Ch-ch-ch-changes

Big, exciting (for me) news…I have accepted a job offer!  WooHoo!  I start in a couple of weeks and have been busy wrapping things up at my current job.   I’m very excited for the new challenges and increased responsibility.

What I’m not excited for…explaining to my new coworkers over and over and over that I have type 1 diabetes.  No, it’s not because I ate too much sugar as a kid.  Yes, I can participate in birthday celebrations.  No, you do not have to treat me any differently.   It’s an insulin pump, not a pager (or camera).  Oh, your grandma had diabetes and her foot fell off? That’s nice.

I’m not very shy about my diabetes, there is nothing to be ashamed of.  However, I also don’t like to be made a spectacle of or made to feel different.  It seems inevitable at new jobs that I have to tell my story, give a cliff’s notes version of what diabetes entails, and answer the same questions again and again.  I have been very lucky at my current place of employment as one of my coworkers has Type 2 so we’ve been “D buddies”.  He thinks my CGM is the coolest thing ever, by the way.

I think that it is important to let my new coworkers/supervisor know that I have diabetes just in case something happens (that’d be a good first day story, huh?), However there never seems to be a good way to say it unless it comes up in conversation.  It’s not like you can just say, “Hi new coworker friend person.  Name’s Laura.  Type 1 Diabetic.  So, tell me what you’re working on?”

How do you deal with a new job and letting people know that you have diabetes?

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8 thoughts on “Ch-ch-ch-changes

  1. Yay! Congratulations on starting another new chapter in your life.

    I wish I knew what to say about how to bring up being Type 1 to new coworkers. I was, er, “lucky” and had someone tell human resources for me (although I’m T2D).

    Let us know how it works out! 🙂

  2. I work in a very small office now, but on my first day at my current job two of my coworkers had me fill out an emergency contact sheet to be kept on file. I took that time to tell those two ladies that I’m diabetic and wear an insulin pump, and also write it on my sheet so they wouldn’t forget in an emergency. Their first and only real question was “what do we do if you pass out?”. I said just call an ambulance, as I would never expect coworkers to give me glucagon. I told them that I’m not shy about it and don’t have a problem talking about my diabetes, but that I usually just don’t introduce myself as “the diabetic”. Of course everyone knew within a few days because you can only hide a pump for so long. My advice is to tell the “necessary” people ASAP and just let the rest happen as it comes up.

    Interestingly enough, a few months into the job one day I had a clumsy moment where I missed my desk chair while trying to sit down. Me and the chair fell to the floor with a big crash. Everyone came running with concerned faces. No one said anything, but I could see in their faces they thought I was having a seizure or something when they heard me fall. (Nope, just a klutz! Thanks though!) They kind of nervously laughed when I told them what happened, obviously relieved. Five (incident-free) years later, they don’t look at me like that anymore–they were scared before they knew me but now they realize my D isn’t a big deal.

  3. I told my office mate about it after she observed me test and beep all the time. HR knows. That’s all I really need.

    At the studio, I did a demo of how to suspend my pump because that’s more likely where an issue would occur.

  4. Congratulations on the new job! I just started a new one myself.

    I really didn’t bring it up to anyone at all. I had the pump clipped to my belt and one person noticed and recognized it as I was introduced to people in the office (his wife is T1D). Others asked what it is or mistook it for a pager, in which case I just told them it’s an insulin pump. If they have followup questions, fine. If not, that’s fine too.

    Be confident with it. Test at your desk if you need to. Pull the pump out before lunch (or in a meeting, or whatever) and press a few buttons if necessary. If they ask, tell them. If they’re not interested, then… well, they’re just not interested.

    Some people in my office know. Sometimes I’ll leave subtle hints (such as the way I decline taking a doughnut), but I never want to make a big announcement about myself. That’s just awkward.

    • Thanks, Scott! That’s usually how I handle it with new jobs – let it come up naturally either by people asking what my pump is or diabetes just coming up in conversation for whatever reason.

      Hope your new job is going well!

  5. Congrats on the new job! I’m with Scott; I never bring up my diabetes with anyone. I don’t hide my insulin pump nor hide testing my blood sugar but I just don’t mention it unless someone asks.

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