Jump to content


Photo

Share Your "before N" Career And "after N" Career


  • Please log in to reply
15 replies to this topic

#1 Arrow2

Arrow2

    Member

  • Members
  • 17 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Roseville mn
  • Interests:Photography, dogs, and keeping my day job.

Posted 25 January 2013 - 08:56 PM

I've worked in the same field for 15 years, but the last two have been a real struggle because of what I now know to be narcolepsy. I feel like I have been failing in small steps over that time. Looking back now, my career opportunities are very different than they were two years ago.

 

I have just begun a medical leave from work and I am going to spend time considering different career paths

 

I am very curious to see how many people switched careers (or stopped working altogether) after being diagnosed with narcolepsy and why (or why not)l.

 

My answer would be something like this:

 

Before N Job:  Project Manager for large transportation-related planning projects.

 

After N Job: TBD

 

Reason: I switched my job because the length and complexity of the projects did not fit well with the unpredictable schedule and lack of concentration that narcolepsy brings. I took my new job because it provides the flexibility and "bite-sized" work tasks that I need now.

 

Anybody want to share their career changes (or lack thereof)?



#2 munky

munky

    Member

  • Members
  • 213 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:near Little Rock, Arkansas
  • Interests:Too many to list. It takes up too much space.

Posted 26 January 2013 - 12:20 AM

Well, I can't really say "before N" or "after N", but my current job is more boring than watching grass grow, which makes it difficult to stay awake. So I decided to go back to school and get a programming degree. I love programming, and I think the mental stimulation of figuring out how to make something work will make it easier to stay awake.

 

However, I made that decision before the narcolepsy diagnosis, so I don't know if it counts. And, as I think I've said before, the diagnosis was only a couple of months ago, but I'm pretty sure I've been showing symptoms of narcolepsy pretty much my entire life.



#3 Megssosleepy

Megssosleepy

    Member

  • Members
  • 433 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:DreamLand USA

Posted 30 January 2013 - 04:18 PM

I can't say anything about a before, have had N since b4 working age.  

 

I can say that working in the restaurant industry was way better for my EDS, and the hours were better for sleeping.  I was up running around and busy busy.  I would go to bed late and sleep in all day if I wanted to.  This was not good for my N but it worked pre dx.

 

Now I work at a very boring unstimulating desk job.  It was okay while I was in college but, now its even worse.  I am not sure where I am headed next, sadly I am kind of too tired to think about it!  Hopefully soon I will figure something out!



#4 sk8aplexy

sk8aplexy

    Member

  • Members
  • 345 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:IN
  • Interests:Balance & Proportion of Tacos. Care & Respecting. Pools & Concrete Skateboarding. Observing & Contemplating. Future & Traveling. Technology & Evolving. Philosophy & Words...

Posted 30 January 2013 - 10:51 PM

hmm.  Being that I couldn't lift my arms while being tickled when real young, maybe my paper route, yet I doubt it was prior.

 

Before the diagnosis though at 30, I'd never managed a fulltime job.  Had many part time, random jobs, some short term intense ones.

Computer Technician (3 months, a few times, ~30 hours a week)

Computer Builds I sold a few of

G.I.S. Mapping & Data Entry

DishWasher

Computer Support Short term few day Contracts

Drove the late papers around town for local newspaper

Concrete Skatepark Construction (a few different jobs, working full time plus overtime for a couple weeks on one job and a couple of months on a other)

Concrete Skatepark Design (would be my career, but the hurdles and buracreacies within both the skater communities and government/politics, is too stressful)

 

So, really for the most part, prior to diagnosis and still; I've lived at home with my Mother who I help out as she helps me out.

Cooking

Gardening

Shopping

House Maintaining

 

I'm 32 and have nothing in my future plans, besides being.



#5 misssleepy

misssleepy

    Member

  • Members
  • 5 posts

Posted 09 February 2013 - 10:08 PM

Well before N dignosis, I did not work I was 12. I have changed my job choices due to it now. I was in school to for P.R., when I realized that was not my best choice. I moved to teaching with a minor in sign language hoping that would involve enough constant movement to keep me awake. I have been a nanny for 7years now. I have dicovered families with more than two kid seems to be enough of a challenge to keep me awake and at my last job two of the kids were young enough to still nap so when they napped I did too. Now, I am a personal assistant and a nanny and I enjoy the hustle and bustle of it and I get a hour lunch and nap most day during my lunch. ( disclaimer all families: I have ever worked for know I have N/C and that I take stimulates)



#6 Arrow2

Arrow2

    Member

  • Members
  • 17 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Roseville mn
  • Interests:Photography, dogs, and keeping my day job.

