As luck would have it I had my first in-person interview since loosing my job in February during Invisible Illness Week. My health issues were definitely a factor in loosing my job. And, to be very honest, I’ve struggled like most people with chronic health problems with the questions about working. How long will I be able to work? And, at times, how much longer can I keep doing this? How much more can I take?
Do you think they’d get the hint? Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net
But being rather stubborn, and having a family to support, I’ve been looking for work. I’ve had some requests for additional information, a few phone interviews, but this was the first real interview I’ve had. It’s the kind of job I have been looking for. It has all the things I like to do, involves my strongest skill set and is in the location I’ve been trying to get to. This could be the job I have dreaming of for years.
Only I have to wonder if this is the right time for it. I had hoped that without the particular work environment I had been in, without the tough commute and without the long hours my health would improve a bit. No such luck. If anything think I may be getting worse. My days seem to be non-stop fatigue, brain-fog and pain.
So I go into the interview after having been flared up for a few days, and I should preface this by saying I got a strange vibe about the interview from the first email I got from them, thinking that this should be interesting. I was right. I forgot the names and versions of software I’ve used, I forgot the title of books I’ve read. I’m pretty sure I didn’t make sense a couple of times. In general, I sounded and acted like someone with an invisible illness.
You know what? I don’t have a problem with that. I do have invisible illnesses. This is who I am. This is what happens when I’m tired and stressed.
The thing is, you can’t exactly look across the desk at the person interviewing you for a position where the ability to communicate clearly and professionally is a high priority and say, “Sorry, I am having a really bad case of brain fog right now – can we take 5 minutes? Oh and my mouth is so dry from my Sjorgern’s flaring that I may lose my voice, can you get me a glass of water? I’d get it myself but the fibro is killing my legs.” Okay, you could say it but you and I both know that you would never hear back from them. You probably wouldn’t hear from anyone else because it wouldn’t be long before people started to hear about it.
Maybe it’s time to be realistic.
I don’t know what to think right now. Obviously I didn’t do well in the interview (I don’t think they did either, but that’s a different story for another time), and I’m really not confident I could perform in the position that I’d want to. And that is so scary. As someone who was always praised for their work ethic and dedication and their ability to communicate, the fact that all of those things are basically shot to hell at this point is just gut-wrenching. And knowing that basically there is nothing I can do about it makes it even worse.
This is the time to be realistic and reevaluate where I am physically, mentally and emotionally and what is possible. I have an appointment with my new doctor next week, and that will tell us something too. Then I have a may have to change tactics a bit. It could be the kind of work I look for, it could be something that allows me to work from home. It could be having to take a step that I’m not necessarily mentally prepared for.
Just like everything else with invisible illness, I’ll take it one step at a time.