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SqueakyandLiza
(@squeakyandliza)
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September 23, 2019 10:09 am  

Hi guys,

I’ve been going back and forth in my head trying to decide whether to post about this, but know there are some really insightful ostomates out there and I would truly like some opinions. 

Two weeks ago my boss came to my office and told me they were moving my position to our headquarters, which is 5 hours away. They offered me a relocation package, and a severance if I decided not to accept the relocation. My husband has a really good job where we live and he covers me on health insurance, so it was pretty obvious to me that relocation wasn’t an option. 

So now, I have 2 more weeks and then I will be out of work. I have started applying for jobs, though also think taking some time to focus on my health would be pretty nice too. 

I have one big question, and a smaller one I am reluctant to bring up. But sometimes talking through things makes them more clear...

Both of the online applications I have completed have a section stating they want to track that they are having people with disabilities apply. They say it will not be used against you in any way. They give a list of possible disabilities but specify that there may be others. They give you 3 choices—that you have a disability, that you don’t, and that you choose not to answer. I do not want to get into the debate about whether I feel like a stoma is a disability—the ADA says it is. So when filling out this form, I am struggling with how to answer. My first inclination was to say no disability, but now that I know a stoma is legally considered a disability, that would be lying. I don’t want to say yes, because I don’t want them to be guessing what my disability might be, and assuming I will be needing special treatment. So I have been saying I don’t want to answer. But I don’t really like doing that. 😕

My big question is about my medical situation, and what should I disclose. I know that @sasquatch had this question a while back when he was applying for a new job and the advice was not to bring up the stoma, which makes total sense. But in my situation, I still have an open wound that I am dealing with, and have definite surgery on the horizon. I am working on getting a second opinion on the rectal stump removal, am feeling like the jpouch is getting less likely all the time, but at least have a hernia repair surgery in my near future. I feel like when I get asked to interview for these jobs, I should be forthcoming about what is going on from a health perspective. I don’t want to give them a reason not to hire me, but I don’t want to conceal things either. 

It is just a crappy (pun intended) situation all around. I really like my job, and they knew all about my health problems. But they made the decision they needed to for the business, so looking back and wishing it didn’t happen does me no good. They encouraged me to apply for other positions at my office, but there is nothing available right now. I am on certain people’s radar for future openings, so could possibly end up back at the same company. 

I just thought I would throw this out there, to see what opinions I got back, and also to let people know what is going on.

-Liza
“May your day be bright and your bag be light.”


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Robert
(@njewell1)
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September 23, 2019 11:05 am  

Hi squeakyandLiza .

I haven't commented on here in awhile but saw what you were talking about and thought I would at least give you my opinion for what its worth . I see you could possibly end up back where you were at the same company in the future . If holding out for that possibility is financially not a problem and you would like to stay there but in another position its understandable because its always hard to start over in a new place . And like you say gotta keep another surgery in mind also so maybe a little time in between jobs would be a good time to get that taken care of . I understand your concern about the 3 questions and which way to answer but like you say  the ADA says a stoma is a disability and for me in the type of work I did called for lifting and a lot of physical type work so was hard for me to continue on . So luckily for me I was able to retire and move on .

Guess what I am getting at is Honesty is always the best policy  !

Good Luck to you ! Things seem to have a way of working out .

Subtotal colectomy , Ileostomy , Ulcerative Colitis


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john68
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September 23, 2019 11:26 am  

Liza I Agree with Robert, A good company will judge you on your CV and your personality. Let’s say that they don’t give you the job based on the ostomy! Well maybe then they are best avoided. Also being secure maybe a break to sort out health issues could be worth considering. 

ileostomy 31st August 1994 for Crohns


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Dona
 Dona
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September 23, 2019 11:56 am  

Hi Liza,

I can appreciate your dilemma. Its one thing to have the law on your side with the ADA, and another to experience discrimination personally. Especially with this, where sometimes we are fine, and sometimes not. Unpredictable.

I do think generally that honesty is the best .  But I 'get it'. Our stomas are very misunderstood! The best to you with whatever you decide.

