One of the hardest things I’ve had to do in my life is figuring out how to manage my Narcolepsy and working full time. It’s been harder than graduating college, harder than losing a parent at age 19, just plain hard. I’m sure some of you can relate. Below I’ve outlined my journey with working with narcolepsy, I provide some tips on how to improve, provide suggestions on the best types of work for PWN, and offer suggestions on how to increase your income while working from home. If you’re interested in the top jobs for narcoleptics click on the link.

 

Narcolepsy and working full time

 

Narcolepsy and working full time

 

In college, it never was a problem. I would head out to my 9 am class and return to my apartment around noon. Crash hard with a nap. Pound some coffee then stay afloat the rest of the day with 5-hour energies. Was this sustainable? Heck no. Did I think there was nothing wrong with this way of living at the time? Yes, a resounding yes.

My whole world got turned upside down in my first job out of college. My position was an Account Executive (Sales) working for a medical testing laboratory. The nature of the job required me to drive up to 7 hours a day at times. It just wasn’t a good fit. I couldn’t do it without endangering myself or others. Having to leave this job was a wakeup call for me. Narcolepsy slowly but surely took away all the points of certainty from my life.

After leaving the sales job I hopped from industry to industry in hopes of finding something that would work. I worked in the nonprofit industry, had several jobs in the service industry, and finally settled in tech. These few years of searching were hard on me. I seriously thought I wouldn’t be able to hold down a job with this disease.

My path with narcolepsy and working full time was anything but a straight line. I still stumble at times but I’ll never return to that scarcity mindset nor will I ever accept that I am a victim of this disease.

Nor should you.

Balancing employment with narcolepsy

What you can to do to improve your work situation

 

Upgrade your mindset

 

This is going to sound “woo-woo” but stick with me. You need to make sure you have the right mindset when dealing with narcolepsy and working full time. For years I told myself I would never be able to do it. “I could never work for someone else”. “No one will hire me”. You need to stop firing yourself from positions before you even start working there. Trust me, I know how hard this is first hand. But you need to have your belief system work for you and not against you. If you don’t everything else will be 100x harder.

 

Taking advantages of products, optimizing your workspace, and legal rights at work

 

There are several products you can buy to help you stay alert at work.

My two favorites are:

A Standing Desk

A UV Light

These are both designed to keep your EDS at bay. I noticed years ago that the more healthy and natural signals I could send my brain the better. This is all about tricking your internal systems to “STAY AWAKE NOW”. Now that you’ve got yourself some products to help with EDS at work let’s talk about optimizing your working conditions. Do you have a nap room set up? Are you working a time shift that is the most ideal?

Don’t be afraid to fight for the perfect conditions.

In addition to those products, you have the support of the law. According to the Equal Opportunity Act of 1972, you are protected under the law from unlawful discrimination at work due to any disability. Furthermore, your employer is required to provide you with “reasonable accommodations” in order to fulfill your duties.

 

Be the best damn employee you can be

 

I’ll let you onto a little secret — not everyone will understand this disease. As a result, they may confuse our symptoms with laziness or apathy. As a result, I’ve vowed to be the best damn employee I can be. They need someone to stay later? I got it. Is the workload a bit much for the COO? How can I help?

Let this be your superpower. I know this is easier than it sounds in practice. It will take time to cultivate this willpower. But don’t give them an excuse to judge you. Show them, even with this disease, you are valuable.

 

Change your diet

 

Are you tired of me talking about changing your diet yet? Don’t be, because I will drill this into you until the cows come home. Everything starts with your diet. If it is not optimized you will always be handicapping yourself.

 

Alleviate your symptoms with diet

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Manage your stress

 

My narcolepsy symptoms and my stress level are directly correlated. The hardest times I’ve had dealing with my narcolepsy have coincided with the most stressful periods of my life. If you don’t manage your stress it will manage you.

Finding the right fit

 

Real talk: some jobs will be unsafe with Narcolepsy. If you are a truck driver in Kansas driving on flat roads with no stimulation for 8 hours at a time, you’re going to be putting yourself and others at risk. I had to learn this one the hard way. Make sure that you’ve done your best job in finding employment that works with narcolepsy and not against it.

Things to consider:

  • Rule out anything that will be dangerous: driving, operating heavy equipment, etc.
  • Try pruning tasks that aren’t ideal: long periods while sitting, monotonous work, etc.
  • Seek out ideal jobs: no driving, little commute, working on your feet, etc.

What are the most ideal jobs you might ask?

After asking other fellow PWN I’ve developed a small list. These are 100% subjective and purely opinion but perhaps the suggestions might help you.

Active jobs on your feet all day:

Service Industry
Retail
Nursing
Hospitality Industry

Working for yourself from home:

Web Design & Development
SEO
Coaching
E-commerce business

 

Don’t have these technical skills yet? Consider checking out Lambda School. It’s a coding Bootcamp but with a genius business model. You take the entire course and don’t pay a dime upfront until they land you a job that makes you over $50,000 per year. Read more about Lambda School here.

How to make money on the side (from home)

 

There are dozens if not hundreds of ways to make money online nowadays. I’m talking about ethical ways. Ways that won’t embarrass your parents.

A snapshot of ways to make money online:

  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Web Services (Web Design and Graphic Design)
  • Consulting
  • Selling physical products
  • Coaching
  • Online Courses
  • Business to Business Services
  • Copywriting
  • Product Reviews
  • Paid Advertising Management

Below are my favorite resources on how to make money online:

Smart Passive Income

Penny Hoarder

Growth Lab

Location Rebel

Upwork

Do me a favor and email me your biggest challenge with narcolepsy and working full time. Hit me up at → narcolepsycoach@gmail.com

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Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above may be affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you purchase the item via the links. I recommend only products and companies I use or have reviewed and the income goes to keeping the site ad-free.