Finding a job, keeping a job. And living with diabetes. Any ideas or inspiration to share?

Dr Gary
By Dr GaryCA Latest Reply 2014-04-05 23:27:00 -0500
Started 2014-03-23 14:42:45 -0500

It seems like I am often reading posts from Diabetic Connect members who are job hunting, or are having some of those job concerns that so many of us are having in this economy.

What about you?

One of the most frustrating things in life is looking for a job. Or being in a job that isn't what you want. It can feel like standing on a pretty shaky foundation. And that’s in the best of times. In our current economic situation, finding a job may be no easy task. If you are living with diabetes, the job hunt can be even more complicated. And at times so can hanging on the job you have.

I recently posted an article under Living With Diabetes , called “Is There a Right Job for Me? Eleven Steps in the Right Direction.” Here’s a link to it:

If you’re looking for a job, is your diabetes a factor in the kind of jobs you are looking for?

If you have a job, but seem a job move in your future, what’s on your mind as you prepare for the next move?

Any job hunting tips to share? Need some inspiration?

35 replies

Stuart1966 2014-04-02 12:14:17 -0500 Report

Inspire me…

The universe in which I now "survive" is filled with seething lava, fresh ashes and severe quicksand. I work seven days a week, at a minimum of 4 part time jobs in addition to my duties as husband, father, son.

None offer enough hours, nor remotely enough consistency to be a living wage. Unemployed, the health care mandatory to stay alive, get insulin/syringes, drained my meager savings. I am now well below the poverty line. The affordable care act qualifies me for medicaid where I live. The challenges are daily a room filled with lethal snakes, and I am naked

Education seems the sole tool to change our night-terror status. The time frames and severe costs forbid it. I fantasize some mental health job, psychology, social work to be an arena where I possess both severe experience as a diabetic, and skills viable to be hired. Yet my degree is not in such fields.

I send out dozens of resumes, applied for jobs in all kinds of fields, but gotten nothing back, dead air or severely overqualified letters. The lights. computer is on now solely when they must be.

What are the criteria, what is the reality of income in social work, psychology fields? How long does it take to get the clinical experience necessary to earn a viable income???

Does specialization exist whereby diabetes is the expertise? AADE seems an obscenely haughty group, recertification a windfall profit with no merit beyond a very narrow point.

Where does one connect with psychology professionals, LCSW's to explore the viability of such jobs/fields???

I am weary…

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-04-05 22:22:14 -0500 Report

HI Stuart,

I am sorry to hear you facing these economic challenges. It is tragic that your diabetes has placed this strain on your finances, and pushed you below the poverty line. I am just so sad to hear this.

I think social work or counseling might be viable options for you. Both require two years at the master's level, followed by experience in the field, and an exam, to apply for licensure. The clinical experience directly after graduation requires 2-3 years but you are paid a salary during this time.

This might be a route to consider.

And I would imagine that your experience as a diabetes patient would be valuable in a healthcare setting. Social workers are especially involved in healthcare.

I am hoping that you will have some positive news about a job soon. There are so many people struggling to have adequate employment right now.

Thanks for checking in with us. I am hoping you will stay in touch. Keep me posted on how you're doing, as always.


jayabee52 2014-04-04 16:37:35 -0500 Report

You asked about the LCSW certufication, and that is based on the state you happen to be in. It requires a minimum of a masters degree in social work from an accredited college and then the passing of the State's LCSW exam. I learned that from being married to my late wife "Jem" who was a LCSW herself.

Can you contact a local college and ask about social work programs and perhaps a scholarship to complete the degree?

Praying something profitable happens for you Stewart


valentine lady
valentine lady 2014-03-30 20:13:29 -0500 Report

Hi Dr. Gary; I was medically retired when I became wheelchair bound. Although it is
illegal to discriminate against disabled persons it is done and done widely. Then I became diabetic and that has added to the problem. So I gave up and have lived on SSDI since. I'm not complaining, I paid into SSDI for a lot of years, I'm grateful it was there for me when I needed it. I just get a little peeved about the work force. My line of work was a Veterinary Tech. Very hard to do from a chair. I understood that, so I tried front desk. That didn't work either, that's when I gave up and retired. Sorry I couldn't contribute more.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-03-30 21:01:49 -0500 Report

Hey valentine lady,

Thanks so much for responding and sharing your story. I really appreciate it! And you contributed a lot.

