when should I tell an interviewer I need disability accommodations?

A reader writes:

I have a question regarding asking for disability accommodations when getting a new job.

I have a circadian rhythm disorder that basically makes me a clinically diagnosed night owl and causes me great pain when getting up at what would be a normal time for most people. When I’m able to sleep on my own schedule, I sleep well and feel well-rested upon waking. But when I shift my sleep schedule to get up earlier, my body’s desire to keep sleeping in the morning is so strong that I will turn off my alarm without actually waking up, press the snooze button for hours, walk to another room to try to wake up only to lay down in there and fall back asleep, be unable to interpret the numbers on the clock, and if I do manage to force myself awake basically feel like I’m having a heart attack. It took me a long time to realize that this was a disorder and to get a diagnosis.

At my current job, I have a delayed start time, which improves my quality of life immensely, but I’m looking to leave this job for something more interesting and lucrative.

There’s only so much medical intervention that can be done. I’ve tried the most effective treatments (light therapy, melatonin) and they help keep my sleep regular and pull my wake time earlier by an hour or two, but I can’t push it past that. The only other thing to try would be taking prescription stimulants every morning to wake up, which I’ve heard a lot of negative things about from others with my disability. I am willing to try this route for the right job, but would much prefer to have a delayed start time, and if that’s not feasible for a particular position, I would like something in writing that allows me some extra grace around showing up late more often than most people would.

Bringing this up wasn’t an issue with my current job because I had worked for them in temporary positions previously, before my diagnosis. They saw the difficulties I faced first-hand and I was able to talk about it openly in the interview process.

In my search for a new job, I’ve been asking in the interview process how much flexibility there is around work hours but not telling them that I would need flexibility or have a disability.

Is this something that I should talk about in the interview process, or should I wait until I have an offer? Or even wait until I start and then talk to HR about this? On one hand, I’m worried that if I disclose it in the interview process, I could get passed over because they don’t want to deal with my accommodation. On the other hand, people have told me that it could cause friction with my manager if I wait until I’m hired and then drop this on them. One person I know who is a manager told me that if someone waited until they were hired to disclose this, they would feel put off and like the employee didn’t trust them, and that could cause ill will. However, I see no reason I should trust a manager I don’t know yet to treat me fairly, and I’m more concerned with my ability to get a good job and be protected under the law than I am with my potential manager’s feelings.

What are your thoughts here? Should I disclose early and often? Should I bring it up before accepting an offer? Or should I set myself up for maximum legal protection by waiting until the paperwork is signed?

Wait until you have a job offer and then bring it up as part of your negotiations.

You shouldn’t bring it up earlier because you’re right that it risks biasing employers against you, even if only unconsciously. That would be illegal on their side — by law, employers aren’t permitted to factor disabilities into their hiring decisions as long as the applicant could do the job “with or without reasonable accommodation.” But as we know, illegal discrimination happens all the time and can be tough to prove.

Frankly, when I’m interviewing candidates, I’d much rather they not disclose disabilities until we’re at the offer stage. I don’t want to worry about it influencing me unconsciously, and if I end up rejecting that person for legitimate, job-related reasons, I don’t want them to wonder whether it was because they disclosed a disability. Since it’s not something employers can legally take into consideration, you’re doing them a favor by waiting until the offer stage so that you and they can avoid all those traps.

Not every manager will see it that way, of course. You’ll run into people like your friend who will feel you should have raised your need for accommodations earlier. But they’re wrong — the law makes it very clear that you don’t need to disclose sooner and that they couldn’t have taken it into account even if you did. And show me someone who would be affronted that a job candidate didn’t trust them, a stranger, not to have bias around disabilities and I’ll show you someone who hasn’t reckoned much with prejudice in general.

By waiting until they’ve already made an offer to mention the accommodations you need, you’re significantly lowering the possibility of hiring discrimination. Yanking the offer at that point would open them up to serious legal liability for violating the Americans With Disabilities Act. (The ADA is the federal law that requires employers to offer reasonable accommodations to employees and prospective employees. Of course, make sure that you’ll be covered by it; it kicks in only when employers have 15 or more employees, though some states have additional protections that cover smaller employers as well.)

Once you’re offered the job, express your interest and then say something like, “I’d like to discuss schedule options with you. I have a disability that, in the past, employers have accommodated with a delayed start time. As a medical accommodation, would it be possible to work a schedule of [fill in with details of your desired schedule]?” If they have concerns about how well that would work for this job, they can raise them at that point, and you can engage in what the law calls the “interactive process,” in which you both try to figure out if there’s an arrangement that will work for you without causing undue hardship to them.

Note, too, that the law is clear that “undue hardship” on the employer’s side would need to constitute more than “We don’t like it.” They would need to demonstrate a genuine burden, often financial, or that the accommodation would conflict with the essential duties of the role, like if the opening were for a breakfast cook and you wouldn’t arrive until the afternoon.

Assuming you can reach an agreement, at that point it’s smart to get the accommodation in writing so there’s no question about it later. That can be as simple as sending an email to your manager and HR rep summarizing what’s been agreed to. Make sure you use the words “accommodation under the Americans With Disabilities Act.”

All that said, there’s an argument to be made that it’s better to have this conversation during the interview process on the basis that if your would-be manager is going to hold your need for accommodations against you, you don’t want to work there anyway. If that’s ultimately where you land, that’s your prerogative. Personally, I’d contend that there’s a ton of bias out there and you’re not obligated to put yourself at risk of it … and since the law offers you protections, go ahead and take them!

Learn more about accommodations based on your role at the Job Accommodation Network. Charges of employment discrimination on the basis of disability may be filed at any U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission field office. To find the EEOC field office in your area, contact 800-669-4000 or go to eeoc.gov.

Originally published at New York Magazine.

{ 248 comments… read them below }

  1. Kitry*

    This is fascinating. I have delayed phase sleep syndrome and it’s never occurred to me that I might be able to actually get accommodations for it. I’d be interested to hear if any other commenters with this condition have successfully gotten accommodations.

    1. The New Wanderer*

      I seem to have gradually outgrown it now but in my 20s, I had a significantly shifted sleep schedule. OP’s description brought back vivid memories of feeling physically ill waking up, not being conscious enough to deal with an alarm, oof it was so unpleasant. No medical or schedule interventions ever helped. I literally picked college courses according to how early they were (likelihood of attending an 8 am class was way too low). My first post-college job had set hours of 7:30 to 4:30 with a butts-in-seats atmosphere, and it was the worst possible schedule for me. I loved the work, but I developed a serious crutch on early morning caffeinated soda and only stayed a year.

      I never had formal accommodations, but it was possible for me to negotiate later start times. I didn’t do this in the interview/offer stage, but I did gauge whether the place had strict hour requirements early on. Since none of the companies/orgs I worked for after that first job had a butts-in-seats requirement, it often came down to individual manager attitudes. The initial negotiations happened after I’d been working there for a little while, like a few months, and after that I was able to keep a shifted schedule even if I got a new manager because it was already proven to be just fine. At one place, nearly everyone breezed in around 10 am (give or take an hour) and that was amazing – I still struggled to get up in the mornings but it was far more reasonable than waking up at my circadian low all the time. Another employer had a prevailing early-start mindset among a good number of the employees (start your day at 6:30!), but I was able to negotiate a later start (9-9:30) with multiple managers, with the agreement that I would support earlier meetings if needed.

      It is possible, and I hope OP and others are able to get a schedule that works for them!

    2. sookie st james*

      This hits close for me too. I’ve never heard of such a thing as a circadian rhythm disorder but the part about literally not hearing alarms and not being able to process (like, at ALL) that I’m supposed to be waking up for work is something I face everyday. Just this morning I woke up half an hour after I was supposed to have *started* working.

      Luckily I work remotely and have a very hands-off team so I can often slip under the radar, but it has caused problems/been mortifying in the past when I’ve missed an early meeting. My start time is already unusually late due to working in a different time zone to my colleagues (10am) and if I’m being honest I can feel so ashamed that that’s still ‘too early’ for my body. I often don’t get work finished til the small hours of the night because that’s when my brains seems to ‘click on’. I assumed it was related to my ADHD as I’ve never been able to keep any kind of routine but who knows at this point!

        1. I have RBF*

          Makes sense, because I also have a childhood Dx of AD(H)D, and have a diagnosis of insomnia.

        2. sundae funday*

          I have ADHD as well and I struggle so much with this! I don’t think my sleep issues are to the point of being a “disorder” but it’s rough. I don’t even have to be up super early… I work a 9 to 5. But still, every day, it’s an enormous struggle when my alarm goes off at 8:00. I would love to wake up at 7:00 and have a slow, leisurely morning before heading off to work… but it’s just impossible to wake up for me.

          I try to be in bed by 11:00, but I usually can’t fall asleep until at least midnight… sometimes later. And if I try to go to bed at 10:00 or earlier when I’m not tired, I will literally be up all night trying to sleep.

          Every time I don’t have to be up at a specific time, like when my workplace was closed for snow earlier last month, I slide into a schedule where I fall asleep later and wake up later. I’ve figured out that 3:00 am to 10:00 am is my sweet spot… but that’s so impractical for most jobs. And I don’t necessarily want to be at work from 11:00 to 7:00 to get that 8 hours in, either, so I just try to make it work.

