I worked at my last job for nearly 7 years. I started in July of 2011 and was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes the next month. So everyone knew that the new girl had diabetes. It was just normal and I didn’t have to think twice about things, everyone just accepted it.
On top of all of the things related to starting a new job – adjusting to a new commute, working in a new office, getting to know new colleagues and learning about a whole new industry – I had to make a few decisions about diabetes. I decided that being the new girl was enough to deal with that I wasn’t going to put it out there right away to my new coworkers.
It’s not a secret, if you Google my name, this site comes up, along with my Twitter feed and some of my work with DiabetesMine. I’m not going to great lengths to hide it, but I’m also not broadcasting it.
I worked here for a couple of weeks before the topic of diabetes came up naturally in a conversation at lunch. I had in fact had several lunches with colleagues where I bolused for my meal and no one noticed and I check my blood sugar regularly at my desk and no one noticed. The lunch conversation was with me and the VP I report to, more or less about the fact that I tend to eat at the same time every day whenever possible. No biggie.
The next time diabetes came up was on massage day. One of the perks of my new gig is regular in-office massages, so they of course have a medical form and get to know where my devices are. I actually have great conversations with two of our regular therapists who are familiar with diabetes.
The following time, it was a simple question in the break room when making coffee. “What are you allergic to?” It caught me off guard as a strange question, but the asker had seen my medical ID bracelet. “Penicillin,” I said. “But I really wear this because I have type 1 diabetes.” We chatted a bit about it and that was it.
I’ve worked here for three months and only four people know. If anyone else does, they haven’t said anything about it. And I have to admit, it’s nice.
It’s nice to have a normal experience when starting a job. It’s nice to work somewhere and not be hospitalized 3 weeks after starting. It’s nice to have people ask me questions about my weekend, my family, my commute or the weather and not about how my diabetes is. It’s nice to be a little incognito when it comes to type 1.
But then on the other hand, because I’m apprehensive to offer it up without a reason, it’s awkward at times. You see, there’s a higher up in the office who I think also has diabetes. And I don’t think anyone knows about it. The only reason I think that is the insulin pen that sits in the bowl on his desk when he’s in. To anyone else, it would look like a pen or marker. I wonder sometimes if I should say something or just wait and see if it comes up naturally. So far, I’ve gone the waiting route.