check the box if… seriously?

It has been 19 days since my last post, so says my stats page.  Each time I log on to this blog it’s right there, the first thing I see… like it’s on a countdown reminding me I have been neglectful. Though it sure doesn’t seem that long.  Time has flown by these last few weeks.

So, I have been applying for a couple jobs recently. And on more than one application there has been a question that has really bothered me. “Do you suffer from a mental illness?” There is a box for “yes” and  a box for “no”. They then continue to list a few of them by name, and you were suppose to check the box of whatever mental illness you have… Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder.. and so on. They even, bless their hearts, have a box for “Other” and then a blank line- so if they by chance did not list your mental illness, you can fill in the blank.  How kind. We wouldn’t want anyone to feel left out.

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What do you do in a situation like that? You know damn well that if you check “yes” your application is thrown straight into the reject pile. And yet, I don’t think lying on a job application is appropriate… or is it in this circumstance? I don’t know.

Ok, I get their concern. Those of us who have a mental disorder may be little bit more of a risky candidate to fill a position. But shouldn’t that be up to our own discretion as to whether we are up to working in whatever capacity we are trying to? It really just rubbed me the wrong way, I mean they didn’t ask… “are you missing any limbs?” or “are you diabetic?” or even ” are you currently undergoing treatment for cancer?” – for which I draw the conclusion that if any of the issues were present, then they do not think they are important enough that they would hinder you being a candidate for the job. I know this is not a new topic of concern for those of us who do have a mental disorder, but it is the first time I have had to deal directly with it in my own life.

So what did I do? I left it blank. Which I suppose means I might as well be admitting to it, without admitting to it, but I couldn’t bring myself to checking that box. Very few people in my life know about my Bipolar and BPD. And if there ever becomes a time when I feel it necessary for my employer to know about it, then at that time I will decide to talk to them about it. But I find it completely absurd to have that question on a job application.

Just my two cents.

 

Just curious… what would you guys do? Or what have you done in the past?

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11 thoughts on “check the box if… seriously?

  1. If it’s ok to ask, what field or type of job? I’m thinking it may be illegal to ask, depending on the job. I do know there are certain professions that it’s forbidden, but I’ve never run across that question, ever. Myself? I’d check no. I’d whatever I have is in control enough that I’m ready to take on a certain job, then it’s none of their damn business.

  2. they were actually both in the customer service field. Different types, but working with people in both instances. The couple of jobs I applied for I have been asked to complete a personality survey online. They both were similar to each other, and both asked that question.

    1. The only time I’ve heard of this question popping up is in the medical field and airline pilots. I see potential customers and train customers for massive contracts. At no point in the application or interview process did mental health, financial status (some employers require credit checks) or a demand for passwords for social media accounts (also becoming more common) come up. Given how conservative the company I work for is, I’m surprised none of that came up. In all instances, I think that all of the above mentioned practices should at minimum be a two way thing. It’s conjecture at best, and should frankly be illegal unless a role fits the need for such information.

  3. Tell it exactly as you are…then you won’t feel like hiding all the time AND the employer who does hire you, will be a more empathic employer and better to work for because you have shared that.
    And because of you living in your truth, it no longer adds to the stress of working etc.
    Not an easy thing to do as so many employers don’t know how to deal with the many conditions, so just don’t employ on that basis, but as I said, the one that does employ you will either know about the condition or is prepared to step out of their safety zone.
    As for you, just be you…way more easier than trying to be ‘something’ for someone else 🙂

  4. While I agree you should just be yourself, your diagnosis does not really define you. Its a tough call as I would personally be honest myself, however you don’t know how others will take the kind of news that you struggle emotionally and may prefer to keep it under wraps. In the end its your own decision. You did what you were comfortable with. That’s all you can do.

  5. So I definitely feel like having those questions on a job application is illegal, unless the job one is applying for is being a mental health professional or caring with those with mental health issues (since the job itself could be triggering, etc.). I really don’t like that you found that on actual applications. :/ Good for you for making your own choice though!

  6. Wow, I’ve never seen that on a job application. That seems SUPER invasive and possibly illegal. That is none of their business.

    You have to declare a mental illness to get a job in customer service, but not to buy a gun? This country is weird, I tell you.

  7. If you live in Canada or the USA, it’s illegal for them to ask you about your mental or physical health, so you were well within your rights to leave it blank. You should also contact their hr and remind them that they cannot ask these questions.

    Customer service/retail jobs are the bane of my existence 😭

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