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    I started advocating for myself at the onset of my symptoms and, given that the people I worked for knew me from before I started having problems, they were very supportive and told me, “do what you need to do.”  I could come in late if I was having a bad day and stay late to get what I needed to get done, done.  I could do PT (physical training) on my own versus with a group due to the fact I could no longer do what I’d done before and needed to adapt to my new “normal”… running had become difficult whereas it wasn’t difficult before.  I think everyone knew I was devastated and no one (including me) knew what was actually happening to me.  I moved from that workplace overseas and my new boss was not understanding at all.  I advocated for myself there and asked for flexibility in my work schedule and with PT but this boss was having none of it.  I was passed over for duties that were commensurate with my rank and experience, plus this boss moved me into more of an admin role doing Inspector General (IG) inspection prep instead of allowing me to do my job, which was Contracting.  When he tried to take away a class I was selected for, I pushed for feedback on why that was happening and he refused to provide it.  I actually filed an IG complaint a few days before this boss would be non-compliant with the Air Force Instruction (AFI) in regards to feedback requests… I did this to let him know I wasn’t playing around – as sort of a shot across the bow.  I also let my bosses boss know what was happening.  We had mediated feedback that still did not answer my questions (which was confirmed by the third party that was present).  I went back to my bosses boss and requested to be moved from my current organization.  The move was granted and my bosses there were so wonderful, I can’t even describe the difference.  They allowed me flexibility to PT when I needed to, to go to doctor’s appointments, etc., and to take time off (I used vacation leave) when needed.  Because of the support, I worked very hard for my bosses in that position…  answering emails at 11 p.m., at 5 a.m., at 2 a.m.; handling texts and emails on my cellphone wherever I might be; coordinating tasks even while I was at the doctor’s office.  They knew I was giving my all and cut me slack when I needed it.  They saw I was hurting and still pushing through…  That support made all the difference in the world.  My chronic pain condition is severe enough that I was medically retired from the Air Force and I have been on disability for the last 7 years.  #advocatingforyourself  #beingassertive  #fightingforwhatisright  #coping  #supportivebossesrock

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