Friday, April 27, 2007

Work Wrap-Up

First, congrats to Syd and Polly on their new jobs! I'm thinking it would be great if everyone who reads this blog spends a few moments sending positive thoughts their way.

Second, check out my new chatbox in the left column. I've decided it might be a great way to send messages between posts or for people to mention something they've written about in their blogs. It can be a message board for all of us. Thanks to Owen at Tips for New Bloggers for all his technical help. If you're using blogspot to host your blog, the tips that he and his partner provide are wonderful.

Third, there were some wonderful comments on yesterday's blog. I'm going to post them in their entirety. I'm still new to blogging and I'm not sure if everyone goes back and rereads comments, so here they are. The subject is whether or not to disclose your illness at work.

Jinnah from the LivingManicDepressive website and Blog writes:

Here's a good one. I'm in a management position where I do have to make decisions regarding hiring / firing people.

I cheat - I am in my family's business and can't be (easily) fired - my boss is my brother.

However I do know over the years my contribution to the business has been substantial - I am not enjoying a free ride.

I have slowly let out the fact that I am bipolar over a long period - more than five years - enough so that the employees that I deal with can see that the quality of my work is not affected by my being bipolar. I do have their respect.

Now, here's the kicker. Our business is the provision of security officers. If someone mentioned they were bipolar when being hired, I would not hire them - too many potential liabilities. If however they were already working solidly for a while before the information is disclosed, we would just keep an eye on them.

Interestingly enough, if the person said they wanted to work part time (as in missing a lot of days) for health reasons, without telling us they were bipolar, we might be able to accommodate them.
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BamaGal from Back Across the Line writes:

I work in the mental health field---so you would think they would be more understanding--not so--I actually had a fellow employee make the comment--why did they(the company) give the keys to the crazy house to a crazy person--I happen to work in a group home with Forensic consumers--

but in my work with in APSE--I've given seminars on working and having a severe mental illness--if you fail to disclose when taking a job--you can not ask for an accomodation at a later date--example if you need to change your hours or go part time--but it boils down to being a personal decision--I'm one of those who is very open about my diagnosis--I use the opportunity to educate the masses--but it does not define who I am it is just a part of me.
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Syd from Bipolarity writes:

Excellent post. As usual, you raise some very interesting issues, and they're timely too. Today I was offered, and enthusiastically accepted a new job. I start next week (YEAH!). It's a small company, I met with and will report directly to the President, but it never even occurred to me to mention BP in the interview. I guess I inadvertently assumed the "don't ask-don't tell" posture. Ideally, it won't have to come up given the nature of the job, but if it does, hopefully it'll be after I've worked there long enough to have proven myself capable.

As for the insurance question, you've got me wondering. I didn't realize that health insurance companies can/do disclose the nature of an employee's medical condition(s) to the employer. Am I being incredibly niave about this? This employer covers 100% of the health care premiums, it's probably one of the best health insurance providers around, and I can't imagine NOT utilizing this great benefit. Can you post more about how that works?

Does anyone have the answer to Syd's question about insurance?
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Polly from polarcoaster writes:

I think it's usually better not to disclose, because people usually will discriminate against you if you do. I've never told anyone I've ever worked with that I was bipolar.

I just started a new part time job today, though, and there was a sheet we had to fill out about emergency contact information and stuff. One question was "Do you have any medical conditions we should know about?" and I left that blank, but the next question asked about medications, and I was feeling reckless so I actually answered, "sertraline hydrochloride and divalproex sodium." I don't plan to be there very long and I have another part time job I like better, so if they decide to fire me for being crazy, I don't really care.

Thanks one and all!

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