Hopefully, you’ve never had to ask “can you get a job with epilepsy”?
but I suppose if you’re reading this blog that means you have epilepsy or know someone that does. Regretfully, I have had to ask that question and deal with employers on many of the situations I’ll be discussing. At the time of this writing I’m 56 and started having seizures at 16 and have been dealing with them ever since. I learned early, right after earning my BBA, that discrimination in the job market does exist for people with epilepsy.
I will tell you right away that yes it is possible to get a job if you have epilepsy. I will also say that internet and affiliate marketing have been the answer to my dilemma when it comes to generating additional and sometimes a full-time income. That being said, I could write a book on the subject of can you get, and how to get, a job with epilepsy and still not be able to address the many variables behind a person with epilepsy getting and keeping a job.
First, there is the question of how active is the persons epilepsy. By that I mean is the person still having seizures? What type of seizures are they having? Are the seizures controllable when they are on the job and how much do they affect that person’s coordination and cognitive abilities? What is the person’s recovery time after having a seizure that they are able to perform their job? What type of seizures are they having?
The second issue is the medication that the person must take for seizure control. What is the dosage and how does it affect their coordination and their mental capabilities? If It is a high dose and it does affect their mental and physical capabilities that may be an issue. So that is something else that needs to be brought into the equation. On a personal level I take a high dose and that is another reason that I have chosen internet marketing and affiliate marketing as my main source of income.
I have been an employee interviewing for a job and I have been in employer interviewing people with disabilities for a job and these are some of the questions I have had to answer and these are some of the questions I have asked in those interviews
Does the person have the training, skills, or on-the-job experience needed
Does the person have adequate transportation
What is the attitude of other employees towards epilepsy
Concerns about the liability and missed work.
Are they in front of customers and would someone see them have a seizure.
Extra costs of accommodating a person with epilepsy
In a perfect world the only time a potential employee’s epilepsy should be relevant to the hiring decision is in a case where seizures on the job would endanger the person’s, his co-worker’s or the public’s well‐being.
I have been asked should you disclose your epilepsy on a job application? Generally, the answer is, it varies from person to person. You don’t necessarily have to tell an employer about your epilepsy. What they are allowed to do is ask whether you have any conditions that would prevent you from fulfilling the duties of the job, and if you do, you should answer honestly. If you do get the job you’ll need to decide whether or not to let your coworkers, supervisor or human resources department know about your seizures. If you decide to be open and tell them you need to also educate them on what epilepsy is and isn’t and what to do if you should ever have a seizure on the job. Your attitude will go a long way in putting them at ease.
The ADA says that the company must attempt to make reasonable accommodations for you however that won’t apply to companies that don’t qualify as one that needs to do so. Some of them that can be made are placing the person in another position in the company that would be less problematic for that person, or that they might be excused from overtime if missing sleep provokes seizures.
If you have been unfairly treated on the job because of epilepsy, you have at least three levels of recourse. The first and best option is to attempt to work the problem out within the company. Second, you can contact your regional Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which you can find by visiting their website at www.eeoc.gov. The EEOC will hear your story and decide whether to pursue it on your behalf at no charge. If they take your case, they may communicate with your employer or pursue legal action. The third option is to hire an employment discrimination attorney. While options 2 and 3 may be successful, it also can be expensive and get you black-balled from the job market. No employer will admit that their decision to not hire you was based on the fact you took legal action against your last employer for job discrimination. No matter the job, people with epilepsy must want to work and be able to perform their job.
Most people with epilepsy are capable of having fulfilling jobs. I know for a fact from personal experience that a person with epilepsy can hold positions in upper management and earn in excess of $150,000 a year or more. If you have epilepsy, you may have to make an extra effort to get and keep a good job in spite of some difficulties. However, the chances are good that you can succeed. If you’re actively pursuing employment you need to do a few things to help you accomplish your goal. First, honestly assess your strengths and weaknesses. When I say honestly, I mean brutally honest. What jobs or careers are you qualified for and able to get to? You might benefit from seeing a vocational counselor who has experience working with people who have epilepsy. Your city or local public service groups may offer transportation for people who can’t drive. Social workers or job counselors may be able to tell you what is available in your area.
