The Grass is Always Greener 

You know the saying you’ve heard since you were a kid “The grass is always greener on the other side?” Well, I’ve realized in the past few months that this applies to more than just cows wanting to eat from the other side of the fence. That there really is more to it!! It definitely applies to working in the home vs working outside if the home. It seems like those that get to stay home or work from home want to work outside the home, and those outside the home want to be at home.  It’s a never ending battle. 

Once I graduated with my Nursing degree in 2007 I assumed I would work in some way up until retirement. I thought I might want to go part time at some point when I had babies. But I never thought that at ten years after graduation, at the age of 32,  I would no longer be working at all. Well, not at least outside of the medical field. But it’s happened!!!!!! I am no longer working as a nurse. But as an Indeoendant Distributor for a cosmetic company. Basically an MLM. It does bring in a little money and I am so very grateful to have found something that I can do from home. Heck, I can even do it in my jammies from my bed. However, this is definitely not where I saw my life going ten years ago. 

However, I know that I am not alone in saying it’s totally different when you choose to stay home with babies or your family. Then it is when are forced out of the workforce due to an illness or disability. Since the end of August I have had to stay home due to illness. I lost my job after totaling my car in a accident where it is likely that I had either a seizure or a cardiac event! The accident was just the icing on the cake, so to speak. I had missed more days than any other employer would have allowed. And this company was so gracious to work with me and did everything they could not to let me go but after the accident it was clear it was just what had to be. At first after losing my job it was kind of nice to be home, to not have to get up to an alarm or get dressed up everyday. However, that lasted about two weeks, and then I was bored out of my mind. 

I can’t tell you though the number of times, those of us who are unable to work and have to stay home due to illness or disability, hear how nice it must be to be able to stay home and not have to work.  What people don’t understand is that there is a large population of us who have been forced out of the work force would give ANYTHING to get back to work!!! And it’s not by any means that we don’t HAVE to work. It’s not like we chose to retire and are now happily traveling the world and getting to spend time with family.  Most of us who were forced out of our jobs by our health are doing quite the opposite. We are stuck at home, usually leaving mostly just to attend a multitude of drs appointments, go to the grocery store or maybe church. If we are lucky we might find enough get up and go to go out to lunch or dinner with friends or family. But usually those plans get rescheduled because of how we are feeling!!  So we are NOT living the life. 

I would give anything to go back to work. To be able to go back to working the Cardiovascular Step Down unit wher I worked the majority of the time before I left as a Charge Nurse. This was what I loved. I loved the kind of  patients we worked with, the body system we were working with and really most things about my job!! But then the Lupus monster hit!!! I could no longer physically meet the demands of that job. So it was time to move on to things less physically demanding. Since the Summer of 2012  I have worked several jobs,  but none of them were what I loved. And over the years my health continued to deteriorate to the point where I was calling in more than I was actually working due to migraines and pain and constant illness. So I was no good to any employer or fellow employees at this point due to my Lupus, migraines and adrenal insufficiency!  

What people don’t take into account is the risk for increased rates of depression when people are no longer able to work for whatever reason. Now that person may no longer have an income or a very small one, so that puts a huge stress on the person as well as the family. Due to the loss of job  they may have lost their health insurance. And this is really not an option for those with chronic disabiling diseases. Without insurance we could potentially get stuck with thousands and thousands of dollars of medical bills that you gave no idea how you were going to pay them. Or if they can get government insurance it may be to pricey for them to get!!. There is also the potential for lack of adult face to face conversation and a potential loss of friends all related to the disease and the the job loss. Both of which can also cause or deepen a person’s depression. 

I looked up some statistics on the Buteau of Labor Statistics Page. Per their site, “Adults age 21 to 64 with disabilities had median monthly earnings of $1,961 compared with $2,724 for those with no disability.” And that’s a median number. I know many people who only receive -$500-$1000 a MONTH in social security that they are expected to live off!! I also found this statistic that I found interesting.  “Only 17.9% of persons with a disability were employed.”
According to the U.S. Census Bureau “Nearly 1 in 5 People Have a Disability in the U.S., Census Bureau Reports Report. 
About 56.7 million people — 19 percent of the population — had a disability in 2010, according to a broad definition of disability, with more than half of them reporting the disability was severe, according to a comprehensive report on this population released today by the U.S. Census Bureau.”

