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Recent diagnosis - career change?

Hi all,

For those of you in the UK, hope you are enjoying the sunshine today. I was diagnosed with MS, a couple of weeks ago now, following an ‘attack’ of numbness. Thankfully the symptoms are mostly sensory at the moment. On the whole, I feel fine, even quite chirpy, but I am struggling a little bit with the uncertainty. In the run up to diagnosis, I had started a series of counselling sessions to help me deal with confidence issues at work, and general stressing about it, and worrying about my career. These worries have since been put in perspective, but now more than ever I don’t want to feel like I’m wasting my days doing something that makes me unhappy - but on the other hand gives me very good security should things go downhill, or should I want to start a family. My mind is feeling a bit fuzzy at the moment, and I feel like I just need to sit and have a think about what to do/where to go next.

Although it is hopefully unlikely that I will go the same way, my aunt passed away 4 years after diagnosis - her experience, and what my family went through in all of that is playing on my mind.

I was wondering if others went through similar? Perhaps diagnosis gave you the push to make a career change? How did you approach it? What about security?

Thanks all,

Nicole

Oh Lord, that first paragraph could have been written by me 15 years ago!

Am I glad that I stuck with the employer I had and was not tempted to throw caution to the wind and follow my dream? Well yes, frankly, I am. Dreams don’t pay the ill-health retirement pension that I ended up having to draw 8 years later. But that is just my experience, and one person’s experience does not count for anything. I’m not you, and your life is yours to live.

Good luck with whatever you decide.

Alison

Sad experience teaches me that the salutary putting of life into perspective that is brought on by an MS dx lasts … about a month. It is amazing how quickly the habitual worries reassert themselves in the mind of the habitual worrier. So don’t give up on the counselling!

Alison

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I felt much the same back when I was first diagnosed… I didn’t bother MS and it didn’t bother me and it stayed that way (happily) for a half dozen years.

I stayed with my job - changed employers and let them know the health situation.

This worked out well for me. A decade down the line my abilities to do my job changed, but my employer (unwilling to lose a long standing member of staff) adjusted and adapted so that I still have a job.

It is a balance between how you spend your time against your perceptions of job security and your feelings about possible progression and ‘future proofing’.

It is a difficult time, but it is worth taking time over an decisions.

my diagnosis did make me change my career; I was working in SE Asia as a kindergarten/ primary teacher - quite a physial job, and I was warned that the heat exacerbates MS. (It doesn’t for me, it turns out; I’ve been back many times in the 16 years since I was diagosed.)

On returning to UK, I decided to get myself a low-stress job. But I ended up in a high-pressure, public-facing job that requires lots of travel (about 50 flights a year) and conference speaking to up to 2,500 people (next month, argh!). My employers know about my condition, are supportive. It occupies my brain and earns me enough money for a good lifestyle, able to put ££ in the bank for that rainy day all people with MS fear will come.

Of course, I’m not you.

Bruce