I know that most adults who are still dealing with seizures and seizure related issues want to work and given the chance they can be productive at full and part-time jobs. However most employers are ignorant about the myths and facts of epilepsy so everything becomes a reason to not hire a person with epilepsy. Even though employers know it’s illegal to discriminate against people with epilepsy and they could be fined for doing so they still do it.
If you’re out of options go to http://ssa-custhelp.ssa.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/326/~/apply-for-social-security-disability-benefits Remember, be honest with yourself on what you can and can’t do. A word of caution on the SSID route, your chances on being approved are not good, your chances on being approved in a timely fashion are worse, and if you are approved the amount you receive being below poverty level is guaranteed. And then you can only earn, at the time of this writing, $999 a month before they start reviewing the amount of benefits they are giving you.
I know for me personally it’s the medication that gives me the biggest problem. I call it “druggin”. For the most part I can keep it to where I’m fairly stable. But if I don’t stay regimented meaning if I don’t get the proper amount of sleep, take my medicine at the correct time and eat the proper amount of food then I can get either light-headed dizzy or just flat cross-eyed.
So if I was “druggin” and working in an office or an assembly line where I needed to stay focused I would probably not be able to keep the pace or if I was working as a phone operator I’m sure I would be frustrating to the person on the other end of the line.
The reason I mentioned phone business is because I worked with a company that directs customer service calls into my home from companies like Home Depot, Airbnb, and other Fortune 500 Companies. Not only am I able to take calls but I can sign agents up underneath me and charge a monthly maintenance, fee for doing so and turn this virtual call center into a business. I chose not to do so because it is more than I want to take on. Because for me personally two biggest catalysts for seizures are stress and lack of sleep. and what does owning a business do cause – stress and lack of sleep. And this – which is a common theme – this I know from experience. That might be something you want investigate further.
Network marketing is another option you can look at. However, from experience I know this is an option that is definitely not for everyone. This takes time and it takes a special breed of person and as much as I hate to say it the success rate in building a network marketing business is very low. I have been successful in network marketing in the past and have a Network Marketing, MLM, now. Even though I love Network Marketing I’m more of a proponent for people learning Internet and Affiliate Marketing than I am Network Marketing.
Network marketing is a craft that can take many years to learn and be successful at and still from my experience only a few people are ever really successful at it. Internet and affiliate marketing can be learned much quicker and can be applied in many different situations. The job market is changing and people need to learn new ways to earn income and the internet can earn money 24/7/365-globally. A person needs to learn how to capitalize on that.
I first learned about Network Marketing my senior year of college. The reason I started looking at Network Marketing is because I was graduating and started talking to college recruiters. Thinking I was doing the right thing I told them up front that I had epilepsy. That is when I had my first taste of workplace discrimination towards people with epilepsy. So I started to look at other options. A doctor I knew told me about Amway. Well, they didn’t have the best reputation when it came to recruiting new distributors so they had just started to try new internet recruiting systems.
As time went by the internet started to grow and became such a prevalent force in our society not only for information but for Commerce. Internet Marketing started to grow and is still growing into a serious income-generating opportunity. Now there are hundreds upon hundreds of Internet gurus in the Internet Marketing space that have internet learning platforms that they claim can teach you how to earn thousands of dollars in a short amount of time. I would tend to shy away from them. Building an internet marketing business takes time. You need to learn the basics before you can make the large dollars that people claim to be making.
Of course internet marketing and affiliate marketing work best for just about anybody no matter if they have epilepsy and take medicine or not. The best program I have found for the person who is on a tight budget and who knows very little about Internet Marketing is Wealthy Affiliate. I’m a member of a second Internet Marketing program for the more advanced marketer that pays higher commissions but it requires a larger budget. If you would like to know about it you can reach me at 817-598-0941.
I will be doing another more extensive review on Wealthy Affiliate in the near future and compare it to other Internet Marketing learning platforms.
Again – yes it is possible to get a job if you have epilepsy.
If you are in the need of a job and would like to discuss your options feel free to leave a comment and I’ll help anyway I can.
All the Best