Those statistics were not imperative to include but I thought it was a good look at just how many people are disabled in the United States. For me the take away of this blog would be that most people aren’t happy where they are. If they have to work to provide they wish they could be home with their families. While those of us who can’t work would give anything to get back into the workforce! I also want to people to understand that many of us who are disabled don’t want to stay home and not work. We would love to return to the careers we went to college for and loved. Not all people on disability are just living off the system and not working because they can. Personally, I WOULD GIVE ANYTHING TO BE ABLE TO WORK AGAIN outside the home. 

I hope this gave you some insight!

Amber  
References:

https://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/miscellaneous/cb12-134.html

https://www.bls.gov/news.release/disabl.nr0.htm

Working From Home…,,

Okay so I don’t have a “real” job anymore thanks to my Health. But honestly, what is a “real” job anyway?  Is it real because you have to get dressed, do your hair and look presentable? Is it real because you actually leave the house to do said job? Is it real because you have coworkers that you interact with in person, or because you have an office?  All those things don’t make a job “real.”  They are just things that happen when you have a job OUTSIDE the home.  So does working INSIDE the home make it any less real?!?  Not in my opinion. If you stil get paid and get the requirments met for your specific job it shouldn’t matter where you work. 

According to the Nee York Times last alone nearly 43% of employed Americans were working from home at least part of the time. So now you are probably thinking “Man I need to be one of those people!  But what kind of jobs allow one to work from home?”  Well according to the same article the following industries allow work from home. 

Finance/insurance/real estate, Transportation, Manufacturing or construction, Retail, Healthcare, Computer/information, systems/mathematical, Law or public policy, Arts/design/entertainment/ sports/media, Community/social services, Science/engineering/ architecture, Education/training/library 

Working from home sounds all wonderful and grand.  But it to has its fair share of downsides as well.  The biggest downside  being how easy it is to get distracted when your in your own home. Where the dryer may buzz or the dishwasher ding. Or that show you’ve been trying to catch is finally on when you can catch it.  And if you are a parent you may not have a babysitter on the days you are at home. So you may have children climbing on you, asking for food or a drink, needing a diaper changed. Etc.  Sure you think oh if I was working from home I wouldn’t let myself get distracted but that’s much easier said than done. 

Many say being a Stay at home MOM isn’t a job. But it’s a FULL TIME job in my eyes. When you are meeting every need of you child/children and your spouse. While keeping a clean house, cooking dinner, doing laundry and doing all the things that need to be done in the house. You are busy ALL the time. You may not get paid financially, but in hugs, slobbery kisses and I love you’s for the kids. In my mind having never been a mom those positive affirmations and love from your kids and spouse is just like a pay check (minus The money of course). That being said being a stay at home mom is in my eyes a full time job!!!!

I suppose selling Senegence/Lipsense via social media, co-managing an online chronic illness support group and  blogging are not considered working to some. But the cosmetic company is what pays my bills.  Since my accident I really haven’t been cleared to work and have no means to get to an outside job currently.  Due to the fact that I can no longer drive, and shouldn’t be walking long distances on my own. So I had to get creative. I had to find a way to pay the important bills.  Do I get the luxuries now that I did when I worked outside the home? Absolutely not! But I have the enssnetials and that’s what matters. 

The other bonus to working the jobs I do  are simple. I can rest when I need to and for as long as I need to. Because I am often totally exhausted and need to sleep a LOT. If for some reason I am hospitalized (which seems to happen at least 3-4x annually for me) my work will wait for me till I am better. And as corny as if may sound, One of the biggest benefits I’ve found is that I have found a true sisterhood with Senegence, unlike any other company I’ve worked for. The are so sweet and have the biggest hearts and will always help when I need it. It’s truly like anything I’ve ever experienced. 

Do I, or am I able to work everyday? NO, absolutely not.   There may be days or weeks when I don’t work. And that’s okay!! Because my health comes first. And some days I may only work an hour or less because I feel poorly. And that’s okay too. My senesister will make sure by business doesn’t suffer. My co/administrators will make sure the support group continues along without issue. And my blog….. well if I haven’t written in advance it will wait patiently until I return. 

