What Are Your Options?
The career choices at your disposal are endless. It is still possible to have a career that is more physical in nature, like nursing, law enforcement, etc. It will be important to keep in mind that you might not have the ability to perform the same duties for your entire career.
It will be important to seek out ways to change your duties with your abilities if your MS progresses in ways that impede upon your work life.
The main idea to remember is to brainstorm the possibilities and seek out creative ways towards finding your most fulfilling and prosperous path. Find career that makes you happy, flexible and resilient to the changes that MS might want to make in your life.
Seek out Supportive Employers and Co-Workers
Another facet of work that can be of some difficulty is dealing with your employer or your co-workers. Yes, the law is on your side, but not everyone will be understanding and fair. Also, unscrupulous employers can be sneaky and find ways of squeezing you out.
It is important to seek out employers you can trust, the ones that make it a point to treat their employees with dignity and respect. Yes, this can be easier said than done, but if you make this a priority early after your diagnosis then you will be better set in the long run. Try using the MS spoon theory to explain yourself.
What If You Don’t Have the Skills to Change Your Career?
It is hard to look at your future and think about job training when you have MS, because MS doesn’t allow you to see where you are going to physically be in a couple of years. I have been struggling with this battle for years now.
When I was diagnosed with MS, I was two months away from finishing my second bachelor’s degree and already applying for master’s degree programs all over the country. My fear made me falter.
I allowed my fear to dictate my decisions and I decided that my family could not afford more college debt to go alongside my medical debt.
Today, I can see how foolish I was. I wasted nine years of my working life on the belief that chasing a career was not worth my while. I am ashamed that I had so little faith in my body, in myself.
My hope is that even one of you will learn from my mistake. The truth is, I have value as a working adult. I should have been working or going to school for every year since my diagnosis. I have not.
I have been fortunate to have a husband who has a great job that has provided well for us. But I do recognize that my family would be in an even better financial place if I had continued my career plans.
It took me many lost years to truly understand my capabilities. I am finally in my master’s program at Boston University now. I am on track to graduate in the spring of 2018.
My best advice is for people to look at their career prospects in a positive light. See the strengths that you have and support them as best as you can. Prepare for the worst-case scenario, but plan for a happy life — a happy future.