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Rosalind Joffe, Expert in Job Search with Chronic Illness

Building on her experience living with chronic illnesses, Rosalind Joffe founded the career coaching practice, ciCoach.com, dedicated to help others with chronic illness develop the competencies they need to succeed in the workforce.

Rosalind Joffe is a recognized national expert on chronic illness in the workplace. As a leading career coach specializing in working with the chronically ill, she has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, More Magazine, ABC Radio, as well as numerous regional and national media outlets.

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Rosalind holds a Masters in Education, is a certified Mediator, and has completed the Corporate Coach University certificate program.

Rosalind's story:

My personal experience began almost thirty years ago when I was unable to lift myself from bed without help and had lost vision in one eye. I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and my life would never be the same.

Over the years, the disease was relatively mild and manageable but I continually made decisions large and small, based on my health. This was particularly true regarding my career.

Then, 15 years after the initial diagnosis, I was hospitalized with a second auto immune disease, ulcerative colitis. I had two young children, a husband, and a successful, demanding career.

Getting my health under control was a major challenge. When I was physically able to return to work, however, I confronted an equally daunting challenge. How could I continue to be professionally successful with a disabling disease that got in the way of my ability to perform?

At the same time this disabling condition meant I faced new concerns:

  • How do I talk about this and when?
  • How do I manage my tasks when I can barely manage my health?
  • How do I plan my career when I can't even plan for tomorrow?

There were few resources to guide me. I resented that most books (and caregivers) advocated that stress is bad, work is stressful and people with chronic illness should stop working. Many of us don't view that as the only option. I certainly don't.

Through trial and error I reached the point where I could once again thrive in my work. My experience living and working with chronic illness has become my inspiration and forms the core of my work with others.

Here are a few things that I have learned:

  • Illness, like any type of adversity, is best dealt with when viewed as a challenge to be met.
  • A clear vision of where you are and where you want to be gives you the strength and clarity to move forward.
  • Workplace success in the face of illness is transforming. It gives you the power and the confidence to face other challenges large and small.

At the time of my diagnosis, my neurologist predicted that my illness would teach me a valuable life lesson: Illness enables you to see clearly what matters.

And to that, I add a lesson of my own: illness does not preclude professional or personal success.

The Job Search Process:

  • Managing a "Wavy" Employment History
    For most of the 20th century, a person took a job expecting to retire or even die there. But not true, now. It's not unusual to lose one or more jobs for all sorts of reasons.
  • Avoiding the Nightmare Interview
    People who live with chronic illness often tell me that they are terrified of interviewing for a job. I've heard more stories than I can count about horrible experiences that proved to someone that illness makes becoming employed impossible. More often than not, the "nightmare" they're remembering could have been avoided with some careful preparation and, more importantly, can be used as a teaching moment.

Choosing that Next Job or Career:

  • Career Planning with Chronic Illness
    We're taught that when you tell a story, you should start at the beginning. This makes it easier to follow the chain of events. But if you're trying to get to a destination, you need to start at the end, where you want to be.
  • New Grads with Chronic Illness Choosing that First Job
    If you're a recent college grad, you're probably either looking for or are in your first "real" job (aka, full time and permanent). In fact, in my work with people who live with chronic illness, I've found that, typically, a person takes that first job for one reason: it's good enough to get started.

More Job-Hunt Job Search and Career Experts.


About the author...

Rosalind Joffe is a recognized national expert on chronic illness in the workplace. As a leading career coach specializing in working with the chronically ill, she has been quoted in numerous national publications and media. Rosalind holds a Masters in Education, is a certified Mediator, and has completed the Corporate Coach University certificate program. Rosalind's website ciCoach.com (Chronic Illness Career Coach) offers advice and resources for people working with chronic illnesses.  She also publishes a widely read blog, WorkingWithChronicIllness. In addition, find more of Rosalind's insights at Facebook.com/cicoach and on Twitter @WorkWithIllness.


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