Dear Future Employer, This Is Why You Should Hire Someone With Anxiety
Dear future employer,
Since you have found yourself googling my name, it is probably safe to say you are interested in my application for employment. Perhaps my resume impressed you, which it should. I have a reputable professional background with many rewarding and successful career experiences. You were probably wondering if you had the correct person when the google hits for my name came up with adjacent phrases like “anxiety, mental health, mental illness, blogger.” You might have even become a little uneasy when you browsed the stories I have written about living with anxiety.
Before you decide to throw my resume in the trash and pass me over for someone else, I wanted to share with you why you shouldn’t do that.
1 in 4 Canadians live with mental illness. I am one of those 1 in 4. For much of my life I have had anxiety to varying degrees. Most of the time this has been in silence, without employees or colleagues knowing, until I recently came out of the “mental health closet.” Having a mental illness, or any illness, isn’t anyone’s business. But let’s be honest, some red flags are bound to go up for employers when they think about mental illness. It’s OK, I get it. You want to protect your organization and the media doesn’t really paint a wonderful picture of people struggling with mental illness, and the stigma that exists is pretty extreme in my opinion. What I need to tell you though, is that the stats don’t lie. If you have a business with more than a handful of people, someone is working with some form of mental illness and you might not even know it. The image of mental illness you might have, might not have been entirely accurate.
I also need to tell you that when you read my blog, you are reading a mere glimpse of the hard days I have and not even a fraction of my great days. You might be asking yourself why I would put myself out there to be misunderstood or misjudged then. The reason is because I care. I care that there are people out there that are feeling and going through the same things I have at one time or another and struggle in silence. I write to help normalize things for others and to show people they are not alone. I write to inspire and give hope to people who are losing their own hope. I manage a private Facebook group for parents with anxiety that has almost 3,000 members. I get to inspire and watch people grow and learn, fall and get back up, and keep trying to find beauty through the mess.
My ability to do any of the jobs I have ever had has never been questioned. You need to trust me on this. The one benefit of having anxiety is that if I don’t feel confident, even in the slightest, there is no way I am applying for the job. My anxiety will stop me dead in my tracks before I even send my resume. I have asked for one mental health day since I began working in my 20s. In fact, if you asked any of my employers if they had concerns about my mental health and my ability to perform my job, there is not one employer that could tell you “yes.” I am quite confident of that. There has only been one time that I have quit a job because I personally felt my mental health was being affected, and I left that job without anyone even knowing why. In my defense, my hard time back then also had a messy divorce as a contributing factor, but again, I left the job before it affected my performance. I am sure that you know, or have even probably gone through hard times yourself, where you questioned your own sanity for a while! Who hasn’t?
I wrote a story a while ago when I worried about people finding out I am not perfect. I think you should read it and then come back here.
If you read that blog and have come back here to finish, I hope this means you are still considering my application.
I could tell you a zillion reasons why hiring someone with anxiety is a positive:
- I am never late. It gives me anxiety to be late.
- I have great attention to detail. Disappointing people gives me anxiety.
- I have kindness and compassion for others. I know what it’s like to be judged with anxiety.
- I never break a sweat during stress. I am a master of “fake it till you make it” during hard times.
- I have an attitude of gratitude. If I applied for a job, it is because I really wanted it and felt anxiety would not get in the way, so if I get that job, it is like winning the lottery.
How about you call me and we can discuss more of my fabulous qualities.
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Thinkstock photo via Abscent84