I also think it would be great to have time to recover and heal from all this. If you can swing some me -and- my -stoma- time, that would be wonderful.

You are a thoughtful and caring person and you will come to the right choice.

Onset of severe Ulcerative Colitus Oct.2012. Subtotal colectomy with illiostomy July 2015; Peristomal hernia repair ( Sugarbaker, mesh, laparoscopic) May 2017.


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VeganOstomy
(@veganostomy)
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September 23, 2019 12:46 pm  

Liza, 

First off, good luck however this ends up.

Personally, I would answer honestly because it's better that things be upfront (i.e. in case accommodations need to be made) and also because it would make things harder mentally if you had to keep things that obviously affect you a secret. 

You do have the law on your side, and it seems like the company has already stated it will not affect the application, so I don't see what you have to lose by letting them know. 

Again, good luck with everything!

Just your friendly neighborhood ostomate.

~ Crohn's Disease ¦ Ileostomy ~


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IleosTony
(@ileostony)
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September 23, 2019 3:01 pm  

Liza,

 

The question of disability disclosure is widely debated among those of us who have had to live with disabilities, and opinions vary on when or weather to disclose. My opinion in the case of an obvious disability or one that would affect you in the job itself is to disclose. An employer that will discriminate against you and not hire you based on that information is probably not a good place to work anyway.

 

The application that asks the question of disability and gives you the choice not to answer is probably simply trying to get a tax incentive, so disclosing might even be a good thing for you. Use whatever advantage you can to land that job.

 

Finally, have you ever thought about working from home? You're a CPA, right? You can do freelance accounting. If it's not financially critical for you to get a new job yesterday, then you might be able to take the time to start building a freelance accounting business. Then you can stay home and focus more on your health without worrying so much about your stoma interfering with job prospects. Here's a page I found with a few tips on it:

 

Get Into Freelance Accounting With These 8 Tips | Xero US

 

One tip from me is to stay away from Upwork and other low-paying dog-eat-dog sites that try and streamline the process of helping clients and service providers find each other.

 

I work from home as a medical transcriptionist. None of the issues people looking for work outside the home face affect me at all. It's a huge, huge advantage.

 

Hope this helps.

Tony
Crohn's diagnosed in 1995.
Spontaneous colon perforation and emergency end ileostomy surgery in 2018.
No colon - still rollin'!
No eyesight - life still bright!
Stomaversary - December 4th


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IleosTony
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September 23, 2019 3:42 pm  

Liza, I would like to add the following: 

 

The question of disclosure exists out of fear, sometimes from bitter experience, that disclosure might be disadvantageous. The other question in many people's minds is one of conscience, a standpoint that is quite commendable. Since I do work from home, I haven't needed to say anything about not being able to see when getting a job. Sometimes it was not avoidable, but it almost always turned out okay. If you work from home, then the question of disclosure probably need never come up at all, greatly easing your mind and simplifying what might otherwise be a most likely temporary and inconsequential but nevertheless uncomfortable obstacle to surmount. It's a very personal decision with no one-size-fits all answer.

Tony
Crohn's diagnosed in 1995.
Spontaneous colon perforation and emergency end ileostomy surgery in 2018.
No colon - still rollin'!
No eyesight - life still bright!
Stomaversary - December 4th


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SqueakyandLiza
(@squeakyandliza)
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September 23, 2019 3:46 pm  

Thank you all so much for your responses.  I appreciate this time you each spent thinking about this and giving me advice. 

Going forward, I think I will answer the disability question with “yes”, rather than “prefer not to respond”.  Though I have no problem with not answering, the only thing I think is dishonest is answering “no”. 

I have no issue disclosing about the stoma, were it to come up. My biggest concern was the possible need for time off for upcoming surgery(s). Since I am aware of at least one, do I have an obligation to tell anyone considering hiring me. Ethically, I feel like I do, but I am well aware that could cause someone not to hire me.  In my less than humble opinion, that would be their loss  😂

Financially, between the severance I will get and my husband having a good job, I could wait a while and focus on health, and if I chose, possibly wait for another job at my current company. Though depending on how soon I get hired back, I would have to repay a portion of the severance. My husband is encouraging me to get out there and find something ASAP, but ultimately, he will support whatever I choose to do. 

