Office Etiquette

I was diagnosed as an adult, age 38, 4 years ago and have just changed jobs. I have a question regarding ‘office etiquette.’

Do you typically tell someone in your office about diabetes? Do you feel it is necessary to inform someone in the office in case you would need emergency medical treatment? Or is it not necessary, as most likely I would be able to correct a low on my own?

That was obviously more than one questions:) Just wondering what the line is between personal privacy and responsibly sharing information with coworkers. On one hand, I would assume that if anyone in the office passed out, paramedics would be called, diabetic or not. On the other hand, if people know what they are facing in an emergency we can handle it more calmly, so perhaps it is more courteous to let someone know.

Thanks for feedback!

I’ve never said anything/never found it necessary. After a while, people that I frequently interact with do find out that I’m diabetic. But I also wear a medical bracelet, so for me it wasn’t much of a worry. I have a desk job, so I’m always able to correct my sugars without a hitch.

I always tell my co-workers whom I work closely with. Frankly, I always tell anyone I spend more than a short time with, just in case something unexpected happens. Why not? If I passed out from a low, I’d want them to assume I had a low, not a heart attack.

Being a diabetic usually comes up at some point because you’ll usually share a meal together or have time off for a doctor appointment.

I do it as a safety issue and say something like, “I have type 1 diabetes and haven’t had any problems with low blood sugars in a long time, but if you see me acting strangely, I have glucose tablets in my desk or should drink a regular soda or eat anything with sugar in it. If I come back to normal in a couple minutes, it’s best to call 911.” I’ve had diabetes since I was 4 and have never had any type of school or workplace discrimination from being honest.

If I have co-workers with health issues, I’d want to know what’s going on in case they had something happen. We spend a lot of time at our jobs.

I was diagnosed while working for a company and was hospitalized for a week and a half so I had told my supervisor and CEO that I was newly diagnosed as a T1D they did seem to mind at first but after a few months back at work My duties were lessened and I had been just a few minutes late 4 times due to lows in the morning time, they eventally terminated me from my job for being late more than 3 times even though it was due to the disease and I wasnt even more than 5 mins late each time. I feel I was discriminated against but had no way to prove it. I feel its better to keep it to yourself. I have now been out of work for 7 months and unable to find work which I think could have to do with me being a T1D. As on applications it ask why you left your previous job so I put I was late 4 times then in interviews they ask why I was late so I tell them it was to a illness they ask what it was. I cant tell them that i was let go due to lack of work or anything else cause if they call the previous employer and they say i was let go for being late then i lied which is even worse. I feel sometimes as im stuck between a rock and a hard place in these situations.

I usually let at least my boss know on my first day on the job. After that, it tends to come up in conversation with the people you work closely with.

I always let my boss and supervisor know in case something happens. Overtime my co-workers find out and I don’t have a problem with that, it can actually work in your favour sometimes!

The ladies in my admin team are all great. If I go low while at work, they are bringing me over snacks (even if I have some at my desk) from their desks, telling me to just go into their drawers for food if they aren’t around, checking up on me after a low, etc. They ask questions too so they aren’t saying stuff like “should you be eating that?” (unless of course it’s a joke :P)

I told my two closest coworkers.I believe this is responsible on my part, despite my wearing a medic alert bracelet or dog tag. What if I collapsed walking down the hallway at the workplace? People need to know… But not everyone needs to know. Also I had 911 called for another employee 2 years ago… I suspected was he experiencing a hypoglycemic event. Others may not have known…

I feel that this is a question best left up to your comfort level.

As for me, I am extremely open about talking about my diabetes I have told just about everybody where I work. Although this maybe for selfish reasons, I am hypoglycemic unaware and have had several hypoglycemic episodes recently where my BG drops down into the low teens. When things like this happen it freaks EVERYONE out, so I do tend to let the people who work around me know, just so they know if something should happen. And it always surprises me, but my co-workers they do watch out for me, they monitor my moods and actions and if I start acting ‘funny’, they come over and ask me to test my BG, give me sweets or juice if I am ‘low’. For my situation, I think telling them was the correct thing to do, and has likely saved my life a few times.

That said, ‘switching jobs’ that is a bit of a conundrum, I have always waited until after the 1st couple of days before telling anyone (have had loads of jobs in the last 20 years; No, actually only 5, and 2 of those were with the same company), I sort of want everyone to know what I ‘can do’, before they find out what ‘I am’; I think that softens the blow a bit, they aren’t left thinking ‘Oh crud, we got a dud.’ Now though, Diabetes is considered a ‘Handicap’ (Under the ACA, or ObamaCare cover) companies can get a tax credit for simply hiring us, so IDK that may be a reason in itself ‘for/against’ informing ones employers.