I’ve always said that all I need is a chance and I can prove my value.
I’ve always said that all I need is a chance and I can prove my value.
It has been just over a year since I started my role in HR. So, what’s the deal?
I wish the “me” of 10 years ago could have a conversation with the “me” of today.
The last number of weeks have been busy. Let me try and brief you on what’s going on:
Last month, I was successful in securing a part time, work from home HR Coordinator internship with a not-for profit organization. If you keep up with my blog, you’ll know that I have been a bit frustrated and at a loss as to what or how I should go about securing an HR role, with my main obstacle being my lack of experience. Thankfully, this company decided to take a chance on me and give me the opportunity to gain some valuable experience which I can put on my resume. This will hopefully help me in the future when it comes to getting a paid, full time role. So far so good- I really like it. There is a lot of research and learning involved, and I look forward to the next number of months of work with this organization. I am doing this internship in addition to my current/previous job at the bank.
Next, just 2 days ago was my father’s official last day on the force-he has finally retired! My dad has been on the force since 1978 and has accomplished such greatness in that time-the type of greatness that could take several lifetimes to achieve. His work in the community has helped bridge the gap between youth and the police-a relationship that can sometimes be strained due to preconceived notions about what “at-risk” youth OR the police are about. It makes me so happy to have such a positive, strong, and selfless man as my very own father. His retirement party is coming up in a couple of days and it’s going to be a big one for sure. After retirement, my dad will still work with the police, but in a chaplaincy capacity.
What a great man.
What a proud daughter.
If you follow me on instagram, you’ll likely already know that I went to Florida with my mom and dad in July. It was an absolute great time. We drove down in the RV. It was amazing for me, as this is the first time I’ve done something like this since the transplant. What a blessing to be able to do such a thing and not need to worry about coming up with hundreds, even thousands of dollars for dialysis, or worry about getting sick. I didn’t get sick once while we were in Florida, on our way there, or on our way home. Again, what a blessing. The only hiccup we experienced was an issue with our transmission on our way home. We were in Tennessee in the middle of the night when I was woken up by the sound of my mom yelling my name, telling me to “come come come!” The RV was full of smoke. It turns out there was a leak somewhere near the transmission so we were leaking oil…so essentially, we were driving this huge RV with no oil in it. We were lucky enough to have been towed to a great repair shop with lovely, honest mechanics who got us up and running in a little over a day. It was an adventure to say the least, and I actually look forward to going back to Tennessee to visit our new friends at the repair shop in the future.
One of the most important updates-I’m an aunt! My brother and his girlfriend brought my lovely niece, Mia, into the world exactly one month ago. She’s an absolute gem-I’ll share pictures in the near future! 🙂
That’s all for now I think!
Where did the summer go?? 😦
As I may have mentioned before, I am quite pleased at how things worked out in terms of my schooling. I’m glad that I managed to finish school prior to the transplant. To me, the transplant is like a new beginning…and I’m glad that I don’t have to look back and finish something that I had started prior to the transplant.
Ah yes, the question that has plagued mankind for many centuries. The question isn’t only CAN it be done, but SHOULD it be done?
I was first diagnosed with Lupus 2 months into my first year of high school. Sure, I spent a good amount of time out of school and in the hospital. I’ve always been a pretty good student and I usually get good marks. I must say, however, one thing I do NOT like is having the spotlight on me. When I’m in a classroom, I like to put my hand up to answer a question when I feel comfortable doing so. I don’t like being singled out, nor do I like one-on-ones. Well, while I was in the hospital, there was this tutor who would always come in. She would always come in when I was at my weakest, and I’ll never forget those fingers of her. She had the thickest fingers….they reminded me of sausage links.
But I digress. As soon as I was released from Sick Children’s hospital, I was both happy and eager to get back to school, and I did so on a full time basis. I did school full time and also did dialysis 3 times a week…until I was lucky enough to get well and not need dialysis again for about 7 years. All through high school, I never skimped on my courses. I took all my courses and never failed one. I was (and am) the type of person who didn’t like getting special consideration or “allowances” from my teachers, so I always tried to do everything that everyone else was doing without and extentions or special consideration. I remember one day I had an exam. I was so crippled with a stomach ache that I could barely stand up straight. My dad told me to stay home and he would talk to the school….but I refused. I had my dad drive me to school and I took the 2 hour exam while my dad stayed in his car outside waiting for me to finish. I finished. I also got 82% on that exam.
I didn’t participate in too many extra-cirricular things as I didn’t want to overdo it. But I was actively involved in my school band. I had to be….I loved music, and my high school was known for its band. I played the clarinet. I was the concert mistress for the band both when I was in the junior band and also when I was in the senior band. I did all of this throughout high school while holding a part time job for 2 years as a cashier in a fancy grocery store, and also moving on to be a telephone technical support agent for an internet company.
When I graduated from high school, I went on to college full time and took one of the most physically exhausting courses out there…especially for a person with Lupus: Chef Training.
This 1 year intensive course really tested my willpower. Standing on your feet for hours at a time while wearing a hot chef jacket and checkered pants while slaving over a hot stove and a hot oven isn’t easy for anyone, nevermind someone with Lupus! But I did it. I graduated, and it was one of the best years of my life. I made some lifelong friendships…and I’m happy about that.
