Work and MS
If you want to stay with your job -- or look for a new one -- you don't have to let MS get in the way. Check for services that help with career planning. And learn about your rights to get your workplace adjusted to match your needs.
How Do I Find a Job That Matches My Skills?
State government agencies and health care facilities offer job rehabilitation services to help you find the right job or keep the one you've got.
These programs can help you find a job that matches your skills and abilities. They may offer tests that can help you evaluate your interests, strengths, and limitations. You can also look online for self-assessments that can help you understand your job needs better.
Counselors may use a computer database to match jobs with your work history and your current physical and mental skills.
A job rehab program can help you:
- Clarify your talents and abilities
- Research career interests
- Identify job preferences
- Define job goals
A job rehabilitation counselor provides support and guidance throughout the decision-making process. He or she can also help you with resume writing and job interview techniques.
How Do I Determine If My New Workplace Is Safe?
A counselor can observe you at work while you do specific tasks to see if you can safely perform a job. He or she may then recommend changing job duties or altering the work site to improve safety.
Keep in mind that your rights are protected by a law called the Americans with Disabilities Act. In general, employers need to make "reasonable accommodations" for any disabilities you have because of your MS.
"Accommodations" means that your employer makes changes to the way a job is done or to the equipment you need to do it.
The National MS Society recommends that you collaborate with your employer in a cooperative spirit, rather than seek a legal proceeding right away. For example, it can help to show your employer how changes to your workplace or equipment can make you an even more productive worker.
What Is Job Coaching?
Community agencies may offer job coaching for those with severe disabilities. This lets you get assistance on the job to learn procedures, organize and prioritize tasks, and meet your employer's production standards.
A job coach works closely with you to set up your job duties based on your overall strengths and limits.