Monday, April 7, 2014


How much information is too much information when it comes to disclosing your type-1 status in the workplace?  Typically, I haven’t gone out of my way to bring it up, however, it becomes pretty obvious when I bust out the pump to bolus for a coffee break or lunch at work, especially if its during a meeting with food provided.  Usually, people will say, “what is that?! Do you still use a pager? Are you a doctor?”  But, then they’ll notice that the “pager” is attached to me somewhere, and then give a questioning look.  I always just say, “Oh, I have type 1 diabetes, and I need to adjust my insulin levels when I eat…” and leave it at that.  People have so many different health needs and dietary requirements today that it’s really not big deal.

When I was applying to grad school, I interviewed with the director of a Health Care Administration program.  I attended a class as a guest student, and then went to dinner with him and another student to discuss the program.  Obviously, I wanted to make a good impression, so I had dressed nicely in a skirt and jacket combo, with no pockets.  I had to clip my pump to my bra, since there was no other option.  As we sit down and order our food, without even thinking twice, I reached down my shirt, unclipped the pump from my bra, snaked it up through the neck of my top, and bolused for the food I had ordered.  Then I looked up and saw them both looking at me strangely from across the table. Oh God, I thought.  I probably should have excused myself and went to the bathroom instead of burrowing down the front of my shirt… but it was too late for that.  So after three seconds of embarrassment, I just explained what I was doing and it that is was second nature for me to reach for the pump, and that I hope I hadn't made them feel weird.  They were both totally fine about and the night went on.  Oh, and I eventually got accepted to the program, so again, my faux pas that night wasn't really a huge issue.

So why is this subject of my blog post today?  I’ll be graduating with a degree in Health Systems Management in June, and my career passion stems from my personal experience with diabetes.  I am really interested in methods to improve care delivery design for those with chronic diseases, and population health, and disease management are areas in which I want to pursue careers in.  I’ll be interviewing a lot in the next few months (hopefully) and I’m concerned about striking the right note in the interviews as to why I’m so passionate about my career choice, while at the same time not looking like I’m seeking sympathy, or trying to get special treatment.  I also just don’t know if its appropriate to bring up in job interviews.  I know no employers can discriminate on the basis of a medical condition, and it is related to my choice of education and career, but it feels like one of those “don’t go there” categories…

Would love to hear other's thoughts on this!

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