Yes, working any job from home has its benefits but there are also disadvantages. What could they possibly be you are probably thinking.  To me the biggest disadvantage is that  you don’t have the daily interaction with people right in front of you like you do when working out of the home. You don’t have that comraderie that you build with your coworkers when you have a job outside the home.  And you may feel lonely or even depressed. There is a big difference in talking to people and building that team relationship in person as opposed to over the phone or internet. And you don’t get that a lot of one-on-one personal interaction when working from home. Simply because most of your communication is over the phone or internet.  But sadly, that’s just something you have to get used to when you are no longer able to work outside the home. 

Working in the home had its advantages and disadvantages like described above. And it’s not for everyone. But once you’ve lost the ability to work outside the home due to issues like health issues,  and still have bills to pay, you have to get creative. And you may even find yourself doing something you never thought you would. That being said working for Senegence has been such a blessing, even though it’s something I never thought I would do. When I was working outside the home, I signed up with Senegence just to get a discount off products. But then ended up needing an income of some kind and this fell in my lap. I would highly highly recommend any lady (or man) who enjoys or has a passion for makeup, and needs any level of income to look into Senegence. It’s not your typical MLM( if it was I wouldn’t be working for them) they treat everyone so great and they are not afraid to let it known that everyone could have a 5 figure monthly income if they work work their business right!  I am far from that and probably won’t ever get there, but I am just so glad I found this opportunity so I can work From home. 

Amber 
References:

https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/02/15/us/remote-workers-work-from-home.html

My Senegence Page: https://m.facebook.com/groups/1426452860768009?ref=bookmarks

Senegence home page; https://www.senegence.com/SeneSite/Home.aspx

Support Group: Lupie Groupies on Facebook!

MVA – How They Can Have an Impact on More Than Just the Car. 

Man….. you don’t think about how one situation can totally mess up your whole system until it happens. I realized that a week ago today when I was in a car accident. It was nasty. But nothing broken. Just a concussion and a torn up knee. And lots of bumps and bruises. (And the other person wasn’t hurt either.)Then the realization set in yesterday that I am now in a lupus flare. And my adrenal glands are on their way to sending me into an adrenal crisis!!! I wrote my rheumatolgist to see if I could do steroids or anything to prevent the worsening flare. And she told me LIGHT STRETCHING was the only thing I could do. Really?!?!? You hurt as bad as I do everyday and then get on the floor and stretch. If I could even get to the floor there is no way in hades that I could get up. With my knee in an immobilizer and my arms so sore from crutches and the accident I’d be stuck. And they weren’t kidding when they said day two and three would be worse. Holy moly! It’s insane. 

The scariest part of this whole ordeal wasn’t the accident itself. Simply bc I don’t remember it. But THAT statement is the scary part.  I have absolutely no idea what happened. The ambulance came quickly and whisked me away to the Emergency Room. That’s when everything stopped. Apparently they didn’t have any rooms in the back, so they set me in wheelchair with my c-collar, crying like a weirdo in the WAITING ROOM. This is where I sat for about two hours before I saw a nurse or dr.  Ya I get they were busy. But one would think that a car accident with loss of consciousness would trump other things but I guess not.  The whole time I was at the hospital I sat and balled. Like sobbing. I just couldn’t quit. But I am so glad my mom was there with me the whole time. I wasn’t always nice to her,but we blame the pain meds and the accident on that. But she stayed right there with me. Even at 32 it’s nice to have your mom around when you need her!! 

I’m a cryer yes. But I never sit and cry inconsolablely for a hour.  That’s not my norm. So, I can only assume that it was the shock of the accident and concussion I had causing all those tears. The ER Dr told me I had no broken bones or major injuries. Put an immobilizer on my knee and gave me some crutches and sent me out the door. I was glad to go home but the really pain and soreness was just setting in. Man you never believe how much everything is going to hurt for days following an accident until it happens to you. I am still sore and very bruised and it’s been a week today. And I still can’t bear full weight on my leg.  Sigh. We are doing some medical tests and will give my knee another week go see if it heals on its own. 

