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Talking to Co-workers and Your Boss

  • Make sure you want to discuss it. Think carefully about how much you want to say. You don’t have to tell your boss or co-workers about your RA. "If RA is not affecting your ability to work, there's really no reason to bring it up," White says. But if RA is making it hard for you to do your job, it makes sense to talk about it.
  • Read up on legal issues. If you think you need help at work -- like extra breaks or a better-designed workspace -- know your rights before you talk to your employer. Contact the Job Accommodation Network, which can advise you. Talk it over with your doctor too, White says.
  • Have a clear sense of what you want. Don't go in with just a vague sense of what you want when you talk to your employer. What do you need? What will make you better at doing your job?
  • Talk to the right person. At larger companies, you might want to talk with someone in human resources. In smaller businesses, you may want to talk to your boss directly.

Whether you're talking to your family, friends, or your boss, discussing RA can be hard. Just remember that people can be more understanding and helpful than you expect.

You're also bound to feel a lot better after you talk about it. "I think that keeping your RA a secret can be more stressful than letting people know," MacCabe says.

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