How to Talk to Your Boss About Your Migraine: 6 Useful Tips

migraineMigraine sufferers are often reluctant to tell employers about their condition, sometimes with good reason. Those who have never experienced chronic migraines have a difficult time understanding the tremendous impact it can have on day-to-day life. Being upfront about migraine pain, treatments and triggers can make a world of difference in your workplace and doesn’t have to be a headache for your boss, either. 

Here are six guidelines to help you inform your boss about your serious chronic migraine condition: 

1. Know what you want

If you’re thinking about discussing chronic migraine pain with your boss, there’s probably a reason. What are you hoping to achieve? Obviously goals will vary widely by individuals, but most migraine sufferers are simply trying to avoid triggers:

  • Overhead lights or monitors are too bright

  • Strong odors in work area

  • Insufficient or inflexible breaks to administer medications

  • Pressure to participate in activities or consume foods that trigger migraines

These, and many similar issues, should be fairly easy for any employer to address with minimal hassle or expense.

2. Know What Your Boss Wants

You likely already know what your boss wants: reliable, productive employees. Communicate to your boss that you will be a more productive, reliable employee with only a marginal investment.

3. Plan Ahead

You should keep a few things in mind before you approach your boss about your condition.

  • You need to dedicate an appropriate time to talk. Make sure you set an appointment in advance to ensure you have the full attention of your boss when you are ready to approach the subject.

  • You should have a clear and concise idea of what you are going to discuss. Ultimately you want to convey two points: Your condition is serious, but with reasonable necessary accommodations, you are able to do your duties with integrity. Everything you say should be emphasizing one of those two points.

  • Don’t be afraid to bring documents such as printouts, URLs, notes from your doctor to support your claims.

4. Enlighten Your Boss 

Unfortunately even those closest to us often harbor wildly inaccurate assumptions about migraines. So what can you say to your boss to make him or her understand the seriousness of your condition? Here are a few facts you may want to include:

5. Outline the Accommodations You Need 

A common side effect of migraine pain is, unfortunately, missed or reduced quality of work. This is an inevitability for most migraine sufferers, and not something most employers would consider a minor concession.

However, studies suggest the average migraine sufferer loses only about 4 days a year to migraine pain, which may be easily manageable with sick days. Clarify that reducing triggers and allowing you to administer medication when needed will reduce lost time.

6. Keep in Mind That Bosses are People Too

It might not always seem like it, but your boss is human too. Your employer will appreciate forthright, honest information about your condition and most likely will be willing to help improve your work environment. After all, you and your boss both have a lot to gain from being able to address your chronic migraine pain.

Have you tried discussing your chronic migraine pain with your boss? Share your experiences with your fellow migraine sufferers by commenting below.
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Photo by: by World Relief Spokane

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