View Full Version : Breaking the surgery to Employer

08-30-2005, 10:32 PM
Urgh - the more I think about it, the more I think I should have this whole surgery thing sooner rather than later. Thing is, I am nervous about it affecting my career, and telling my employer.

Some background:
I just passed the Michigan Bar Exam and was sworn in as attorney in May. I now work as a law clerk to a Circuit Court Judge. I am a government employee, with good benefits, including short term disability. Thing is, a law clerk usually only works a year or two before going into private practice. First I thought that was perfect, I could have the surgery after the clerkship, but before starting a "real" job, and not worry about leaving my employer in a bind. But, if I did that I would also not get any employment related disability benefits, and let's face it, benefits are good.

So, I just don't know how to break it to work. Hi... thanks for the short term job. By the way can I have a month (plus?) off for a surgery, and then come back with lifting restrictions, then leave?

Or... wait until go into private practice: (Essentially same thing) Hi... thanks for hiring me, can I get time off?

I want to have the surgery prior to having children, so I can't put it off indefinitely. I am 30 so that clock is ticking more loudly, and I already know I'll be a high risk pregnancy due to a blood clotting disorder I have, so I don't want to push my luck too much.

Sorry so long... but I am interested in knowing how other employers handled the news, and how taking the time off affected your careers.

Advice, info, shared stories, etc. appreciated!

Karen Ocker
08-31-2005, 05:23 PM
Just do it. When I first told my employer(head of the anesthesia group I work for) he was glad I could be helped because I was so crooked and had trouble breathing. He was still faced with covering my absence. I told him as soon as surgery was scheduled 3 months before the actual date in my case. It had absolutely no effect on my career. Remember, this is the rest of your life.

The worst thing you could do would be to spring it on him at the last minute.

My surgeon advised me I would need 6 months off because of my age and extent of surgery. Many other younger people can go back much sooner.

Just tell him the truth.


09-05-2005, 12:43 AM
Hi there....

I feel for you... I'm about your age and just got my first job as a university professor, and spent many months while I was on "temporary" university jobs worrying about timing a possible surgery. If you want to PM me, feel free. Not sure I have any particular gems of wisdom, maybe one question: have you been advised to have the surgery before pregnancy? My curve is a bit smaller than yours but not much (and with a large rotation) - a few surgeons all recommended trying to do the babies before the surgery...

Anyways, whatever the answer to that, it sucks to be a woman with this surgery ahead in a career that hasn't provided a steady job until your 30s. On the whole I think I'd go with Karen's instinct and find a sympathetic person - a mentor? - who can talk you through the pros and cons. Presumably you can get COBRA health coverage after your current job ends, although that doesn't help out with disability.

Keep us posted on any decision-making criteria...