          1. Cordelia Sasquatch*

            Yooooo same. Like, down to the sentence. Just nice to see someone else who’s brain and body rhythms work like this (I also likely have some ADHD issues, just undiagnosed b/c of all the reasons many women go undiagnosed). It’s so hard to convince yourself that you aren’t just lazy, or that if you just “worked harder on sleep hygiene” or whatnot that you’d be able to have that leisurely morning that everyone else seems able to manage.

          2. ErinWV*

            Me too! In college, I worked a 1:30-10:30 schedule at a department store and it was, honestly, heaven. All my friends were also working late jobs so I didn’t really miss anything in the evenings and it fit my natural bio-rhythms perfectly.

          3. Wenike*

            If I allow it long enough, I will eventually end up going to sleep around 9 AM and waking up at 6-ish PM, which is obviously a built difficult for a more “normal” work life. What I’ve found has helped for me is I let myself sleep in on weekends and I generally go to bed around 11 PM/midnight. But my biggest help is I set an alarm to go off at 7 AM to knock me out of the sound sleep. I’ll let myself fall asleep again and I have a 2nd alarm set to 7:30 PM and I’ll let myself sleep again until my final alarm goes off at 8 PM (though I will snooze that once and once only). The gradual wakeups usually do help me break enough out of sleep that I’m coherent enough for jumping into the shower, which usually finishes waking me enough to be coherent and safe to drive but something highly caffeinated at work to get everything going fully is still needed (and no drinking it after noon or I won’t be able to sleep that night).

          4. Buffy will save us*

            Mine is 2A – 10A which I found out during quarantine. Not helpful when I have to get up at 6A for my job. I usually get tired around 10p (since I was up at 6) but can’t fall asleep because my brain

      1. Eugene*

        Ugh tears welled up when I read “click on” – that’s how I’ve describe my brains relationship to time my whole life. I don’t know anyone else like this so I’ve just assumed I’ve been in a really bad habit my whole adult life and just not willing/strong enough to get out of it.

        My brain clicks on right around 9pm. My depression just literally…stops. Visually and auditory input stop being exhausting and saddening. I feel interested in my chores, I can make and follow a list, I can focus deeply on a task or hop from one to the other, I feel cheerful enough to socialize…it’s like the whole other person who isn’t burden by a sludgy sad sack brain gets home at 9pm ish and takes over.

        I’m well medicated otherwise, and I do all The Things that you are supposed to do to support your brain and body – exercise, diet, vitamins, hobbies. But since going freelance years ago, I eventually just gave in to the fact that my body will be ready for bed at about 4am and ready to wake up on its own, no alarm, at noon. I can tolerate seeing other people in the afternoon but it’s just that – tolerance. I don’t become a functioni mg adult until the sun has set and night is well underway. It’s like…suddenly my body feels safe and happy and active, like a little bee.

        This economy has driven me to give up my freelance work and I’m on the job hunt now. I’m so worried I won’t be able to keep a job, or worse, that I’ll keep it and just become this miserable pointless animal, with no real authentic joy. The position I’m closest to getting after 6 months search starts at 8am sharp. I don’t know what I’ll do.

        Now that I’ve read this though…I’m kind of scared. I thought it was just a habit I could break maybe with enough maturity or will. I dunno…

        1. sookie st james*

          This is super sad but all really familiar to me too. I think it’s devastating to realise we can’t ‘snap out of’ our patterns with sheer force of will, but maybe there’s something liberating about it too – we shouldn’t have to be constantly ashamed and at war with ourselves because it’s just endless. We should find ways to accommodate our own needs however/ wherever we can.

          That being said, I don’t see a perfect compromise because I don’t actually WANT to totally give into my body’s whims and become fully nocturnal – mostly because it’d be impractical and ostracise me from the majority of society but also because I know I need contact with sunlight to feel a whisper of joy haha

    3. Your Computer Guy*

      Same. I’ve struggled my whole life with morning hours. The best work setup I ever had was when I worked 2pm-12am 4 days a week (I covered west coast clients from the east coast).

      Unfortunately, I now have children in school so I’ll be getting up early for the next 15 years or so…

    4. PoolLounger*

      My mother and I both have it too. My mom suffered through years of early start times before taking night jobs and 12hrs/3 days a week jobs. She had better pay that way, she’s much happier, and her mental health has vastly improved.

        1. 1234ShutTheDoor*

          Sounds like my sister’s night ICU shift. She’s a med tech now, but in school to be a nurse.

    5. I have RBF*

      Oooof! I have this problem, although not officially diagnosed as delayed sleep phase, just chronic insomnia. I’ve tried just about everything – morning stimulants, sleeping pills, staying up to reset my inner clock, etc.

      My current regimen? Melatonin, benadryl, and 10 mg THC/CBD when I go to bed. The first two alone didn’t do it, but adding the THC did. (THC puts me to sleep. I never was a stoner in my youth because all THC did was put me to sleep.) I still usually can’t wind down until 1 am, but I work remotely and get up at 8:30 am to sign on at 9. I also take a nap for an hour or two after work. (I can’t sleep more than 3 hours without help.)

      Before I found my current combo, I couldn’t sleep through the night – I’d wake up every two to three hours, and not be able to get back to sleep. But on weekends I shift to my natural sleep cycle, and sleep 4 am to noon without much trouble. In my 20s, I literally would sleep through my alarm clock, and got fired for it. I tried to find swing shift work, and couldn’t.

      I have managed to negotiate later start times in jobs that had “core hours” of 10 am to 3 pm. I would start at 10, which was mostly doable. It is a real struggle for me to get up before 8 am, and a 7 am on-site job was brutal, to the point I was barely able to drive to it.

      I may have to check in to getting a formal diagnosis, but since I’ve found a system that works (in my 60s) I am not willing to do a lot of experimentation.

      1. lizroxy*

        I would encourage you to be careful with long-term use of Benedryl for sleep. It can have a major impact on memory as people get older. I work in a cognitive disorders clinic and we see this quite often

        1. I have RBF*

          Since I have allergies that affect my breathing, it does double duty. But I’ll check in to those long term side effects. If I can just last nine more years I can quit the stuff.

    6. Aggretsuko*

      One of my college roommates had DSPS and was nocturnal. She worked a night retail job so no issues there, but I had to wake her up for classes. Poor girl. I wonder how she’s doing?

    7. OP_NightOwl*

      Sleep is considered a “major life activity” under the ADA, and so reasonable accommodations are protected under the ADA :) Might be worth looking into :)

    8. AttentiveWithMeds*

      I have the same condition and at my previous job, I worked out a grace period accommodation where I could basically show up between 0-15 minutes after my scheduled start time with no questions asked.
      At my current job, I have flexible hours so as long as I work ~7 hours a day, 40 hours a week, no one cares when I start my day – it’s truly amazing if you can find a job that will go for it!

    9. allathian*

      I’m a morning person myself, but I must admit that I absolutely despise the assumption that people who have an early circadian rhythm are somehow more virtuous than those with a late one, even if I’ve benefited from that assumption more often than I can count.

      I’m very grateful to my employer because we have so much flexibility. I’m not in the US so the ADA doesn’t apply although we do have similar disability accommodation legislation. I have at least one coworker who rarely starts work before 11, but they’ll routinely work until 7 pm, sometimes later. My close coworker tends to start work at 9 or 9.30, often taking a longish lunch break, but then he’ll also work long into the afternoon. It helps that our job doesn’t require a lot of synchronous collaboration.

      I worked evenings in my last year at college, when I had almost no courses and was mainly writing my master’s thesis, meaning that sometimes I wouldn’t be home much before midnight. It took at least two hours for me to wind down so that I was rarely asleep much before 2 am and I got up at 9 or 10.

      Luckily for me I had no trouble adjusting to a more typical schedule when I started a 9-5 (or 8-4 here) job, but every year it seems to get harder to adjust to DST and back again, I have jet lag for a month twice a year. Needless to say, the idea of traveling across time zones doesn’t appeal to me at all, and I used to love to travel when I was younger.

    10. Bobby Pins*

      I have this too and was formally diagnosed last year. I was basically told they was nothing could do to change it but having a piece of paper to point to is still useful. I have found it was one of the reasons it killed my career as an archaeologist. I got the point where leaving the house at 6am to get to the office for 7am to start work on site at 8am was messing me up. That driving hour was also unpaid which will give you another clue as to why I left. Now I work from home full time and can roll out of bed and turn my laptop on a 9am without any problems. I am still trying to find a good balance in my activity levels without the commute but its been the best thing for my sleep ever. At this point I could never go back.

    11. ArtsNerd*

      I am counting down the days until my doctor gets back from her sabbatical to submit my ADA requests for unscheduled telework and a 10am start time. The paperwork I need to submit is… onerous, unfortunately. Wish me luck!

      1. ArtsNerd*

        I should say I’m planning to cite sleep apnea for the delayed start time because that is also a thing I have and I feel like it’s going to be easier to explain. (Ditto migraines and intermittent telework. It’s a great ADHD–and sleep disorder–accommodation, but migraines are *right there.*)

        We have a lot of work ahead of us to detach moral judgments from things like “sleep schedule” and “ability to get out of the door on time” and I’m just not up to it this round.

        1. I have RBF*

          Are you me? I have ADHD, sleep apnea, migraines and chronic insomnia (possible DSPS?) Working remotely has made a big, happy impact on my life, because I don’t have to drive when I’d rather be in bed sleeping.