I know what you mean. I often hear stories about how disabled people are discriminated against in very subtle ways, but in ways that are still very hurtful. I am sorry you had to give up your job, and that they were not more willing to try and work with you. It's a shame.

I am glad you have SSD so that you have the financial support that you need.

It's always good to see you.


Chopstix 2014-03-27 16:19:48 -0500 Report

Being diabetic in the transportation industry has its own problems. Because you are diabetic you have to take and pass a physical every year instead of every two years like "normal" people. It's the same if you have high blood pressure. If you have to take insulin you cannot drive at all. The places we can get a truck into and park so we can find something to eat that is healthy has gotten better the past few years. I found it much better to just get a good electric cooler and shop at Wal*Mart. I found out I spent a lot less on food that way too. After my heart attack in Feb13 and surgery April I was able to go back to work the end of September and then the Government put me on disability the first of November! The said I have old heart damage that I did not know about. Go figure!

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-03-27 22:37:57 -0500 Report

Hey Chopstix,

Nice to see you. And thanks for letting us know what's been going on with your job.

Certain industries like transportation have rules and regulations that must put even more pressure on people who are living with a chronic condition. I hadn't thought about that before. That has to be stressful.

Good idea about the cooler. I have one of those insulated lunch bags with the plastic ice that you freeze the night before, and I pack food everyday myself. I eat more healthy and, like you, save a lot of money.

Sorry to hear about the forced disability. That's rough. I hope you are taking good care of yourself.


GabbyPA 2014-03-24 09:47:41 -0500 Report

My job search ended up with me working for myself. I couldn't find work in my field in 2006. I am a draftsman and had worked for a home builder when the bubble burst. However, it is a work at home kind of job I could do, and I just needed some time to get it going. I invested what little I had into starting on my own.

While it has been a huge struggle, I would not trade it for working a 9-5 where I have to worry if I am going to be fired because of one too many doctor appointments. That kind of cloud hanging over my head was too much. These past two years have seen a great increase in my clients and the caliber of my projects. I had to be patient and we had to cut way back. It's my hope that as things continue to improve, I will be able to give to my family even more, and still be at home to take care of needs as they arise.

I realize not everyone has a job they can do from home. But for me, just like my diabetes, loosing my job was the best thing to happen to me.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-03-25 20:59:33 -0500 Report

Gabby, there is nothing like working for yourself. I get up in the morning, take a shower and put on Jammies and go to work. If I need a nap, I take one. Now that we have a new four footed baby in the house, it is good to be home with him to help him learn the ropes.

I think a lot of people can start their own business if they took the time to do the research and find out ways to get started. You also don't have to worry about losing your job because you are sick. Good luck

GabbyPA 2014-03-29 12:30:14 -0500 Report

Yes, it's very true. It's scary to do it sometimes, and things are not always smooth, but they are worth it for sure. Specially when we have issues that make a typical job hard to keep. I don't want to be on the government's dole out, I want to be providing for myself.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-03-29 21:32:11 -0500 Report

Scary is not in my vocabulary unless it is in regards to a horror movie. You either take the chance and start a business and do what you can to make it work.

My sister and I started a jewelry business with very little money and we are plugging away at it. We just spent money one two machines that will allow us to make copper and brass jewelry using sheet metal. We were in a local Flea Market until a major raid killed business. About 4 years ago she had a slight heart attack. While in ICU she was thinking about selling something else and realized there was almost no jewelry for men in the Flea Market that was high quality. Between us we had $250.00. She got out of the hospital and two days later we were on the road to a Stainless Steel wholesaler. We had to spend $200. That weekend we turned that into a $400.00 profit. Scary never entered the picture. We never looked back.