So not only am I deal with my pain and emotions from the car wreck. I am now dealing with the fact that I lost my job. I understand where they are coming from. My absences make it hard to count on me. And now that I can drive or work until the dr clears me. (We are going to test my heart and do an eeg to see if I’m having seizures.) That means I have no idea how long it will be before I am cleared to work or drive. I am not mad at my boss as I know she is looking out for her patients. And right now they need someone who can be there all the time. She did say that if I ever want to come back I can. That I’ve not burned any bridges. This company was fantastic to work for. And they went above and beyond to make sure I had what I needed. And gave me more chances than anyone else would have with my absences. But It still sucks because I have to go pick up all my belongings thatbwere in my office. Which is sad bc I loved my job and I’m sad that part of my life is over. 

Now the question is what am I going to do for money $$. Because sadly we can’t live free in today’s society.  I have become a distributor for the makeup company Senegence. And in doing so have been able to make decent money. So I’m praying that I can continue to grow my buisness and that I can do this and not have to go to work again outside the house at least not right away!! If not I am not sure what route I will go. Only time will tell!! 

So many emotions and thoughts are swirling through my head. Who would have ever guessed that losing your car in an accident could be so emotional. I guess for most it’s probably not. But buying that car was the last thing my grandpa and I did together before he passed several years ago. So I feel like that car was my last earthly connection I have to him. And that’s hard.  Because I miss him so much everyday. 

Anyway, I’m a little rusty on this whole blogging thing if you can’t tell. My thoughts have been all over the place. Which for a Lupie isn’t that strange but usually my writing is better than this. But I wanted to share my thoughts and what has been going on in my life. I promise I will now be getting back into blogging now that I have a little more free time!!

Love always ❤️

Amber 

Job Hunting with a Chronic Illness

Job hunting alone can be daunting, now add a chronic illness and it can be downright scary. There are so many variables that can make the job hunt more difficult. How you are feeling daily to actually look for a job can make the hunt difficult. Then you add things like physical manifestations of your disease such as a limp, or being unable to walk without an aide. Or even your weakened immune system dictating what kind of jobs you might be able to consider.

So what are things we can do to make job hunting a little easier on ourself and more productive?  Below are some recommendations that can do just that that were found while looking for ideas to improve my own job hunt. Many of the suggestions came from Healthcenter.com, and monster.com. I will link the direct sites at the end of the blog.

1.  Talk with your medical team before starting to look for a job.

They may have restrictions for you that you are unaware of that might dictate what kind of jobs you could apply for. Also, maybe there are medication changes that could be made. For instance maybe you will need to cut your pain pills so they don’t cloud your judgement. So they might be able to recommend options that could work without jeopardizing your safety.  There also might be other treatment options available for your disease that you are not aware of. They might also be able to get you started with some physical or occupational therapy that would make working easier for you.

2. Network 

People in your profession might know of openings before they are actually posted. So they could be a great benefit to your search. Just remember that you don’t want to pester people in the process.

3. Find a way to STAND OUT in your field. 

This may be one of the most difficult of the options discussed. As people with Chronic Illness often have low self-esteem due to the things that they have gone through. That being said it will be important that you find a way to make yourself stand out to the hiring manager or company.  This can be done by finding a way to make others know how great you are, without boasting.  (If you do have trouble with self-esteem you might want to consider seeing a counselor or someone that could help you find healthy ways to build your self-esteem.)

4. Contact a Career Counselor

This could be helpful if you are changing professions or just need help finding some options in your preferred profession. They can also help you create a resume and cover letter that will help to make you and your skills STAND OUT.

5. Develop a thick skin

This will be most important because you are not going to get every job you apply for or even interview for. So it will be important that you develop a thick skin and you don’t get hurt by every rejection. Rejection happens to all of us and is just a part of life.

6. DO NOT DISCUSS YOUR CONDITION

There most likely will come a time when you need to disclose your condition(s) to an employer. However, the application and/or interview process is not that time. Employers are always looking for a reason to delete Candidates from their list of options so they can narrow it down to the best person for THEIR job. It is best that you keep your condition to yourself until/if there comes a time when you need to talk about accommodations for your new positions. The only time it would be okay to bring up your condition(s) would be if it would directly relate to how you will/would be able to do the new job.

Hopefully you find all of these tips helpful if you are looking for a new job or career. They have the potential to change the job hunting game.
For further information on this topic please check out:

Http://www.healthcentral.com/rheumatoid-arthritis/c/80106/181117/chronic-illness/

Https://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/when-to-reveal-a-disability-job-hunt

-Amber