Hey everyone,

Hope everything is going good for everyone.  I have had type 1 diabetes for almost 23 yrs(in aug).  I was taking two shots for a long time with a sliding scale, and slowly moved up to about five or more a day.  And I tried several types of insulin.  I remember the beef and pork insulin at first.  And the glucose machines the size of a brick.  And the needles that were not very user friendly( there were no different guages, ultra thins, or shorts).  And then finally back in November I finally got on my first pump.  The medtronic minimed paradigm.  And I love it.  It has made my life so much better, and my diabetes so much easier to control.  I have always struggled to control my glucose.  And my HgA1C's have usually been all over the map.  I had thought about the pump a lot in the past, but for different reasons I never thought I would get one.  I  do dislike the terrible cost of the supplies every month since my insurance does not pay for the consumables, and the horrific cost of the CGM's.  But other than that I love it.

Anyway,  having had this disease for this long, I have developed some small complications.  I have some leakage in both eyes, peripheral neuropathy, and gastroparesis.  Plus some other health problems.  My diabetes is in better control now than I guess it has ever been.  But having said all of that...My doctors have told me that I should consider going back to school, and finding a better, less physical job.  I have been in construction work for ten years.  I am a pipe-fitter, and plumber.  I do a lot of traveling and, at times, very labor intensive work.  This is really all I know.  I make killer money to only have a high school diploma(50-80k), and want to find something that pays about the same.   I have been out of school for 10 years, so all of the things I did know have been near forgotten.  I was always very good in upper math and science.  I have checked on the RN program and some other medical fields, but I am still undecided.  So I thought I would ask everyone on here what type of work they do.  Stuff that is diabetic friendly. Or jobs that if they could go back and do things over,  they would have chosen.  I don't really want to be in college for more than three years to begin with.  Then if I needed more education, maybe my employer would pay the rest of my way?  Thanks everyone!!!

Hey Sam,

Sounds like your doctor is looking out for you which is a good thing. Going back to school after not going for a long time can be scary especially when you have been working in the same biz for so many years. There are employers that pay for school and give tuition reimbursement or even on the job training courses.

If you are good at math and science you can pretty much go into any field. I wish those came naturally to me, if i could go back I would have gone into teaching Art or teaching for computer graphics etc.. something along those lines. I am a graphic designer just laid off in January. On month two in a couple of days. Really frustrating.

If you still feel like you can do your job maybe you can do it until it affects you at work. (unless it is affecting you now) Going back to school now and leaving your job is really risky in these times. But on the other hand it is a really great opportunity as well if you are definitely thinking of making a career change. maybe you can get into something relating to construction/plumbing without actually doing that hard manual labor?

Hey there,

Not sure if this will help but may give some ideas.  I'm a psychiatric nurse (RPN) which was 3 years of schooling for me (in Canada, not sure where you're living).  It's a pretty interesting field and my job is very diabetes friendly.  I work in community mental health, in residential facilities for people with chronic mental health problems and substance abuse issues.  I get to sit as much as I want as usually I'm either talking to clients, on the phone or doing paper work.  I can test my BG whenever I want and have snacks whenever I want pretty much.  Also, I sometimes do exercise group with some clients which is as good for me as it is for them!  There are lots of jobs in this field and will continue to be despite the economic changes I'm sure.  The pay is decent, but again it depends on where you live and exactly what job you get.  The downfalls of the job are it can be emotionally and mentally draining in a big way.  That's the hardest part for me.  But, it's also nice to be able to help people.  It would be a huge change from construction but since you mentioned looking into the RN program, I thought I'd mention it to you.  Good luck with all of your school and job searching!

You might try asking your current employer about promotions. An office position or one that uses walking and supervision instead of hard labor.  A business degree or accounting degree maybe?

Other than that, the only degree I know of that starts with that much money is engineering (which sounds good for you since math and science are strong points).

Personally, I'm a grad student.  The manual labor is zero, the healthcare and insurance can be better than some jobs, and a nonthesised program guarantees you out in a set time.  One or two years extra can give a big bonus to salary and job safety.

Thanks everyone for all of the support and ideas. I got laid-off on 1-29-09, so I know what that’s like, and share the same feelings as everyone else that is going through that. And my wife got laid of on 1-30-09, So, wow. Anyway, I am a union worker so a promotion from an employer is usually unheard of. When a contractor has work they call the union hall and say I need “x” amount of men. If your next on the books than you either accept , or decline. When the job is over you get laid-off or go to another job. And right now almost all of the guys here locally are on lay-off status. I have worked non-union in the past, doing the same type of work. But in this area it doesn’t pay squat. And most local companies don’t even have health insurance. I have been practicing these compass placement tests that decide what level you need to start at in college. I can not believe how much I have forgotten on the subject of English. I use a lot of math on my job (well I did when I had a job). So it’s not as bad. But man is that scary!

