Your Employment and IBS: Part Deux

Last updated: June 2017

In my first article regarding working with IBS, I talked about the struggles that I experienced while working at an uber corporate financial company. I mentioned that I am now employed by a Social Services Agency as a Case Worker. As you can probably guess, these two experiences pose their own unique sets of difficulties when it comes to getting through the workday during an IBS bout. Today I will discuss a unique contrary to working in Corporate Land, which is of course, working in Social Services.

Forming a plan

My current job in social work is diametrically opposed to the corporate thing. The building I work in is pretty beat up. The facilities make the corporate place look like Club Med. The three bathrooms that are available in the building are generally shared by 100 staff members and at least 50 patients and clients. All three bathrooms are regularly coughing up water and at least one is ‘OUT OF ORDER’ once a week. I’m supposing that the money available to this agency is spent on quality of care and not so much on facilities. I also spend a lot of time on the road, picking up my clients, taking them to appointment and places in the community. Anyone with IBS knows that driving for long periods during a flare up is the worst. So, with limited facilities, lots of stress and lots of driving what do we do here? When I realized what I was up against, I mapped out the bathrooms at local establishment closest to my workplace. YES…I will get in the car to get to a clean bathroom. Yes…if I am accompanying a client somewhere in the community, I generally will choose a place that I know has facilities. I am not quite as shy about talking about my IBS in this particular work environment. There are people where I work with much more serious ailments than IBS. So…I made the decision to tell my boss about my IBS. This was me advocating for myself, which I have found is a liberating experience and has becomes less and less embarrassing and scary the more I get used to talking about it. Don’t get me wrong, it is not my opening conversation piece with new clients. The plus side to this job is that I have a lot less meetings and a lot more freedom to take the time to care for myself. I can reschedule appointments if need be and can even talk about what I am struggling with.

The IBS adventure

Every job has its own unique problems for people suffering with IBS. We can only do our best to try to find accommodations and support in a particular environment. I believe IBS to be a particularly terrible disorder to have with regards to working, but with a bit of flexibility and acceptance of your circumstances, it can be done. After all is said and done, you will always have those particularly challenging days. Only so much can be done. Please find contentment in your efforts. It’s all part of the IBS Adventure. Did I say adventure? Maybe not adventure… Until next time.

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