To Reveal or Not Reveal -- That Is The Question...?

Hey Everyone!

I had my bleed in December 2012 (at work of all places), and had to go on disability for three months. My company is fairly tight nit and was very supportive. I went back to work in March of this year. Things are going well, however, I feel like it's time for a career switch; I'm not fulfilled. I don't ever want my AVM to hold me back and stop me from moving forward in my life so off I go! :-)

I've been interviewing at places off and on throughout the summer (and now into fall) but I've been questioning weither or not I should reveal my stroke, and thus, my AVM situation. HR can't ask me about my health (it's illegal right?). At the time of my stroke, I was in graduate school -- obviously I dropped out, but I still list it on my resume because of some of the technical skills I learned.

Whenever asked, I usually say: "Grad school wasn't for me -- I feel like I could pick up more hands-on experience in the field...etc." I don't know -- I make up some excuse.

I also have frequent doctor visits throughout the year -- the company I work for now, knows this and they're ok with that. Again, very accommodating to my situation, which is wonderful.

Here's my question: Should I tell HR (or whomever I'm interviewing with) that I had a stroke?

Part of me wants too, so they understand why I dropped out of school. I'm not quitter. I really am trying to push forward -- I have a lot of ambition. I want them to know this, but another part of me thinks it's none of their business and that they may look at me as a liability. I don't want their sympathy nor do I want them to think that because I have had a stroke, I won't be able to do the job at hand...

What to do, what to do...?

I would recommend not saying a word about the stroke. Why risk discrimination? If you are asked about not finishing grad school, you can say the decision was financial -- that reason would be so common, HR wouldn't bat an eyelash.

Do not disclose. I had a bleed and craniotomy when I was a kid. I ended up with severe visual losses. I became a paralegal after being a legal secretary. I never told, but a few close friends would ask why I walked into the wall, etc. As for grad school, the financial inability sounds like a great reason, as suggested above. Good luck.


Thanks ladies! I think that's a good idea -- definitely sticking with that.

Hi Tavia,

I'm in agreement with the other two. The minute you mention you have a brain condition and a history of a stroke. That most likely will put up a red flag to your possible employer. They will look at you as if you are a liability. I was very close with our H.R. personnel where I use to work, that's how I know this.

I suggest:. . . After you get hired. When you have a drs app't. Tell them something very minor that you will need that day off or part of that day for a drs. app't. Most places are very accommodating when it comes to a drs. app't. You can simply tell them: "It's a woman thing" If you have a male boss, he won't question you. Us guys just don't want to know.. lol After you are there for a while and you have their confidence of your work ethics, then I would let them know. I would also "sugar coat it" so it doesn't sound as bad as it is (wink).


I went through the same thing and had great support from my previous employer BUT was looking to move forward and never mentioned a word to anyone during my interviews and even my new employer.

I was told if you can perform your work as if nothing happened and it doesnt effect you then there is no need to mention it.

So if your stroke disables you in anyway to undertake any of the duties in the role your going in to then thats an issue...if not its none of their business.

God bless...

Too many people think of an elderly relative when you mention the word stroke. We see it as an asset…HR probably would not. Unless you have to fill out a form for a physical exam and they ask you…did you have a stroke? I would leave it out of the whole interview process.

I had been out of work for 3 years since my avm bleed in 2010 (I finally just got a part time job!), so I’ve been on countless interviews. I have agonized over this exact issue for a long time because the gap in my resume was so big that I felt I had to explain. Yet I didn’t want them to think I couldn’t do the job or may cost them more money in health costs or whatever excuse they may dream up. Because this world is so cut-throat, I think that you don’t want to give an employer any excuse to put your resume in the trash. My policy was that I didn’t say anything unless they pushed the issue and asked about details of the gap in my employment history. Thankfully, only 2 interviews asked anything about it and all I said was that I had a major medical emergency and was in the hospital for X amount of time.