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Work anxiety
Dec 30, 2001

I have had AIDS since about 91. I became disabled in 1996 and almost died twice. Now, my health has improved, I am left partially blind from CMV and I have a seizure disorder, but I am coping the best I can. I recently interviewed and was hired for a great paying job with a good company. I don't report for work until Jan 7th and I am having major anxiety about working again. I have decided that if my benefits (drug coverage mainly) are jepardized that I will have to quit... period. That decision has eased some of my anxiety. But, much of my anxiety is just simply the fear of being in the workplace again after such a long time. Just dealing with the pressures of the workplace. I am so happy to return to work... yet scared. Do you have any advice that might help me make this transition without worrying myself sick.


Response from Ms. Breuer

Dear Mark,

Congratulations! Your employer is lucky to have you. What a great attitude you have.

Returning to work is the job equivalent of returning to the dating scene after a messy divorce. It's not for the faint of heart, but you clearly are not faint of heart. You'll find that most of what has changed at work is the technology. You'll need lessons in how to use the phone system and the company's computer software. That may take a few days.

But the old rules of succeeding in the workplace still apply. Show up, work hard, don't gossip. I've found that people with AIDS generally do much better than non-AIDS-challenged people at work because of a precious commodity that you bring to work: perspective. You won't fall apart when some self-important manager decides he wants an impossible task done by 3 p.m. You've stared down death and won. Unreasonable managers will seem like annoying mosquitoes, not B-52's.

If you can laugh at yourself at least once a day in the days before this new job and for the first 30 days on the job, you'll have it made. Have fun. They need you as much as you need them, and you bring a perspective they sorely need.

Strength to you!

when should i return to work?
worry about infectious disease in work place

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