I don't know who the "we" are who have issues that make it hard to keep a typical job. From the day I was diagnosed until 2 years later when the grant ran out, I never missed a day of work unless the office was closed or I took a vacation. In fact the diabetics were always at work. We had an employee who is a stroke patient and one who is a heart patient. They were always at work. It was the ones who had allergies who missed work all the time.

Diabetes isn't an issue unless the diabetic chooses to make it an issue. If I woke up in the morning with a low or high, I ate for the low and by the time I left for work I was fine, a bit tired but was able to work. Same with the high.

I am not one to wake up in the morning and be low or high and not go to work. The day after I was diagnosed I chose to take care of myself. I don't need to ask anyone what to do if I have side effects from medications, if I have continuous highs or lows, or any other problems. I have enough sense to call my doctor. I choose to take care of my diabetes through thick and thin because I am not going to let anything control me. I choose to control me and my health. I choose to be responsible and I choose to do what I want to do in life and not think about fear or obstacles before something happens.

GabbyPA 2014-03-30 11:25:28 -0500 Report

My husband is in a wheel chair and we are often required to have many appointments that he cannot go to by himself. Add my doctor appointments and dentist appointments it all adds up to lots of missing hours at work. Working at home allows me the flexibility to put those appointments in my schedule and just work around them.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-03-25 17:41:44 -0500 Report

HI Gabby,

Thanks for sharing your story. This is an excellent example of resilience, turning a closing door into an opportunity, and stepping out on faith.

I did something very similar. I had to weigh the benefits of being in organization -- including insurance benefits -- against not being able to make the kind of impact I wanted to make in the world. It was a struggle and still is at times, but it has been worth it every step of the way. If I hadn't made that move, I wouldn't be here. on Diabetic Connect, my favorite place to be!

And I am sure your family appreciate your decision, and your hard work, every day.

Thanks again, my friend.


Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-03-23 21:11:32 -0500 Report

Hi Dr. Gary,

My problem is that I have many skills which I am very good at when it comes to working. The other problem is that I get rejections because I am over qualified for ever management job I have applied for. It is rough but I keep going. I had my resume changed and I left on some skill and the same thing keeps happening. I have a college degree and no luck. I get glowing recommendation letters and still no interest. My former boss called and asked me to think about coming back to work for her. I simply cannot work for her. Way too stressful just dealing with her. She is ADHD and has psychotic episodes that has nearly had her thrown off of airplanes, she has been kicked out of restaurants, and other businesses.

Three weeks ago, the Police Commissioner had the nine Police Community Relations Council Presidents and his Command Staff sit on a promotions panel for officers being promoted from Lieutenants to Captains and Captains to Majors. They were use to going to interviews and telling each other what questions were asked. The Commissioner change the game plan on them. They knew they had to answer 5 questions of his choosing but they didn't know we could answer questions and our questions were not know to the Commissioner or the Command staff.

We saw every kind of interview mistake there was. Questions they should have known they missed. They brought talking points with them and had to flip through them. One guy brazenly said he had the most important job in the department not once but twice. We knew that some of them had been told the questions but none of them were asked the same questions or the same questions were changed. Out of 10 people there were about 4 that were worthy of promotions. When we voted on them we took into consideration that many were nervous. One guy was so nervous when he was told to go to each of us and introduce himself he saluted me. I saluted him. The Captain for my district was interviewed. I am trying to get rid of him. He is not a good fit for the district on the officers and he never ever stops talking. He started talking and had to be interrupted to be asked questions. Even worse he knows I am not fond of him so I made him even more nervous. I asked him one question that he could not answer.

I think when people are interviewed, they make the mistake of overselling themselves and are unprepared. If you don't know how to use EXCEL, say you don't because if you are hired and have to use it, your coworkers will find out. RESEARCH is important. Always research the company. Dress professionally, leave off the loud makeup and huge jewelry. Do not bathe in perfume and aftershave. Turn off cell phones and do not sit in the waiting area on the phone or reading email. The receptionist is taking note of everything you do. When you enter the room, speak and shake hands. Always take several copies of your resume. Everyone on the interview panel if there is one may not have it. If you have done your research, ask questions when they ask you if you have any questions and know at least part of the answer. Shake hands, say thank you and bid the person/s a good morning or afternoon. Most importantly, BE ON TIME.

