The Decision To Work From Home - Part 2

Last updated: March 2020

Kelly shares why she made the decision to work from home in "Deciding to Work from Home with Crohn’s" and continues to share here.

Making the choice to make that call to your boss or supervisor is truly the most nerve-wracking thing I dealt with. Thankfully, I have had understanding supervisors, but it did come at a cost at one point. It's not taken seriously and often comes with a stigma, as people think those with chronic illness are lazy, unmotivated & spend these days watching Netflix and binging the latest new trendy show.

What days when I'm sick with Crohn's look like

Days I'm unable to work don't look like "normal" people sick days. People with Crohn's or ulcerative colitis especially usually spend on the bathroom floor, on the couch trying to sweat out a fever, or spent in the hospital. Days I'm "home sick" have changed drastically for me, as now I work from home.

No more anxiety about having an accident at work

Has it made things easier for me to access a bathroom? Absolutely - I am so grateful for this, as I have struggled with accidents due to the lack of control I have struggled with since previous rectal surgeries. My sphincter doesn't work as it should, which gives me massive anxiety. I no longer have to walk down long hallways hoping I make it to the restroom without someone seeing me cry or worse, have an accident.

Has it also made things harder for me to work from home?

Yes. I work alone but have multiple animals in the house, including a new service dog. If it wasn't for them, I'm not sure I'd have the right tools to work from home in a quiet environment that gets me absolutely no exercise at all, compared to the 15,000 steps I would average on a slow day working at any previous job.

There's also no one to toss ideas back and forth with. It still does get lonely. And as with any animal in the house, there are distractions. I can't imagine having something like ADD or ADHD and working from home. It's given me plenty to be thankful for and opened my eyes to plenty of hard-working people with other disabilities who are able to do it and do it well.

Losing my job and needing to work from home

When I talk about my "choice" to work from home - it honestly was and wasn't my choice. It came down to losing my job after utilizing all the FMLA I had. It made me come to terms with how badly I needed a different type of structure.

Because of this, I did face joblessness for a short time but was lucky enough to find smaller hours at part-time jobs that I truly enjoyed. I began walking dogs for a living and dog-sitting for people when they went out of town. It was something I had done my whole adult life and truly enjoyed, so I figured I would finally put my name out there and gain clients. And quickly, I gained many families as clients and still watch them 5 years later.

I also looked for jobs that pulled at my heart - the ones I knew I would be good at, like serving the homeless population. Like I mentioned in Part 1, I've always worked with a certain type of vulnerable people and I knew in my heart that this would be a good learning experience for me. And it turned out to be one of the best experiences of my entire life. It was exhausting, but I went home every night thankful I had a job, felt like I was good at it and was still able to serve people part-time.

I'm thankful for all the experiences I've had serving others, including this community. I hope the experiences that have shaped me have helped others, by sharing my most vulnerable and sometimes sad outcomes of how I have wandered through life with a serious diagnosis.

What steps have you taken after having to leave a full-time job and how were you able to make an income?

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