To Work or Not — That IS the Question!

I received notice today that vocational rehab has a spot open for me.

This program is my last attempt to enter the workforce again. I will be starting with one class a week.

This may not sound like it would be a big challenge; however, this is the first time I will be on any type of schedule in over 10 years. The goal is to see if I can attend the online classes faithfully and complete the program. I am glad that we will have a practice run to see if I am able to consistently stick to the routine. Consistency is one of my biggest obstacles to overcome.

My narcolepsy symptoms interfered with my work

Most of my jobs have been in an office environment. My positions have ranged from administrative assistant to project management. I used to love working for engineering firms. It was fast-paced, and I felt like my role was important. Unfortunately, I started experiencing narcolepsy symptoms that interfered with my quality of work.

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I eventually walked away from that job because I could no longer handle it. There were too many moving pieces to keep track of, and my brain was having a hard time keeping up, as I was tired all day at work.

The jobs I obtained after this point seemed pointless and were never rewarding. Most of the jobs I applied for were positions I was clearly overqualified for. They were easier for me, and the consequences of errors were less impactful. If I made a mistake at the engineering firm, it could cost my company millions of dollars.

Applying for disability

The jobs I acquired didn’t pay enough to meet my needs, and arriving on time each day seemed impossible. I went through a period of job-hopping to see what would work for me, yet nothing seemed to be a good fit. I tried shifts at different times during the day. I also tried working shorter shifts, yet nothing worked.

Once I accepted the fact that I would not be able to support myself independently, I applied for disability. It took 24 months to go through the process, and I was eventually approved. This has allowed me to stay home in a safe environment and not feel so pressured about money.

Living paycheck to paycheck

Receiving disability payments has its own pitfalls. I do not feel productive or like I am contributing to society. I miss out on socializing and having conversations face-to-face with people. The amount of money I receive monthly does help, but it is not enough. We find ourselves living paycheck to paycheck and we need to be able to have an emergency fund!

This has led to my decision to see if I can work again. I know I am smart, capable, and motivated. I am excited about this new chapter. I just hope my body will allow me to finish this class and move on to a new career.

I am going to try my best

Am I scared? Heck yes! I have all the worries you can imagine; however, I am going to try my best. If I find I’m unable to be gainfully employed, I will accept it. As difficult as that may be, it will feel like closure to me.

If we find that I can stick to a job schedule, every aspect of my life will change. Will it be for better or worse? Stay tuned for more articles sharing my experiences with this opportunity!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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