I am the most interested in the medical field but it is very competitive here. And the thoughts of I.T. techs seem cool also. I tried the engineering thing a long time ago, and really liked it. I just can’t catch on to the CAD programs. So I decided against that. Like I said I figured the different replies from everyone may jump-start my brain to think of some different areas of study.. The RPN sounds really interesting. But I have not seen it offered here.

Once again, thanks to everyone!! And please keep the suggestions coming!


Also I forgot to mention I am having a spinal fusion surgery in April. And the Doctors have told me it could take as much as a year to fully recover. So this is one big reason they think I need to change jobs. Not only my diabetes problems, but also to protect what will be done with the fusion surgery.


If you are interested in I.T., medical applications, and/or construction, you could try human factors and ergonomics.  Many schools have this option in either psychology or industrial engineering.  The post on this site about the medtronic dashboard glucometer is an example of human factors.  Things like the limits of what people can lift or be expected to notice lead toward applications in the area of construction.  Not sure of a good I.T. example, but Hers do a lot of work on interfaces (better design, fewer clicks).

I am actually in a nursing program right now that is actually designed for people who have had a change in careers, so nursing is definitely a possibility. As an RN you can work in a wide variety of areas and work your way up to management or administrative positions if you want. Plus as you have probably heard there is a nursing shortage that is only presumed to get worse as more baby boomers reach retirement age. I know a lot of community colleges in most states offer a 2 year program, but many are impacted so you have to take most of the math and science prerequisites before they admit you.

If you're not sure about nursing there are many jobs such and radiology techs and things like, which have short degree programs in many community colleges as well. I hope this helped.


Thanks Rosemary.  I seen that you have a degree in psychology.  It that a bachelors degree or associates?  I love psychology, but the community colloges here don't offer anything in that field.  I think they offer some of the basic colege classes for that and then you can move on to a four year school, and then med school.  I think the medical field is the most likely thing for me.  Thanks a bunch!!


I have a bachelors in psych and am now getting my second bachelors in nursing. There is not a whole lot you can do with a psych degree without going on to more school unfortunately. Hope you figure out what will work for you!


I quit working about 6 years ago because the type of work I was doing was physically challenging at times.  After many 9/11 calls at work & home, I "quit" when I was experiencing a low BS.  It took two years to get SS disability.  During that time I did look for other less physical work activities but without having to go back to school, it was hard to find an appropriate job.  At times I would rather be working, but I am getting used not having that responsiblity.  I often tell people that I can only plan two hours ahead to my next meal, so not working has reduced other stresses.  I am only 55 and have been a T1 for 30 years.

It helps to have a supportive wife who is willing to work as well as a suuportive extended family and friends.

I would encourage you to look into more education if you are able.  I know the IT profession is going to be around for a while.  Anything in the medical and education professions are a good choice as well. 

I would like to hear how you are doing and if you do go back to school.


Hello Rich,

Thank you for your reply. I also checked on getting social security disability, but the "system" is broken. If I apply for disability, then I can't draw unemployment benefits. I know from family experience that SSD is slow as molasses in rewarding the benefit. So therefore, I would not have any money coming in at all for who knows how long. And my wife being on unemployment also was absolutely not enough to survive. I was going to apply for SSD benefits for my back. The doc's have told me I will be down for around a year recovering from the fusion surgery. Then, when I was able I was going to return to work. I know that SSD, when, or if it is rewarded back-pays the recipient. But I can't wait or be without some form of income, so I opted for unemployment. The doc's did tell me by fall I would most likely be able to go to school if that is what I wanted to do.

I have gotten in contact with a community college here close by and I think I am going to try to go back in the fall semester. I have to take some prerequisite classes and then hopefully I can get into either a nursing, respiratory therapist, or x-ray tech course. I will keep you posted. Thanks again for your reply and for sharing your experiences! Best wishes to you.


Hi Sam and everyone else.  At least after reading your many stories I do not feel as alone.  My current option is taking classes on-line to become a Pharmacy Technician in about 2-3 months if I push myself a little.  I realize that Sam may not be able to do this type of job but since certification for it is voluntary and there are some in the field who sit all day it may actually be an option in the meantime for money.  It is also a way to get into the medical field and be exposed to certain areas.

For me on-line classes seem to be the only way to go since I have come out of an abusive marriage and am still reeling from certain interactions with people after more than 3 years of counseling.  The good news is that I do not have any major complications from the disease after more than 43 years with it.  The bad news is that even without major complications I had passed out on a regular basis in my marriage and of course at work so when the economy started to get shaky about 8 1/2 years ago I kept getting let go from temp jobs.  Being in Florida does not allow you to fight discrimination legally but it seems pretty clear that I have experienced more than my share. 

Now I am at the point of being completely listless for the most part.  I seem to have to sleep much more than I ever have before and I am not happy about that but I just keep trying.  The very good news is that I have a cat named Sputnik who is over 19 years old and looks out for me when I go low or high to a great extent.   It's amazing to have that kind of love and caring in my life after what I've been through.

I hope that all of you find what works for you.  I now know after years of trying it is quite difficult but I just keep hoping that eventually something will click.