Work and Chronic Illness

Ok, I  plagiarized my title today from a blog I follow  I’m not sure how I came across Rosaline Joffe, but I relate to most everything she writes.  Particularly a recent post where she talked about singing the chronic illness blues and trying to work and fit everything in.  It’s hard to pick and choose which events to go to and where you should pass.  Creating a good balance just isn’t easy.

The topic was in the forefront with me yesterday as I sat for my annual employee evaluation at work. I am Vice President of an insurance agency that was acquired by a larger agency 4 years ago.  I sell business insurance and I have been at this position for almost 25 years – basically half my life.  This, in and of itself, is remarkable.  The organization I work for takes these very seriously and the top brass reads each and every evaluation.  All in all, everything was good.  I take excellent care of my clients and the office knows that.  I have great relationships with the staff and I actually had a very good sales year, but because most of it was due to a very large account that I was successful with, they discounted it.  The only demerits I had were due to my schedule looking “light.”  I’m always on time for meetings, and attentive to my work, but my schedule doesn’t appear busy enough.

I am partly to blame – I’m a free wheeler and tend to piggy back meetings and stop by’s with clients and don’t put everything into my computerized scheduling tool.  So I can change how I document my time, but the fact of the matter is that I’m 51, I’ve been on methotrexate for 11 years, and a biologic for longer than that. I can feel the long term effects of the medications and know that it’s made my brain a bit foggy and it’s hard to concentrate for long periods of time.  I don’t like to sit for long periods of time either.  My job involves stress which can affect my RA adversely.  While I deal only with occassional pain, the most glaring symptom that I deal with regularly is  fatigue.  It’s HARD to get out of bed in the morning, shower and get myself on the road each and every day.  By Thursday evenings, I’m beat.

This has been repeating itself for several years, I realized yesterday as I looked back on my previous employee evaluations.  I consistently do my job well, tend to my clients needs and have a great rapport with the staff.  However, the past few years, my new business sales have been lighter than previous years.  Economics has played a part – the business economy in New England has been tough.  Insurance programs aren’t a priority for business owners who are wearing too many hats.  But also my fatigue has also contributed to that I’m sure.  Lately it’s been a slap in my face and it hit me hard when I read Rosalind’s blog post last month.

So I need to seek out answers to my work dilemma.  I can’t leave a job I love with clients I love.  And yet I can’t seem to consistently keep the top brass happy.  I’m not financially in a position to get off the treadmill.  An expensive divorce and the economy has cut into my savings big time.  So this is my dilemma.  I’m singing the chronic illness blues!


4 thoughts on “Work and Chronic Illness

  1. GIRL… I don’t pray for any wisdom for you because you’re wise beyond your years. Longevity in today’s workplace is a thing of the past. If you ain’t moving up… you should be moving on. I know you love your J O B & your clients BUT “is it truly J O B love or is it Leigh’s in her comfort zone.” I think the latter. I’m not saying leave your job not by any means, however, to do something for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 YEARS IS LONG ENOUGH! Leigh got 2 spread her wings and fly! “As I’ve stated before, I can’t take it with me and I’m sure as hell not leaving any behind.” M O N E Y that is. DISCLAIMER: Don’t listen to anything I have 2 say… I’m having a professional life crisis of my own! Bridgette

    • Bridgette – you make very valid points. I think that it’s OK to be in your comfort zone if it’s still rewarding and fulfilling. I imagine that any sales manager is always going to push you more and want more, no matter how well or poorly you do. That’s what managing is all about. Pushing. My goals are lofty. And it is about money too. We all need to make money and appreciate when we have great benefits. I’m not ready to pack it in, but there are days that I do feel like I’ve had enough.

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