Posted 10 February 2013 - 10:26 PM

I'm 10 days into a 90-day medical leave now. The job I have waiting for me is 90% desk job, full of technical writing and analysis based on interpretation of complex US DOT guidelines. The other 10% is presentations to things like City Councils and running public meetings. I work in the private sector and competition for work between companies and between coworkers within my company is intense. I hope I get a good med / life style changes combination going so I can go back to that job. The way I feel right now, my ability to go back is in question. Hard to be at your best when all you want to do is sleep and when u r awake concentration and short term memory is bad...



#7 DeathRabbit

DeathRabbit

    Member

  • Members
  • 1,341 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Rocket City, USA
  • Interests:Music, video games, exercise, hookah, not feeling like crap

Posted 11 February 2013 - 04:00 PM

I used to be the brilliant programmer everyone went to for help. I didn't have a ton of experience, but I could figure anything out given time. Now, basic scripting can be a trial. The self-loathing that generates is massive.



#8 HiredandFired

HiredandFired

    Member

  • Members
  • 4 posts

Posted 20 February 2013 - 10:51 PM

My job is very similar to Arrow. Technical writing, meetings, and training sessions. I am 28 and I honestly don't know how I'm going to make it to retirement. I'm kind of conceited; I know I'm smarter than most of my peers. However, the lack of motivation due to N usually gets me slapped with the "lazy" stigma.

"You have the potential to do SO much more!"

What an inspirational quote...

#9 Arrow2

Arrow2

    Member

  • Members
  • 17 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Roseville mn
  • Interests:Photography, dogs, and keeping my day job.

Posted 27 February 2013 - 04:49 PM

Fred - Right there with you. I hear that same quote and used to say it to myself all the time. I just got diagnosed with N this month, so am still trying to absorb what it means. It helps to have a reason for what's been going on, but over the past 5-10 years (I'm 44 now) my career path has slowly shifted from "I can go as far as I want" to "Can I keep my job?" Pretty freaking humbling (like deathrabbit said) and scary. I am having trouble seeing how I am going to navigate the road ahead.

 

I'm working on lifestyle changes and will start a new med (concerta) in two days. I still have 2 months of medical leave to get some kind of foothold established. I will work hard and remain hopeful.



#10 stevey275

stevey275

    Member

  • Members
  • 6 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Toronto, Ontario
  • Interests:Cycling, climbing, hiking, camping, outreach & activism, mountain biking, snowboarding

Posted 03 March 2013 - 07:38 PM

Arrow, thanks for the post - I'm in the same boat as you, but am on month 6 of sick leave from work still trying to find a med combination that makes me generally functional, and stressing as much about what I will do when that happens as whether it will  :)

 

So, like many people above I have done a variety of jobs generally over-tired (worst was night shift at a hotel!). But I think more relevant to the question you are asking (and to the one that I have been asking myself since the diagnosis in December) I have worked for the last 5 years as an environmental scientist specializing in remediation. I am a field person, which means that I have to drive a LOT for work (sites can be 10-12 hours away, or nearby, but there is no guarantee where), and I am either supervising a drill crew (heavy equipment, risk of hitting buried utilities, etc), or am working solo (which means that I am the only person there to make decisions, deal with problems, and ensure the work gets done on budget). It also requires a lot of overtime (65-80 hour weeks are the norm). I was great at my job, but basically am redundant now because I cannot be sure of getting to sites, and even on meds it is unlikely that I will be able to pull a 12 hour day on site doing physically exhausting work and then drive home 1-2 hours, not to mention compromised decision-making abilities, etc. At the same time, I am now really niched into this field. 

 

Option b is to ask my company to "ground" me, which means office work (reporting, data entry, billing, etc.), which is understandably a bit of a concern both because it will be all the more difficult to stay awake (without the potentially disastrous consequences of being in charge of a site), and because having spent most of my career out of doors I really struggle emotionally with staring at a computer all day (I'm the sort of person who still doesn't have home internet or cable because I find them boring...). That, and reporting usually requires really long office hours as well because of tight client deadlines. More complicated is the process by which my industry works - basically, project managers choose from the field person roster and select who they would like on their projects. We are salary, but have to use vacation or banked hours if we don't get 40 hours of work per week. If I cannot do overtime I will be at the bottom of the roster and have trouble getting enough work to make my salary. Further, the company was entirely unsupportive in the year prior when I was insisting that it was dangerous for me to be driving (I went on sick leave after hitting another car on a major highway when I went into their lane while dozing... the next day they were insisting that I should drive to another site) so I have very little faith at this point in their being understanding as far as taking planned naps, scheduling, and so on.

