Kicking ass in your career while chronic illness is kicking your ass

Announcement of Alanna Burke's session in DDI Camp 21

When you think of chronic illness, what do you think of? Someone in a hospital with lots of tubes sticking out? Someone on disability who stays in bed all day and takes a lot of medications? Someone in a wheelchair who can’t get around easily?

Those are some ways that people can experience chronic illness. However, the majority of people with chronic illness still have to live their lives. They go to work, they come home, they take care of their families, their pets, their loved ones. And then they wake up the next day and they do it all over again!

I have been managing several chronic illnesses for over a decade, and during that time my career has taken off in ways I never dreamed it would, but it hasn’t been easy. I work hard and take a lot of pride in my career. As much as sometimes I wish I didn’t have to work to provide for myself and my family, I don’t think I’d be happy without a fulfilling career. In fact, one of my biggest fears is that one day I won’t be able to work anymore due to my health.

In this talk, I’ll go over some of the high and low points I’ve experienced while advancing my career and managing my health, and how I deal when a flare up interferes with work. I’ll share some of my best advice for those in a similar situation. Attendees will come away with a better understanding of what it’s like to manage your life, your work, and your health, and how difficult it can be. My hope is that this talk will build understanding and empathy, and give some insight into what working life is like for those managing chronic illness.