To Work, Or Not To Work … and How?

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To Work, Or Not To Work ... and HowMs. Joffe outlines some of the major issues that confront anyone who wants to work — or questions when they are newly diagnosed whether they should work.

Summer always seems like reading time.  Days are longer and schedules (at least in theory) are looser, so there is time and space to catch up on reading.  This is probably a holdover from my school days, but I still like the feeling.

In that spirit I want to recommend a book that came my way.  Rosalind Joffe and I met at an event last month, and she gave me a copy of her book, Women, Work, and Autoimmune Disease:  Keep Working Girlfriend!  (Rosalind Joffe and Joan Friedlander.  NY:  Demos Health, 2008. )

Ms. Joffe is an executive coach, and founded a coaching and career practice site to help others with chronic illnesses and workplace issues.  Along the way she co-authored this great book.  In it, she outlines some of the major issues that confront anyone who wants to work — or questions when they are newly diagnosed whether they should work.

Joffe begins with her premise that working is good.  Not only for money, or insurance, but in order to get the more ephemeral feelings — like being competent and making a contribution.  Her argument — and it’s a persuasive one — is that working has many positive side effects that can contribute to health and well-being.

But Joffe also knows there is work, and there is work.  She guides readers through the difficult maze of sorting out the right kind of work, and the right workplace.  She helps the reader think about disclosing their illness and the pros and cons of such a decision.

Her chapters go more deeply into some issues — asking readers to define success for themselves and to look with clear eyes at decisions they need to make.

Joffe is practical and no-nonsense about the realities of the workplace, but her tone is empathetic.  After all, she has the insight of someone who has “walked the talk.”

The most valuable story Joffe shares is that you are not alone.  The dilemmas of working when you live with a chronic illness are not just yours to figure out — many many people (and not just women!) live with these questions and challenges.

We are more knowledgeable when we are willing to share strategies, pitfalls, and triumphs.  We are more successful then, too.

While Joffe’s book is aimed toward women (because that is her experience), what she writes about also applies to men — so you guys can also benefit from many of her pragmatic suggestions.

If you are just beginning the journey, or if you are wondering about what your next steps are in the world of work, this book is a great resource.

Let me know what you think.  And if you have any suggestions for my summer list, please pass them on!

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