When it comes to getting a job it can be very hard work, filling in job applications and attending interviews
can also be very daunting. In this piece I will be writing about my experiences of combining a full time job with treating and living with psoriasis.
Filling out application forms
I always debate whether I should include on applications that I have psoriasis, as I get caught up with whether it will hinder my chance of actually getting an interview. However, because I have regular check-ups at hospital and doctors appointments, which I would need time off for, I do tend to include it as I know it would be something that would impact my job.
From my experience I have found when including psoriasis on my application, at interview
the company will often ask about me about it and you can explain about the time off you would need then. For my check-ups I require an afternoon off work as I have my appointment with dermatologist followed by different tests to ensure my treatments are all working ok.
I truly believe that if you are offered a job after you have explained what time off you would need it is very likely that the company would be willing to support you as they are already aware. Obviously, including psoriasis on your job application is something which can be debated, as not all jobs would be affected and depending on the severity of your psoriasis it may not be relevant.
Psoriasis at work
As the saying goes, I believe honesty is the best policy. With each job, I have used the opportunity as a chance to explain what psoriasis is and from the very beginning of my job I was very honest with my colleagues about things I may struggle with.
Luckily for me, at my last office job, my boss was wonderful and really understood how important it was for me for my psoriasis to be under control, which was vital as I had a lot of time off work throughout my employment. For example, when having a flare up or when I needed to start new treatments. A psoriasis flare up for me also means I have tonsillitis, so this wasn't great when it came to having time off. Of course there are many benefits to the employer if my psoriasis is under control as I would be able to concentrate better, would be less agitated and would need less time off.
Although the company I worked for was great, I knew I hadn't quite grasped a perfect balance of work and living with my psoriasis and when my employment there came to an end, one of the main things I realised was that for me it would be much better for my health if I was to try and find part time work to allow me gain a good balance of working and living well with my psoriasis. I now work 27 hours a week in a school and find this much more manageable and my psoriasis hasn't been a problem at all. This is due to the fact have a lot more time to myself.
Having the school holidays off gives me a chance to relax and recharge and also gives me an opportunity to have time to moisturise a lot more thoroughly and ensure I have enough time to look after my skin. This has also had a positive impact on my hospital appointments, as having my skin under control means I need fewer check-ups and also I can arrange my check-ups around my holidays.
In a school, one of the benefits of working with children is that if they are unsure about anything they will ask. When they ask about my skin, I explain what psoriasis is and they accept it and this can be a very different attitude to how some adults can be. The school environment was also a familiar one to me as I had attended as a pupil, so many of my colleagues were already aware of my psoriasis and support the work I do outside of my job. For example, writing about psoriasis and raising money for charity, which meant I had very few worries when beginning my job.
Finding a balance and deciding whether a full time or part time job is best for you or whether it is easiest for you to work mornings or evenings, for example, can be worth exploring, as this can have a huge impact on finding a good balance.
It is also worth asking advice from your healthcare professional as they can often suggest whether they think you will be likely to need time off or, depending on the severity of your psoriasis, how much your treatment plan may affect your job.
There have been a couple of instances where my skin has been fine, however my dermatologist has recommended a couple of days off work to allow my body to get use to the treatment. Luckily for me, I have never experienced any negative situations in the workplace with my psoriasis, which has been great, but if you have experienced this, you should seek advice as it is important you do attend health appointments and check-ups as this is something you can not control.
UK/IE 2013b/00060a. Date of preparation: May 2015