ANA Discussion Forum

General Category => Inquiries => Topic started by: Sharky on July 07, 2019, 04:32:37 pm

Title: Did you tell your boss/coworkers?
Post by: Sharky on July 07, 2019, 04:32:37 pm
If so, how did it go? Good thing or bad thing?

If not, why not?
Title: Re: Did you tell your boss/coworkers?
Post by: chrisabbott on July 07, 2019, 07:15:46 pm
Yes I did.  It went very well - I was able to explain that I was relieved to have found a cause for various symptoms that included fatigue and difficulty hearing, which made my job harder (I travel out of state about once a month and interview business owners as part of my normal duties).  I also asked that he not share with the team until I had a treatment plan, as I felt it would be easier to present the news in a positive light.  I wanted to give him a heads up so he could plan cover for me needing time off, as well as handle requests for "special projects" since I would not be a good candidate to take any on for a while.  He took care to find out who I should work with to get approval for my time off and short term disability benefits.

When we decided it was a good time to tell my team, he took care to let them know that he wanted them to be aware of why he was asking them to step up and take on some of my workload, and that I'd done this for team members needing time off in the past.  I let the team know that among other things, I likely would've missed some things they said &/or talked over them in meetings since I didn't realize right away how bad my hearing had got.  Everyone was awesome, calling and sending me emails in my last couple days prior to my leave to give me encouragement and best wishes.  We are all remote from each other (eight of us in seven states) and only typically chat about once a month in conference calls so it was really sweet for them to take time out of their busy days to reach out to me.

I work for a large company and have 20 years with them - I am fortunate that they have good benefits, and they are fortunate that I have served them faithfully for two decades.  I don't know that everyone would get the best response, but with FMLA available to protect most employees' status, I would think most would do well to be open from the outset.  Do you have special concerns?  I hope things go at least as well for you as they did for me.
Title: Re: Did you tell your boss/coworkers?
Post by: Sharky on July 08, 2019, 06:04:24 pm
Hi chrisabbott :-)

Well that is great. I can't imagine a better outcome! I'm happy for you.

I have a concern right now because I'm in a new position and don't want to layer "I have a tumor" on top of the usual get-to-know-you experience, but eventually I believe I will let my manager know. I guess my concern would be that they would be very kind and concerned to my face but then discuss behind my back how to replace me. Right now I perform my job with no problem, knock on wood. I am not so trusting about my situation if I were to start having issues. Who knows. I'm just curious to know how people have handled this issue.

Thanks for responding and all the best. :-)
Title: Re: Did you tell your boss/coworkers?
Post by: chrisabbott on July 08, 2019, 07:18:54 pm
I would consider very carefully if you can afford to move on/easily find another job if your current management is not understanding because who would want to work for an @hole?  (pardon the language).

When you feel ready, you might mention that you have a tumor, and it is small, should grow slowly, and shouldn't present a problem, but you want (them/management) to be aware because if circumstances were to change, you might need a bit of understanding about hearing loss during meetings.  Also, you want them to be assured that should you need time off for treatment in the future, you would be able to give a lot of notice and will keep them updated.  Let them know that you appreciate folks might freak at the thought of a brain tumor, but you now know that a considerable number of people are walking around with one, and you'd be happy to help them feel better about the excellent prospects these days.  This was something I brought up early {"some people would find this difficult to talk about, but you already know that I'm neither stir-crazy or unable to do my job; I would be glad to share positive information with the team so they will be reassured that should they or someone close to them have a similar diagnosis, they'll understand that this is something to take seriously but no need to panic."  I've always taken the approach that the sooner my manager knows about something, the easier it is for him/her to plan for it - I don't pretend I can't be replaced (when you can put your thumb in a glass of water, pull it out and leave a hole, you're irreplaceable ;o) however, I also know that its a pain to hire and train someone, and each time you hire a new employee, you don't know what you're getting - thus, it is good to be absolutely trustworthy.  I've never regretted telling the truth to those that need to know in the workplace.

I'm assuming you're in the US?  If so, once you've worked 2 years for an employer of a certain size, you have FMLA to protect your employment status, and you may have more protection in some states.  I know that isn't always a guarantee that you'll personally receive fair treatment.  I've supervised/managed quite a few teams in various business environments and would be happy to chat privately if you have special concerns that you'd like a sounding board for.
Title: Re: Did you tell your boss/coworkers?
Post by: Sharky on July 09, 2019, 09:18:24 pm
Hi chrisabbott  :) Thanks for the encouraging words! You are so right about NOT wanting to work for an _sshole. I just left one of those. ::)

I wanted to come back and share that I did have the conversation today with my manager, said basically what you suggested, and it turns out that my manager has a chiari malformation, diagnosed in 2017 after MRIs,spinal tap, etc. She understood completely and I was so surprised (in a good way) about how the conversation went. We talked a bit about how stressful and scary it can all be, and she assured me that I needn't worry about whatever may arise, in terms of keeping my job/time off, etc.

So that is just a huge load off my mind...phew.

Thanks again for taking time to reply to me. I have a variety of assorted anxieties about all of this, as we will. Now I have one less.
Title: Re: Did you tell your boss/coworkers?
Post by: chrisabbott on July 10, 2019, 07:24:38 am
Hey that is great news and kudos to you for making that leap - have you noticed it takes a little practice to mention having an AN at first?  I'm pretty open but it wasn't easy to say without a lump in my throat until I'd talked about it with a chosen few.

Anxiety about how this would impact you in the workplace could have put so much stress on you that you really do not need - its a bonus that your manager probably respects you more since you trusted her with this information.  I'm really pleased for you - good luck with the rest of this journey
Title: Re: Did you tell your boss/coworkers?
Post by: jami on July 10, 2019, 03:04:06 pm
I have been very open about mine at work. I shared with my boss and peers when i knew there was something seriously wrong. I used the story of Mark Ruffalo to provide context.

Luckily my one of my teams owns Employee Benefits Delivery where I work, so I have had an amazing amount of support.

On return to work I was very clear about needing shorter days, no late nights, only 1 team dinner when on business travel, etc. Its been very manageable (it helps that when I am tired, my eye gets squinty and my words are harder to find). ALso have to warn everyone i am NOT drunk when i stumble at 9 am...

Familiarity about FMLA coverage took a lot of the stress away, and having a great boss made a difference.

Its great to hear it went well for each of you -- an understanding boss makes a difference!
Title: Re: Did you tell your boss/coworkers?
Post by: Sharky on July 11, 2019, 10:25:20 am
Thank you all for your kind replies. :-)

Yes, I slept like a baby that night. It really was stressing me out so much, worrying about it. I am hugely relieved. :-))

I wish you the best, too, on your AN journey, and I will see you here in the forums.