Posted by: Benoit Dubuc | 2010/08/01

Would you hire a consultant who has a hole in his throat?

Please be honest about this.

I am seriously considering a tracheotomy to fix my sleep apnea issues.  For now, my doctorS (lung and ENT) are totally against it for now, as they say there are other less intrusive methods to control the apnea, but since I’ve been down that “less intrusive” road before, I just don’t feel like repeating all the steps again.

Five years ago, I couldn’t tolerate the CPAP, mainly because I need a facial mask and since I sleep on the sire and have very light sleep, it was just horrible.  Now, they wan me to try the CPAP again?  C’mon guys, I’m getting older, my wife needs a lot of care and I need to get back to work ASAP so please don’t make me go through this again!!!

“Yes, but masks have changed, and you’ll get a APAP machine”.  Wouhou!!!  I already tried about 6 different “new masks” and I kept the one I had 5 years ago.  I also have a nasal one, for the days I’m not too congested.  And the auto pressure thing, it’s nice but without a comfortable maks, what is it really worht?

I found 2 stories on the Net about people who had trachs and they both say the same thing: they would do the same thing today.  One guy has his trach for 10 years+ now and no major issues!  And since this is my second battle against sleep apnea, I’d like to skip all that’s been already tried (for crying out loud, I underwent the super dupper very painful UPPP procedure because I couldn’t stand the CPAP) and skip to the next step.  But nooooooooo, the doctors don’t want to go with the tracheotomy for now, not before we restart trying the CPAP.  So I guess I’ll waste another 6 months of my life with the CPAP and then we’ll talk about next steps and tracheotomy…

The reason I’m asking is that I’ve been told that even though we are an advanced civilization, there are a lot of people who get chills with out of norm humans, and having a trach would certainly put me in that minority.

So, be honest here: would you hire a Lotus Notes consultant who has a tracheotomy?  And if this guy will not only code but meet users and be involved in meetings (after all, I’m quite senior and I would like to come back to the working force as such), would that tracheotomy be a factor in hiring that person over another?

My decision is not final yet, as I have to fool around with the CPAP for a while, but I’m very sick of being sick and in my current situation, I am willing to take whatever action necessary to get back to a normal life the fast way.  I know it won’t be easy every day with a trach, but hey, it’s been pretty darn hard not having it for a while now.

Thanks for being honest about this.  Look deep inside your soul and tell me what you would do, not what you WOULD like you to do   ; )



  1. Not my job to hire… I look at what a person is capable of, not what he is not. You’ll always get a surprise. I teach Tae Kwon Do and have seen people that were disabled both mentally and physically and some both succeed.

    It’s up to you and how you present yourself. If you present yourself as disabled, then that is how you will be perceived, present yourself as capable!

  2. I had a trach when I was nineteen and in a coma so there wasn’t a lot of choice about it. I have a quite visible scar and I do notice that people do stare at first if I wear a Tshirt, but I figure that’s their problem. It didn’t stop my wife from marrying me (she met me fifteen years after the operation).

    Would it be a permanent hole or just a scar ?

  3. If you want an honest answer. No I probably won’t.

  4. We’re not hiring or using consultants on any projects at the moment. “Would I hire a consultant with a hole is his throat?” Yes if he were able to do the job.

  5. @John: the goal of this procedure is to get a professional life back, and be on the “capable” side again, so no problems on how I present myself : )

    @Graham: that would be permanent, only opened when I sleep.

    @Henning: could you elaborate on the reasons you wouldn’t hire that guy?

    @all: Out of 4 answers, I get a “No”, so this seems like a 25% less chance of getting a job (OK, survey results are not highly precise) but it makes me feel that I will need to think about the job issue a bit more than expected with the trach. Then again, better to have a 25% less chance to get a life back than 0% chance of having a life, period. But I’m not there yet…

  6. Well I hoped that a short answer is enough because this comment box is quite small, my English improvable and I risk that whatever I say is in danger of being taken at a personal level.
    Normally it should not matter at all. But if you are responsible for hiring people you are in some way doing risk management. What if something goes wrong!?
    I wasn’t aware that the person had been ill in the past won’t work, will it?
    What if there are several candidates for a job. Do you chose the one with a visible handicap? Maybe you should so but isn’t the reality that discrimination is still common nowadays!?
    I have to say that in the country I currently live (Germany) it would be next to impossible for me to ask the person about his disease during an interview. In fact I would probably not even be allowed to interview the candidate because if I decide for another person my company can be sued.
    Sometimes people don’t get hired because they weigh too much or they smoke. I doubt that an tracheotomy is different. Better looking people tend to get better jobs (and I don’t consider myself good looking, I weight too much but at least quit smoking some years ago).
    And it gets worse if the company has a HR department. HR people often know little about qualifications or technical skills. Chances are high that the Department Manager will not even see the application because it has magically been sorted out.
    You still should do what is best for yourself. I have no doubt that finding a job will become harder in some way but not an impossible task.
    I really hope that things at the end work well for you.

    • Thanks for the details Henning. Things here in Canada are similar I think regarding interviews: you cannot ask questions about specific topics, health being one of them.

      Your comments are very interesting, and there are a few things I didn’t think about, so they will be helpful in making my decision if I come up to that point. It is indeed hard to “hide” that little hole in a job interview and I too think discrimination is still part of our world wether we like it or not.

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