Thursday, February 22, 2007

My Job and Diabetes

This is a timely post as yesterday I had "The Departure Talk" with my performance manager. I'm in my first job out of university . . . I work at a Big 4 corporate tax firm, and boy has it been a show. 60+ hours a week during the busy season (after my mandatory hours were upped unexpectedly from 40 to 50 from September to January . . . hear that whistling sound? Yeah, it's my salary dropping. No, we are not compensated for overtime. MAYBE you'll get a bonus! Wow!) In addition to the crazy hours and multiple bosses asking you if you're done with those memos yet, the 25% local travel quoted to me during my interviews looks more like 50%+ and it's all over the country. Or wherever else the client is. For weeks or months at a time.

I feel like a wimp, but here's my beef. Even before I was diagnosed with the big D, I was a homebody. I never wanted a high falutin' high powered corporate job. I accepted this position only after expressly asking several people about hours & travel and was assured that it was a steady, predictable job . . . okay, I thought, diabetes won't be an issue at all then. My first week on the job, one of my superiors asked me if I was ready to go to Minnesota and North Carolina. I must've given her the googly eye face - I was genuinely shocked. I thought, okay, I'll stick it out. So eight months later here I am, and I still hate my life! Ha. I can't see it getting easier as I gain more and more responsibility and knowledge.

One of my major "selling" points in asking for either reduced hours and travel OR for an exit interview is that I physically can't handle this. I struggle with feeling like a phoney, though. I CAN handle it . . . but I feel like I'm doing myself a great disservice. Despite testing ten times a day and doing my best to make wise choices on the road, my A1C has still crept from a 6.1 to a 6.9. I know that's not a huge leap, but it's a move in the wrong direction and I know stress is involved. I'm so $*#&ing tired all of the time. All I think about is work and carbs, and my marriage is starting to go. I feel like the diabetes should be my major stressor, not diabetes AND my job AND my marriage AND whatever else life brings. What about when I want to have children? Diabetic pregnancy and this job . . . I shudder to think.

Then that said, I know there are tons and tons of people with diabetes out there who have stressful jobs, or jobs that require them to go "above and beyond." And people have fought for so long to show others that they are capable and employable and that diabetes doesn't hold them back . . . but don't we have to be honest sometimes?

Diabetes makes a hard job harder. I see the physical impact it has on my coworkers who are seemingly "healthy" and I feel like I'm working myself into an early grave despite my best efforts. I guess I'm trying to deal with what I feel is right for me and the guilt I feel on behalf of anyone with a disability . . . I know I am a great employee but I also want to respect the seriousness of my disease.

I guess I have to be my own advocate. I'd be willing to settle for less money if I could have peace of mind and peace of body.


Mike said...

You should read the "About" section on my blog. I'm a pretty positive person most of the time. I'm going to wax a little negative here though.

Your job may just take some adjusting to and then everything will be fine. It might be like my experience though. Five years of stress, long commutes, company provided meals that were nutritionally sparse, long hours and diabetes almost killed me.

I was like you in that I thought I was just being a wimp or everyone else has to deal with this stuff I should be able to as well. It wasn't until a few months after I left that life that I could see clearly. The situation was bigger than me and I couldn't control it. It was a hard realization but I am very glad I left my job. I doubt I will ever go back to a large video game company.

At the end of the day you need to really look at what you get from your job and what it could potentially cost you. No job is worth your life or a diminished life style.

The Dawn Phenomena

Kendra said...

Mike, I just read your "About." WOW. (Btw, my major was in IT, I'm married to a developer, and lemme just say I empathize with your former situation as much as I possibly can without having been there myself!)

Thanks for the comment though; you are right. I'm weighing the pros and cons. What do I get from my job? Money, health insurance, and an approving nod from my elders. What could it cost me? The answers are much less satisfying!

I think I'm having a convo w/ the partner sometime next week. I don't think I'll be staying unless I can be assured of real change (without causing dissention in the ranks of the non-diabetic troops!) :)