If you have a seizure disorder, finding a job can be tough. While it is possible for people with epilepsy to succeed in almost any career, it's not always as straightforward as that - statistics show that there is a higher unemployment rate among people with epilepsy.
Having epilepsy can make it difficult to get ahead in some careers. And, if you have a bad patch of seizures, it could make working very hard.
But don't lose hope. There are in fact many different kinds of jobs for people with epilepsy – even if your seizures are not fully controlled.
Challenges of finding a job with epilepsy
People with epilepsy have reached the top in a wide variety of industries, from sport to arts, music to politics. But we know that's not always possible for everyone. There are certain common challenges that make doing some kinds of jobs harder if you have a seizure disorder.
- Stress. Feeling stressed is one of the most common seizure triggers, which means that many high pressure jobs – from finance to restaurant work to sales – can be very difficult for people with epilepsy.
- Tiredness. Having seizures and taking epilepsy medication can make you feel very tired. This can affect your productivity at work, and mean jobs like retail, telemarketing or customer service might not be suitable.
- Forgetfulness. Having seizures and taking medication can also make you forgetful. This can be an issue in jobs which require short term memory – particularly things like customer service.
- Safety. If your seizures are not controlled, there are some jobs that are very difficult to do with epilepsy. Many driving jobs, jobs where you work at heights, by the water, or with machines are particularly risky.
- Stigma. While attitudes towards people with epilepsy are improving, there is still stigma around the condition, which can make finding a job harder.
5 of the best jobs for epilepsy sufferers
Everybody's epilepsy is different, and so a job that might be perfectly possible for one person, might be far more difficult for another. That being said, the following list of jobs for people with seizures would be suitable for many people with epilepsy.
1. Most office jobs
Working in an office environment can be an excellent option if you have epilepsy. Your workspace can be tailored to your personal needs, you don't necessarily need to be able to drive, and you may not need to speak directly with clients (so there’s less pressure if you’re having a difficult day). There’s a huge variety of office jobs for people with epilepsy, including things like:
- Back-office administration
- Data entry
- Social media manager
- Creative jobs
- Graphic design
- Human resources
- IT help desk
2. Library jobs
Working in a library or archive is another excellent job you can do with epilepsy. Libraries are calm and relaxing environments where the pace of work is relatively low. You may spend your days organizing books, answering questions from members of the public, or helping people to do research.
3. Content writing, editing and proofreading
If you have a good grasp of grammar and spelling, then there are many opportunities for using your skills. You could work at a publisher, proofreading scientific journals. You could write blogs or brochures for companies. Or you could edit articles for magazines and newspapers. Editorial and writing jobs are almost exclusively desk based, the hours can be flexible, and work can often be done from home too.
4. Translation jobs
If you speak a second language fluently, then there are an enormous number of opportunities for working as a translator. Many companies require their websites or documents to be translated into foreign languages. Again, translation work is usually flexible, and you’ll often be free to choose the hours you’ll work.
5. Hospitality jobs
While some hospitality jobs can be stressful (especially waitering or cooking), there are also many other parts of the industry that are a lot more relaxed and flexible. This includes things like catering at hospitals, schools or other large employers.
Learn more: Returning to work after a seizure
Tips for finding jobs you can do with epilepsy
When you are starting your job search, it's good to spend a bit of time thinking about what you're interested in, what skills you have, and how these can be matched up to different sorts of work.
It's useful to think about what things you really like doing. For some people that's talking with others. You may really enjoy research and reading. Perhaps you thrive in a team - or alternatively, maybe you prefer doing things on your own.
Just as important is to think about what you can’t do if you have epilepsy. While you shouldn’t limit yourself, certain jobs aren’t safe if you have uncontrolled seizures.
Think about what skills you have and how these could be valuable in the job market. If you have a degree or higher qualifications, then that's always a good place to start. But in any case, dig deeper and think about other things you're good at, and how they could be useful to an employer.
- Perhaps you're really into playing video games. This might suggest you’re a problem solver with great lateral thinking skills – that could be useful in things like business consultancy.
- Or maybe people often compliment you on your sense of style. Perhaps this shows you have an eye for colors and design – maybe you could apply for creative jobs.
Where to find jobs you can do with epilepsy?
People with epilepsy can find and apply for jobs following all the standard methods people normally use, including:
- Applying for jobs via job listings online
- Visiting a recruitment consultancy
- Applying directly via an employer’s website
- Finding jobs on social media websites like LinkedIn
- Visiting government recruitment centers
It's also good to know that there are several job boards that are aimed specifically at people who have disabilities such as epilepsy. Employers who advertise on these websites are clearly signaling that they’re ready to make adjustments and look past the disability label.
You can do it
Finding jobs you can do with epilepsy is undoubtedly challenging - especially if your seizures are not fully controlled. Nevertheless, there are many great jobs for people with seizures out there, and with hard work and a bit of luck, you might be able to find the right job for you.
If you need more advice or guidance on finding jobs for people with epilepsy near you, a great place to start is your local Epilepsy Foundation. They can advise you on suitable opportunities in your town or region. Good luck with your job search!