After transitioning out of her career, LLY blogger Willeke found fulfilment in a different type of work.read more
I read an article recently that discussed how people are always trying to keep too many balls in motion in their lives. Raise your hand if this applies to you—don’t worry I’m raising mine right there with you, and because of that, I recently decided to take on a lower-stress position at work by going from full-time to part time.
How did this come about? Why would I, at 33 years young, with two small children at home, decide to take a step back in my career? Did I make a rash decision that I will soon regret? Am I letting my multiple sclerosis “win? “ What about insurance? Those are just some of the questions I asked myself. But in the end, I decided it was the right decision for my family. Here are a few tips for others planning the transition to part-time.
• Have a conversation with yourself and honestly examine the job you currently have. I knew it was time to make a change when I found myself complaining about work-related stress and the impact it was having on my family-time and my health. Some people thrive on having quotas to meet and constant pressure at work. Although I don’t think it is healthy for anyone, it is especially harmful when dealing with MS that can be aggravated by stress. A sales position was no longer the best option for me, so I decided that it was time to move to a new department.
• Do not make the decision alone. When considering a big move like this, it is important to talk about what issues might come about as a result of the change, and work to figure things out with your friends and family.
• Think it through. Do not make the decision while in the middle of an exacerbation or right after being diagnosed when you are trying to make sense of so much new information. Making a big life change such as this should definitely not be a rash decision.
• Make sure it’s possible. Determine if it is possible to take on a part-time or modified schedule at work. Consider having your neurologist write a letter of support for your request. If you have a good working relationship with your supervisor, talk to them, otherwise talk to someone in human resources and see what options are available to you.
• Make sure you will be protected by insurance. Having MS, for many, means having a team of medical professionals on your side. It also means having appointments with those professionals, having tests ordered by them, and not wanting to imagine what the out-of-pocket cost would be without insurance (at least in the US). I have to maintain 24 hours per week for insurance purposes, so that is what I will be working.
• Most importantly, if you know that going part-time is the best decision for you, DO IT. Not everyone will understand and you do not owe those people an explanation. Surround yourself with people who will support you no matter what.
Please do not confuse my going part-time as an admission of defeat to MS or belief that I can’t “do it all.” I have a choice in how many hours I work, what kind of job I work, and where I work. I am exerting my power to choose and already feel a weight lifted from my shoulders.