Counselor’s Corner: I’m starting a new job and I’m nervous about managing my diabetes in a new work environment. Any advice?

Starting a new job is anxiety-provoking for anyone, and when diabetes is thrown into the mix, it can be downright stressful. A lot of people are concerned that people will look at them differently in the workplace because they have diabetes. They get self-conscious and worry that their co-workers may think they are not capable of excelling at work because of diabetes. When you start a new job, your main goal is to get started on the right foot and the last thing you want is for diabetes to get in the way. Here are a couple things you can do to make diabetes at work less stressful, especially when starting a new job.

Be Prepared

First, always be prepared. One of the most stressful things about diabetes at work is when you do not have what you need to take care of yourself. Try to keep extra insulin, test strips and other supplies at work. That way if you need them, you have easy access with minimal disruption. Also, always keep some fast-acting glucose with you. Many people worry about having a low blood sugar at work and embarrassing themselves. While you may not always be able to prevent lows, having the supplies you need to treat a low handy can go a long way in making you more comfortable.

Don’t Hold It In

Next, do not keep diabetes a secret at work. You do not necessarily need to tell all your coworkers that you have diabetes when you introduce yourself, rather just make managing diabetes a normal part of what you do at work. This shows your coworkers that you can do your job and manage diabetes at the same time. If you do not make diabetes a big deal, they probably won’t either. If you are still worried about what people will think, put yourself in their shoes. What would you think if a coworker told you they have diabetes? Most likely you would not think any differently of them. Hiding something like diabetes that is a part of your daily life is really hard work. In a new job, you probably want to spend your energy wowing people with your work, not figuring out to to keep your diabetes a secret.

Find Your People (or person!)

Finally, find some people you trust in your new workplace and teach them about diabetes. It is important to have someone at work who knows what to do in case of an emergency. It’s also comforting to have people at work who you can talk to if you are having a bad diabetes day that is effecting your work. Hopefully these people will have your back and be able to give you some extra support.

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