Thank you all for confirming how I was feeling that being upfront and honest is the best way to go!!  I know things will end up how they are supposed to and I will land on my feet no matter what!!  😀

Tony, a special Thank You for the time you took to research and send me that information. I have had self-employment recommended before, but the information you gave me makes it seem so much more doable, and it is certainly something I will consider more than I have before.

Both of the jobs I did apply for, and a couple others I have seen, sound like I am certainly qualified, and confirm the thought that I was underpaid at my current job. 

So, in the meantime, I am going to keep training the co-workers they are sending up to learn everything I do, and work my bum off for my last 2 weeks and go out leaving the best impression possible!!  

Again, thanks for all the kind words!!

Liza

-Liza
“May your day be bright and your bag be light.”


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SqueakyandLiza
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September 25, 2019 9:51 pm  

Just when I was really liking the idea of having some time off and researching self-employment, I got a message from one of the two places I applied wanting to set up a preliminary telephone interview. Isn’t that always how it works??  😂

 

-Liza
“May your day be bright and your bag be light.”


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IleosTony
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September 26, 2019 6:18 am  

I hear ya, Liza. Gotta follow the money. Working from home has many blessings to it, so I encourage you to do like Jane Eyre did with her talents, save the idea until it's wanted, assuming you do land this position.

Tony
Crohn's diagnosed in 1995.
Spontaneous colon perforation and emergency end ileostomy surgery in 2018.
No colon - still rollin'!
No eyesight - life still bright!
Stomaversary - December 4th


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zhtfreak
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September 26, 2019 11:19 am  

Liza,

 

Of course that's always how things go. Good luck with the phone interviews.

 

I go the other way when people try to persuade me to work from home. Yes there are obvious benefits (no commute), but I spend enough time at home as it is, and I do better when I have to fhysically go somewhere else to work. I was like that as a student as well; I studied far more effectively if I was somewhere else because it wasn't as easy to get distracted, even if I was using my own laptop.

 

Part of that could come from having to do my first semester of jr. high from home after my ileostomy reversal. I later wrote an essay about why for me home and school just don't go together. lol

 

My last job was from home and it was a terrible fit for me, so I'm always thinking the next one will be a repeat of that.

 

Brian


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LK
 LK
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September 26, 2019 2:21 pm  

Liza...you know what I think already, but I hope you get the job you want the most! You can always start there and then continue to look into a home business, and from there, slowly gather your clientele by starting with Incomtax. Keeping the clients you want loosing the ones you don't.  Starting slowly while working allows you to be a picky!  All the best! 

Linda


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IleosTony
(@ileostony)
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September 26, 2019 2:32 pm  

Couldn't have put this better, Linda. Liza, I hope you have the chance to have a home business. A gradual buildup is a great way to go and pretty much unavoidable for such an arrangement. As Linda sagely suggests, the long-term benefits are worth the effort and the patience.

Tony
Crohn's diagnosed in 1995.
Spontaneous colon perforation and emergency end ileostomy surgery in 2018.
No colon - still rollin'!
No eyesight - life still bright!
Stomaversary - December 4th


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SqueakyandLiza
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September 26, 2019 11:39 pm  

Thanks for all the great feedback you guys. My phone interview is Wednesday at 10:30. It also sounds like there could be a position coming open at my current employer soon. The guy I sit next to got a finance job at one of our plants, so his job at the corporate office will be opening up. 

I do still really like the idea of self-employment, and plan to continue to look into it. I think I would be more driven and successful if it is something I choose to do, rather than something I rush into due to a lack of other options. And I want to take some time to figure out what my passion is. Maybe there is a niche accounting market I can lock into??  Something that excites me. 

What started out as some pretty bad news is actually turning out to be for the best, I think. I sure appreciate having you guys as a sounding board. 😀

-Liza
“May your day be bright and your bag be light.”


