When I make to work with chronic pain I feel victory or like a superhero. When I call in sick though... I feel worthless and like a failure..jpg

I and my employer at the time when I was younger were prime examples of what not to do for people with chronic pain in the workforce. I pushed through. They gave ultimatums, demoted me, threatened to demote me and much more horrible things. So what is the way to go about it?

In the beginning, this is the way it should go:

Employer: What can we do to accommodate you? Ergonomically correct furniture, keyboard or desk? Let’s call HR and get them to send someone to do an assessment and then make your office the best working space possible for you.

You: What can you bring from your own self-care to the office to help you at work cope? Can you bring an aromatherapy diffuser for your office? Can you find a space to meditate on breaks? Can you where migraine tint glasses? Can you do stretches on your breaks? Can you bring magnesium oil or other balms for use at work?

When you are not coping well,

You: Need to assess whether working full-time is working for you or not. If not, what can be done about it? Do you want a different role? Do you want reduced hours? Flex hours. Work from home if possible. You really need to assess your wants and desire and your actual capacity.

Employer: Once you have decided on your capacity you have a talk with your employer about your work capacity and come to some mutually beneficial solution. In the US they have a program that helps with partial working hours. They do not in Canada.

In the end, my decision was part-time. But certainly, my history wasn’t like this. 12 years no accommodations. More than a few demotions. Ultimatums and veiled threats. Not a good time for me to remember really. Horrible manager. But you can see how the process should be. It is possible to make our work environment as comfortable as possible for the maintenance things we do for pain at home to be able to do them at work.

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