some of the problems that comes with diabetes and that when you are having a bad day you are unable to work and not just being lazy. what do you do?

10 replies

blessedmom44 2008-06-12 02:35:52 -0500 Report

It is hard,for both sides. We just have to take one day at a time,pray hard and do our best. It will pay off,sometimes turn a boss or company around.

Jlynn 2008-06-11 19:47:38 -0500 Report

people cant understand whhat they dont experience, or take a step back and w open mind look at educatedly..An alcoholic would see a diabetic w/low sugars-shaking and such- that alcoholic would believe they needed a drink…People only see what they themselves believe to be "true"

Christine - 14521
Christine - 14521 2008-05-14 07:12:58 -0500 Report

I understand your frustration. I am a type 1 and 2 diabetic and I have been type 1 since I was 12. At first I was afraid to tell anyone thinking that they would not hire me. Back a few years people thought I was contagious and did not understand diabetes. It is very important to let someone know about your issues and how to help you overcome any drowsy feelings. But always check you BS first to make sure that is what is going on. And if you can't check, teach someone how to do it for you.

Melissa Dawn
Melissa Dawn 2008-05-13 14:29:00 -0500 Report

While I agree with the comments that it is each diabetics responsibility to manage their disease and not allow it to interfere with their work, I also know that sometimes (no matter your best efforts) things happen and cause problems. Open dialog between you and your employer is essential.

I know that in the public schools, diabetes is considered a type of disability and so legally accommodations must be made (things like allowing students with diabetes to take short breaks to take medication, treat blood sugars, etc.) I don't know if that is only within the public schools or an all around thing, but I'm sure if you talk to your boss and explain what you need, they'll work with you — assuming you're a good employee. ;)

tmana 2008-05-02 17:23:11 -0500 Report

Diabetes affects each of us differently in terms of how our bodies react to food (or the lack thereof), workplace stress, life stress, and other factors, so it is difficult for a supervisor or employer to know a priori how you are affected and what sort of accommodations you might need — even if that supervisor has diabetes himself. Some open dialog *is* necessary if any sort of accommodation is needed.

There is a lot of truth in what Toma writes: it is up to us to perform identically to, if not better than, persons without diabetes. If we expect treatment that is in any way different from, or preferential to, that of someone without diabetes (anything ranging from "can have snacks at desk" to "can take emergency break for water/juice/insulin" or beyond), then we are automatically on the last-to-be-promoted, first-to-be-fired list. Do not count on "the law" to protect you; there are always ways to prove that you are not as effective or productive a worker as the rest of the team, regardless of where the actual truth lies.

Toma 2008-05-01 11:42:06 -0500 Report

Since I have worked for myself for years I do not have that problem but I can see both sides. I am a type 2 diabetic and I used to be the employer of others as well. There are issues from both sides.

From a hard nosed business perspective, It’s the companies (bosses) responsibility to see the work gets done. If we as diabetics are not managing our disease well we are not being productive. A few years ago I had a guy working for me that was a type 1 diabetic. I really liked him but I was forced to let him go. At the time I ran a host home where we did 24/7 care for mentally retarded adult males. He was hired to watch the guys when we wanted to go out for an evening. One night we came back and found him in a diabetic coma because he had not been monitoring his blood glucose and eating as he knew should. For legal and liability reasons we had to let him go.

Now I am my own boss and my only employee. Now it is my responsibility to manage my diabetes properly to keep myself productive. It is our responsibility to properly manage. As an employer, it was not my responsibility to manage my employee’s health. As employees, it is our responsibility to show up on time ready to work. Type 1 diabetes presents challenges but there are those like Chris Jarvis on the Canadian Olympic rowing team, Scott Dunton, world class surfer and others that demonstrate that type 1 can be managed very well and they can maintain world class performance. Maybe ask them what they do to manage their type 1 diabetes and perform at such high levels.

I empathize with you. You do have extra challenges the other employees do not have to deal with. When we have extra challenges, unfortunately, the onus is on us to perform at a level that is expected of all other employees. If we expect special treatment because we are diabetic (or any other medical condition) we will either set up ourselves for lower pay or be seen as unemployable by the employers. That creates potential problems for other coming after us.

Anonymous 2008-05-02 06:58:53 -0500 Report

your point that expecting special treatment can hurt our careers may be true. but you have to also acknowlege that sometimes we do require special treatment (taking care of a low bs for instance).

your right to take care of your unique health needs is protected by law. your employer cannot punish you for a disease or condititon unless it interferes directly with your ability to do the job.

Christine - 14521
Christine - 14521 2008-05-14 07:01:49 -0500 Report

I understand your point but the other reply about low BS can happen and I have always confided in a supervisor or someone to let them know this could happen and how to bring me back. One low count got me fired from one job. At times, us older type 1 diabetics cannot feel the symptoms of quick drops in BS and it may catch us off guard.

Babs341 2008-05-01 06:42:12 -0500 Report

This is so very hard. Have some docuementation from your doctor that includes your being diagnosed. (This comes in handy during review time). If you check your BS regularlly keep an extra copy of that also. If you have a supervisor that is easy to talk to - though this info may not get down to the "others" who u work w/, it will help you have peace of mind that your supervisors know what's going on. You could get some info that explains diabetes & the symptoms on your desk, or out in the open. Somebody will be nosey enough to look & possably read it.

Good luck to you. I know this is very hard to deal with. There are times, that no matter what you say or do, some people just won't see or don't want to see that people are dealing with things that they cannot control.

John Crowley
John Crowley 2008-05-02 05:05:38 -0500 Report

Sorry to hear of your challenges with your employer. That can be so hard to feel like you're not trusted at work.

I agree with Babs that communication can really be the key. If you can help them understand some of your challenges and what support and/or flexibility you'll need to deal with your condition, hopefully you can create a better situation for you and them.

Best of luck with everything.

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