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VeganOstomy
(@veganostomy)
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September 26, 2019 11:53 pm  

@squeakyandliza

Good luck! I'm glad you have a few options to consider!

Just your friendly neighborhood ostomate.

~ Crohn's Disease ¦ Ileostomy ~


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LK
 LK
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September 27, 2019 1:19 am  

It's great to always figure out what you want to do in life Liza, certainly take your time doing it then there is no second-guessing yourself along the way. There is no need to hurry into anything! All around you have had so much going on in the last year that you really do need to slow down and have a good long look at things and again figure out what works best for you.🦉 you've got this Liza. For some reason I am picturing Mary Tyler Moore tossing her hat into the air! LOL! Have a great Friday tomorrow.

Linda


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dogtalkerer
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October 2, 2019 11:01 am  

vegan, how does "having the law on her side", help in an interview for a job?

why would she be mentally stressed keeping her ostomy to herself?  I am never bothered that I do not tell people about my ostomy. 

if she requires NO special needs,  why bring up the topic? 

this is a specific example, please use specific answers.


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SqueakyandLiza
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October 2, 2019 11:41 am  

@dogtalkerer

I interpreted Eric’s comment as disclosing it on the application where they ask if you have a disability. There is nowhere that they ask what the disability is. I agree that is it is probably tracked for tax incentives for the company. The comment about the law being on my side was about not discriminating against me if I check the box that I have a disability. 

It is not something I would bring up in an interview, and I don’t think anyone who commented suggested that I should or would bring it up during an interview. If I was asked about it, however, I would not lie about it. 

My other question was about if I should disclose that I know there is going to be at least one more surgery in my near future, and I feel like I got sound advice on that question. 

Thanks for your concern, Dogtalkerer. 

-Liza
“May your day be bright and your bag be light.”


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VeganOstomy
(@veganostomy)
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October 2, 2019 12:42 pm  
Posted by: @dogtalkerer

how does "having the law on her side", help in an interview for a job?

The law prevents the company from discriminating against someone based on the fact that they have a disability. 

why would she be mentally stressed keeping her ostomy to herself?  I am never bothered that I do not tell people about my ostomy. 

Just throwing out a hypothetical, but I would imagine that if accommodations for using the bathroom (or more frequent breaks) needed to be made, but someone has kept their disability to themselves, it could cause a great deal of stress if a situation arises where they would need to use those accommodations.

I was once in a situation where our office bathroom was out of order - since my boss knew that I had Crohn's and it was active, he asked if I'd be more comfortable working from home that afternoon. Had he not known about this, I would have been in an awkward and potentially embarrassing situation.  I saw no reason to hide my illness. 

if she requires NO special needs,  why bring up the topic? 

As already mentioned, there seems to be a likely tax component to this. Even if that were not the case and immediate accommodations aren't required, there could be a future reason why disclosing may be of benefit.

For example, if someone was hired for an office position, but their duties change and they would be required to be out of the office or travel more often, the employer may offer alternatives or further accommodations for these additional duties. 

If it is only a matter of getting special accommodations and none are needed now or in the future, then there really is no pressing reason why it would need to be disclosed during an interview. I just see more positives to disclosing than negatives. 

Just your friendly neighborhood ostomate.

~ Crohn's Disease ¦ Ileostomy ~


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sjlovestosing
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October 2, 2019 7:13 pm  

I agree, Eric. It's always good to let your employer know what special needs you may have. If it's possible, they will usually be accommodating.

I think I mentioned this before, but in the store I worked before I had my ostomy, the one bathroom that was there was down in the basement. I was on the second floor, had to go through the grocery section (this is an old fashioned general store, mind you), into the hardware department, down a flight of stairs, across a the area about the size of the hardware department before I reached the single person bathroom. At the time, I was experiencing bleeding and pain and needed access to the loo quite often. If someone was in there or if there was a line, all I could do was hold on. Needless to say, I was forced to leave for health issues.

Stella


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