“Tell Them Right Away About Your Crohn’s.”
From frequent bathroom breaks to sick days, your schedule can be dictated by the disease. Being upfront with your boss can ease some of the stress.
Choosing to disclose your Crohn’s disease to your colleagues can be hard to do—but it’s even harder to keep it from them, say these four professionals. Discussing your situation right after you’re hired can help prevent misunderstandings that could negatively affect you and your career.
Joel: The advice I would give to others disclosing your Crohn's to your bosses at work, is to tell them as soon as you get there.
Alicia: Typically, when I'm working on new projects or endeavors with people, I try to disclose it right away just in case it would impact any aspect of the project. Whether it be timing or scheduling or needing to take a break or having access to a bathroom. I just try to put that out there as soon as I can, just so they're aware and I'm more comfortable moving forward with the project.
Alicia K.: There are times when I feel shy about this disease, but when I think about my profession, when I applied to nursing school, I wrote about my experiences in my essay. There was no way that the people on the other side of reading it were not going to know.
Marcus: One of the hardest things about trying to manage the condition at work, is making sure you have the right foods with you. A lot of times when you're at work and they have cafes or these little dining facilities that may or may not have good options for you. Whether it be you make your food the night before, or the day of, and bring it in to work, so you have those options that you know you can have.
Joel: Before I had the ileostomy, I wouldn't tell anybody. There would be days, I would feel fatigued and tired, and I would just call out. To them they're looking at me like, why is this person calling out now? They don't know what I'm going through. Now I just look like someone that doesn't want to do their job.
Alicia A.: When I was working and I suddenly got so sick that I was hospitalized and I needed surgery, I wish that I had been a little more upfront with her then about the potential time off that I may need. But I feel like I could have been treated with a little more compassion, because she let me go via a voicemail.
Alicia K.: I felt like it was important to be honest, because why was I going back to school for nursing, in my early 30s when I had a different career? So that question would always come up, oh, why are you becoming a nurse? I couldn't make up something. I had to say the things that have happened to me and why I'm interested in this field.
Joel: If you tell them as soon as you get there, they know your diagnosis and know what you go through, they will understand or at least try to empathize with the fact that you have that and try to work with you.