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Long Term Disability - Chg Jobs
Feb 20, 2004

I live in California. I was recently diagnosed as HIV+ (2/8/04). I am healthy, and I have not had any pre-existing medical conditions. I have a solid health coverage plan with my current employer of 4 years, including Long Term Disability Insurance, which I have paid for. The problem is that I really hate my job and want to change jobs.

Im concerned about loosing health benefits, especially Long Term Disability. I guess I will be looking for big companies with good insurance benefits. Will I be able to get Long Term Disability Insurance? Will they ask me about HIV? Will that matter? What questions should I ask, or what should for I look for in a new employer? What can I expect? I dont want to have to stay in my current job, but I need a solid health care plan and Long Term Disibility.

Thank you!

Response from Ms. Breuer

This may not be the answer you're expecting, but having helped to edit a book about finding the job you want right where you are, I'm going to ask you to think about creating your ideal job with your present employer. You JUST found out about your HIV status a few days ago. This is not a great time to make major changes in anything.

Have you talked with your supervisor about whether your skills could be used to the company's better advantage? For example, are you laboring away, frustrated, in the accounting department when you'd much rather be doing graphics? Does your employer have, for example, a graphics department? Do you know how much easier it is to get a more attractive job when you're already inside a company?

Learning that you have a life-threatening illness certainly puts everything in new perspective, and your job is naturally part of that. But since you really need what you already have with this employer--good medical, good long-term disability coverage--I encourage you to market yourself internally before thinking about external employment. Offer to work unpaid hours on a special project that would bring you to the attention of the department head where you'd like to be. Become so valuable that they'll bend some rules to keep you. Show what you can do in a job description that's closer to what you really want. If that doesn't work after several months, then let's tackle this question again. I'm not going anywhere. But you're making major life decisions, and I want to encourage you to hold on to the good stuff you have while you make them.



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