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Ideas Needed - Feeling Lost


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#1 sleepyinHR

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Posted 31 May 2011 - 10:05 AM

I'm new to this forum, and hope it can provide some needed advice and support. I've struggled with Hypersomnia/Narcolepsy my whole life. I was diagnosed in college which was about 13 years ago. My college degree is in Human Resources and I have worked as an HR Manager for 6 years.

The problem is as an HR Manager I am expected to enforce the rules and have disciplinary meetings when employees are tardy. Of course I struggle with this myself and am tardy frequently. My employers (2 while an HR Manager) don't understand. At first they are willing to work with me some, but ultimately it affects everything. They say I need to set a good example in order to discipline employees. It also affects my reviews and ability for raises. But the biggest issue is the constant need for apologies and excuses. I find it hard to spend most of my day sitting quietly at my desk working with no interaction with others. It has caused me to consider a change in careers because I am so miserable. I do well with conflict resolution and research and would be willing to try something else. The problem is I don’t know what direction I should look at. I worked at a vet’s office during college and love working with animals but of course need medical insurance and most vet offices cannot provide that. Being more active during the day helps me tremendously.

Does anyone have any ideas/suggestions how I can use my HR skills in a different way that would be more fitting to a Narcolepsy lifestyle? I desperately need more flexibility and understanding. I’m tired of feeling like I’m always “in trouble”.



#2 Enginerd

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Posted 03 June 2011 - 12:09 AM

I'm new to this forum, and hope it can provide some needed advice and support. I've struggled with Hypersomnia/Narcolepsy my whole life. I was diagnosed in college which was about 13 years ago. My college degree is in Human Resources and I have worked as an HR Manager for 6 years.

The problem is as an HR Manager I am expected to enforce the rules and have disciplinary meetings when employees are tardy. Of course I struggle with this myself and am tardy frequently. My employers (2 while an HR Manager) don't understand. At first they are willing to work with me some, but ultimately it affects everything. They say I need to set a good example in order to discipline employees. It also affects my reviews and ability for raises. But the biggest issue is the constant need for apologies and excuses. I find it hard to spend most of my day sitting quietly at my desk working with no interaction with others. It has caused me to consider a change in careers because I am so miserable. I do well with conflict resolution and research and would be willing to try something else. The problem is I don’t know what direction I should look at. I worked at a vet’s office during college and love working with animals but of course need medical insurance and most vet offices cannot provide that. Being more active during the day helps me tremendously.

Does anyone have any ideas/suggestions how I can use my HR skills in a different way that would be more fitting to a Narcolepsy lifestyle? I desperately need more flexibility and understanding. I’m tired of feeling like I’m always “in trouble”.


I'm not incredibly familiar with the HR infrastructure, so I apologize if my suggestion doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Can you get more involved in the training aspect of HR, or is that nearly impossible given that you're a Manager? I know that HR is involved in training for a lot of different things, and it seems to me that this would be a better way to stay awake--interspersing your days with some desk work and some presenting. Even if you're only doing non-desk work once a week, it would be better than nothing.

How are you managing your narcolepsy, otherwise? Are you medication?

Welcome to the forums, by the way!

#3 utmost

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Posted 03 June 2011 - 10:35 PM

I'm not incredibly familiar with the HR infrastructure, so I apologize if my suggestion doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Can you get more involved in the training aspect of HR, or is that nearly impossible given that you're a Manager? I know that HR is involved in training for a lot of different things, and it seems to me that this would be a better way to stay awake--interspersing your days with some desk work and some presenting. Even if you're only doing non-desk work once a week, it would be better than nothing.

How are you managing your narcolepsy, otherwise? Are you medication?

Welcome to the forums, by the way!


I know something of the situation you describe. One thing I want to mention, though, is the current job market can be tough. Please don't "burn your bridge" or do something to jeopardize you job until you are sure you have something better. don't forget insurance. Losing that is terrible. At any rate, i agree with enginerd; you need variety and something to keep you alert and motivated. Are there any processes in your department that could be improved? Can you imagine on-line training sessions that you might help develop? How about other employee focused projects- an employee wellness program or learning how to lead such a program is very relevant. Are there areas for employee recruitment or doing sessions on better utilization of employee benefits? Clearly, you cannot be late. Have you talked to your doctor about medication help? Have you re-worked the structure of your bed/wake schedule? I have always done much better with a firm schedule. Don't let this cause you to become unemployed-if you haven't been there, believe me it is much more difficult than dealing with the issues you have now. In the long term, you may need to look at using your education and skills in another arena. Have you considered working as a counselor, advsior to students, or in the health related field? Check it out. More education is always good, and the stimulation of a course can add a new dimension that you are missing now. Good luck!

#4 Asleeper

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Posted 03 June 2011 - 10:39 PM

Have you considered getting a tall desk that you could stand at and maybe a tall stool if you ever need to sit. You would also need a tall chair for others you are meeting with so they dont feel like you are looking down at them. While I was in high school I would study at a tall drawing table and sit on top of a four foot step ladder. I figured that if I fell asleep the fall would hurt. It was a good deterrent.

When I had an office job I would try to go see people in the building rather than calling so I could keep moving.

What if you started working a half hour earlier every day. Then if you were late no one would notice. You would then have the bonus of having extra time at lunch for that nap which really helps the afternoon go smoothly.