Check spelling and grammar. If you have to write out an application, print clearly. I have thrown away more applications and resumes because of poor spelling and grammar, missing information or illegible printing. Look at the job duties. If you are unfamiliar with some computer programs, brush up on them. I read that the first person to mention money loses. Let them tell you the salary. If they ask you try to be reasonable. Try to find out what the salary ranges are for the jobs you are applying for.

There is a job out there for you, don't stress yourself out. In the mean time, volunteer, you can brush up on your job skills and a lot of companies participate in some kind of community event. Volunteering looks good on a resume if the company is involved in planting trees, building a playground or feeding the hungry.

Good luck to all of us looking for a job.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-03-25 17:36:55 -0500 Report

HI Joyce,

Thanks for sharing what's been going on with you and the experiences you have had.

You gave us some good ideas. I also place a high value on volunteering. It's a good way to stay involved in the world when you aren't working, but also when you are working. Volunteering is also a way to keep your skills from getting rusty, to learn new skills, and to meet new people. Everybody wins.

Wishing you the best with your job hunting. Always great to hear from you.


Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-03-26 08:48:57 -0500 Report

Dr. Gary,

I volunteered to help the Principal at school a few blocks from me fix the school accounts. She ended up hiring me part time and that ended up being full time with benefits. That was the job I had to quit when my mom got ill.

Volunteering is a good way to start. You never know what will come when they learn what your skills are.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-03-26 12:48:53 -0500 Report

Thanks, Joyce. That is a perfect example of what volunteering can lead to. You never know. I am sorry you had to give it up. When parents get sick, life gives us new challenges.

harry1 2014-03-23 15:46:01 -0500 Report

I had a good job summer time I would take it easy then on Nov 1 to Apr 30 I would go a 24 hour 7 day on call. This past winter I would have worked a lot of overtime. I drove tanker delivering heating oil but I was put on insulin and my doctor pulled my cdl off of me.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-03-25 17:23:45 -0500 Report

Hey harry,

Nice to see you. Thanks for checking in. Really sorry to hear you are unable to hold this job anymore. I hope you are able to find something that you can manage with your diabetes.

Take good care of yourself!


jayabee52 2014-03-23 15:41:11 -0500 Report

Howdy Dr Gary

Like Roberto below I am disabled and have too many "medical challenges" to be employable.

I would like to be working, but in this current economy with so many able bodied out of work, it is less hassle to be on SSDI and medicare.

I have always been rather frugal in my life and never had much in the way of income, so I do well enough on the income I get from SSDI. (Don't let Wash DC know or they might reduce my income or institute some special tax for me LoL!)

Thank you though for thinking of those of us who ARE looking for work in this tough job market and economy.

God's best to you and yours and all the other job seekers out there.

James Baker

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-03-25 17:22:31 -0500 Report

Hi James,

I certainly appreciate you and what you are going through. Challenges describes what you have had to face with your health.

You have a great attitude, attitude of gratitude.

Thank you!


streak23 2014-03-23 15:28:08 -0500 Report

I was discharged for the marines in 75 with diabetics . I was wondering what I was going to do for the rest of my life. Having come down with this at 23. After getting out I looked and started working on trucks and heavy equiptment watched my sugars as good as I could . I worked at this for over30 years till heart problems stopped me from being able to do this kind of work. I found an inside job selling parts for almost 4 years till a bad stroke stopped that not able to climb ladders or carry heavy items. I had to have the help if a cane to get around so I had to retire at 58. I miss it and if i could I would like to do something like this I would be there in a heartbeat,

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-03-24 08:44:12 -0500 Report

Hi streak!

Thanks for letting us know what's been going on with you. It sounds like you have been a really hard worker and have taken every opportunity to adapt to your circumstances and keep working. I'm sorry to hear you have had to retire early. You have been through so much. And I know that if you could still work, that's what you would be doing.

