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Work: Starting At A New Employer - A Primer


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Starting work for a new employer raises a batch of questions because of your health history. Think about these questions now rather than put them off. If you wait, decisions may be made for you -- and not necessarily the decisions you would prefer.

The questions to consider:

  • Do you tell about your health condition if you haven't already? The new group of people you'll be working with know nothing about your health history. 
  • Do you need an accommodation because of your health to be able to perform your job?  If you do, the sooner you ask for it, the sooner you are protected under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and similar laws. Without the law's protection, you may be fired if you're not doing your job up-to-par.
  • If the employer offers a choice of benefits, which do you choose?

While thinking about these questions, it is advisable to also start the following:

  • Look for clues about what makes people successful in the new company
  • Set up an expectation of how you will perform in the job over the long haul. For instance, don't start working 80 hours a week in the new job if that is not what you are going to do over the long term. Expectations are developed in the first few months. Do a great job, but in a way that worksk for you. If your health history has changed your perspective about how much personal time you want to have compared to work time, now is the time to start putting the new view into practice.
  • Start looking for an advisor   - someone you can trust, with enough experience in the company to help guide you through the corporate culture, and in case your health starts to affect your work..
  • Start keeping track of information which would be useful if you ever have a claim for discrimination, or if you want to stop working, because of your health. This includes positive comments as well as negative ones. The sooner you get into the habit of keeping track.

Read every document you are asked to sign carefully.

  • It is easy to unknowingly sign away rights.
  • Make note if the document requires arbitration in case of a dispute instead of allowing you to sue in the courts.

It is recommended that you make an alert on your calendar to read At Work as soon as you are settled in to the new job. It provides information to make working less stressful and more productive. 

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