I know from my experience how valuable a good HR person is. keep up the good work,


Asleeper

#5 sleepyinHR

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 11:40 AM

Thanks for the tips. The constraints of my current job are that it is with a small company. I am the only person in my department. There is no budget or interest in training or expanding HR. I also have to help cover the main phone line all day (constraining me to a desk) and am the only one answering during lunch and at the end of the day. Therefore, I have a working lunch and naps are not something they are willing to work with. The stress can be pretty high as well especially with the economy the way it is and stress make it worse.

I am on Provigil. I had to change from Adderall because it was making my blood pressure to high. I also take Xyrem at night. I stick to a pretty regular night sleep schedule. It seems like I do ok for a couple weeks then I have a few weeks where nothing seems to help, and I just can't get enough sleep. I have some pretty bad allergy problems and every time I get sick the sleeping issues get worse. I often have times where I don't feel like I can even keep my vision focused.

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#6 narcshark

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 10:00 PM

I think that perhaps you should consider being upfront about your situation and asking for accomodations. The issue here is that your medical condition(s) are causing you symptoms that are being misinterpreted as irresponsible behavior. It also sounds like your medical issues are getting worse and yet you are doing everything you can to try and cover the responsibilities of your job, with only limited success. I think you might be better off requesting accomodations instead. For example, are you able to function at home in the evenings? Could you bring some of the work home to do then? Is there any possibility that the phones could be put into an answering machine at lunch so that you could take a nap, then be more efficient at returning the calls after lunch? Perhaps even consider taking some short term disability in order to address your health needs (if you have a policy). I hope you find some solutions. Sometimes being a manager, it's hard to disclose your needs because you might feel like you are the one who's supposed to have everything handled. But the reality is that you are an employee too, with the same rights as every other employee.

I was a manager at my job too. Shortly after I disclosed my N to my boss, I was relieved of my management duties (no, the two events were never linked in any discussion or paperwork). However, it was done in a subtle manner, as part of some other reorganization so it wasn't that obvious to others. My pay and benefits have remained the same, and I am a happier employee who is better able to manage the job that I do. My boss has told me that if I need any accomodations at all, just let her know and she will make sure that I am accomodated. I know others may have less happy outcomes, but I just wanted to share mine so you might be encouraged to consider it.

#7 SleepingPhoenix

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 10:36 PM

I think that perhaps you should consider being upfront about your situation and asking for accomodations. The issue here is that your medical condition(s) are causing you symptoms that are being misinterpreted as irresponsible behavior. It also sounds like your medical issues are getting worse and yet you are doing everything you can to try and cover the responsibilities of your job, with only limited success. I think you might be better off requesting accomodations instead. For example, are you able to function at home in the evenings? Could you bring some of the work home to do then? Is there any possibility that the phones could be put into an answering machine at lunch so that you could take a nap, then be more efficient at returning the calls after lunch? Perhaps even consider taking some short term disability in order to address your health needs (if you have a policy). I hope you find some solutions. Sometimes being a manager, it's hard to disclose your needs because you might feel like you are the one who's supposed to have everything handled. But the reality is that you are an employee too, with the same rights as every other employee.

I was a manager at my job too. Shortly after I disclosed my N to my boss, I was relieved of my management duties (no, the two events were never linked in any discussion or paperwork). However, it was done in a subtle manner, as part of some other reorganization so it wasn't that obvious to others. My pay and benefits have remained the same, and I am a happier employee who is better able to manage the job that I do. My boss has told me that if I need any accomodations at all, just let her know and she will make sure that I am accomodated. I know others may have less happy outcomes, but I just wanted to share mine so you might be encouraged to consider it.


I was a Purchasing Director when the symptoms started and I opted out and return to my previous job, due to the job constraints (I thought I was overstressed and overworked, when I quit). Now I'm requesting a promotion I have right to apply and I have prove myself for more that a year that I can do the job and even more. Still I need accommodations and my employer are not complying with my request. My EDS is nasty and they pretend I make it on time or at least half and hour late, when it takes me more than two hours to recover and get to work. Now as an Accountant, obviously get the ignorant remarks of people who have no brains, but I cannot see myself at home alone with my disability check at 40 yrs old. Some coworkers will never understand cause simply they do not want to. My salary has already being affected, so now I'm fighting to earn my living and get the help I need since it is not expensive to my employer and it is not a high risk as they want to state since I have already done it too many times to prove it.
I dunno if I'll make them give me the accommodations I need but if I don't keep fighting, no one else will. So if the job you have right now is your dream job just fight for it. Only your sleeping routine is not normal and even if you have cataplexy like me, you learn to prevent falls and recognize when your are in danger. That does not mean you are not capable nor have the brains to be the best. I only have been diagnosed for 18 months and I realize there is so much to live for, even when tired, when the night terrors can kill me, and my body feels like a noodle bowl with pain soup or my brains have filled itself with ants. I now it will be easier to give up, but to me that's not an option. I have learn to adapt and to be a different leader among my peers and the only negative feedback I have gotten to the ones that know is that they get all stressed up when I'm not around to work things out. (specifically in the morning). I don't think any of us asked for this so I just tell them that and try to make them what it feels like so they can have a remote idea. The fact that our brains are different does not make us lesser people. And remember... be as subtle are they are gonna be with you, that way you can be sure they are gonna think twice before they try to demote you or worst. The law is in your favor all you need is to play it right.