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Starting a job or career after college can be scary and exciting all at the same time. As a young adult with CF, you can do just about anything; however, there are some additional things to consider. Your health should remain top of mind and always be your number one concern. Generally speaking, some people prefer jobs that aren't too physically demanding or are only looking for part-time work.1 Before starting the job search, ask yourself the following questions1:

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Do I want a job just to pay the bills, or do I want to start a career?
Some people prefer or only need a job to pay the bills. Others are interested in getting a job that can lead to a career. Figure out which route is best for you and go from there.

Do I want to work part-time or full-time?
Consider how long your treatments take each day. Also think about how often you may have to miss work due to infection or other CF-related issues. Think about your energy level. Could you push yourself or do you tire easily? How well do you handle stress on a daily basis? Find out if part-time work offers health insurance. Oftentimes it doesn't, which could also be a deciding factor.

Is self-employment a good option for me?
Being self-employed allows for more flexibility; however, self-employment comes with some disadvantages, such as lack of benefits, no one to cover for you if/when you are sick, no income during down periods, and longer hours than those who work for an employer. It's a good idea to weigh the pros and cons before making a decision.

Will I be exposed to harmful fumes?
Smoke, dust, and paint or exhaust fumes can be harmful to your lungs. If you do choose to work in this type of environment, be sure to use OSHA-approved respirators at all times. Talk to your CF care team for more information.

Will I be exposed to harmful bacteria?
You may come in contact with more viruses working with small or school-aged children. They often carry viruses. This may increase your chances of getting a CF-related infection. In addition, working in some healthcare settings that may contain harmful bacteria could be harmful to your lungs.

Does this job have flexible hours?
Ask if the position in question allows for vacation and sick days or if you're allowed to work from home if needed.

The interview1

You have a job interview. You're well prepared, got a good night of rest, and have eaten well and taken any appropriate medications and pancreatic enzymes. You've researched the position and company. You are ready with questions to ask your potential employer and have gone over possible answers for the questions they might ask you. This can be a little nerve-racking for anybody. It's important to remain calm and confident. Always be yourself.

Should you talk about CF during your interview? This decision is completely up to you, though generally the answer is no. Providing any personal information should not have any effect on whether or not you land the job. The decision to hire you should be based on your ability to perform the task at hand and nothing else. In addition, if you put down references and decide not to talk about CF, be sure to let the people who may be contacted on your behalf know.

If you have more questions about the interview process or talking about CF with a potential employer, talk with your CF care team.

What are the health benefits?
At some point before accepting a job, you will want to ask about the benefits package and if the company gives full health coverage to its employees. Find out if there are different options for you to choose from.

Reference: 1. Cystic fibrosis in the workplace. Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. http://www.cff.org/UploadedFiles/LivingWithCF/InWorkplace/CFInTheWorkplace.pdf. Accessed July 14, 2014.

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