The future is bright
Your travels into adulthood may take you to some of life's major destinations, including moving away from home, finding a life partner and pursuing a career. Just a decade ago many individuals with CF didn't even consider these experiences attainable but, thanks to medical advances in CF treatment, you now face a horizon sprinkled with increasing options.
Today thousands of young adults with CF are setting sail toward big dreams, and facing important decisions about where and how to begin their careers. Before embarking, here are a few tips from others who have scouted the territory ahead of you.
What's your plan?
Which itinerary works best for your journey into the workplace? The answer to this question is complex and tied to several issues:
- Your interests
- Your education
- Your health
- Your goals
Only you can decide your passion, which will lead you to your field of interest. From there, however, you might want to enlist the help of your medical team in hammering out the details. Think of your healthcare professional team members – doctor, nurse practicioner, respiratory therapist and social worker – as your travel agents. Their assessment of your current health can guide you in deciding if you should seek part-time or full-time work. Maybe you would like to work for yourself? While this option provides the flexibility that your health may require, benefits – particularly health insurance – become an issue.
Your trip toward a career probably won't look exactly like your friends' journeys. Yours is a life touched by cystic fibrosis and each of your decisions along the way will be informed by that. The interview is no different.
Certainly you cover the basics for your interview. You research the company, understand the job and are ready to explain your skill set and how those talents will maximize the company's productivity. In addition, before the interview, remember to:
- Clear your airways
- Take your meds
- Eat a good meal
The question many cystic fibrosis patients have is whether or not to tell a prospective employer about their diagnosis. And, if so, when? You will have to answer that for yourself. Does your health impact your ability to do the work? Will honesty during the interview ruin your chance of landing the job? Is your diagnosis something you can discuss after an offer has been made, or even after you've begun your new position?
Electing to accept an offer hinges on several issues – some personal, others pragmatic. It is essential you understand the benefits package offered with the position, particularly health benefits. To help you make your decision, answer these key questions:
- What are the co-pays under the company's health insurance coverage?
- Is there a lifetime cap on health benefits?
- Can you choose your own health care providers?
Other items to consider before stepping onboard include the company's attitude toward job sharing, working from home and flexible schedules.
The next phase in your life is about to unfold. Your course may be made different by your diagnosis, but the goal is undoubtedly the same as it is for anyone else. You are looking for an exciting and satisfying way live an independent and fulfilling life. Go ahead. Your future is calling!
“There is nothing to fear but fear itself.”
~Franklin D. Roosevelt