          1. ArtsNerd*

            We’re clearly different people: I have resting cheerful face! These are really common comorbidities with ADHD, though I hate how much all of us have to struggle with our bodies and brains both.

            I have a hybrid office schedule which is my preference, but it doesn’t come with the flexibility I also need! Even a 10am start time is brutal — 11am or noon works best with my circadian rhythm, but that’s not practical with my work or outside commitments. I’m currently showing up at 10 since it’s the best I can do, so that’s what I’m getting the accommodation for. (Fortunately my direct supervisor gets it, but the department director is unhappy with me.)

    12. Delayed sleep phase*

      I’m in the tech industry and have successfully arranged accommodations for delayed sleep phase disorder at both companies I’ve worked at. I even got accommodations in the interview phase (interviews scheduled later in the day).

  2. ThatGirl*

    I agree with Alison’s advice; if it were me, I’d also go a step further and try to vet the job for built-in flexibility in the interview stage – looking for schedule flexibility in the job description, making sure it’s the kind of job that can be done asynchronously, asking how that works in practice. I have seen various degrees of flexibility depending on the company; there was one where people started anywhere from 6 to 10 a.m.

    1. Warrior Princess Xena*

      That’s what I was thinking. You will have much better luck asking for this in a job where flexibility is built in or even if you’re applying for a later shift! I know that there are several companies in my area (west coast) with remote admin, IT, HR, or financial staff in the east coast area who will work something more like a 10-7 or 11-8 instead of 8-5 to accommodate the time zone shift. If you’re applying for a receptionist position or something similar where being in a specific place at a specific time is likely to be a key part of the job, you’re upping the chances of a negative result.

      1. BrightLights*

        I also came here to suggest this. I had an employee who required a similar accommodation but was able to comfortably work west coast hours from the east coast. My team spans time zones so this was easy. If essentially working a different time zone would work for the LW’s needs and geography, looking for remote jobs in the target time zone may pay off.

    2. Lilo*

      Realistically there are jobs where this kind of thing just can’t be reasonably accommodated. No law requires a business to change basic industry standards. The letter writer will never be able to be a baker, for instance and jobs with clients and appointments may also not work. They definitely have to do some digging first.

      1. Colette*

        I wouldn’t rule out jobs with clients and appointments, assuming the clients are people and not businesses. Psychitrists, doctors, physios, financial advisors, realtors, etc. all can work evenings because those aren’t core business hours, so their clients don’t have to miss work to be there.

        1. ThatGirl*

          Yeah, it just depends on the kind of job. But that’s kinda my point – some jobs and companies are more conducive to shifted hours than others, and knowing that in advance will improve the LW’s chance at success.

        2. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

          A lot of people would be delighted if they could see a doctor, dentist, therapist, or physical therapist after 5 p.m. Some of them are night owls, and others work 9-5 or 8-4 and would appreciate being able to work a full day and then see the dentist, PT, or eye doctor.

          I dragged myself to 7:30 PT appointments for a while, so I could get to work only a little later than my usual start time. There was real competition for those appointment slots.

          1. Aggretsuko*

            My aforementioned night owl roommate had huge problems because vets were not nocturnal….which is how we ended up with kittens because she was not awake to get the cat spayed. Most of those folks operate on “only during work hours” scheduling as far as I’ve seen.

          2. doreen*

            That’s also going to depend to some extent on how much of a night owl you are – people love a doctor/vet/accountant who has office hours until 7 or 8 pm one or two nights a week, but if you’re going to try to have office hours from 4- midnight every day there will be a lot of empty appointment slots.

      2. Just Another Fed*

        Actually, baker might be a great job, since most bakeries that I know run multiple shifts and finding people to fill second shift positions can be tough.

        1. Rocket Raccoon*

          Was just going to say this. I used to do the 3am-11am shift, another guy did 9-5, and the next shift was 4-midnight. The bakery was only empty for those 3 hours.

          1. CommanderBanana*

            Yeah, I worked 4-midnight at a bakery for a while. For me personally it sucked, but I was in grad school at night the other nights I wasn’t working, so my life was pretty nocturnal for a while. I wouldn’t choose it now, but for someone with this circadian rhythm disorder it would be great.

            Or something like supporting a 24-hour operation, like IT support, especially in different time zones.

          2. Reluctant Mezzo*

            Managing a restaurant on the dinner shift. Any hospital–I *loved* swing shift so hard when I was a nurse’s aide in college. Our local library has several nights a week open till 8 pm (and a bit after to hunt down all the books left lying about and close up). Any fast-food place–evenings are the busiest and some older people don’t like them because those parking lots get dark. Night schools (teaching a class or a teacher’s aide). Remote work for a company in Hawaii or Hong Kong. A lot of things theater or cabaret related, including midnight showings of movies. Just a few ideas (because it’s dark my brain is wide awake too).

      3. Modesty Poncho*

        It’s funny that you mention baker specifically, because the woman who owned the bakery I used to work at specifically chose to bake the night before and throughout the work day rather than waking up early to do it all beforehand. And people always commented on how good it smelled, because there were constantly things in the oven! She rolls in at 9 and opened up, then started working and stayed open until 6.

      4. Relentlessly Socratic*

        I did night shift in a bakery when I was on summer break in college–LW could, indeed, be a baker.

      5. Hosta*

        LW would be great for a job that deals with people in a different time zone. They might not match their current location, but somewhere out there is a place where they’re waking up at the perfect time for remote support.

      6. Nina*

        For some jobs with (human) clients, being able and willing to start late and keep working outside normal core business hours is a real bonus! A lot of people won’t or can’t do that, but it allows clients who work ‘normal’ hours to have appointments without having to take off work.

      7. Avery*

        It definitely takes some research, though, and jobs shouldn’t be ruled out just because of a blanket idea that OBVIOUSLY they require core hours of XYZ.
        I’m a paralegal with a sleep disorder of my own, and I work remotely with flexible hours. I work with clients, though admittedly less so with actual appointments, as my client work is more contact via phone or email rather than actual meetings. I didn’t even have to disclose my sleep disorder to get this schedule, either–that’s the baseline for working there. Billable hours matter, but not when they happen, so long as it’s not to the point of grossly impeding things (for instance, if I weren’t available at all during the typical 9-5 workday that might be a problem, or if I went days without doing any work and then spent 20 hours doing crunch time… but working 10-6 or even 11-7 instead of 9-5, no problem!).
        On the other hand, I imagine that it really would be a problem in BigLaw, or just in a lot of firms where such flexibility isn’t a given.
        Needing to start later than 9 narrows down options–more so in some fields than others–but I don’t think there are a ton of fields where it absolutely prevents entering that field whatsoever.

      8. Aggretsuko*

        My friend who is a baker is really hating the “go to bed at 7 p.m, wake up at 3 a.m., too tired to do anything once she’s off work” schedule and once said, “Why can’t we accommodate for people who want donuts after 10 a.m.?”

    3. Overit*

      Absolutely make sure flexibility is already built in.
      I have seen new accommodations denied in the actual workplace by actual supervisors when HR/interviewer said they were 100% possible… And then HR agrees with the supervisor.
      I would NEVER trust an employer to make NEW accommodations.

  3. Jeremy Wood*

    I don’t know what industry OP is in, but perhaps they could pursue a remote position with a company in another timezone. As someone who works frequently with colleagues in Asia and Europe, I sometimes end up pushing myself into schedules that aren’t healthy for me. Well, for OP they would be great.

    1. A Genuine Scientician*

      I was coming here to suggest this.

      In a whole lot of positions, a delayed start is a perfectly reasonable thing (obviously not, say, receptionist, etc), but where it’s not, working for an office or company headquartered a few time zones west should make that really easy if they’re open to remote work from that state.

    2. timeshifted*

      Came here to say this. I live in one timezone but my work hours are consistent with another timezone, and it works great for me – worth checking if there are similar jobs out there for OP!

    3. sookie st james*

      This is the situation I’m in – central Europe time zone with global colleagues. Mostly have to work from 10am (as that’s 9am in the UK) which helps – but doesn’t solve – my night owl-ness.

      When we have to meet with teams in australia and new zealand I have to wake up really early and I wish I could get away with saying ‘I’d literally rather do this meeting at my midnight (their 10am) than at my 8am (their 6pm)’ but it’s just too out of step with assumptions about working hours to bother.

    4. ivy*

      yes, this!
      our team in the UK would love to have OP on the team – they can deal with the US West Coast team, who are chronically bad at remembering timezones exist! (we interface with global teams, the US West Coast team is more problematic re timezone recognition than the others)

  4. Anonyjane*

    I wonder if it would be possible in OP’s field to get a remote work position that’s a couple timezones distant from the one where they live. It could make the conflicting schedules a non-issue.

    1. Person from the Resume*

      I’m very curious if the disorder is that regular. Is her sleep pattern offset by 3 or 4 or whatever hours or is it just variable.

      1. SaffyTaffy*

        I only know one person with a diagnosed circadian rhythm disorder, but for him it’s actually more regular than most people. He doesn’t need an alarm clock to get him up at 4PM, it just happens.

      2. Not Tom, Just Petty*

        The first season of Amazon’s Modern Love included a story about a woman with this disorder.
        It’s not like my brother who is a night owl and will read until 1 am, wake up at 9 and be good to go.
        OP’s days and nights are mixed up.

