Balancing your health and the demands of the workplace can be challenging for people living with cystic fibrosis. But if you're ready to work, there are jobs and workplaces out there where you can thrive.
At APM, we help find jobs for people with cystic fibrosis and other health conditions. Here's our guide to finding the right job for your needs – and getting support along the way.
Can you work with cystic fibrosis?
Many people with cystic fibrosis maintain healthy and successful work lives. Of course, balancing your health needs and the responsibilities of work can be challenging at times.
But if you want to work, there's support out there to help you overcome the challenges and succeed in the workplace.
People with cystic fibrosis work in a wide range of job types and industries from farming, teaching and hospitality to healthcare, marketing, construction and more.
Whatever your skills and interests, workplace accommodations can make most jobs more accessible. Things like a flexible schedule, a private office space or working from home could help you feel more confident in your job.
What jobs are right for me?
When searching for the right job for you, consider your interests, skills and experience.
Also ask yourself what types of workplaces will be best for managing symptoms and succeeding in your role
Talking with an employment consultant could help you discover job opportunities and career pathways that are a good fit for you.
Although everyone has different wants and needs when it comes to employment, it may be helpful to ask the following questions:
- Are there any health and safety concerns? For example, poor air quality, the risk of cross infection or damp conditions.
- Is the work environment suitable for my needs? Will you need an elevator, accessible kitchen facilities or a private space? Can I wear a face mask/facial protection if necessary?
- Is it easy to get to and from the workplace?
- Is the job flexible? Having the choice to work from home, take time off for recovery or work part time could help you manage your health better.
- What's the sick leave policy like? Will you be able to take time off for medical appointments, treatments or recovery?
What are some good jobs for people with cystic fibrosis?
Looking for some job inspiration? Here are 7 types of jobs for people with cystic fibrosis:
1. Active jobs
Regular exercise is connected with better overall health and improved lung function for people with CF. If exercise is an important part of your self-care routine, consider a job that helps you stay active and mobile throughout the day. Jobs like teaching, landscaping, event planning and restaurant work will all keep you moving.
If you've found exercise to be beneficial in your life, you could pass that knowledge and passion to others through your work. Careers as a fitness trainer, sports coach or exercise therapist are a great way to help others while staying active yourself.
2. Remote work
Remote work is becoming more and more commonplace. Some people find that working from home gives them more control over their schedule and health care. It may also help with stress management, for example by cutting out the travel to and from work.
You can find work-from-home jobs in a wide range of fields. Some employers may even let you work from home part time and the rest of the week in the office. Examples of remote work include: graphic design, customer service, medical transcription, data entry, video editing, tutoring and interpretation or translation.
3. Flexible schedule
Maintaining traditional 9-5 working hours can sometimes make it difficult to cope with the ups and downs of your health. A job with a flexible schedule may help you get rest when you need it and work hard when you're up for it.
Some employers may be willing to let you start later in the day to give you more time for your morning treatments. Others may let you take a longer lunch break to fit in a nap or exercise. You could also consider part time hours or freelance work where you set your own schedule.
4. Passions and interests
Working in a field that matches your passions and interests could help you stay motivated, even when challenges come up. If you're passionate about the environment and sustainability, consider working as a gardener, park ranger or educator.
If helping others is what makes you feel alive, a career as a social worker, teacher or counsellor might be a good fit. Got a hobby you can't get enough of? Consider turning it into a job.
5. Low stress jobs
If you've noticed your symptoms get worse when you're stressed, consider a low-stress career. All workplaces have some level of stress, but many fast-paced, high-pressure environments can be difficult to cope with if you're sensitive to stress.
Take time to think about what situations cause you the most stress. And what helps you feel calm and in-control. Consider typically low-stress jobs such as hairstylist, medical records technician, librarian or proof-reader.
6. Part time work
If full time work is too much at the moment, consider a part time job instead. Working less hours may free you up to rest and manage your treatment better. Many jobs can be done part time including administration, customer service, retail, tutoring, reception and delivery driving.
If you're currently working full time but finding it hard to cope, your employer may be willing to adjust your schedule so you can stay in the same role. You could be eligible for government-funded support to stay in work.
If you like the idea of setting your own hours and choosing who you work with, working for yourself could be an option. Self employment can give you more control over your workload, allowing you to take time off or reduce your hours if you need to.
You can start your own business or work as a freelancer in a wide range of fields. Examples include accounting, translation, writing, photography, tutoring, gardening and repairs.
Get support to set up, develop and grow your own business with Self-Employment Assistance.
Support to find the right job
If you're ready to get to work, APM is here for you. We help job seekers like you find meaningful work and get the support you need to thrive in the workplace.
If you're living with cystic fibrosis and finding it hard to find work or hold down a job, you may be eligible for free, government-funded employment support through Disability Employment Services. Register with APM today to get started.
For more information about how we help find jobs for people with cystic fibrosis, call us on 1800 276 276.