I worked as a cook in a restaurant for a few years. After about a year of working in the restaurant, I had a Lupus flare and had to take some time off. I remember being off for less than a week when my kitchen manager called my house to see if I was ready to come back to work yet. In the restaurant business, there is often a very high turnover rate, and even though this restaurant had only been around for a couple of years (I started working there the day it first opened), I was one of the people who had been there the longest. My kitchen manger Ian had no idea what I was going through. This was my fault partially because I didn’t tell him. But when I told him I wasn’t ready to come back to work, he’d leave me alone….for about 2 days!
I remember once he called me and asked me to come in to work. I totally was NOT ready to come back to work, but I could sense the desperation in his voice. I couldn’t let him down, so I told him I’d come in for 4 hours ONLY. When I got there, I felt like I was moving slower than a turtle. But I managed to get all of my orders out on time. As soon as 3 hours and 59 minutes passed, I started to wash up and get ready to leave. My manager tried to guilt me into staying longer (I was usually stuck there for at LEAST 10 hours) but I refused.
I quit working there. I knew that it was way too much for my body….and I could never keep this up for the rest of my career.
After leaving there, I dabbled in going back to school and getting a job in nutrition. Around that time, I was lucky enough to score a part time job working for a major bank in their card products department. I spoke to a few of my friends, one of them who had taken nutrition, and she told me that there was a lot of competition in that field, and she had subsequently switched to accounting. I decided that I was going to go into HR. I like talking to people, it would allow me to move up in the company that I now worked for, and my company would pay for my school! Does it get much better than that?
……before I started my first day back at University, I got sick…and back on dialysis I went.
I feel like early on when I was first diagnosed, I had the energy to do ANYTHING. I look forward to slowly but surely finishing university and hopefully getting a job in HR. But let’s face it: most HR jobs are full time jobs. I don’t even know if I can get up every single day and go to work. Aside from that, eventually I’m going to have to leave the nest that is my parent’s house and get a place of my own someday. Perhaps I’ll get married someday, but until then, I have to figure out how I’m going to support myself. I don’t know if I can successfully support myself and live the life that I want to live if I only work part-time. If I could find a job in HR that would allow me to work in the office and also work from home sometimes….wow that would be absolutely perfect.
All of this being said, is it even a good idea for people with Lupus to work full time? Lupus is called the disease with 1000 faces. Even though there is an estimated 15 000 to 50 000 people in Canada who have Lupus, the thing with Lupus is the fact that no two people experience the EXACT same symptoms. That being said….everyone is different. Some people might be able to hack it without any problems. I did pretty well when I was in high school, and I managed to graduate when I was supposed to without having to take any extra courses or summer school to catch up. It all depends on the individual. I aspire to be able to work a full-time job in HR, and hopefully the bank I work for will allow me to work from home and from the office. My employer has been the most understanding employer I’ve ever had where my Lupus is concerned, so I dont foresee that being a problem. Of course, if I have to interview a potential candidate, I don’t expect to work from home. But if it’s normal other computer duties I have to perform…then why not?
Whenever I look at the job postings for the company I work for, I notice that at the bottom of the page, they state that they are an “equal opportunity employer. It is the Company’s policy to recruit and select applicants for employment solely on the basis of their qualifications, with emphasis on selecting the best-qualified person for the job. They do not discriminate against applicants based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or disability or any other status or condition protected by applicable federal, state or local law. ” I think that if a company says that, then they are willing to accomodate their employees when need be.
Something I’ll never forget is the fact that I have to listen to my body. I’ve always been the type of person who wants to please everyone all the time. As the years have passed, I’ve learned to mellow out sometimes. I’ve also learned to say “no” sometimes. If I were the person then that I am today, while I really loved my kitchen manager Ian, I’d have told him to fly a kite if he continuously asked me to come into work.
I guess my advice is too listen to your body first. And don’t forget to check out the company your applying for’s policy on those with disabilities…both visible AND invisible! 😉
Holding down a job while suffering from Lupus can definitely be a trial.
I personally have been blessed with a great job with a great company that understands my needs. When I started working there, I was only a part-time employee. One of the really positive things about working for this company is the fact that they offer full benefits to part time employees. You can either choose the basic benefits package or the “fully loaded” one. I have the fully loaded benefits package. It helps me pay for medical stuff, including my meds, physiotherapy, massage therapy, etc.
I would definitely consider myself to be one of the “lucky ones”. But how do people who aren’t as fortunate as me where my job is concerned cope?
Lupus isn’t really a disease whereby you can look at someone and think “yup, definitely, that person has lupus”. This can sometimes make it hard when you’re trying to explain to your employer that you simply couldn’t come to work because you were “too tired”, or your joints were hurting, etc.
When you apply for a job, and if you get to the interview process, do you disclose to the interviewer that you have a chronic illness? Do you save such information until AFTER you’re hired?
What if you are diagnosed with Lupus AFTER you’ve been working at a certain place? Are you honest and tell your boss? Do you discuss your limitations and any possible accomodations you might need?
My job has accomodated me greatly. Right now, I work only a few hours a week. I have a special ergonomic chair that was given to me when I asked for it too. I’m also able to get up from my desk whenever I need to in order to take a break/breather.
I’d be interested in knowing other people’s opinions/experiences with holding down a job/career while dealing with Lupus!