        1. sookie st james*

          That’s still a good 8 hour sleep! I wonder if it’s cultural differences because where I live 1am is a pretty average bedtime. My partner & I are just naturally awake until at least 3 or 4 am, making it’s almost impossible to get 8 hours during the week (which then leads to trying to ‘catch up’ on weekends which I know is the kind of messed-up routine medical professionals really advise against but we’re stuck in the cycle!)

          1. I have RBF*

            This happens with me too. My partner and I naturally stay up until 4 am if we don’t have any alarm clock pressure, and I end up making up sleep on the weekends. I have found that a nap in the early evening helps during the week. Sometimes I take a long lunch-nap and work later in the evening.

        2. OP_NightOwl*

          OP here!
          I believe that episode is where I first learned this disorder existed. Although my delay isn’t as severe as that of the woman in the episode, I related so hard that I started reading about DSPD online. I quickly found that the description of DSPD felt like reading a description of myself. I’d been wondering what was wrong with me and beating myself up for being unable to do what most people do without much trouble for years, occasionally googling things like “always tired” and “can’t wake up” but not finding anything that seemed to fit. Even before getting my formal diagnosis, just knowing that what was wrong with me was an actual medical condition and not a failure of willpower helped me accept myself so much more, and allowed me to accommodate myself by no longer pushing to enroll in that morning class, say yes to a 10am appointment, meet my friends for an early brunch. It also allowed me to find tools (light therapy, melatonin) to make it easier to adjust my sleep schedule, although I was stepping back my wakeup time by like five minutes a week and once I got to a 10:25 am alarm, I hit a wall. Still better than what I was doing without using any interventions, though.

      3. Jessica Ganschen*

        I believe that Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder in particular refers to someone whose circadian rhythm is consistent, but out of step with the usual daylight circadian rhythm, but there are other sleep/circadian rhythm disorders where someone’s length of waking and sleeping might have no discernable pattern, or where they’re consistent, but so long that they keep getting pushed forward a couple hours every day.

        1. an academic, who used to study the vision system*

          There are cells in the retina that do not contribute to conscious vision but do contribute strongly to sensing light for the purposes of regulating sleep and wakefulness. Most people’s circadian rhythms are naturally a bit long and need blue light (found in sunlight) to sync up with our planet’s 24-hr rhythm. There have been studies of people with blindness where their doctors decided to just take out their eyes because they “weren’t useful.” The people then stopped having a circadian rhythm that synced up with the actual day, which greatly decreased their quality of life.

          As said by the previous poster, this is different from sleep phase disorders. People with sleep phase disorders have circadian rhythms that are either shorter or longer than typical. This is because of mutations in their DNA. When they get the blue light input from the sunlight, their internal clocks do sync with it, but in weird ways resulting in wanting to get up super early or super late (depending on the particular nature of the mutation). We can replicate these disorders in hamsters, mice, and fruit flies. To me, what this poster has is very biological. It makes me sad what the OP must have experienced all her life, that the OP feels the need to justify herself so much about why she can’t just get up earlier.

          1. I have RBF*

            As a person who just can’t do early morning, even with daylight bulbs in my overhead lights, I have suffered the stigma of being a decided night owl for decades. It sucks.

          2. Reluctant Mezzo*

            When they’re looking for people to go to Mars, finding people who are naturally 25 hours and change might not be a bad idea.

          3. Marley's Ghost*

            Fascinating! Thanks for sharing! (Though the idea of surgically removing eyes just because they “aren’t useful” gives me the shudders!)

      4. OP_NightOwl*

        Yes, my sleep schedule is about as regular as anyone’s, especially when I use melatonin and light therapy regularly. It’s just delayed. Some people have Non-24 Sleep Disorder, which basically means their sleep continually shifts around the clock, and that’s much harder to deal with!

    2. Happy Adventure*

      I am based on the east coast and work remotely for a west coast firm, and came here to suggest that! I work somewhat hybrid hours, but being able to start at 10am instead of 8am or 9am is a wonderful benefit to me! If OP’s job is something that can be done remotely I would try to figure out their ideal working hours, and target companies in that time zone.

  5. sacados*

    Although in OP’s case, with this particular disability, I think there are also definitely ways to get a feel for that during the interview process. Like by asking about the general thoughts around different work hours and whether they’re typically open to employees working flexible and/or staggered schedules.
    Because that would be a fairly normal thing to ask in any interview!

    1. Fluffy Fish*

      Maybe. I mean if they allow flexible schedule than it probably makes it a non-issue to even have to formally request accommodations. But someplace not allowing it doesn’t really mean anything. Reasonable accommodations have to be allowed – even if a workplace has never allowed flexible schedules they have to allow reasonable accommodations. I think most non-coverage based office jobs are going to have a hard time justifying why it would be unreasonable.

      1. amoeba*

        If the schedules are flexible, I’d still discuss it in advance though. We have flex time with no core hours and are generally allowed to work between 6 am and 8 pm. So it would probably not be a problem to accommodate, say, an 11:30 to 20:00 schedule. But it would be unusual enough that people would probably be confused and try to schedule over it. (Yes, I know, Outlook settings, but I fear it would either get overlooked all the time and/or people would just be super confused by the hours and start assuming you’re in a different country or something.)
        Also, you should figure out in advance what to do for department meetings etc. – ours is at 8:30 as we also have colleagues in China. Best not be surprised by something like that after you started but discuss options beforehand!

    2. Mel*

      LW needs to be up front about their desire to have a delayed start time, they don’t need to necessarily why explain right away but they really do need to try find out sooner rather later if it’s an option.

      It won’t help waiting until the offer stage if it’s just not something that the company would accommodate as if it would cause them too much hardship, legally they do not have to do it and LW will either have to find a way to deal with the early starts or the company will withdraw the offer.

      Even if the company is willing to accommodate, if it is outside the normal working practice and not available to other employees who don’t have a medical reason, it may cause resentment from other co-workers. Which might not be fair but it is reality and may make for a difficult working environment.

      LW hasn’t stated what role they are hoping work in but they need to be realistic about this potentially being a significant barrier to employment depending on the industry.

      1. Modesty Poncho*

        They don’t have a desire though, they have a medical need protected by the ADA. I agree it’s helpful to screen for workplaces already receptive to shifted or flexible schedules, but it’s legally something they do have to do unless like, the whole office closes at 5 and OP doesn’t have a job with keys to the building. That might rise to the level of “undue hardship”, if they’d have to pay someone to stay in the building while OP works late – but it also might not if that person is salaried and also shifts schedule, or is a rotating few people who each have a late day a couple times a week, or….

        1. Mel*

          apologies if ‘desire’ was the wrong word I didn’t mean anything by it. I truly hope this LW finds their dream job and the employer works with them to get the right accommodations.

          I’m in the UK so not familiar with US legislation but it is the same here in that a candidate is not required to disclose a disability that needs accommodation at the application stage, but I do think for LW it might be better to find out early on in the process if that workplace is flexible with start times.

          If only to save themselves some heartache later down the line if they really want the job but a later start time just isn’t possible.

          If an employer does offer flexible working hours, I Would think this to be a real USP for the company and something they would to want to make clear early on in the application stage as a way to attract candidates.

          How much of a hardship it is for a company is likely going to depend on how delayed the start time LW requires is. If working 10-6 would suit LW and the normal working day is 9-5 it’s not far beyond the usual times however if they require a much later time say 12-8 this is likely (but not necessarily) to be a bigger burden and much harder for the employer to accommodate.

          I’m fortunate that I work for an employer with a very generous flexible time policy that allows us to accrue up to 12 days off a year for any additional hours worked (our annual leave is already 25 days which is standard in the UK so that’s 42 days off a year) but the core business hours are 10-3, and we are not allowed to start before 7am or work later than 7pm. However it is just reality that most people start 7/8/9 and finish 3/4/5/ and therefore a lot meetings are scheduled before or after the core hours.

          So even where flexible working is part of normal workplace culture, you can still find in practice it can be difficult.

          1. Modesty Poncho*

            I wasn’t trying to be nitpicky by the way, so thanks for taking it in the spirit it was intended! I just get the feeling a lot of people (not on this site, in general) do treat a later wake-up time as a desire, a nice-to-have, something everyone would enjoy but most people just “suck up” and those who insist on it are being precious. One of the reasons I freelance is that I was so tired of making myself miserable getting up at 8 – and that’s on the late side of when people have to get up for office jobs. These days I work about 11-5 but we can save whether people need to work 40-hour weeks for another day…

  6. Prefer my pets*

    I have it as well. I wish diagnosing this would have been common back when I was in high school/college and choosing my career path. I would have chosen differently! As is, I’ve arranged my life choices regarding savings, housing, retirement investing, etc so I can retire at 57 (my eligible date) and then will do some part-time consulting on my own schedule.

    I work for the federal government and have had a maxi-flex schedule for over a decade. Most people in my current agency (BLM) are under that, but most don’t flex it quite as hard as I do unless they are caregivers. I do generally need to be available during our core hours (10-2) but I have an accommodation from my supervisor that if I’m having a particular bad sleep period I can push it more. One of my other coworkers is the opposite of me…he actually starts work at 4am!