I hope you are finding interesting things to do to occupy your time, and to enjoy your life. You have worked hard!

Take care of yourself!


Trudie Ann
Trudie Ann 2014-03-23 15:16:44 -0500 Report

I am sorry I don't have any answers. I was retired when I was diagnosed with diabetes.
I do know how hard it is to find a job. My son-in-law was laid off from his job 1 1/2 yrs. ago, and is still actively seeking a new one. He has had a lot of interviews but since there are so many college grads. out there he hasn,t found a steady job yet. He has done a few day, labor jobs and that helps, but he isn't diabetic so that doesn't exactly fit your discussion.
This is a very good subject for discussion. I hope there are others who do have some great ideas and suggestions.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-03-24 08:39:03 -0500 Report

Hi Trudie Ann,

I appreciate that you jumped in here. So many people out there are struggling to find a job. And I understand what you mean here. I read an article recently that talked about how many college grads are taking jobs that don't require their education. And as a result may be edging people out of the running who are fully qualified and without a degree. It's a shame. Let's hope things get better.


Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-03-23 20:30:51 -0500 Report

Trudie, it can be just as hard for a college grad to find a job as it is for someone with no degree. I think the best thing he can do is to either work on an AA degree or learn a new job skill that is marketable. I know it is easier said than done but a lot of people are doing that these days.

Trudie Ann
Trudie Ann 2014-03-24 00:47:38 -0500 Report

I agree that it is very hard for any one to find a job in this day and time. But I do know that almost all of the jobs that he applied for the people hired were college grads. Don't get me wrong I know they worked hard for their degrees and are also deserving of a good job.
Every where business are down sizing and people who have worked almost long enough to retire are being laid off. I was able to retire from Civil Service with the D.O.D. at an Army depot, but only 2 years after I did there was a huge lay off. I was lucky but a lot of people I had worked with for years weren't and even though it is not legal to hold age, gender, etc… against any one and not even ask your age etc. they can look at you and tell your gender, approx. age etc. .
They are now on the base closure list. I hope that any who are eligible and able to retire there go ahead and do it. Even if the base doesn't close it would make new job openings.
I do pray that our government is able to balance the budget and help get our country back on track. I remember an old slogan from many, many years ago "A chicken in every pot and a car in every garage".
It's hard to get a degree if you can't afford college, there aren't many free programs available any more to get a degree. I am thankful that my daughter is still working and able to support the family, but I know she would love for her husband to find work so she can be able to be at home a little more with her two young pre-school children.
I wish they could move to an area that isn't hit as hard with inflation as where they live.
I'm sorry I shouldn't have went on about this. I know there are a lot of people out there who are in lot worse situations. I pray that things do get better for everyone, for our countries sake.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-03-25 17:20:28 -0500 Report

HI Trudie Ann,

I appreciate your follow up here. I talk to so many people who are struggling in this current job market. And I understand what you mean about a Catch 22. I have had friends and family in the same situation. It seems to be a matter of constantly plugging away. We need more jobs at all levels.

There are so many sad stories out there. I am hoping for the best for you.


Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-03-24 09:33:34 -0500 Report

Trudie there is no such thing as job security anymore. Company's lay people off who have worked for them 15-20 years then hire younger people at a lower pay scale.

I worked for the State, if you get laid off they put you on a lay off list. As jobs come open, people on the lay off list get first crack at the jobs even if they take applications from people who never worked for the State. I got hired by the State as a Temp. when I got out of High School it was suppose to become permanent. 2 days before they were going to hire me, the job was given to a girl from the lay off list. She worked 3 months and quit. They called me to come back. I told them only if I am hired as a permanent employee. They did it and I went back to work.

It isn't easy finding a job. The problem with college grads today is some have no job skills or people skills or work ethics. Employers in some cases are finding them out and they are getting fired.

When people came here to Ft. Meade from the base closures, they expected the housing market to soar. It didn't because some of the people rented out their homes and rented homes here or didn't come.

Our Congressman has job fairs. I went to two and stopped going. All of the employers were either Military or temp agencies. He had landscaping companies that were looking for seasonal employees.