Careers and Diabetes - Did you have to change your choices?

I wondering what what many of us do for living and whether or not diabetes has affected your job or choice of careers?

I guess I am asking because I am unemployed right now and looking (of course) but I have changed careers several times in life - not because of diabetes - I am new - just diagnosed about a month ago. So, I qualify to do many different jobs but because the economy sucks right now some jobs are harder to get than others. Some are more specialized than others.

But here is what I am brewing over as I look over the jobs online. Now, that I have diabetes - should I be worried about any physical limitations? Or, more to the point of this post, do others worry about it? Or feel you can't do a very physical job because of D? Does it get in the way or do you not feel that you are healthy enough for a job that is very physical and need a "sit on your butt" desk job?

I am Type 2 so my worries are mostly about taking my meds (Metformin) and my diet. No insulin.

Here are the ex- career fields I have the most experience in that I am currently looking at the openings for:

Zookeeper,Medical Records, Computer Programmer (mostly mainframe - yeah, I know - don't laugh techies! I do other stuff too!).

So, my chances of getting a programmer job right now is slim because of the economy and competition.I have been applying - and not much luck. Not too many zookeepers around so that might be an easier bet but I am worried about the physical part of it now that I have D? (the job is ALL physical for the most part) Plus am I getting too old for such a physical job?

Just looking for others experiences and complications stories I guess - I don't want to fall into a situation where I can't do the job because of the D. Probably worrying too much but trying to plan ahead for the most part. And make the right choice now that my life is different...:(

Ive had jobs that required me on my feet walking for 8 hours. no issues, but had to decrease my insulin.

I wanted to go into the military- cant with D.
I wanted to join the cia/fbi/ dea/etc.- going to be almost impossible and some employees even told me that I most likely wouldnt be selected.
Im looking into applying for positions within the US Department of State- the advisor I’ve been communicating with told me to check the website- I wouldnt be able to be cleared for worldwide authorization. Okay that sucks, but there are positions here in the US that are available, which gives me hope.

So yeah, check out the company first to see if they have certain medical requirements. If not, go for it :slight_smile:

You have far too much of a doom and gloom view of things. You can basically do whatever you want. Sure, you probably can’t be an astronaut or a commercial aircraft pilot. But that is like it. Hardly much of a constraint. Personally, I would recommend you stick with the mainframe programming job. Carrying around those punch card decks will give you exercise and keep you strong and fit.

You can be a commercial aircraft pilot, but you’d be the co-pilot. My ex boyfriends cousin was diabetic and he was a co-pilot. Dont know if hes type 1 or 2 though…

I was self-employed and really enjoying it for a while but the lack of insurance - not just for me, but for my family - got to me with the second kid.

So I got a “government job” with good insurance. Boring and frustrating but steady at least.

I stand corrected. I am right about the punched cards tho.

semi-corrected. There may be different regulations for type 1 compared to type 2 :slight_smile:

I was diagnosed at the age of 3 in 1958. I have been a partner in a manufacturing business for the past 30 years. When we started I was in the office/shop almost 24/7. At that time I only used 2 units of regular and 40 units of NPH once a day. Never really had any problems. I evolved into MDI with Lantus being my basal and Humilog my bolus. In 2/08 I decided (not my endo) to start on pump therapy. My life style has changed from the very hectic days of past but D never got in my way. It never will.
Anything is possible if you try!!!

Kimberly, I tend to be a positive person about many things. I know that there are some limitations that you might find being diabetic, but really what would they be. You might not be able to be an airline pilot, but then they play laptop games while they are flying…so diabetes can’t be too much trouble. I know surgeons, dentists, computer geeks, nurses, docs, teachers, aides, janitors, ministers, babysitters, etc who are diabetic and still do their jobs. Unless you have some disability with your “D”…I think the world is still yours in a basket.

Let me add this, try educational institutions for jobs. They don’t close, they don’t usually let people go, and there isn’t a whole lot of physical work involved in being a tekkie in a univeristy setting. My son is a technician at a major University in the south, and he does quite well.

Don’t allow the “D” to get in your way, normalize it for yourself, so that you can see, that except for maybe testing, a pump or a shot of insulin Nothing can stop you except yourself.

To be honest with you before I never gave physical limitations any thought what so ever but after doing nursing I now think I should and will do because I just lost so much weight and got so fed up with it,long hours standing walking having to be that rock for someone that really needs you at that moment not paying attention to what I eat and even nearly dropping at work because of a hypo,all I can say is thank god it was in A &
I think it killed me mentally and physically to be honest but would love to finish it when I am a lot stronger and well controlled.

I dont think that there are that much jobs that we cant take part in we are strong enough to do other jobs that no diabetics can do as someone said to me its mind over matter.

