“MyPlus is being really organised and self-disciplined” – Rachel and Diabetes
I’ve had type 1 diabetes since I was 10. By the time I was applying for graduate jobs I was well practised in managing my condition and never ever thought of it as a barrier. The regular monitoring of blood sugar, food intake, insulin injections and exercise is just something I hope I’ve mastered after 38 years.
My career has taken me from retail, healthcare and now into education in a variety of roles. I’ve never felt the need to tell potential employers I have diabetes but once I’ve started a job I’ve always told my boss and immediate team. There are times when I have a hypo (my sugar drops too low); it’s good to have colleagues who are happy to run off and get you a Mars bar if you need it, or for them to understand why you are suddenly drinking a carton of fruit juice in the middle of a one to one meeting!
At times when I’ve been really busy at work, running from one thing to another with little time for lunch I have to remind myself that I’m not going to be any use to anyone if I don’t look after myself first.
My advice is to be open to questions about your condition. I used to get embarrassed talking about it but I realised colleagues are genuinely interested and there are a lot of misunderstandings. Everyone’s condition effects them in different ways so it’s best to be honest with your immediate colleagues about how it might affect you and what you might need.
The main barrier I have faced is when I applied to do some volunteering work overseas in my 30s and was rejected outright because of my diabetes. It was (and remains) the only time in my life my condition has stopped me doing anything. Once I got over the disappointment I decided to go travelling on my own for a year instead. I wasn’t going to be beaten.
What is my Plus? Managing my diabetes has meant I’ve had to be really organised and self-disciplined – skills I’ve certainly utilised in all my jobs (and travel plans!).