Should migraineur bosses tell their employees about their health issues?
Last updated: February 2013
My Migraine.com colleague Diana Lee of Somebody Heal Me has written some great articles on how (or if!) to inform an employer of your status as a migraineur. (Check out her outstanding articles here and here.)
I have been extremely fortunate in that most of my employers have been very understanding about my migraine disease and the special needs I have that crop up because of it. Several supervisors have helped me set up alternative lighting so I could avoid fluorescent lights, while others have allowed me to keep a flexible schedule when necessary.
But here’s something I haven’t quite come to terms with: I’m a boss now. What do I tell my employees about my migraine disease? Granted, it can easily be argued that the risks here aren’t nearly as high-stakes as the risks you take when you tell your boss about your illness. I won’t exactly fire myself or put myself in an environment rife with triggers—I’m the head honcho and will arrange the bookshop in a way that will allow me to be as healthy as possible at work.
When it comes to talking about migraine with my booksellers, however, I haven’t been entirely forthright. I’ll often try to hide the fact that I’m dealing with a migraine attack until I catch myself mixing up words or acting antisocial—then I say to my employee, “I am in the middle of a migraine—sorry.” But, with the exception of Jim and R. (an employee who was a friend before she started working at the shop), I haven’t talked at length about my disease and how it might affect my role as boss in the workplace.
Are any of you entrepreneurs and/or managers? Do you tell your team about your health issues? How do you handle it? What was the outcome?
Do you have a migraine toolbox for when an attack hits?
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