Health and the Job Hunt: On Blood Sugar & Carbs & Me
One of the things I admire about many LIS professionals and librarians on social media is that they often discuss their own physical and mental health challenges. Their candor helps others. I have learned more from their stories and about conditions I would otherwise know nothing about and I am grateful for their time and efforts. Last year one of my editors wrote on Deep Vein Thrombosis and the Workplace and another on Job-hunting and interviewing when you have a disability. My own challenges include a previous issue with loose tissue in my throat that for awhile required me to sleep with a CPAP machine, vasomotor rhinitis and several skin sensitivities, but the greatest health challenge I have had occurred after my two miscarriages this past year. I was diagnosed as Type-2 diabetic. Though my sugars had been high before they were steady and managed well, or so I thought. Immediately after my second miscarriage they shot up to an a1c of 6.8! That was in February; by April it was down to 6.4 (below diabetic level) and in August it was 5.8. While I am relieved it is going down the truth is I will never be able to eat the same way again. I was raised a carbovore, so cutting back on breads, sugars, pasta, rice, cakes, cookies and all else that makes mealtime so pleasurable has been difficult. In my case I still need to eat carbs every meal but just not that many.
So how does this relate to job hunting? Everything.
- Health affects what we can do as well as what we choose to do.
- Health affects our ability to complete projects, job applications, etc to the best of our ability.
- Health is something we live with and experience that is often not seen by others and yet affects everything we do.
As I mentioned in my article, Why I Quit My Library Job and Why I No Longer Want One, “my health has improved since leaving the job- my blood sugar is down, I no longer use a CPAP machine at night, etc. I do not miss the 2 hours commuting each day, waking up early or collapsing on weekends. I like having more time to be physically active for hours on end.” Focusing on my health as a priority changed the types of jobs I was looking for. In the past my main concern was having health insurance coverage and I focused on that. Now my concern is having time to focus on my health. Now that I have the time I walk more and more times per day; I eat well at all meals and enjoy them. I also will never work another job that adds unreasonable levels of stress to my life.
I knew that if I stayed working with a long commute my health would not improve, even though I had a great health insurance plan. I did not have much time off and all time off was under one umbrella, so if I did use the health insurance to see my doctor I was losing time for vacation, which is also necessary for maintaining good health. I decided that the cost to my health holding onto the job was not worth having the insurance. I saved and then was able to pay out of pocket for insurance for awhile. I don’t want to mislead anyone into thinking I am living well. We still work hard and at times we are flat broke, until we sell the house we are flipping, but the time I am able to spend on my health issues has made the lack of income worth it. In the end all we have is our health and selves, I wanted that to be a priority before any job.
So what can you do?
- Prioritize: Figure out what you need in a job and life situation, sit down and think about it, then make a best-case scenario list. This will help you narrow down whether or not you need to search for a job/new job or can make the current situation work better for you. Some people can make their current situations work.
- Get Help: Reach out to friends, bosses, colleagues, Twitterverse, any group or individual to lighten the load and assist you when you need help. This includes in the job application process. Find someone, if you are job hunting to be your job buddy, on the lookout for jobs for you and who can help you with the cover letter, resume and anything else!
- Seek Care: this is different than getting help, this is seeking out trusted medical professionals who will help treat your illness with compassion, care and who are good listeners. The difference a doctor or nurse can make is vital to helping you live your best health. Talk to your librarians about what free resources are available in your community.
- Job Hunt: If it fits your priorities seek out a better situation by job hunting. Research the benefits that different organizations offer and remember the job hunt is in no small part to get you to a better place for living, not just to find any job. You want to be healthier and happier with any new job. The job is not the end goal, the lifestyle it offers is.
There is no one right answer or solution. There isn’t for anything. Though I hope my story can help it is still my story and as such, has limitations on how much it can help others. Here is hoping even one person is helped. Good luck on the job hunt and wishing everyone a safe, comfortable environment!