Welcome! If you’ve found yourself on this page, the chances are you’re interested in working with a chronic illness. Whether you’re moving into work for the first time, returning to work after a leave of absence, or making changes to your career, I hope you’ll find comfort and support in the resources on this page.
To briefly introduce myself, my name is Pippa Stacey. I’m a twenty-something-year-old from the UK, and I work as a disabled writer, public speaker, and charity sector communication consultant. By working flexibly and with adjustments, I’m one of the lucky ones who can carefully balance these things alongside my chronic illness. Not everybody with my condition is well enough to work and nobody should ever be forced into unsuitable employment, but speaking personally, I’m really grateful and have so much love for the career I can manage these days. It just doesn’t always love me back…
To say that being in work with a chronic illness is tough is an understatement. It’s no secret that the world of work isn’t yet particularly aware of, let alone accommodating of, Energy Limiting Conditions. But until the day comes when we finally reach a level playing field, it’s all about learning how to navigate this tricky area and make the best of things… namely, by finding employment that’s accessible and meaningful for you.
I can’t claim to have all the answers, but my own experiences of being in work and as a subject expert in inclusive employment have taught me a lot about this area. I’m keen to share the things I’ve learned as widely as possible, in the hope that they’ll make the path a little easier for any individuals who are on a similar mission in the future. And that brings us to this page.
As you scroll down, you’ll find a combination of blog posts, YouTube videos, and social media content spanning all aspects of finding work with a chronic illness. Some of these are designed to be informational resources, others are sharing my own lived experiences that I hope will help others feel less alone. Although this page is no substitute for the targeted support the sector should be offering, I really hope these resources provide a helpful starting point!
Finding Jobs and Getting Into Work
- Here’s your one-stop guide to finding accessible work with a chronic illness. This post includes tips for searching for inclusive roles on job sites, finding adaptive schemes and mentoring, and work from home opportunities. Written in 2018, before flexible working became much more normalised!
- As a younger person with less experience, entering the world of work with a long-term condition can feel daunting and overwhelming. Here’s a webinar recording from 2021, all about finding employment as a chronically ill young person.
- If you’re unsure whether being in work is sustainable or the right choice for you, consider trying a volunteer role where you can assess the impact that different tasks have on your symptoms and post-exertional malaise. Here are some ways to find remote and accessible volunteering opportunities.
- Graduating from university with no idea what will happen next? Here are some tips for job hunting for disabled graduates, written by somebody who remembers that wobbly feeling of limbo and uncertainty all too well.
- If you’re still at university or completing your studies, you may be looking for accessible opportunities to develop your skills. Here’s a recording from a past webinar on finding inclusive work experience and internships when you have a chronic illness.
- Here’s how to create a Personal Survival Budget to work out how much income you will need to cover your costs of living. This can be helpful when initially thinking about the hours and salary you’re aiming for!
- The charity sector can be a great choice for people managing long-term conditions. Here are three of my own experiences of finding flexible work in the charity sector, including some of my slightly unconventional pathways to get there!
- Disclosing your disability can feel tricky, especially if you have a less-visible condition. This Astriid resource explores disability disclosure and shares tips for employers, but it might be an informative read for you too.
- It may not be accessible for you to attend traditional, in-person networking events, but online networking from the comfort of your safe space can open countless new doors. Here’s an introduction to my popular eBook, How To Network Online.
Looking After Yourself In Work
- Working with a chronic illness can be tough, but workplace adjustments can lessen the load you must carry. Here are some examples of reasonable adjustments tailored for people with ME/CFS and other Energy Limiting Conditions – don’t be afraid to ask for what you need in order to take care of yourself in work.
- Not specifically work-related, but here are some everyday aids and equipment that may help you to manage fatigue. The better we take care of ourselves and utilise the mobility aids that can help us, the better able we’ll be to balance the things we need to.
- Many of us have to find a careful balance between managing our growing career ambitions and our frustrating abundance of fatigue. My own experience of this led to my best friend accidentally creating a cracking metaphor – the Turtle Of Overexertion. Curious? More on that here!
- You shouldn’t have to burn yourself out and overexert yourself just to feel a sense of accomplishment. Let’s talk about the need to redefine success as a disabled person.
- As humans, it’s in our nature to always be searching for the next thing. That’s why we need to be even more aware of The Hedonic Treadmill when we’re navigating work and chronic illness.
- You should never have to justify your health needs and adjustments to an employer. But if you find yourself in that position, here are five ways that flexible working empowers people with long-term conditions.
- Stress and chronic illness are definitely not a match made in heaven. Here are five tips for managing stress and looking after your wellbeing in the workplace.
- Our day-to-day working lives can feel like a marathon sometimes. Here are some tips and tricks for managing fatigue throughout your working week.
Identifying Your Skills and Assets
- It goes without saying, but employing disabled people isn’t an act of charity or your good deed of the day. Here’s your reminder that disabled employees can add enormous value to the workplace, and should be treated as such.
- Even if chronic illness has disrupted your education or employment history, your lived experiences will have given you countless transferrable skills that employers are looking for. Here are just some of these reasons to hire people with Energy Limiting Conditions, with plenty of buzzwords you can steal for your applications and interviews!
- Similar to the above, here are five more ways that your chronic illness makes you employable. Please don’t forget how much value you can offer – any workplace would be lucky to have you.
And there we have it! If you’ve made it this far, thanks so much for reading. I hope this info comes in helpful, and more than anything, reminds you of your worth. Never forget that you are brilliant and deserve only the best. Go forth, and here’s to your own career journey!
I don’t have a Patreon or Ko-fi or any similar platforms, but if you found this page helpful, I’d be so grateful if you would check out my books and eBooks, spread the word about my work, and/or join the lovely community over on Instagram. It’d be wonderful to have you!
Where To Next?