Your Employment and IBS: Part One
Working with IBS sucks hard. Depending on what kind of job you do, it may be easier to manage in some types of work and more difficult in others. I can only share my personal experience. That said, I have worked two types of jobs while struggling with IBS and let’s just say that these jobs couldn’t be more different. This helps me provide a commentary on a variety of struggles and obstacles that you can run into at the workplace. I’m sure that with all of the different types of work people do, there are more difficult situations than you can shake a stick at. But, for the sake of time, let’s just take a look at my ‘one type of job’ and look at the problems associated with that one. I will complete the tale with an explanation of the ‘other type of job’ in another article.
War in the nether regions
Before becoming a social worker, I worked at one of the world’s largest financial companies. This was as corporate as corporate can be. You know the deal, nice accommodations and benefits, good salary, but not much freedom to take care of ‘personal business’, if you catch my drift. For those of you who haven’t worked in a CUBE before…it is a little like being put in a mildly comfortable box to work your eight plus hours a day. Not exactly comfy. Oh, people try to make their CUBES comfortable. They hang pictures of their family on the wall, awards they’ve won at work, Christmas cards, stupid jokes, blankets, fans…etc. etc. etc… Nevertheless, there really is no way to relax, what with the cube and MEETINGS ALL DAY LONG. So here we come to the primary IBS difficulty in Corporate America…the MEETING. What are you supposed to do when you have to be in a meeting for four hours and you have to go to the bathroom seven times? Kind of embarrassing, kind of frustrating, kind of uncomfortable and all kinds of hassle. You are EXPECTED to be participating and present in the MEETING. Yet, you have World War III going on in you nether regions. What did I do? I suffered. I unnaturally held myself as long as I could, so that perhaps I only had to leave three times rather than seven. I found myself trying to evaluate just how many bathroom breaks was socially acceptable under these conditions. Was it two? Could I get away with four? STRESS MAN. I know you feel me. I did find that the medication Levsin worked rather well for these situations, but they still occurred. I got a little flexibility by telling my boss that I had another type of stomach problem that was less…uh…well…it didn’t have the word BOWEL in it. The plus to working in this environment is that there are bathrooms everywhere and except for the MEETINGS, you can pretty much get up to go to the bathroom when you need to. If you learn to be sneaky about it and know your routes. You know, ways to get to the bathroom so that your BOSS doesn’t see you.
We are talking about survival here folks. Trying to focus and do a good job while employed full time is hard enough for folks with no IBS. I will talk about the challenges of working in social work environment in my next article.
Is gluten a trigger for you?