Just like everything else in life, a job whether physical or not is something you will have to experiment with to find out how it affects blood sugars. My diabetes has never affected my work, and is not something that ever comes up in interviews or evaluations. Diabetes should not limit you in your job, there are people who do extremely physical jobs and all it means is that they need to pay extra attention to managing their diabetes.

I find my blood sugars are different on days I work compared to days I don’t (I’m a special education teacher). Days I work I am on my feet much more and tend to have lows; days I don’t work (like weekends or holidays) I am sitting around all day and my blood sugar spikes. When I was a teacher on call I found that every time I went to a new classroom I didn’t know I would have to decrease my insulin a lot and often still went low. In classrooms I was familiar with from having worked there before, I didn’t have to make any changes. A stressful day with an unruly class caused me to go high and need more insulin. Even now, the difference between a stressful and blissful day can make a huge difference in my blood sugars, and unfortunately with teaching it’s impossible to predict what will happen!

It will all come with experience, and you are still new, but especially since you are type 2 and not on insulin I would think diabetes would have no impact. It’s no different than someone who is taking medication for any other medical condition. Most people I work with don’t even know I have diabetes because they don’t need to know, or if they do know then it’s just because they’ve seen me testing or using my pump and not because it has any impact on the job. I can remember once when I was in the middle of talking with another teacher about a student and very suddenly felt really dizzy and had to go leave to test (turns out my blood sugar was 1.8 or 32!), but otherwise I cannot think of a time when my diabetes impacted my work. Of course, my students are very curious and especially when I was a substitute teacher, I always got questions about what my insulin pump was, as I wore it on my pocket fully visible.

i can only use my own experience as someone with T1 for 50 years and no complications, but the answer is … hell no. there are virtually no limits. i have done everything i’ve wanted to do related to work – i’ve reported from iraq and bosnia; spent weeks in new orleans after katrina; covered every presidential campaign since 1988 and never once has my diabetes been an issue. in my spare time i ref college soccer.
sometimes you can over think things and find barriers where none exist. speaking only for myself here, D is not painful; it’s not limiting; it’s not hard to manage. if i were you i’d make a list of what you want to do and pick the one you like best. diabetes should not even enter the conversation.

I feel your pain… I think about the same things to now that I am diabetic. I remember when I thought insurance was a waste of time and now I am to glad to have it. Keep your chin up…

Think about something that you like and try to do it as a part time job. I have a friend who makes a living being a “run around sue” person for different people.

I work retail and my schedule is always changing. I found it very difficult to adhere constant job excercise, what time I eat and on what day and will my lunch need to be delayed based on customer demand. The Dr. would say Wow you have a wacky schedule.

That wacky schedule and a demand for better control and taken me to the direction of a Insulin Pump.

But your questions was, Has Diabetes been a consequence in my career choice? I would say yes. My biggest reason has been insurance. I would of loved to be a full time Mom, a person that want to have there own business. But since insurance was the Big Player in my life, I had to compromise.

well, as i was growing up i see sawed back and forth between wanting to join the police and wanting to join the navy, until i was 16 and was diagnosed with D. That put an end to both those dreams. But you get over it, you move on.

otherwise no, it was never a factor in my career choice.

i’m a cabinet maker, i can work anywhere between 6 and 15hrs a day, it’s not uncommon that i lift accumulatively several tonnes in a day. i walk the 5km round trip to work every day.

so no, i’d have to say that D absolutely does not stop you doing a very active job!

really, other than jobs where hypoglycemia might put other peoples lives at risk, there are no jobs that D will stop you doing.

Haha - yeah, they don’t have those punch card decks anymore, ya know. :slight_smile: Actually the zookeeper job would be the choice for exercise and strength training but it is also a lot of stress and strain physically and there is the potential for injury(esp to the feet).

Why am I gloom and doom? I am not feeling that way about it. I am just trying to reassess my options considering this disease.

Thanks Sarah,

So, there are jobs/places where you would have problems with if you had D. That was exact what I was wondering about - if anyone came up with any obstacles job wise. I never thought about the military but that would make sense.

Thanks! Can you not get on the police force with diabetes? Just wondering because I see all those out of shape cops and wonder what sort of health problems they have.

I already figured about the military though.

Thanks for all the great replies! Gave me stuff to think about. I am not pessimistic about it - sorry if it came off that way - just the opposite - I am looking forward to working again but having D is a big change in ones life and I wondered if I need to reassess whether it is wise (or not wise) to look in certain fields when you have a disease like this. Remember that this is new to me so I just trying to understand any obstacles or limitations I may run into.

Hey Kimberly I’m a MF coder too! lol why does everyone think that’s bad… lol (hate when it’s called ‘legacy system’ )

not sure but i think you should be good w/ whatever you get a chance to do. Although i did hear once that T1’s could not drive a truck (rig style) for a living… not sure if that’s true though…

Good luck w/ your search!