Apr 15, 2011

Decisions, Decisions

Although I was already sort of an indecisive person before getting sick, POTS has forced me to really consider every angle of every action, every decision I make very carefully. The most important thing I try to ask myself in making any crucial decision is "what's the worst that could happen?" Well, truth is, when dealing with a chronic illness like POTS, your health or even your life could be on the line if you make an unwise decision like going for a drive or going up on a ladder. It's like my electrophysiologist always says "POTS is not going to kill you unless you pass out while driving a car or climbing a ladder." Basically, POTS necessitates that I lead a careful life. Which I did before anyway, but the whole not driving long distances thing is pretty stifling. Especially when I am in the midst of looking for a new job and already have a few offers on the table. Even though one is a telecommute position, most employers require that you meet them in person in the office before they will hire you. Which poses a significant problem for me when the office is out of the area and I cannot drive very far without having to pull over and put my legs up.

Problem is, explaining a chronic and complicated medical condition to a potential employer will not score you any points. Quite the contrary in fact, it may influence their decision to look for someone else. Nobody wants to hire someone who they perceive as potentially unreliable. Especially if the position is somewhat demanding in terms of hours or performance. What was advertised as a half-time position and a source of supplementary income has now become a position that will consume at least ten hours a day at slave-labor, "sweat equity" independent contractor wages. Not sure if this is something I can rationally take on when it will be harder work than my last job for half the pay, except for the fact that they are offering me an impressive title and I am not working at all right now so something coming in is better than nothing coming in. I am worried about the strain that this job may put on my neck, shoulders and jaw being hunched over the computer for that many hours each day (5 days a week). So not sure I am ready to watch my health decline for a job that will not even pay benefits or into social security or unemployment for me. I guess that is the risk I run. The company is very interested in me. I have already invested ten hours of my own time completing a trial "day's work" for them and have had three phone interviews. Now they want to meet me in person (about an hour and a half drive away) to sign a contract...not sure I am ready to do this.

Meanwhile, a headhunter from a large local corporation contacted me about an 8-month contract position that pays VERY well. Much, much better than the other job and the work is tailor made for my skills and experience in television. The only catch is that travel may be required between the two sites (about 2 hours away from each other). Nowhere in the job description does it say that a valid driver's license is required, but I am assuming they will expect me to drive myself between the two sites which poses a huge problem for me. And with this job I would be going into the office everyday for 8-hour days which is a bit demanding. I would also have to relocate to be close enough to drive myself to work each day.

What to do, what to do. I do not appreciate how POTS has complicated my life. The only things my "normal" twenty-something friends have to take into consideration before accepting a job offer is how much they are getting paid or what benefits will be offered to them. Not whether or not they can physically handle sitting upright in a professional posture (a.k.a. feet off the desk and no lying on the floor with legs in the air) for 8 hours a day and still stay conscious or how to get themselves back and forth to work safely on a daily basis. In all honesty, I am not sure it is fair to any employer for me to even be working at all considering my daily bouts of brainfog and forgetfulness. And it is probably not fair to me to have to sit there trying to look and act professional as all the blood continues to rush away from my brain and I approach passing out. The thing is, I know how hard it is and how long it can take to get on disability and I do not have the luxury of waiting for an income right now. I feel like I have to at least try working again and if something happens to me on the job then so be it. That probably sounds a bit negative, I realize. But I feel like I have to try. I don't have anyone else to rely on but myself right now.

Any suggestions or advice? Which job would you go for? Sign the contract for the low-paying job that is telecommute, but long hours? Or brave going into an office everyday and having to wrangle transportation for the required travel (but for big pay)? Any rational answers are appreciated here. Trying to consider my options carefully once again before making any decisions, but running out of time as I am scheduled to sign the contract for the telecommute position at the end of next week. Help!


  1. Damn I wrote out a long response and now it's gone. I'll try to recall what I wrote. I think basically what I said was it's a question of what you are wanting from the job as both have pros and cons. Is it just the cash factor? Is it a desire to keep you hand in for an ongoing career? Is it a need for the connection with others you can really only get in an office environment? Lets face it chats on a coffee break can be beneficial both socially and professionally. Only you know where you are at illnesswise and what you are likely to cope with. A job at home can be beneficial with the no travel, no shower, no morning get up and go, let alone the job itself. But if the second one is better pay could you perhaps afford a car service to at least take that out of the equation. More cash gives you more options which may allow you to work around some of the effects of Dys. My only word of caution would be to remember that Dys isn't a case of mind over matter (I often forget this myself)and pushing yourself can be harmful in the long run. Having said that, I truly understand the need to try. I don't think my waffle really helped much sorry. I do hope that whatever you choose it works out for you. Let me know how you go. Good Luck :)

  2. Wow Michelle you bring up so many good points. I guess it is all of the above: the income, the desire to keep my resume relevant, and the social factor of having coworkers again. With any luck maybe the perfect job will come my way someday. Ideally I would be able to work from home the majority of the time with the option to come into the office now and then. As for the money I would just like to have a living wage that compensates me fairly for the time I put in. Benefits would be nice too but it seems like most telecommute opportunities are independent contracts that don't provide benefits. Looking back my last job editing really was ideal except I was missing the social interaction working from home. And you're right, dys isn't a case of mind over matter! Actually it's funny you say that because I spoke those exact words to my mom the other day. I will keep you posted on what happens. Thanks for your support! You are infinitely wise and I welcome your input anytime! :)