Gary McClain, PhD, is a therapist who specializes in helping clients deal with the emotional impact of chronic and life-threatening illnesses.

Living with a chronic condition can add unique challenges to your job. But you don’t have to face them alone. Here is Dr. Gary’s expert advice on 10 common situations you may face in the workplace.

Work Stress, Life Stress, and Your Health

If you let work stress get in the way of taking good care of yourself, you run the risk of being less able to cope effectively. As a result, stress leads to more stress. So what can you do to avoid the work stress, home stress, life stress cycle? Here are some ideas to think about … Read More >>

Is There a Right Job for Me?

If you are living with a chronic condition, the job hunt can be complicated and frustrating. Think not only about how a potential job matches your skills, but also whether or not it is a fit in other ways. Consider physical requirements, as well as potential mental and emotional demands. Consider how likely the organization might be to provide any accommodations you need. And consider the insurance package and other benefits … Read More >>

Is My Boss Expecting Less of Me?

Have you ever been treated like you can’t pull your own weight at work? Having a boss who understands and accommodates your chronic condition is a good thing. On the other hand, nobody likes to be singled out and told they aren’t up to a task, and made to feel like they can’t be trusted to make that decision themselves. Read More >>

Fake Your Way to a Great Day

With a chronic condition, you may have days when you’re not quite feeling well, but you aren’t feeling bad enough to stay home from work. By “faking it till you make it,” I mean showing that you are committed to doing your best job possible, even if it’s not up to your usual standards. After all, everybody has some days that go better than others. To put your best foot forward … Read More >>

If a Coworker Has Disclosed Your Condition Behind Your Back

Have you disclosed your chronic condition to a co-worker and later discovered that he or she shared the news with others? Or have you otherwise found that you and your chronic condition were grist for the gossip mill? There are several things you can do … Read More >>

When I Call In Sick, Do I Have to Explain Why?

You have a right to your privacy. But it is generally accepted that your boss can ask what’s keeping you out sick, as well as when you expect to return. As someone living with a chronic condition, the stakes may be higher when you are deciding how much to disclose. If your boss asks questions you consider intrusive … Read More >>

I Have a Condition That Affects My Coworkers

Does your chronic condition affect your ability to perform at your peak and require that your coworkers pick up the slack? Be careful about labeling yourself with negative words like “weak,” “slacker,” and “loser.” Maybe you have coworkers who are more than willing to step in. But if you sense a problem, offer to answer any questions about why you can’t always handle all your job responsibilities … Read More >>

Manage Up to Your Boss

Managing up means being sensitive to what your boss needs and how to deliver it. Examples include keeping your boss informed about what you’re working on and performing your tasks based on your boss’s preferred workstyle. When you manage up, you are more likely to earn your boss’s trust, as well as have a more positive day-to-day relationship. Managing up also helps to ensure that your boss will be more likely to cut you some slack when you need it—like when you need to take a day for a medical test or a doctor’s appointment. Not sure how to manage up? Here are some ideas … Read More >>

Resisting Pressure to Socialize at Work

Some workplaces are friendlier than others. But socializing during or after work can include being asked personal questions that are not generally part of standard workday conversations, and the pressure to self-disclose can be uncomfortable. Socializing may also be too expensive if your medical expenses take a chunk out of your paycheck. But the invitations keep coming. What do you do? Read More >>

Returning After a Leave of Absence

In your absence, your coworkers will have learned new ways of working together to get the work done. They learned a new rhythm while you were gone, and now you’re basically asking them to make another workflow adjustment. They may not be able to do this overnight. Be patient and … Read More >>

What has helped you cope with workplace issues related to your chronic illness? Take a moment to add your comment below.