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Need advice: Do I mention my illness at job interviews?

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Old 04-15-2006, 11:49 AM   #1
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Maine, USA
Posts: 4
Okie2 HB User
Need advice: Do I mention my illness at job interviews?

I have just graduated from college at 39 and have been sending out endless resumes. The problem is that I lost my last two jobs because I'm bipolar. I get stressed, depressed, paranoid, hypomanic, you name it. Most of my problems are with the paranoia, though. It really interferes with my relationships with my coworkers and superiors.

My question is this, how open should I be about my illness when applying for a job? I know it is illegal to discriminate disabilities, but there are so many ways to decline an applicant that I am afraid to mention it. Should I wait until after I get a job? Should I tell human resources, or my boss? Should I tell my coworkers? Should I mention that I lost my last two jobs because I was mentally ill?

I'm just really afraid to even look for jobs right now because I am almost certain that the cycle will repeat itself. I've been on disability since just after I lost my last job, but I would love to get back to work and earn my money. I am intelligent, personable, and energetic when not depressed, but am always afraid to disclose anything because I think it will be used against me. That means that coworkers don't really get to know me and I become an outsider, again and again and again.

Any ideas on how to handle reentry into the workforce would be appreciated! p.s The paranoia is always there. But I am able to do the actual work.


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Old 04-17-2006, 09:20 AM   #2
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Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: KCMO
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BP_Puff&Stuff HB User
Re: Need advice: Do I mention my illness at job interviews?

I have spent some of my professional career in HR and my suggestion to you is that you do NOT mention it in the interview. I would also suggest that you do NOT mention it ever in the work place unless you wish to define yourself by your disorder. You will become "Okie the crazy *** lunatic!" even if you never display any characteristics of BP, you will never get to be just plain ole Okie the person who works in such-and-such department. You said that if you don't tell people, people will never get know you. People who have arthritis or heart disease do not feel the need to disclose this information to all of their coworkers, why should you tell your medical history to the folks gathered at the water cooler? People can know you without knowing your disorder. Were I currently work, many people are aware that I'm bipolar but I do not let it define who I am. I suggest you spend some time trying to figure out who you are aside from your disorder and not be Okie the bipolar, just be Okie. I wish you the best of luck!

Last edited by BP_Puff&Stuff; 04-17-2006 at 09:22 AM.

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