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How I Manage 2 Jobs With Hashimoto's Thyroiditis

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I have two jobs. I have a full-time office job, that’s full of the typical office job day-to-day stress, and I’m an Army Reservist as well.

I have a handful of chronic illnesses, the most prominent being Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Hashimoto’s causes many different symptoms. In my case, fatigue is particularly overwhelming and some days are incredibly difficult to get through. I’ve learned how to take naps in my car, under my desk, and I’ve asked for hammock in the break room. Management thought I was joking because I’m generally playful. But I really wanted that hammock.

I am extremely fortunate in that both of my managers understand that while I do have a strong work ethic, I’m sometimes hindered by my physical abilities. I also have a husband who is more compassionate and so much kinder than I ever could have prayed for. Even with that said, though, I can’t always do what I want to do, and something has to give.

Prioritization is key. If I have three big clients in one day for my civilian job and then paperwork due for my Reserve unit, I look at my day first thing in the morning and honestly assess my workload and how I’m feeling that day. Some days, it can’t be helped, and it just turns into a really long hard day. Since I know I get worse as the day progresses, I complete the most challenging tasks early and that includes any strategy or presentation I’m completing for the clients. In between those appointments, I work on the Reserve paperwork (usually in a Word document and then I copy and paste it into the proper Reserve software later).

If there’s just too much to do, although I really hate to have to do it, I figure out what can wait (usually the Army paperwork) and notify the appropriate person that the item will be delayed. This is difficult for me because I never want to miss a deadline or disappoint those who rely on me. However, one of my rules for taking care of myself is to never work too hard. I will work hard and I have a strong work ethic. But when Hashimoto’s works too hard, there are repercussions. The fatigue is more than I can cope with and my body aches and I can’t focus. I know when I start to feel like I’ve done too much in a day. In these times, I do a few yin yoga poses and grab a pick-me-up. Or have a few minutes to myself in the break room or the bathroom. No matter what, I’m OK with taking a break to gather myself.

My home life is fairly boring. I have a social life, but I don’t really go out during the week. I sleep a lot, maybe 10 hours a night. My husband is comfortable with this. He says that if it keeps me feeling good, I should just sleep until I don’t feel like I need to sleep anymore. He does a lot of the day-to-day chores, and I do the bigger things, like monthly budgeting and grocery shopping. I have a dog and two cats to take care of and that’s really easy. I don’t know what it’s like to try to balance this with children. I really can’t imagine how tired you moms must be!

To work two jobs, I prioritize every day and I communicate often and clearly with my management. If I feel overwhelmed, I stop. If I can’t stop, I take a break and if that means someone waits for me, then so be it.

Let me emphasize that some days are harder than others. For the most part, if I get enough rest and eat right, I can do anything I need to do. But that’s just not always the case, so I have to know my boundaries and how to get through the day. Knowing myself and communicating with my team is key.

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Photo via Tom Merton on Getty Images

Originally published: December 15, 2017
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