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Disclosing Your Condition To Co-Workers

How Should I Handle Inappropriate Questions?

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Realize that another person's reaction likely has more to do with the illness and the shock rather than you. Many people are afraid of your illness and their own vulnerability. The news may trigger their own pain or fears of mortality.

Keep in mind that the person is not trying to be rude or inconsiderate. 

If the person is misinformed, educate them about your condition and prospects. Let them know that it is not a death sentence.

The more you talk to other people about what you are going through, the more comfortable they will feel with you and their fears about their own mortality.

Encourage people to ask the questions that are on their minds. Don't be surprised if they have difficulty wording their questions. 

It may be especially helpful to co-workers to explain what you have learned about your illness. It will help take their personal fear away.

NOTE: It may prove helpful in the future if you keep notes about inappropriate questions at work in a Work Journal.  The journal should also include information that could be used if you ever want to file a discrimination claim or stop working because of your health condition. For information about your rights with respect to discrimination, see the Americans With Disability Act.

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