    I think there are some offices that are more or less flexible about it and obviously certain roles it doesn’t work for, but on the whole BLM is amazing in how they treat their people and about giving lots of flexibility…as compared to NPS which is the worst, particularly for women. (I’ve worked in 5 BLM locations, 3 FWS locations, and 1 NPS location and most of my friends who don’t work for one of those are either FS or ACOE…NPS and ACOE are the only two who seem to be pretty rigid across the board)

    1. MB*

      There is a normal, delayed phase shift that occurs at puberty and lasts through the early to mid twenties – our current school system imposes an impossible early start time on our teens which requires them to choose between attendance (provided they can wake up) and attendance. If you are interested, there is a lot of information at Let’s Sleep and Start School Later. The agony and harm is real!

      1. Coverage Associate*

        Yes, there’s medical research that adolescents and young adults tend toward later sleep phases, but most people outgrow it in adulthood.

      2. Lyudie*

        Years ago I remember seeing something where a school district tried a later start time and grades went up, absences went down…they ended up going back to the normal schedule though, I think to better accommodate parent schedules.

        1. Reluctant Mezzo*

          And athletics. Coaches want that practice time. (my husband, the vampire, said the school district would change to a later start the year after he retired from teaching…).

          1. MB*

            School districts that have later start time do better. The pay to play coaches that own their own businesses on the side rely heavily on district student participation; the coaches usually start the false rumor that it would remove sports, which gets parents hysterical and set up roadblocks. Such a shame kids are being harmed for adult convenience and most of all, district savings on busing.

    2. Jack Russell Terrier*

      My husband works for Federal Government (National Archives) and has an official ADA accommodation to come in late because of sleep issues (it’s connected with other stuff, but that’s what the accommodation is for). He isn’t in a job where he has to be on time like a receptionist would.

    3. CommanderBanana*

      I worked for a DOJ office and my portfolio was in Southeast Asia, and it would have made sense to work a flex schedule to be in earlier / out earlier so I would have SOME overlap with our folks that were OCONUS, and to get an accommodation to leave thirty minutes earlier than usual one day a week because of a pre-existing appointment required SO MUCH wrangling and a signed memo from the director. It made no sense.

      (I ended up quitting.)

  7. Observer*

    OP, 2 thoughts for your friend.

    1. What’s with managers that expect job seekers to display “trust” or “loyalty” during an *application* process? What is their basis for being “loyal” to a company with which they don’t have a relationship yet? Or displaying a level of trust *and vulnerability* for a company and manager that they don’t have a track record with, yet? To me this kind of expectation is actually an orange flag that maybe they are NOT trustworthy – that they have unreasonable expectations and think that people should take unreasonable risks for the benefit of the company / boss.

    2. Your friend should think about what it says about them that they would hold this against someone. Not disclosing is advised on a regular basis by HR and employment law professionals. That’s because it’s the best way to get results that are legally solid. Your friend seems to be saying that they would hold it against someone for trying to legally protect themselves.

  8. OrdinaryJoe*

    I tend to think being upfront about your ‘ideal’ schedule is before the job offer is the best course of action. I couldn’t tell from your letter but is a late start …10:00am (late but not too off from most traditional US jobs) or something like 1:00pm? I think being upfront allows you both to gage the reaction of the manager and set yourself up for success. You’re not just asking for accommodations from your manager but co-workers, as well.

    I think the time zone shift and remote working is a brilliant suggestion!

    1. TimeToo*

      I really do agree that the letter writer should be pretty direct in asking about flexible scheduling during the interview stage. For example, my professional services job is pretty flexible overall (no real start or stop times, flex and comp time, etc.), but we’re also very external-deadline driven. Having someone start at 10 wouldn’t really be an issue, but noon or later definitely would be; we would miss deadlines or have to constantly shuffle work to other coworkers (who already have their own deadlines).

      How up front the letter writer is about the specific reason they’re asking about scheduling is up to them – and I agree with Alison that they might unfortunately face bias if they mention a disability.

      1. Modesty Poncho*

        Genuinely, why would it mean shifting work to other people? Why couldn’t OPs clients and deadlines be set based on their shifted start and end times? Why does a shift to 10am sound okay but an extra two hours mean missing a deadline?

        1. Bugalugs*

          Not all deadlines are set internally so there’s not always flexibility on them. Some are very customers driven. Need to be done for a 10am meeting that had to happen at that time etc. There’s a ton of possibilities why deadlines cannot be moved to accommodate 1 person’s needs. There lots of times they can as well but until the conversation is had you don’t know. I’m in favour of asking all the questions in the interviews about flexible times that they can as well as deadlines and workloads so they can gauge whether it is something the company would be able to provide.

          1. Modesty Poncho*

            Ah, I see where you’re coming from. Thanks. In my head (as someone who sets her own deadlines) it’s relatively easy to tell a client that you need (for example) 48 hours’ notice on due dates and then if something’s due at 10am, a shifted-schedule employee could finish it at 8pm the day before, instead of having to come in and do it at 8am that day. I have the privilege of turning clients down if their requests are too short. I’m not talking about MOVING a deadline that was set before the employee was hired, but SETTING a deadline in the first place so that it fits their schedule.

          2. Anna*

            if it needs to be done by 10am, this means that someone like me will deliver the document by midnight (for example) rather than 9am. So, what exactly is the problem?

  9. Stretchy McGillicuddy*

    LW may want to work with a dedicated recruiter who can help her pinpoint specific companies where her off-hours schedule would not be an issue. Different time zones, flex schedules or quota-based work. I am assuming OP does not work in something like nursing where she can pick her shifts.

    1. A Simple Narwhal*

      That’s a good idea, a (good) recruiter is going to know ahead of time if a company is flexible with start hours or would be willing to work across time zones. At the very least they’re going to be able to ask about it and filter it out as an option without OP having to waste any of their time applying or interviewing, the expectation would be set up front.

      Emphasis on it being a good recruiter, I’ve had bad recruiters ignore my very standard requests (asking me if I’d quit my job and relocate for a temp position, insisting I interview for a job way below my salary range, etc), but a good recruiter will actually listen to your wants and needs and be able to help OP out.

  10. RB*

    The LW should be looking for late start jobs rather than taking a job that has standard hours then saying “oh by the way, I’ll show up whenever I want because I can be late without consequences”.

    I’m sorry but that’s truly not what most people would deem a disability that requires an accommodation instead of LW’s responsibility to find a job that fits their own needs.

    1. Peanut Hamper*

      Yeah, well, a disability is not “what most people would deem” it to be. That’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works.

      1. Sal*


        Bless RB’s heart, these things have definitions that judges use. That’ll be what’s important here.

    2. Starbuck*

      What the layman would or wouldn’t consider a disability doesn’t matter, they’ve got a diagnosis.

    3. MB*

      Your premise that this is something easily controlled is not accurate. Sleep hormones release when they release – it’s a biologically mediated event. Sleep patterns are also genetically coded-also not within ones control. This is absolutely a health issue, and not one chosen by anyone. Life is hellish for teens and adults who have this who are subjected to such comments, which assume it is laziness, lack of ambition, or mental health issues. The insinuation that there should be consequences for what you inaccurately perceive as a ‘behavioral’ issue is a health and safety issue. There’s a great post “Myths and Misconceptions” on the Start School Later website that addresses commonly held inaccurate beliefs. People with healthy sleep are productive, less likely to have car accidents and some studies show the most owlish of night owls are more creative and productive.

      1. ThatgirlK*

        There are some middle and high schools that are shifting schedules so teens can go to school from 9 or 10am instead of super early like the most of the US is accoustomed. Since alot of teens tend to sleep. Sorry a little off topic but I find it very interesting.

        As someone with a teen and 2 little kids at home, I will never understand why the teen starts at 7:30am and the Elementary school kids start at 9am. My littles are always up early!

        1. Panicked*

          The HS local to me does this. They start at 8 and I get stuck behind the bus on my way home around 5. I’ve heard absolutely nothing but good things from the kids that attend. They can stay up later, sleep later, and don’t have to worry about rushing around (as much!) in the morning.

          The school district’s been happy with it too. They can share busses with the elementary/middle school since there’s enough time in between arrival times, so they save money on the fleet.

        2. CommanderBanana*

          My high school started at 7:15 am. I am naturally an early bird, but I have literally no memory of my first classes for those three years. I was awake, but it was like my brain didn’t start processing until later.

        3. Melissa*

          My town had open conversations about this but ultimately stuck with the crazy situation you describe: High school starts at 7:20. Smallest kids start at 9, which means that in the winter they get home after dark.

          I was at a town hall meeting to discuss this and, surprisingly, many high schoolers were there advocating to keep the current schedule. Their reasons:

          Many of them work afternoon jobs from 3pm to 7pm. Those employers won’t allow them to do a shorter shift, and the parents won’t allow them to be working late into the evening/night.

          Many of them are responsible for younger siblings or cousins— getting them off the bus, babysitting. If the little kids are done earlier, who will take care of them?

          Sports: Because all the other high schools in the area start their games at 3pm, they have to be there by 3pm also. One high school changing while the others don’t would be a huge upheaval.

          1. MB*

            These are commonly thrown up roadblocks; most students parrot what their parents/teachers have told them, when on the contrary, sport teams perform better (many state title winners have later start times), the local job market adjusts to the students availability, and a sleep deprived teenager doesn’t make a good babysitter anyway. The harm is real – increased car accidents, higher suicide, poorer academics. Drive through a district and look at hs students on the bus – 8:30 or later, they are sitting upright – 7:30 or earlier they are passed out on the windows. It’s like having an adult wake up at 3-4 am everyday all the time – but we still do it to our kids. Start school later has a lot of info for those interested.

