It’s a dilemma: who, what, and when to tell those in the workplace about your diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease.
I’ve always prided myself on being transparent (is that word still en vogue?) and a person who avoids secrecy. However, honesty may not serve you well when telling your employer and co-workers about your diagnosis of Parkinson’s. If you disclose your medical condition to your employer, forget about any future promotions and advancement in your career. In disclosing to your colleagues, they may respond with “I know all about Parkinson’s. My 90 Year old Grampa had it.” They may think you are disloyal to the company, and may fear that they will have to pick up the slack in the work load. They may pity you, yet you do not want any pity parties. They may worry that Parkinson’s is contagious and may fear that you have a much more serious illness.
However, on the upside, when people are provided information, they often can be a tremendous source of support. They don’t have to have Parkinson’s to respond with empathy. Don’t rob them of the opportunity to provide this support. You both may benefit from this exchange.
For more information, an article, and a podcast on this topic, take a look at this site by Mary Spremulli of Voice Aerobics: