WorkWise Q&A: Should my son explain medical condition at interview?

culp@workwise.netJune 2, 2013 


Q: Dr. Culp, My son was an intern promoted to full-time after graduation. It proved to be a great job and he did very well. The company forced him to resign a year later because of Shy Bladder Syndrome, a condition affecting several million people and with which he’s lived for years. (He’s also had therapy from a urologist.)

My son couldn’t meet the one-hour time frame in a drug test. He doesn’t use drugs and offered to pay for a blood test with his own money but was turned down.

He’s now applying for other jobs. I think he should discuss the syndrome with future employers during job interviews so that a contingency plan could be put in place for him. Do you agree? He’s not sure what to do.


A: Dear Concerned, Ask an attorney immediately if your son is legally entitled to an accommodation. If so, your son should not mention anything about it until he has a job offer.

If the condition doesn’t qualify, he has two options – avoiding companies requiring a drug test or, again, waiting until he has an offer before disclosing it, at which point he risks being rejected (but might not be).



Q: Dear Dr. Culp, Just read your article in another paper about people “unretiring,” which I want to do in six months. I want to focus on keeping "intellectually active" while taking care of physical, spiritual and family needs. What avenues should I explore? Thanks in advance.

Shifting Direction

A: Dear Shifting, It’s essential that you establish direction before you begin or you’ll be hunting and hunting until something “clicks” or you give up. Use your years of experience to clarify where you’re headed.

Do you want to work full- or part-time? Do you want to return to a previous industry or start something completely new? If the latter, do you have a strong person to support you and give advice as you enter unfamiliar terrain? Consider a coach, friend or spouse.

If you have absolutely no idea what you want to do, you probably need some coaching to step forward in a direction that makes sense with your business and life experience. Otherwise, you might spend the next six months reading and exploring.

If you get this far and don’t know what’s next, email again.


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