6 Jobs and Career Paths That May Be Great for People With Fibromyalgia
When you live with fibromyalgia, it can be difficult to find jobs or careers that work with your health and lifestyle. You may require certain accommodations, or have a set number of hours you’re able to work due to the symptoms and side effects of your illness.
That’s why we asked our Mighty community what kind of jobs had been good for them, and whether there were any companies or fields of work they found to be a good fit for their health needs. Of course, everyone is unique and affected by fibro in different ways, so a job that works for one person with fibro might not necessarily work for another. But if you’re trying to find a line of work that works with your fibromyalgia, perhaps these ideas will provide some inspiration. And let us know in the comments if you have any careers or jobs you’d like to recommend! (Also: these companies are currently hiring for remote workers!)
Here’s what our community shared with us:
If you enjoy spending time around kids, you could consider working at a school or daycare, or even being a nanny or babysitter. Many of the jobs available in this field are part-time, and can be adapted based on your health and individual needs. Plus, it can be incredibly rewarding to help shape young people into curious and compassionate individuals.
“I have fibromyalgia and chronic idiopathic angioedema. Teaching preschool has been great because I can sit when I need to and I work [fewer hours] on my feet. I love being able to do my planning on my computer in bed. I also find being a nanny a great job because when I am incapable of working that day, it’s easier to take the day off. Also, the kids are very understanding when I tell them I need to sit for a while or that I need them to play quietly because I’m getting a migraine.” – Aleya G.
“I am a preschool assistant and I have a fantastic supportive boss and team that I work with. I work about 15 hours a week, as I can’t manage too much more. I love being around the young children as they are a breath of fresh air, and I can always find times to sit down if I need to.” – Lisa H.
“After many years of jobs not working out with having chronic pain and fibromyalgia, I’ve settled well into a job as a teacher aid/teacher’s assistant for a primary school. I have a small group of five kids and I’m sitting the whole time which helps a lot. I only work part-time but this role is working well, and being around 5-year-old children is lots of fun.” – Amelia P.
2. Rideshare Driving
Some of those with fibro may find that movement is helpful for managing their symptoms, but if sitting works better for you, then being a driver could be a good job option. Rideshare services like Uber and Lyft make it easy for drivers to decide when they work and for how long, which could be great for those who require flexible hours. If this sounds intriguing but you’re concerned about managing your symptoms while driving around, check out the 14 products our community recommends for making your car more comfortable.
“I drive for Uber and Lyft currently. I drive when I feel good. I come home if I start to hurt. My seats are super comfy so sitting doesn’t bother me. The headlights of oncoming traffic does occasionally trigger migraines and loud passengers definitely make me cringe, but it’s the only thing I’ve found so far.” – Nikki J.
If you’re searching for a job you can do from bed while wearing your pajamas, look no further. There is a wide range of writing jobs you can do remotely – whether you’re blogging about your personal experiences (such as life with fibromyalgia), doing technical writing for a company that needs help creating instruction manuals, or transcribing audio. In addition to being remote, many writing jobs are extremely flexible on hours as well.
“I’m a writer and blogger. It’s nice because I can work from my bed, surrounded by my cats. Downside is I am currently trying to find an agent so it doesn’t pay yet.” – Shayla F.W.
“I’m a transcriptionist and I work for myself. I’ve been able to set my hours to work with my sleep schedule, and if I need to take a day off I can.” – Rachel S.
4. Social Work
When you live with a chronic illness – especially one that’s often “invisible” – dealing with your own personal health challenges can cause you to be more in tune with the challenges other people may be facing. If you love offering support and guidance to others, you might consider a career in social work, where you can draw on your empathy to help them navigate difficult situations.
“I’m a support worker. I like to work with the elderly or people with brain injuries/learning difficulties as they need to go at a slower pace like me! Couldn’t work full-time hours though! Just wish the UK would recognize fibro as a disability.” – Celena G.
“I worked for 35 years as a victim advocate – had an incredible ability to be compassionate and to ‘numb myself out!’” – Ellen Hanegan
“Whoa. The love/hate relationship… My career path is intense. I work full-time for the State as a licensed clinical social worker providing psychotherapy for chronically mentally ill folks. I may not have chosen social work 20 years ago if I would have known then what I know now, yet I would not trade it for the world. It is a privilege to help others in need and I relate to my patients on a deep level. Priceless.” – Leslie B.
5. Pet Sitting
It’s no secret that spending time with pets can be incredibly therapeutic for those struggling with health challenges. Pet sitting (or even pet walking, if you’re up for it), can be a super fun way to earn some money and meet new furry, feathery or scaly faces. It’s also a very flexible gig since you can pick and choose how much you work and create your own schedule.
“Pet sitting… I love animals and to me it’s not work but I get paid. You can work as much or as little as you want. No lifting or long walks, etc.” – Hetha S.
“I work for two families as a regular pet sitter, which is one of the most rewarding and flexible jobs I could have ever dreamed of.” – Sara L.
6. Office Jobs
Office life might not be for everybody – but if you enjoy setting up shop away from home, there are a number of jobs and fields you can choose from that offer both full-time and part-time positions.
“I work part-time in an office on my own doing telephone counseling now which works great. I used to do home visiting nursing and it really took its toll on my health — getting in and out of cars, shared offices, constant changes in climate was a nightmare for symptom management.” – Jane T.
“Contact center. I get full support from my employer. Special chair and keyboard and a part-time schedule that works great with my rest pattern. A supportive company is everything.” – Kirsty A.
“I work about 28-ish hours a week in a grocery store office. I get a good amount of being able to sit and also being on my feet. If I’m having a bad fibro day, I sit more, and if I’m having a good day, I stand more.” – Sara L.
Finding Support at Any Job
Though some fields of work may be more suitable for folks with chronic illness than others, several of those in our fibro community stressed that finding an accommodating employer is what can really make or break a job. If you are passionate about a particular field of work, don’t be afraid to pursue it. There may be options for flexible hours, or disability accommodations (the Americans With Disabilities Act [ADA] requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities) – and some companies may simply be a better fit for your needs than others.
“It’s not really the job itself but rather the employers that help make it better,” Mighty community member Bay H. told us. “I always ensure that I have work accommodations in place but some employers (like my current one) go above and beyond to ensure they are implemented and my health is top priority.”
Mighty member Nik W. added:
“First off, ADA accommodations have been a lifesaver. I work for a nonprofit and we’re all able to work remote on Fridays, but due to my condition, I’m able to work remote an additional day and as needed. That flexibility has been a game-changer. Now I can schedule specialist appointments and make up the time throughout the week without having to use PTO. I started out as a fundraiser with an external focus, but I’ve since transitioned to a research and analytics role that allows me even more flexibility. Open communication with my supervisor has really made a big difference. I understand that’s not an option for everyone, but I’m thankful I’ve found an organization that values their employees’ health and wellness.” – Nik W.
Above all else, remember that regardless of your current employment situation, you are valuable, you are worthy, and you have a purpose.
To learn more about our community’s experiences with work and fibromyalgia, check out the following articles: