This year I found myself back in the job market. After 7 years working remotely from home for a Department of Defense contracting firm, I suddenly had to start over. As I began my search, I reached out to family, friends, and acquaintances in hopes of landing a new job quickly. Much to my surprise, one of the most common questions I was asked was, “Will you disclose your MS during the job interview process?”
To be honest, that question had not crossed my mind. I was more concerned about my loss of income, getting my resume together, and figuring out how to land a job quickly and at a rate that would match my old salary—or at least come close.
I have always been very open about my multiple sclerosis (MS), but now I had to give this some serious thought. The overwhelming consensus, from most who offered opinions, was a resounding no. That response was a bit uncomfortable for me, as it contradicted the way I had approached my journey with MS since diagnosis in 2002. Now I had to think about how it could impact my job search.
I decided I needed a second opinion. Enter my “close friend” Google. Thinking a little bit of research could help me decide, I found myself more confused than ever! So I did what I always tell my kids: I asked myself some questions.
All of these questions have made me think more than I probably wanted to about my MS. Going into my first interview, I was conflicted. I decided to play it by ear and opted not to disclose. As I have continued along the process, each interview I have tried to focus on my skill sets as they pertain to the job. If I feel it’s appropriate, I do mention my MS. Being honest in some cases may have hurt me in the process, but I can’t say for sure. How you handle disclosure is up to you. In time, we can all hope to find a role that focuses on our capabilities, not our disabilities.