Issues and Answers in the Office
Issue: Completing job applications, arranging interviews, and interviewing are all difficult for you.
Answer: Work with a job coach, who can not only help you learn how to do these things, but can meet with you onsite once you have the job to help you with your training.
Issue: Your regular appointment with your therapist is during working hours.
Answer: Ask your employer for time off to go to your appointment, which would qualify as an accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Offer to make up the time by working extra hours on other days or evenings.
Issue: Your medicine makes you drowsy in the mornings, making it difficult for you to get to work on time and to function efficiently once you get there.
Issue: Your doctor changes your medications, and your condition deteriorates significantly, negatively affecting your ability to meet the demands of your job.
Answer: Tell your doctor you're unhappy with the change and want to return to your previous medication. If necessary, ask your therapist to advocate for you.
Issue: The medications you need to control your symptoms diminish your alertness, concentration, and energy level.
Answer: With the help of your doctor, adjust the type, amount, and timing of your medication to minimize side effects.
Issue: Your symptoms or medications affect your memory.
Answer: Keep a calendar -- or, better yet, use a calendar program on your computer -- to remind you of meetings, deadlines, project timelines, etc.
Issue: You need to take time off work to be hospitalized, but you've used up all your allotted sick leave.
Answer: Ask your employer to let you take an extended leave without pay. This would qualify as an accommodation under the ADA.
Issue: You experience debilitating panic and/or anxiety when you have to walk through a parking lot to get to your car.
Issue: You work in an open cubicle surrounded by whirring printers and ringing phones in a busy office where people walk past and stop to chat while you're trying to work. The constant bustle makes it hard for you to concentrate.
Answer: Ask your employer for a set of accommodations designed to maximize your ability to focus:
Issue: You have to be hospitalized repeatedly, which affects your ability to complete projects with specific timelines.
Answer: Consider working on a contract basis, which can be more short-term and time-limited, and which allows your employer to reassign your work to other contract workers if you have to return to the hospital.
Issue: You lack access to a computer and computer skills, which makes finding and keeping a job more difficult.
Answer: Community-based education, such as adult ed programs, can provide computer education at reduced cost.
Issue: Lack of transportation makes it hard for you to get to work on time.
© 1997, 1998 Center for Psychiatric
Rehabilitation, Boston University
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2012, 2013, 2014