    4. PoolLounger*

      You’ve obviously never had this issue if you don’t consider it a disability. It’s certainly a disadvantage (in this society) that limits what one is capable of doing. It’s miserable trying to force your body to live on a schedule that doesn’t work, it can impair mental health, lead to car crashed from driving exhausted, and it’s made extra awful because so few people “get it” and think your exhaustion is the equivalent of most people only getting 6-7 hours of sleep. Getting blamed for being exhausted and struggling as if it’s your fault and you’re a morally bad person because you sleep from 2-10 instead of 10-6… well, it’s disheartening as hell.

      1. MB*

        PoolLounger, you nailed it. Spot on. And Alison is spot on with her advice to hold off until an offer is made. Because 95% of the population doesn’t get it, and the applicant will be called ‘lazy’, unambitious, mentally unwell, etc. It’s rather like being stuck in a nightmare. Decades of research that show good sleep is critical to good mental health, physical health, lowers anxiety, depression, suicide risk, car accidents. Yet people still disparage people with high sleep needs or a different biologically determined sleep schedule. It’s discouraging that there are decades of research and documentation about this – yet aspersions still routinely cast.

      2. I have RBF*

        Getting blamed for being exhausted and struggling as if it’s your fault and you’re a morally bad person because you sleep from 2-10 instead of 10-6… well, it’s disheartening as hell.


        In a world where larks rule, night owls are at a severe disadvantage. My inability to naturally go to sleep before 3 and get up before 11 has been a big, big problem in my career. I have a roomie that naturally, without benefit of an alarm clock, gets up between 5 and 6 am every day. I can’t do this. I have to take supplements and medication to comply with the demands of the lark driven working world. This costs me about $200/month, plus being unable to get up for an emergency at night.

      3. Aggretsuko*

        I’m just a night owl without DSPS and my sleep has been permanently screwed up since I stared working. It’s AWFUL to not fit early bird schedules naturally.

    5. Katara's side braids*

      If you take the time to read the letter, OP very clearly lays out how this is different from just “showing up whenever [they] want.” They still have a regular sleep cycle, but it is significantly shifted from what is (quite arbitrarily!!) considered “normal” under current work norms. As someone with the same issue (but I’m guessing with a less dramatic shift), it is absolutely a disability. Thankfully, it’s not up to you or “most people” to determine what is/is not a disability – it’s up to medical professionals.

    6. Gerry Keay*

      That’s not what LW is asking for or what anyone suggesting, and luckily disability in both a medical and legal sense isn’t defined as “whatever RB deems a disability.” Mentalities like yours are literally why so many disability activists have had to fight tooth and nail for the protections that do exist.

    7. Casper Lives*

      This comment is a great example of the discrimination LW faces with her disability. The law under ADA overrules your personal, unscientific beliefs, but disability against the disabled abounds in our current society.

    8. Ask a Manager* Post author

      This is not correct under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The condition is likely protected, and employers would be required to provide reasonable accommodations unless it caused undue hardship (the bar for which is pretty high).

    9. Baron*

      I mean, you could say that about literally any disability. “It’s a wheelchair user’s responsibility to find a job on the ground floor of a building!”, and so on.

    10. Critical Rolls*

      None of this is consistent with what was in the letter! You have fabricated that the LW intends to spring this on a company after accepting a job; you have implied the LW simply chooses to be late; you have decided their condition with a formal diagnosis isn’t a real disability.

      Yikes on bikes.

    11. Good Enough For Government Work*

      Absurd, ignorant viewpoints like yours are EXACTLY why people like OP are worried about disclosing their perfectly legitimate, diagnosed disability.

      Just fyi.

    12. Pink Candyfloss*

      It doesn’t matter what “most people” deem a disability, it matters what the law says, and in this care the law is on their side.

    13. Fluffy Fish*

      Yeah this is casual discrimination. Not cool. But hanks for demonstrating why OP shouldn’t disclose until the offer stage.

      It is not YOUR call on what a reasonable accommodation is. There are plenty of jobs that starting at 10 am would absolutely not be a problem. There’s a whole law about this and “I don’t personally agree with it” isn’t a reason to deny an accommodation.

    14. Observer*

      I’m sorry but that’s truly not what most people would deem a disability that requires an accommodation instead of LW’s responsibility to find a job that fits their own needs.

      Well, that’s not your decision to make, nor that of any other employer. The OP has a medical condition that affects the activities of daily living – that qualifies under the ADA, whether you like it or not.

    15. Fikly*

      Thankfully, most people’s opinions of what a disability is has nothing to do with what a disability is legally defined as.

      This kind of ableist hate is shameful, harmful, and absolutely unacceptable. Don’t apologize for being a bigot, stop being one.

      If a later start time is a reasonable accommodation – that is, it wouldn’t interfere with the core responsibilities of the job – then it is 100% appropriate and fine for the LW to have the job and a later start time time as an accommodation for a disability.

    16. I'm Just Here for the Cats!!*

      It’s ignorant comments like yours that cause people with disabilities undue hardship. It’s just another case of not being disabled enough.

      Would you tell someone who needed an enlarged screen because of sight issues that they should find a job that doesn’t require them to use a computer?

    17. Nina*

      What most people think is a disability is irrelevant. OP’s biology is such that asking them to consistently get up at 7 am is equivalent to asking a person with a normal circadian rhythm to consistently get up at 2 am. It is a condition of the body or mind that makes it more difficult for the person with the condition to do certain activities (wake up at a specific time in the morning) and interact with the world around them (do jobs that require waking up at that time). That’s literally the definition of a disability from the US DOL website.

    18. an academic, who used to study the vision system*

      This is absolutely a disability. It is a biologically-based condition outside of their control that causes them significant hardship. We can create genetically-modified fruit flies and mice with similar conditions.

    19. Chirpy*

      Humans naturally have variations in sleep cycles- consider that for most of history, having some people fully awake at 3am and some at 6 am means that there’s always someone in the group to watch for danger or put more wood in the fire so nobody freezes. It’s only our modern industrial society that decided what “set work hours for everyone” are. The people who don’t naturally fall into that category are disadvantaged in a way they wouldn’t have been 300 years ago.

      I personally only have a mild time shift towards night owl, but I really do my best work if I don’t have to be there before 9, and I don’t have to wake up before 7am. Getting up at 6 and earlier is *extremely* difficult. I also can’t fall asleep before 10-11 pm, and prefer 11-12. No amount of “trying harder” changes this, it’s biological. Studies have shown that people can only really shift their biological sleep schedule by about an hour without health consequences (and then, only if very consistent, you’ll revert back to your standard if you don’t stick to that schedule. )

      1. Aggretsuko*

        Same for me, I cannot just fall asleep earlier for anything unless I’m straight up ill. There is no sympathy for the night owl in this society.

  11. BL73*

    It really depends on the industry and the company culture. I have one employee who likes to work 11-7 p.m., which is fine with me, but there will be times customers can only meet in the morning. In those cases, he needs to make himself available and shift his hours. Making an appointment with a customer to complete their treatment and failing to attend it would be grounds for dismissal and does create an undue hardship on the company, because we can be fined by the government if it happens, given our funding status. From a leadership standpoint, finding out after the fact that he could never meet with a customer in the morning would be frustrating as we’d likely need to move him into a different role and he may not like that; in addition we’d have to re-hire for the role he applied for.

    Don’t sites like Glassdoor provide some of this information or can you reach out on those sites to ask if this is something certain companies allow?

    1. Relentlessly Socratic*

      On plain ol’ Glassdoor, there’s no real option to Q and A about a company, but if people leave reviews about “promised flexible hours then denied” or “promised flexible hours and it’s AWESOME” that’s about all you can tell.
      (I am not sure if there are forums on Glassdoor)

    2. I'm Just Here for the Cats!!*

      Your examples are extremely specific to your company and your clients. If someone needed this accommodation couldn’t another person take over the clients who could only do mornings? And wouldn’t it be nice if someone could do later appointments?

      1. BL73*

        That’s not how it works in our industry. We’d need to have someone whose schedule was open during the timeframe to swap – and swapping can be difficult as our customers are used to/comfortable with the person they’ve been working with which can undermine their treatment.

        The point is – which I feel you’ve missed – is we are very up front about what’s required and when, to the point of dismissal and the company being fined and if someone was hired and told me after the fact that they could not meet the requirements, it would be an undue hardship and they would lose their position. Wouldn’t you rather not move into a role where that potential is there?

        1. SpaceySteph*

          “Customers are comfortable with the person they’ve been working with” is probably not going to rise to the level of undue hardship.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            In theory it could if this is something like psychological counseling where the success of the work can depend on the relationship that’s been built, but you’d still be required to enter into the interactive process with the person to determine if there was a way to make it work; the law doesn’t permit you to just say no without doing that. (So you’d need to explore things like whether you could just not offer the person’s clients morning appointments, etc.)

          2. BL73*

            Interestingly, the governmental group that regulates our standards disagrees. If you’d read my original post, if we make an appointment to close with the customer and we fail to meet that appointment, we can be fined AND we can be ordered to pay damages to the customer.

