Most people with diabetes are afraid to disclose that news when it comes to getting hired. Many employers personally discriminate against people with diabetes and many jobs restrict hiring people who use insulin. However I think, unless the position is one directly responsible for people’s safety, that any smart employer should be discriminating — for us, just as President Obama did today.
Today the President announced his supreme court judge pick, Sonia Sotomayor. I saw the announcement as ABC broke into its regularly scheduled morning news broadcast. I listened as they listed why she is a historic pick: The first Hispanic and the third woman — yet, no mention that she has lived with type 1 diabetes since the age of eight. Now, that’s historic. The first type 1 diabetic nominated to the Supreme Court bench.
I didn’t know at first if I was pleased that there was no mention of her diabetes or not. After all, I wouldn’t want anyone thinking she couldn’t do the job. But, really, living with type 1 diabetes, should be seen as a huge asset. Judge Sotomayor, along with growing up in a housing project in the South Bronx with only her mom from the age of nine, managed to graduate top of her class at Princeton, get her Juris Doctor from Yale Law School and become editor of the Yale Law Journal, be nominated by President George H. Bush to a seat on the U. S. District Court in NY, be the youngest judge and the first Hispanic federal judge in New York State, and manage a chronic illness for more than four decades.
President Obama said Sotomayor has, “Intellectual firepower and the common touch.” Due to managing diabetes, she also has: Mastery over the constant acquisition and implementation of new information, extraordinary time-sensitive management skills, in-tact emotional balance and resiliency, 24/7 decision-making skills no matter how tired she is, and the ability, in the face of an uncertain future, to remain hopeful and empathetic. These are the qualities most type 1s I know have developed living with diabetes.
So, actually, I’m thinking this makes us more, not less, for a potential employer. More capable, more flexible, more determined, more responsible, more committed, more courageous, more remarkable. Simply, more.