 

Which leaves me thinking half-jokingly to myself "what do I want to be when I grow up (again)?". My boyfriend really likes self-directed options like small businesses (e.g. leading bike tours, produce delivery by bike, etc). Not things that will have me rolling in money perhaps, but which will provide an income and allow me to run my own schedule. I am hopeful that I can find something with telecommuting options, flexible hours, varied work, and preferably no deadlines (or at least really spaced out ones), but I have no idea what jobs might have these options, be open for someone with limited experience outside of remediation work, and actually be hiring. I have thought about things like communications, event planning and organization, or outreach (all of which I have some volunteer experience in). But generally I find that I have more questions than answers on this front so it will be interesting to see what answers others can give.

 

@DeathRabbit - I hear you... Two years ago, even with exhaustion but a heck of a lot better than more recently I was really awesome at my job, getting promotions and in charge of training new field staff. Now I'm useless at even the most basic parts, and where I find that really difficult is having the confidence to go to a totally new job and believe that I will perform really well while on probation. It is frustrating how much it erodes even the most basic thinking and turns familiar tasks into challenges. 



#11 DeathRabbit

DeathRabbit

    Member

  • Members
  • 1,341 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Rocket City, USA
  • Interests:Music, video games, exercise, hookah, not feeling like crap

Posted 04 March 2013 - 05:08 PM

IRL people wonder why I am emo. It's nice to talk to ppl who get it. Normies just don't know what it's like to have your life completely ruined by an invisible force you can't control. And the fact it's a slow burn makes it even worse. I think this is just what I get coming to me. I was probably too arrogant and prideful in my intellect or something so God/Karma/The Universe decided to rob me of it at a painfully slow rate. I looked down on all the ignorant, uneducated, stupid people, frequently made comments on how they shouldn't breed, etc. I enjoyed wrecking the misguided notions of those less intelligent. I guess I've learned more than anything else to never forget that life can choose to torture you mercilessly at any moment and drop you lower than those you look down upon. Arrogance is a self-inflicted wound. If I had spent my good years learning to be a person instead of an asshole, perhaps I would be coping successfully with this disease and my other issues (anxiety, headaches, depression). On bad days like today, I just mainly lament I haven't had the good fortune to die yet.



#12 Arrow2

Arrow2

    Member

  • Members
  • 17 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Roseville mn
  • Interests:Photography, dogs, and keeping my day job.

Posted 09 March 2013 - 08:38 PM

Stevey - Thank you for your post. It really helps me to know other people out there are struggling with the same thing and also using the same thought process to try to see a path forward. This situation we find ourselves in is so complex with health, meds, diet, office politics, reputations, income implications, potential disability and many other variables in play at once. I am thinking like you, trying to outline the options and taking my best guess at the ultimate outcome of them. I have 3 different options in my head for returning to my current job. The last option is not returning to my current job. Unlike you, I haven't gotten to the point of actually considering what else I could do -- I guess that might be next.

 

As far as your current position goes, I am a project manager and pick teams to work on my projects (and this does involve picking field people too) and have been in this role for 10 years. Your evaluation of the effects on N on your place on roster appears to be very logical and in my experience it is probably correct. We always need to have hope and keep trying different treatments, but I think its important to be rational and not be afraid of really looking at the reality of the situation. It appears you have done this. I am also in a very niche-like segment of my profession (I work only on Airports). I did the same kind of evaluation of how my superiors are going to look at assigning me the PM role on projects going forward and my conclusion was similar to yours...



#13 Tre

Tre

    Member

  • Members
  • 26 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:South Jersey
  • Interests:Video games, Warmachine/Hordes, Knitting, Board Games, Hiking, Foreign Languages, Biology, Math

Posted 15 March 2013 - 07:51 PM

Before N I had worked as a Pharmacy tech while I went to college full time.  I worked as a petroleum Chemist for a few months and then I became a teacher (in the city...it's a whole different animal then the suburbs)

Now I'm sort of stuck on disability retirement.  Really wish I could do something.  But when I was working that was all I did except sleeping and eating(here and there)

Looking at Death Rabbit's post below.  I have some coding skills and have some friends in the field but I would be so afraid at a computer screen all day....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz......  I used to do Basic, QBasic and Visual Basic.  Got HTML and CSS.  but man just looking into JAVA lately and my husband says..."If you were serious you would spend more then a few minutes."  I think he really tries but seriously doesn't get that it's putting me to sleep.  I think it's cause I was the kind of person that read textbooks cause they were interesting instead of fiction,,,,,ahhh before N

I used to be the brilliant programmer everyone went to for help. I didn't have a ton of experience, but I could figure anything out given time. Now, basic scripting can be a trial. The self-loathing that generates is massive.



