For Teens: Work Life

Life On Your Own

You may have been working for a while or are now looking for your first full-time job. Regardless of where you are starting, it is important to know that many people with psoriatic disease find and hold fulfilling jobs. Here are some tips to help make work life easier with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

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Starting your work life can take many paths. There are many points to consider as you seek a job. Such points include:

Before You Take a Job

Explore what skills and requirements are needed for the position. Some ways to explore different career paths are:

• Explore different career paths and what is required for the job.

• Attend job fairs where you can ask questions about the type of work and what you would do.

• Shadow someone in the job of your choice to experience what it takes to do the job.

• If you are interested in a specific company, research the company to learn all you can before applying for a job. Look at the company website to learn about their mission, employee beliefs, and how they accomplish it.

• Apply for an apprenticeship in the field you have an interest in.

• Volunteer for the company that has the job of your choice to gain experience with the company and to work your way up when hired.

• Join LinkedIn to help build recognition of who you are and your accomplishments, and find alliances that could lead to a job.

You can also speak with your health care provider to see if they have any concerns about the type of work you are considering. If you have joint pain and stiffness from psoriatic arthritis, some jobs may not be comfortable for you or may need modifications in your work area. If you can do a job comfortably, having psoriatic disease should not affect your ability to get a job.

Starting a New Job

As you start a new job it may be helpful to talk with your supervisor(s) or manager and co-workers about your psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis and how it can impact your daily or hourly activities. Examples of topics for discussion include the need to take time off for appointments to see your dermatologist or tailoring your workspace to help reduce stiffness and pain associated with psoriatic arthritis. Your manager should understand the value of wanting to take care of your health to keep symptoms under control and be willing to identify solutions to help make that possible. Making small changes to your daily work environment can make an impact on how you feel.

Meeting with Your Manager

Before you meet with your manager identify and write down what topics you would like to discuss such as:

• Potential changes to your work schedule or time off for regular medical appointments.

• How your symptoms and occasional flares may impact your ability to do your job.

Once you’ve identified your needs, schedule a meeting with your manager to discuss how psoriatic disease may impact your work. Remember you are ultimately seeking to be a successful and productive employee. For more tips about psoriatic disease in the workplace, accommodations, and laws request your free Workplace Guide.

How to Talk with Co-Workers

Like friend and family relationships, work relationships require a certain amount of communication and honesty. You may find it helpful to talk about your psoriatic disease early on or wait until you develop more of a working relationship. How much you share about your disease with co-workers and your manager is up to you.

Your co-workers may have questions about plaques on your skin or joint pain if you mention it. Take time to talk with your co-workers about psoriatic disease and how it affects you. You may be the first person they know who has psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis. Share information that is relevant to your job and answer their questions if you are comfortable doing so. It’s important to reinforce that psoriatic disease is not contagious and there is no need to worry about “catching” it.

Informed co-workers are more likely to help support you when you need it. Share additional information about psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis.

Know Your Rights

Take this quiz to see how much you know about your rights and what protections are available in the work place.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal agency that was established via the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to administer and enforce civil rights laws against workplace discrimination. The EEOC oversees all types of work situations including hiring, firing, promotions, harassment, training, wages, and benefits. Read more about your employment rights as a youth.

Military Service

Be aware that having psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis could potentially exclude you from military service. Many factors are considered such as severity of disease, treatment choice, access to climate-controlled storage, ability to perform job duties and wear military equipment and clothing, and which branch of service you intend to join. It’s possible a medical waiver could be granted if your disease is under control. However, while the military works to support people from many backgrounds, they must also be careful to enlist those whose health allows them to complete their missions without placing anyone in harmful circumstances.

Create a Work-Life Balance

At times, work demands can be stressful, which in turn can impact your psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis. Life can present many challenges but learning how to keep them in balance is possible. Find ways to help balance your life between work and other interests that help you leave the stress of work behind. Maintain your treatment to help keep your symptoms in control. If you are having issues with your treatment, discuss what the issues are with your health care provider who may have tips on how to manage your stress and keep your symptoms from flaring. You can also request the free “Stress Management” quick guide from the Patient Navigation Center.

Additional Resources

A young woman sits at her desk and stretches with her arms over her head.

Workplace Guide

Request your free guide to learn more about:

• Improving your workspace

• Talking with coworkers about psoriatic disease

• Tips on stretching and mobility

Request your guide
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Preparing for Life on Your Own: A Webinar for Teens

Listen as Melissa Leeolou, a young adult who knows what it’s like to live with psoriatic disease as a teen, offers practical tips as you transition to life on your own.  

Watch now
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