            IF I hire someone and they know this up front and they fail to meet the requirements of the role AND we are fined and pay the client damages, they will be dismissed. And have been. Even with a disability accommodation. In any case, not going to argue this as I know the industry and the laws.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              But that’s a whole different thing. What I and others are saying is that federal law requires you to enter into the interactive process with the person to determine if there was a way to make it work before you say no. Obviously you can’t have people not showing up for appointments, but the law would require you to consider, for example, whether you could simply not set morning appointments for that person. If you truly can’t, then you can’t — but you would need to engage in the interactive process and consider alternatives in good faith or you would be in violation of the ADA.

              1. Brain the Brian*

                I will jump in here and note that my therapist uses exactly this setup. Her office of many clinicians just doesn’t schedule appointments with her before noon, but she covers early-evenings that other therapists who start earlier do not. Fine by me, as I am quite similar to this thread’s LW.

            2. Modesty Poncho*

              Nobody is suggesting that a person with an ADA-approved shifted work schedule would….set an early appointment and then just not show up? Is that what you think is going to happen here? How would someone who doesn’t start work until 10am get scheduled for an 8am appointment? How is that any different than scheduling someone who works 9-5 for a 7pm appointment? Why would that happen?

        2. I should really pick a name*

          If they told you this, legally there the interactive process to find accommodations. There are guidelines to help determine what is or is not undue hardship.
          It very well might be that it is in this case, but it’s not as simple as one person saying “that’s undue hardship”

    3. Fluffy Fish*

      Well but Alisons advice is to disclose at the offer stage. So you would know before. And presumably you are making it very clear in the job description and interview stage that those early am meetings are critical job functions.

      But that said if someone doesn’t want to disclose until they have the job, inconvenience is never going to be a greater burden than being actively discriminated against. I’m never going to fault someone for doing what they need to to protect themselves. It’s very hard to prove not being hired because a disability. But being fired after requesting reasonable accommodations is more easily proven (note I mean reasonable accommodations, not accommodation requests that are not reasonable due to the job functions).

      I mean forget hiring – you can find discrimination right in this comment section.

    4. Baron*

      I don’t want to pile on someone who seems well-intentioned, but generally, the bar for something to be “undue hardship” tends to be higher than you’d expect. It varies by jurisdiction, but here in Canada, a fine likely wouldn’t clear that threshold.

      1. BL73*

        But it has! I have dismissed an employee with an accommodation because of a $15k fine. I know this site is anti-employer/anti-manager, but if we are going to take LWs at their word that what they say is true, perhaps Allison et al can do the same with me?

        The employee in question filed a grievance/complaint for her dismissal and lost. Because of damage to her client and for refusing an accommodation to a lower level role that would not require her to meet with clients on Saturdays, as the job posting stated. In her case, she agreed to meet the conditions of her employment, when that wasn’t possible, we offered her another position, which she declined. The next time she failed to meet the requirement of a Saturday meeting, she was terminated, without severance. Even the lower level role was no longer available to her at that point.

        In any case, I really am logging off this site now. I’ll share what’s posted here with our legal team so they can weigh in to me personally because I’m quite interested in how strangers on a blog can argue against employment law as it is written and handled within our regulatory group and our company.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          I’m not anti-employer/anti-manager (funnily enough, I get accused of the opposite just as often).

          The specific situation you just described makes perfect sense. You engaged in the interactive process, you offered her accommodations which she declined, and that was all you could do. What I was saying above is that you do need to engage in that interactive process before saying no; that’s it.

          (Also, a fine likely would stand in the US — and clearly did in your case. You can’t be required to violate the law as an accommodation.)

        2. Modesty Poncho*

          By “failed to meet the requirement”, it sounds like your employee agreed to show up on Saturday, as a condition of her employment, and then didn’t?

          The situation I think most of us are imagining is that the employee tells you “No, I cannot be here at 8am but I can take clients starting at 10” before they begin working. That shouldn’t result in a situation where anyone’s appointment is missed.

  12. MB*

    I adore this post because it raises awareness of a fairly common problem. Circadian rythymn is genetically coded – you can’t control that! For younger professionals, there is also a very normal developmental temporary, 2 hour sleep shift in the release of their melatonin that occurs at adolescence that can persist through the mid twenties. There are so many myths in schools and workplaces regarding sleep patterns and disorders. I seriously dislike Benjamin Franklin’s ‘early to bed’ yada yada because it perpetrates the very inaccurate superiority of morning larks over night owls – when it is NOT TRUE!

    1. I have RBF*

      I seriously dislike Benjamin Franklin’s ‘early to bed’ yada yada because it perpetrates the very inaccurate superiority of morning larks over night owls – when it is NOT TRUE!


      The US is ruled by larks, and night owls get screwed. You can’t just decide that you will be a lark. It doesn’t work that way – I’ve tried. Being a person who doesn’t function well until noon is not a career enhancing condition.

      1. Aggretsuko*

        You’ll never see an article online about “how to become a night owl,” for sure.

  13. Anne of Green Gables*

    My realm is very coverage-based. Every time I hire, one of my questions is about the schedule, typically worded, “The regular schedule for this position is x – x Monday-Friday. Do you anticipate any problems with this schedule?” In a follow-up, I explain the (very occasional) evening and Saturday coverage needs.

    I assume LW is not applying in areas that are coverage based. I would expect a candidate to give me at least some heads up if they needed a different schedule when I ask flat out about schedule. I understand the concern about revealing a disability and need for an accommodation. This has given me something to think about.

  14. I should really pick a name*

    I would love to know why this manager thinks they should be trusted by someone they’ve only spoken to a few times in an interview setting.

    1. Anna*

      I’m also intrigued on that point. Why would they want to hire someone with such poor risk evaluation skills?

  15. Peanut Hamper*

    And show me someone who would be affronted that a job candidate didn’t trust them, a stranger, not to have bias around disabilities and I’ll show you someone who hasn’t reckoned much with prejudice in general.

    Preach it!

  16. Rose*

    I’ve also struggled with sleep disorders all my life – still even working on a diagnosis and I’m 40. I feel like a lot of my issues of not being a good worker revolved around being completely shattered at work. It’s actually also why I realized I could never be a teacher. I know it’ll be a huge struggle in America where we don’t value workers rights but I hope there’s more and more realization that we don’t need work to “start” at 8am.

          1. Modesty Poncho*

            I really think a majority of industries has the convention of starting early, but way, way fewer actually must be done in early hours. If you’re a mail carrier, maybe your office does need you to start early so you can deliver everything by a contractual close of business time. If you’re in shift work and someone needs to cover the early shift. If your company has offices across the world and 7am your time is the only time that works for everyone. But I really think most individual contributor jobs can be done shifted, if people would just accept that those of us who can’t be functional at 8 aren’t lazy.

    1. MB*

      Yes. Sleep is a foundation of health. Progress is being slowly made. I’ve heard of companies who have lots of flexibility, or at least ‘core’ hours – i.e. everyone needs to be working between 11-3 but is free to choose how to cluster the rest of their work day around it.

      1. Aggretsuko*

        Our core hours are like 10-4, but heaven help you if you wanted to work 9-6 here. That would be a no-go, “flexible hours” are only if you want to work 7-4 here.

        1. Kacihall*

          I left a decent job (not good, but not horrible) and took a different job that was supposed to be computer design for an embroidery company that might occasionally need to help out in S&R. I was promised flexible working hours, which I needed as I had a 2 year old with health issues and a husband that worked second shift.

          What he meant was that I could occasionally work 930-5 instead of 9-430. Then fired me for needing to take my kid to the doctor and missing work because daycare wouldn’t take him when he had a fever. He said I couldn’t flex or miss time because S&R had set times. even though I was hired as a designer.

          Then unemployment denied my claim because I didn’t leave the previous company for a good enough reason.

  17. TimeZoneTraveler*

    I wonder if OP has considered looking into a remote position in another country that lines up with their sleeping hours? I know that will cut down on the companies they can apply to, but if they happen to be in the fintech industry that could be easy to do! I’ve been responsible for teams in the UK and Australia whilst staying permanently located in the US. Just my 2 cents!

    1. I'm Just Here for the Cats!!*

      Depending on what their sleep schedule is, and location, they might not even need to worry about working with another country. For example, if OP is in New York and his ideal start time would be around 11 am they could look for a company that has remote work in California. So their start time would be a ‘normal’ time of around 8am. this would work great for large companies who have clients all over the united states.

  18. Lizy*

    I think you can absolutely talk about flexible work hours/environment without getting into disability territory. Hopefully the company/interviewers will mention it up front.

    If you frame it as “what are standard working hours? How flexible is the company – are all employees a strict 8-5 or are they more staggard?” For example, my company is pretty darn flexible. We do expect some sort of core working hours – like most (all?) staff are working 10ish-2ish, but beyond that, it’s really more of a “these hours work for me” thing, as long as each employee is pretty consistent. I have a coworker who works SUPER early and is done at like 2 or 3 each day, and another that doesn’t get in until like 10ish. We’re all on different time zones, which honestly I think helps in terms of the flexibility – no one expects someone working Mountain time to get up at 5am just because Eastern time people are already at work.

    I vote to sus them out during interviews and when you get/accept an offer, just say “I have a medical condition that basically means I can’t wake up until x, so I’ll plan on starting work at 10am” (or whatever)

  19. CanRelate*

    I currently work remotely for an internationally based company, which has seriously reduced some of my stress levels. I still work mostly American hours, but there’s no potential for a meeting until 5pm my time. I can sleep to a leisurely 10am when needed.

