Should I still go for promotion at work?

Hello, I would be grateful for any advice/experiences on continuing to work at full capacity with PD. 

I am due to go through a promotion process at work next month but found out in January this year that I have Parkinson's.  After a couple of months of tests and consultations I am now on medication (pramipexole) that seems to control my symptoms well.  I am able to function pretty well in the office though, as I typically work 48-50 hours per week, I do still get tired from time to time. My job currently involves managing multiple IT projects and teams for various clients across London and the UK.

Am I crazy to consider going for promotion to the next level, given this could be more demanding, more pressure and possibly more travel?  As a 47 year old, I still need to work for another 8-10 years to pay off the mortgage etc. before I can afford to retire, and part of me thinks that I should play it safe: stick with my current role with a view to gradually winding down through a flexible work arrangement if and when my symptoms start to get worse.  However, my boss knows about my condition and he is still very supportive of the promotion with a sort of "you only live once" attitude.

Any thoughts and anecdotes much appreciated!

That says it all, your boss is supportive. I hope that a promotion would result in, not only an increase in salary, but also an increased occupational pension and thus it is even more imperative that you go for this, as in the future, if you decide to retire early, it will contribute to a larger work pension due to the more years you have worked. I think that is right??

You have only just been diagnosed and have many more years ahead of you that you can work. OH was diagnosed in 1998 and only gave up work some years later and others with Parkinsons  are able to work for far longer

I hope you get some replies from someone in the same position that can advise you on this, otherwise phone the PUK helpline

I think your boss is great and has the above in mind; a better result for you in years to come.:-)


Thanks benji.  

The extra money would certainly help but I'm concerned about fatigue - I already get quite tired at work sometimes and I'm guessing it only gets worse?.  I think I should probably have a frank conversation with my boss...


Hi JF, You're situation is a difficult one. Knowing that you are well qualified for and have the backing of your boss for this promotion is great. Also knowing that it's a big undertaking and alot of hours could be hard on you physically. You're young and as Benji says still have years ahead of you work wise. It's more about how you want to live your life. If you enjoy your job that's good for your mental health. Talk to your boss and explain how fatigue and stress can exacerbate symptoms. Maybe a compromise can be found. Do what's best for you. Good luck

Thank you both!

I have decided to have an open and frank discussion with my boss and with HR to see if I can reach a solution that works for everyone...

JF Getting diagnosed at a relatively young age usually means the symptoms progress slower. This means that with the right adjustments as time goes on you and your employer are really going to benefit. Yes, the time will come when (insert your own negative scenario). But right now is your time. Your boss recognises what you have to offer. Accept this and discuss how you can get the best out of the situation. You should work out how to take breaks to maintain your energy levels. They could take on someone else but guess what, they could fall ill as well, leave, and most probably not do as good a job as you. Yes, you'll want to make the most of life. For you right now that can include progressing your career. My only note of concern is take a close look at the Mirapexin leaflet. The drug does address PD symptoms but can add in some unwanted side effects. Take care.

Hi, just wondering how you're getting on? I was in a similar position a couple of years ago - I took a promotion after 'fessing up' about being diagnosed two years earlier at 48/49 years old. My line manager at the time was supportive but retired and now that I'm stuck in the seemingly never ending round of public sector cuts things are tricky. Having hit a few walls, I've tried to do the right thing but I'm now on way too familiar terms with OH and HR  :-S. Not a good thing as it happens.

I think, however, that you have to balance all the arguments and then just do what feels right and deal with the consequences. Parkinson's is crap any which way you look at it but I find myself still working (just) a few years after diagnosis and I'd be in trouble now with or without the promotion so I guess I'd rather be in trouble having taken it...... (I think that's what I mean). I do wish, with hindsight, that I had not tried so hard to prove that Parkinson's wasn't affecting me in the early days and had pushed for an ongoing dialogue because things would be documented and it might have made things easier to manage at this point ... but who knows.

Good luck. J

Hi J, thanks for your insights.  It's comforting to know I am not alone.

After speaking to a number of people I decided to go through the promotion process (a fairly intimidating series of panel interviews which happen next month).  I'm not guaranteed to get the promotion but I have a very good chance.

The advice I was given, which made a lot of sense to me, was to think of it like a woman trying to get pregnant.  It might happen straight away or it might take years, so a hypothetical shouldn't stand in the way of a career progression. 

Of course the truth is I already have something akin to morning sickness (I am often tired at work), and it will only get worse!  But like you I figured if I have to stop work or move to a part time work arrangement at some point, better to do it on a higher salary.  The other advantage of being more senior is I potentially have more control over my workload and ability to work from home occasionally.

The other thing I am thinking is to be honest with myself and my employer when I inevitably find that I can no longer manage a full workload.

So, we shall see....




So, I went for the promotion and got it.

I think key to my situation has been transparency from when I was initially diagnosed: with HR, with my boss, with his boss, and with some of my team.  I have been pleasantly surprised how supportive most people have been.  Raising awareness of my symptoms, including the fatigue, has generally only been a positive thing.

I currently work from home one day per week and I've set expectations that at some point in the future I will need to apply for a flexible working arrangement (e.g. working a 4 day week).  I'm going to try and be honest about what I can and cannot do at work, so for example I've already cut back on travel.  I'm sure there will come a time when I have to bite the bullet and stop my current role altogether, but for now I'm continuing as best I can.  Despite all this, it's still hard every day.....

I'm lucky and not every employer is as reasonable as mine but I would encourage other people recently diagnosed to not try and hide their condition, and If there is an occupational health facility available then it's a good idea to register early.


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Good to hear JF. Thanks for your update.

That's really good to hear, congratulations on the promotion. 

J :)


Well done to you and your employer.  






Great news and well done.


I joined the forum recently and now browsing throug the threads.
I do not have yet significant symptoms but anxiety and fatigue. My employer is not yet aware of my condition and I plan not to tell for the time being. I work from home twice a week. I would like to take over more responsibility but i’m Scared of “not making it” and increasing pressure. I’m aware that I will need more time for myself. So I launched the ball of “wanting more responsibility” because it is good you are considered as “keen to pursue career” but I’m not really pushing for it.

What a game…

Whether to disclose your condition is a personal choice and perhaps depends on how forward thinking your employer is.

I am fortunate to have a good employer and would say that being open about my PD diagnosis with HR etc. has certainly been the right thing to do in my situation.

9 months on since my promotion, it is certainly tough getting through the work weeks, but generally my colleagues are more understanding when I need to work from home or limit my work hours due to the fatigue.