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In Print

I’d Rather Be Working

A Step-by-Step Guide to Financial Self-Support for People with Chronic Illness

by Gayle Backstrom

Book cover

I’d Rather Be Working is an excellent resource for finding and keeping a job, as well as for creating a work environment that is chronic illness–friendly. Backstrom personalizes the problems by telling her own story as well as the stories of others in similar circumstances. She has done a remarkable job creating a manual that is useful, hopeful, and real.

I’d Rather Be Working encourages people to balance employment and illness concerns by using strategic, easy-to-understand tools. Aimed primarily at current or prospective workers with chronic disabilities, Backstrom supports a goal-oriented approach.

She successfully tackles issues such as personal goal-setting, job accommodations, self-employment, and vocational resources.

The book does not focus specifically on MS. It explores the experiences of people with arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and similar conditions in an empowering, compassionate manner. Many of these illnesses present employment concerns familiar to people with MS. These include disclosure in the workplace, working with invisible symptoms, and knowing when to ask for a reasonable accommodation.

The book also provides a much-needed perspective for supervisors and co-workers on the often-misunderstood challenges faced by people with chronic illnesses.

I’d Rather Be Working will prove valuable to anyone wanting to discover and tap transferable skills and strengths from a past professional life. Backstrom helps the reader complete an analysis of strengths and offers employment scenarios with enough flexibility to accommodate an illness.

Information about the Americans with Disabilities Act coupled with a plethora of government and private sector resources make this book a valuable, practical step-by-step gem.

American Management Association, 2002, 252 pp., $14.95. 1601 Broadway, New York, NY 10019. Web site: www.amacombooks.org.

Or order through Amazon.com

For additional information
 MS and Employment
  Reviewed by John P. Carnesecchi, MSW, CSW, program director, Employment, New York City Chapter of the National MS Society.
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As reported by InsideMS. Last updated December 2006.