7 Moments Every Chronic Illness Patient Has When Applying for a Job

Here’s everything you need to know about how I handle my business.

So here’s a fact: I’m out of contract. Let’s not call it unemployed. Because between my freelance writing and the book, I think I still retain some rights to this limbo status. But also, let’s be real and recognize that my life right now is all about the resume, the cover letter, and WORKING that professional network I’ve been building for the last ten years.

Instead of moseying my way back into the freelance arena, I’ve decided this time around that I’m actually more interested in a full-time gig. I really loved working for Global Genes for the last five years and would love to find a similar organization in need of a blog manager/copywriter/marketing consultant. So I’ve put up a website (ilanajacqueline.com) with my online resume and started reaching out.

With the last few years of my professional life spent working as a patient advocate, I’m pretty much “out of the closet” when it comes to my chronic illness. But some of the positions I’m looking at aren’t in healthcare and so there’s been some new and weird situations I’ve found myself in that maybe you can relate to.

1.. The “Does This Count as a Skill?” Moment

Technically I micromanage an entire nervous system on the daily. I mean, this ship does not run without el capitano. That makes me a spirited and results-oriented team leader, right?

2. The “I’ve Spent my Career Working From Home and Have No Professional Wardrobe” Moment

I mean what is “business casual” anyways?

I’ve spent the last five years working in tank tops and yoga pants. I can’t exactly wear that on an interview, can I? Do you think I could fashion a black bathrobe into looking like a blazer?

3. The  “Is My Disease Management Easier if I’m Hourly or Salary?” Moment


If I’m hourly I can lock down a certain amount of time to devote to work and not have to worry about the stress of “always working.” But then if I’m salary I can have even more flexibility in my schedule so I can actually make it to doctor appointments in the middle of the afternoon.

4. The “Should I Stick to Employers Familiar with Rare/ Chronic Disease?” Moment

A rare disease organization was great for employing someone who actually had a rare disease. But I have a lot of background in lifestyle, luxury and beauty/style writing and it’s SO much fun. Might be a bit hard to explain disease-related absences or interferences with a more mainstream company though.

5. The “Realizing Telecommuting is a Deal-Breaker” Moment

This is where the magic happens.

There’s no way I’m going to be working from a public office bathroom cubicle during flares. And how am I going to carry my stationary IV pole from meeting to meeting?

6. The “Interviews are Stressful” Moment

This one isn’t specific to having a chronic disease. But there’s no denying the stress of job hunting will take itself out on you physically. Personally messaging all 4,000 of your LinkedIn connections will most definitely give you a migraine if you try to do it all in one sitting.

7. The “Explaining Why Your Disease Won’t Interfere with Your Duties” Moment

How can you work when your sick? Pretty much in the same way you can work when you have a child, or are responsible for an elderly parent, or have any life outside of your job. You may have human moments, but you’re going to work your ass off.


Cool. Glad we could have this chat. Don’t forget to link in with me!

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