#14 exanimo

exanimo

    Member

  • Members
  • 216 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Alaska
  • Interests:Snowboarding, reading, writing, poetry, hiking, camping, college, art, anthropology, history, biology, anatomy &physiology...

Posted 16 March 2013 - 08:12 AM

Well I was diagnosed with N last year, at the age of 20. So my only job before N was my first job, working as a private in home caregiver for a woman with alzheimer's. This was a great job, and I loved it. It was difficult because it was a bit of a drive from her house. But I was living with her at the time. It was also difficult because it was the first time I was ever 'out on my own' (I was 18). I was not only out on my own, but now responsible for an elderly woman. The stress of that I think, is what really got to me. I started having episodes of HH and sleep paralysis. I also had terrifying dreams that I could not wake myself up from. Most of these were HH, but some of them were just dreams too. I only ended up doing this for about 8 months before I told the family I couldn't anymore. 

 

So then I interviewed with countless assisted living homes (I have my CNA). I got a job working with an agency who does in home respite care and chore services for people with Alzheimers (the chore services are not always with clients who have Alzheimer's, anyone over 65 who qualifies can receive chore services). So I've been doing this job almost two years, while going to college. I'm almost done with my prerequisites for the BA nursing program, but have probably another year. 

 

My current job is great, because it is flexible. I have respite and chore clients, who work with me on schedule changes. I'm often late to work, but most of my clients don't mind. I have had those in the past who did though, and that was really hard! I don't know why, but I'm chronically late to everything. Doesn't matter what, I am just always late. Especially things in the morning! But the job also requires a lot of driving. One of my clients lives 17 miles from me, and it's not bad getting to and from there but we go out to a neighboring town - which is about 17 miles one way as well. Driving to and from twice, is really hard. Thankfully, this is only one day a week! But the rest of my clients it's not so bad. The chore services keeps me moving, so I never get tired. Some days I am slower than others, but I've never had issues since I'm always on my feet. I'm a good cleaner, and so the only real issue I've had with chore services is that sometimes my client's are less than 'clean' type people. Seriously, I worked for one family who not only had bad food sitting around, but the place was a wreck organization wise.

 

Respite has been good, because most of my clients' caregiver's take the respite time to go out and do errands. So I get some laid back time usually, and sometimes might take a nap if we are just watching TV. Other times I'm busy enough cooking, or taking them to the bathroom, or doing activities, that the EDS doesn't kick in too much. 

 

But I can't see myself doing this for the rest of my life. Especially chore services. It's a real physical strain, requiring lots of bending and scrubbing. Not so bad, but sometimes I think back and I'm like "I just cleaned that entire apartment/house, for 24 bucks". My mom has housekeepers, and she pays them $100 for 2 hours! I make 24 in two hours :/ But it's not really all about the money. I love getting to help people, and as long as I feel those people actually need my help, as they can't do those things themselves, then I'm happy. School is what has gotten really hard. I have withdrawn from a number of courses over the last two years, and am losing my motivation. :/



#15 andlostillgiven

andlostillgiven

    Member

  • Members
  • 19 posts

Posted 28 July 2013 - 02:55 PM

I don't have a diagnosis per se, but I have been suffering from symptoms since before I was old enough for a full time job.

Hopped around for a while, but I am now in a cozy position as a Field Specialist with an instrumentation company in oil and gas. Long long hours and lots of driving, BUT we have plenty of time to nap, flexible schedules, and our work is usually fairly engaging. It pays decently well and allows lots of time off to see Dr.s, sleep, and do what few other things I have time for haha. Only problem is, sometimes when things go wrong I've worked shifts as long as 32hrs long, frequently more than 12hrs. The up and down almost certainly worsens my symptoms, but at the same time I don't know if I could ever find such an accommodating job anywhere else. If I could deal with N better I could make a lot of money here, but I have such a hard time focusing or staying motivated when all I want to do is go sleep in a pickup truck...

#16 wakeywakey

wakeywakey

    Member

  • Members
  • 3 posts

Posted 14 August 2013 - 06:51 AM

Interesting that you say you're a project manager cuz I was thinking of doing that since it seems to have less of a need for concentration and being the actual technical expert who has to read. I definitely think I wouldn't be in the career rut that I currently am in if it wasn't for the N because I would've been a gazillion times more productive. An ideal job for me would be to either be physically moving or talking (not listening) to people. I try to maintain hope that there are options in the white collar world, like being a trainer or maybe even facilitator. I think I could do admin or program work that don't require reading/concentrating or even grammatical editing since that one sentence is about the length of my attention span. Or a manager who delegates all the work! People are always surprised that I have N because I've done well with school and work. My response is: Then imagine how unstoppably awesome I would be if I were in a job that actually gives me energy!