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Surviving the Cubicle
8 Replies
bwelladjusted - November 12

Ok, so I haven't really worked since March (my FM was diagnosed in April) except to volunteer about 10 hrs a week at a friend's day spa. And the owners both have fibro, so they were fine with me calling off on days I just felt horrible. But my resources, obviously, are running low. Today I had a job interview, and I got a part-time job at an Office Max Customer Service Center. I have a month of training starting on Nov. 30th, and during my training I have to work 40 hrs. a week. I know it's only temporary, but I'm freaking out just a little.
I will be working in a cubicle 4-6 hrs. a day once training is done, and although sitting is better by far than standing for me, I'm just really worried I won't be able to handle being at work again. Does anyone have any tips and ideas that will work in a cubicle? Anything to ease the pain and fatigue during the day?


axxie - November 12

Hello bwelladjusted, I know exactly what you mean, I'm starting next week and I'm also freaking out.

I think it's out anxiety taking over, because we are not sure, how we will react, to the pressure that come with the job.

Today, my husband suggested I go to a meeting with him, where our friends of 35 years would be, and I did meet new people I was fine.

We will persevere and we will be fine, we just need to take one day at a time. Better to do take in the moment then stressing out.

Good luck to you and I'm happy I'm not the only one who was having a bit of a problem with returning to work.


Canada17 - November 12

Pictures of some of your favourite things. Get a nice 5X7 frame for your desk and put an outdoor scene you like in it.

Remember that the distraction of working will keep your mind off your FM for a while.

You will be sitting a lot, so remember to do little stretches every once in a while so you don't stiffen up too much. Get yourself a good chair, not the $50.00 sale chair or the one that's been around the water cooler one too many times. Most workplaces are required to accommodate for "disabilities". You will be more productive if you are comfortable.

If you are going to be working at a computer, get yourself a foot rest, they cost about $20 or $30 and come in all different sizes and varieties of adjustable ones.

You could consider a little plant, they are good for the air around you and take you outside...but that's sometimes a hard sell with employers plus you have to remember to water it, I always forget


bwelladjusted - November 12

Thanks, guys! Fortunately, because I will be working at an office supply company, I will have a pretty good chair and foot rest already provided, and a nice cubicle to decorate however I want (within reason of course!) The job itself sounds good, and my dad and sister have worked for this company in the past, so people already know me a little. I haven't really told anyone I have fibro yet...wanted to wait until I was already hired. I don't really expect any special accomodations. All in all, I really am excited to be going back to work. I enjoy having something productive to do, and I like working with people. Just last minute jitters I guess. I must have things too good at home!
Axxie, I'll pray for you as you start work again too! We'll get through this together!


Noca - November 12

I think I could do a desk job if my chair was comfy enough. If I were you, I'd invest in a big comfy executive leather chair for you to sit on 4-6 hours a day.


tnichel - November 12

I sit in front of a cpu 8-9 hours a day. Make sure they provide you with an ergonomic keyboard. Thats a big help for achy hands, arms, and wrists. I also place a cushion in my chair to make it more compfortable (the ones you can buy foroutdoor chairs with the strings to tie around the chair). Walgreens also sells a mesh back support for $10. Invest in a little heater if it stays cool in your cubicle. The colder it is the more I hurt. I also get up and walk around at least once an hour to help with the stiffness. Try to practice good desk etiquette (not the right word but Can't find the right one right now) good posture etc. DO NOT LEAN ON YOUR HANDS. That will make any neck and shoulder pain ten times worse. Look away from the cpu frequently. Also, THIS IS A BIG ONE, if you're going to be on the phone all the time you will need a handsfree set. No negotiation there. No holding the phone in the crook of your neck. THIS IS A MUST!!!! Also if your computer is not at eye level, then put a phone book under it (this will keep the strain off your neck and shoulders. lol. all my coworkers have copied me now.) If you find you're still in a lot of pain from sitting at a desk, then talk to your doc about possible pain meds that can help get you through work. I couldn't make it w/o my ultram er. I work a 40hr work week and usually do a few hours overtime. I also use salonpas or thermacare pain patches for specific annoying points. It really helps get me through the day. I've had to get thrifty about finding ways to relieve the pain from desk work. The good thing about asking for an ergonomic work station is you don't have to reveal you have fms if you don't want to since hundreds are sent to physical therapy every day b/c they don't practice good desk habits. They show in doctors offices with carpal tunnel, tennis elbow, etc. In fact, that's what led to my fms diagnosis. I didn't a month of pt before they started tossing around the fms theory. You can just let them think you require an ergonomic work station from previous experience. Good luck!


Canada17 - November 12

I don't know what it is like in the States but in Canada, if you require an ergonomic work station due to a pre-existing condition, then an employer has to make accommodations for you.

What they spend in ergonomic items they will save in your productivity. If you get a doctors not on top of that, there really isn't much they can say. But be kind when asking, demanding things may not get your very far and may delay and help they were willing to give you.


solanadelfina - November 12

In the states, your employers can be reimbursed for reasonable accomodations for up to $500 I believe through the ADA. I'm not sure what kind of paperwork there is, but it could help.

Try not to worry too much ahead of time- maybe wait and see how well you handle it when it comes. :)

Good luck with the job!


Noca - November 13

As tnichel said, Thermacare heat wraps are really good but can cost as much as $4 a patch.



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