Reclaiming My Career After Myasthenia Gravis
In April of 2019, I officially quit. I stepped down from everything I was involved in. It felt like my aspirations were flushed down the drain as I left my day job and small business. Instead, I laid bedridden, fighting myasthenia gravis (MG).
I finally found remission 2 years later in May of 2021. It was like I had been underwater and was finally coming up for air. As weeks passed, I found myself itching to do something meaningful again.
Considering the transition
I stayed at home with my 2 toddlers when I quit my job due to the ridiculously high living expenses of the Bay Area. Now that my body was able and capable, I wondered if I could handle working again. So many questions and emotions ran through my mind.
What kind of career could accommodate my needs? What if my symptoms came back? Could I still make a comeback after 2 years off the workforce? Would I risk more exposure to COVID-19 due to being immunosuppressed? Could my body handle a desk job again?
Anxiety flooded my body as I considered this transition. However, the craving to work again grew stronger as the weeks went on. Being at home with 2 toddlers was physically and emotionally draining.
I thought at least working and sending them to school would be better for my physical and mental health. Covid-19 also opened up more remote working opportunities which made it seem even more feasible.
Starting the job search
I started cleaning up my resume and looking on LinkedIn for potential careers. As I read through every job description, MG was constantly in the back of my mind.
Anything that wasn't within a 10-mile radius or remote was excluded due to my anxiety about driving. After experiencing double vision, I stopped driving for 2 years. I felt like a new driver again, this time fearing that I would suddenly see two lanes instead of 1.
I mostly looked for part-time positions, knowing that my body would not be able to handle a full-time job. During the day I tried to take at least one nap to recharge my body and prevent fatigue. Anything that would require early or late hours was out of the question.
Lastly, this career had to be meaningful and purposeful. Living with myasthenia gravis brought clarity to my life values and desires. I now knew how fragile and short life could be. I needed to do something that I believed in - something that brought value to my life and others.
Finding the match
After weeks of scouring LinkedIn, connecting with friends, and writing countless cover letters, I felt exhausted. I didn't realize how intense the emotional toll of job searching would be.
My body had become more sensitive to emotional highs and lows, and the waves of hope and disappointment continually washed over me.
My community knew I was job hunting and a friend sent my resume to a new nonprofit organization that matched my values.
I was quickly given an interview and offer for a position that had a lot of potential for growth, but with the flexibility of being part-time and 80 percent remote. It was the perfect match and the process was effortless.
Prioritizing your health
In my striving for a career, I was tossed to and fro by anxiety and fear. In hindsight, all I needed to do was put in my best and trust that the right door would open.
Though MG closed a lot of doors, I now believe it can work out for the better. I now prioritize my physical and mental health first.
How frequently do you experience double vision (diplopia)?