Advice from Others


We asked our Community Members to share their advice about working with arthritis. If you have advice you’d like to share, just click here.

‘I find it difficult to tell the next one what to do. If you can get disability and the doctor approves think about it. I must say this was the best thing I could have done for myself. I live a normal life with my husband. (my two boys are grown and on their own) I do everything myself which helps me to feel independent. When I was working the RA was in a flare daily. The pain was horrid and my mood was even worse. If you have to work, try to find some time during the day to sit back and put your feet up and just relax…Rest every chance you get.’

‘My life has improved for the better since I’m home. Which is about 5 years now. Regardless of work or no work rest whenever possible, it has helped me to get through many situations….’

‘Be honest with your boss at least. Well if it’s not one of those evil ones. I’ve found mine to be understanding when I take time to explain things’

‘Be honest with your supervisors. Give them accurate information about arthritis. Let them see your willingness to work to your full capacity, but also let them know when you’re not feeling your best. Try to work with them to find ways to make it possible for you continue working. Trade physically difficult tasks with other employers if they’re willing.’

‘You have to ask for your comfortable working environment. Don’t expect others to see your point of view. If it is just a job and not a career, I’d consider looking elsewhere.’

‘Explain to your boss/supervisor that you have a disease that is not completely understood. You have good days and bad days. Try to help them understand how you feel on your best days is how they might feel when they are sick and when you are having a bad day, it’s really bad. Inform them that you have no way of controlling when you will have good or bad days. Do your job to the best of your ability every day, and if that’s not good enough, then maybe it is time to give it up.’

‘ask for help when you need it. let your co-workers know when you are having a
bad day. most of all keep trying. I know it is hard but if I did not work I would
just sit at home and do nothing to keep me mobile.’

‘I try to help others on my good days so hopefully they would help me on my bad days. If there is part of my job that I can’t do,I will ask my boss if he can assign me a different one that I am able to complete.’

‘ We need to educate the people we come in contact with. If they don’t see a cast on my leg, they do not know that I have a problem. I try to do things the best I can, but sometimes my body doesn’t understand.’

‘The best advice I could give anyone else is to TALK to your supervisor and explain your situation. RA and FMS are difficult to understand if you do not personally have experience with it, but if you are able to articulate your difficulties and possibly suggest an alternative, I’m sure most employers will work with you. I’m sure they would rather make concessions in order to retain a valued employee rather than lose that employee and have to start all over training new personnel. Remember, knowledge is power, and the more knowledge you have the more valuable you are, regardless of your physical abilities.’

‘I am not a smoker and don’t need smoke breaks…so every once in a while I take a walk around the plant in order to keep my knees and feet from getting stiff. Key people know that I have R.A. and are very eager to help me maintain and stay fit.’

‘Communication is key! Educate those around you regarding your illness. Consider giving literature about your illness to your co-workers. Let them know right away that you can look great and still be very sick. Make sure they realize what a roller coaster ride you’re on. Well one day, sick the next. may have. Always remember…one day at a time and pace yourself.’

‘Unfortunately sometimes I think we become desensitized to life because everyone is overwhelmed with family, work and hectic schedules. To have a friend is to be a friend. Take time to find someone who needs help more than yourself and help them. It’s wonderful medicine for the soul.’

‘Only do what you can do without pain, bring doctor’s notes for things that hurt or are hard for you to do. I find it easier to just come out and say I can’t do that.’

‘Something that helped me explain it to friends and family outside of work, was to find good articles that explain exactly how you feel and how it affects your everyday life and your relationships and have them read them and ask questions if they want to. Again, they can’t totally understand it, but they may begin to realize what it is like to a certain degree. This helped to make my friends realize that even though I really want to spend time with them, sometimes I can’t and not to take it personally but to be supportive. Maybe then your supervisor and/or co-workers will understand about missed days at work, needing a reduction in work hours, having someone help you with particularly hard things or having that duty being assigned to someone else or having to ask for a reassignment or adaptations in your work day that will make your job more bearable or help to control flare ups. Hopefully, it will also make people more supportive. I personally have not had to do anything differently at my job because it has not affected what I do.’

‘Learn to say no (within reason, of course). My manager had always said that we should tell him when the work load became too heavy. Still, I think he was surprised when I said enough last fall. I’m glad I did – we sat down and prioritized projects and made sure that the work load stayed under control.’

‘Dont give up’

‘Inform management of your strengths as well as the difficulties. Explain what alternatives will help perform your job. Do not give up, and do not allow them into making you an invalid!!!!I have told my supervisors to let me make the decision of what I can and can’t do. Since I am the one inflicted with pain, I will be the one to decide what I can or can’t do. I am not a child, and I am not about to encur any unnecessary pain due to my job.I will notify them if I can no longer perform my job duties!’

‘Good Luck! It is difficult at times to fight the sterotypes of disease! Sometimes, their ways of looking out for your “best interest” is the worse thing they can do for you! Speak up, defend your rights, and your abilities! There are no limitations, only alternatives!!!!!!!!!!!!’

‘I would suggest getting a lawyer if your supervisor treats you differently. I wish I would have gotten a lawyer!!’