    I would avoid coverage based work in your situation if you can, unless its a very robust team that rarely asks people to be flexible, which is something you can probe about ahead of time. Avoiding resentment from the team because you are the only person who cant flex to a swath of shifts is probably just beneficial in the long run, regardless of if it would be wrong of people to hold such feelings.

    1. I'm Just Here for the Cats!!*

      A coverage team that works accross multiple time zones would be perfect. I worked somewhere and the Tech support had to be open 6am to 8pm where everyone else was 7:30 -5 or 9-6, to cover all he different time zones. A 12-8 might be a great option for OP

  20. Not a nepotism baby I think*

    I worked in a police/fire dispatch center for many years. Given that the afternoon shift is usually the hardest to fill a job with those sort of hours might be a possibility. Several times we had employees with sleep disorders and the afternoon shift worked well for them. Hours were 1100 to 2100 or 1600 to 0200. We determined that “no mandatory OT before 0900” was a reasonable accommodation. 0200 to 0400 didn’t seem to be a problem for anyone. Obviously maybe a little different for each person. And not everyone can manage the stress of dispatching but there are other jobs with similar schedules.

    1. SpaceySteph*

      I had a rotating shifts job for many years and also thought of swing shift right away! A friend of mine dubbed it the “foreveralone shift” because you are off during the day when everyone else is working and then working in the evening when there’s family, personal, etc stuff to do. It’s pretty hard to find someone who likes it. It could be beneficial to both OP due to their sleep shift and to an employer who has a swing shift needing filled.

    2. Peon*

      I was going to suggest looking for shift work work – my brother is in IT and worked the night shift for over a decade, even turning down promotions. He still does the afternoon/evening shift. Makes good money at it too as he gets shift premiums on top of a pretty great pay scale. Lots of places with server farms like to have people on hand overnight, just in general, but that’s also when a lot of PC/server maintenance is scheduled.

  21. Fluffy Fish*

    “One person I know who is a manager told me that if someone waited until they were hired to disclose this, they would feel put off and like the employee didn’t trust them, and that could cause ill will.

    That person needs to examine why, as a manager!!, they would take personally someone protecting themselves against bias and discrimination and then proceed to hold it against them (illegal much?). Not to mention not telling them something that is simply not relevant until there is an offer of employment on the table. Maybe they are a good manager in other aspects but that is a very bad manager move that imo negates any good managing they do.

    It’s 2023 – we all know we can’t discriminate against people with disabilities at work so if someone is advocating in any way to hold it against them I question them being a manager at all.

  22. Coverage Associate*

    There was a junior lawyer at a California office of a large firm with this condition. She got accommodations for a late start, but her direct manager harassed her about it and insisted she work normal hours. She sued and won.

    So I wouldn’t say that even traditional and client focused industries are closed to this person. After all, both the firm and court were willing to accommodate it. But there may be a delicate sussing out of particular positions.

    1. Another JD*

      I’m really curious what a court would do as far as reasonable accommodations for an attorney. Court starts at 9, and you’re lucky to get 6 actual hours of trial time per day in as is, especially with a jury.

      1. Fluffy Fish*

        I am very much not a lawyer but the actual court wouldn’t be the employer right? So I don’t think they have to make any accommodations aside from access.

      2. Casper Lives*

        I’m guessing the attorney wasn’t a trial attorney, or at least, didn’t need to frequently try cases. I’m sure you know that but FYI for anyone unfamiliar with the legal field.

        I don’t think the court would be able to reasonably accommodate this condition for most positions. Clerks, prosecutors, defenders, staff attorneys, and judges would have to be on the usual schedule to get the job done. Ironically, the person in highest position (judge) would have the most flexibility on running the courtroom.

        1. Sal*

          In any courtroom I’ve ever been in with enough regular courtroom activity to mandate an early start, there were definitely lawyers who rolled into a given courtroom at 11 AM. (I would even be one of them, if I’d been stuck in a different courtroom from 9:30-10:55–if you have to get to three or four rooms in a day, someone’s room is going to be last.)

          It is the rare courtroom in my experience who doesn’t have something else they could be doing if you are not there to do your specific case at 9 AM on the dot–for example, the other 15-60 cases they have on the calendar that day. And most court dates are scheduled by the attorneys with the judge on the previous court date–an atty could simply say, Judge, I have a conflict and I can be there but not until 11, would that present a problem? Most of the time, the response will be “IDGAF, I’ll be doing other stuff, be here by when I need you or I’ll be upset.” And I bet most people with a sleep disorder could occasionally pull it out (i.e. for the trials that go once or twice a year for a few days) to start at 9/9:30.

          And in cases where the court is not so busy, most judges I’ve met would be fine just scheduling something for 1 PM like normal humans doing a business meeting.

          1. Casper Lives*

            Yes, to be clear, I agree with the court ruling that this is a reasonable accommodation in this case.

            I’m not sure it would be reasonable for a lawyer that worked at the court (as a public defender, prosecutor, staff attorney) to have a late start accommodation. Which is what I interpreted the original comment as asking about.

            I’m a civil trial attorney, and yes, we rarely try cases. If I needed to request an afternoon motions hearing, most judges would agree. Except those that have a motions calendar and insist everyone be there at 9 AM unless a conflict letter with the conflicts listed is filed. :) It varies.

            I’ve got a trial going Monday. A request to delay the trial from a 9 AM start time would anger this judge. In this rare circumstance, I think a later start time wouldn’t be accommodated.

      3. RNL*

        Most lawyers don’t go to court, honestly. All solicitors, and many litigators rarely see the inside of a courtroom.

      4. Nina*

        I’m not sure how the US system works (I gather y’all are a lot more sue-happy) but in my country most lawyers can go their whole career without ever seeing a courtroom unless they deliberately choose to steer their skills in that direction.

        1. Melissa*

          My husband is officially a litigator, but 12 years in, he’s never been to court. (in the US)

    2. Coverage Associate*

      By “court accommodate it,” I meant that in the employment practices suit, the court accepted that different work hours were a reasonable accommodation for this lawyer. The judge didn’t take the position that all lawyers have to work standard hours, or all lawyers at large firms, etc.

      I am a litigator, so I know that the judges often bring their own attitudes to cases, and the judges could have thrown out the case if the judge disagreed with the plaintiff. Also, the judge probably had experience working in a firm, so his attitude has some relevance.

      As for working in a courthouse, there’s a lot of factors, most having little to do with a single judge. Mostly, as with other jobs, it has to do with how many other people have to working at the same time for the worker requesting a different schedule to be effective? For example, will security have to stay late? Will all the lawyers and parties in that court have to adjust their schedules? (Good courts see the litigants as like their clients.)

      I’m not a morning person, and also in California, and my clients are all in earlier time zones. 8 to 6 California time already feels perpetually behind. But if I didn’t work with clients, or my clients were in Asia, it might work.

      1. Sal*

        What’s interesting is that in the busiest courtrooms that literally go from 9 or 9:30 til 5 or later (i.e. when they get through their list), any individual case probably is only getting handled for 5-10 minutes at a maximum. So any individual person needing to start at 11 is not going to be a problem, because you’ll do 10 other cases before they get there. Some judges might get cranky at having to do more, e.g., trial days because you can only eke 5 hours per day out of someone without keeping jurors or court staff later, but either the lawyer could suck it up and come in earlier than normal on trial days, or the judge can just, like, deal with having longer trials. Things in court are delayed constantly for way worse reasons (e.g., “despite ordering this defendant to be brought to court, the department did not bring them to court from jail. adjourned.”).

        I’m with the judge here!

        1. Coverage Associate*

          I have definitely had hearings scheduled for 8:30am conclude before my clocks say 8:31.

          As a civil litigator, I think it would be hard to get accommodation for late hearings in the courts where I practice. In some state courts, the law and motion schedule isn’t even set by the judge. It’s been that way time immemorial, and the judge would get pushback from staff and senior advocates for changing it, or making exceptions. And as civil litigators, we’re not in court often enough that an accommodation wouldn’t be a one off. I could see the court accommodating some prosecutors regularly, by contrast.

          And adjusting hours for a jury trial? Again, it goes to how many people you’re adjusting for the person with the disability. If you’re going late with a jury trial, that’s 12+ random unpaid citizens, plus all the courtroom staff, plus at least skeletal building security going late. And if you just start late and have shorter trial days, first, that’s a longer disruption to jurors’ lives, and the court may not be able to fill in the time. For example, some courts have a case management calendar at 8am, followed by trial conference at 9am, with jury call at 10am. If you do the trial conference at 10am and jury call at 11am, the judge may not be able to schedule hearings for 9am, because local rules or standing orders assume that’s trial time.

    3. Mel*

      Whilst this accommodation of a later start time may be legally protected (as it should be) it will not stop resentment from other colleagues. It’s not fair but it’s the reality.

      That’s why it’s better to seek employment where flexible working times is already the standard and embedded in the companies culture or work remotely in a different time zone that better suits their sleep schedule.

  23. ThatgirlK*

    I have worked a number of places where thankfully I could pick my start times. I never really had job dependent on being present a certain hour.

    OP – can you gauge the culture of start and end times in your interview or phone screen?
    “Are there set hours people work everyday? Are manager open to a more flexible schedule?

    Not sure if this will help, but if you don’t want to disclose your disability it might help!

  24. Coverage Associate*

    As for why 9 to 5 are normal office hours, I read a book about circadian rhythms. I can’t remember the title, but It was the one that used “dolphins” as one normal type. It said that a plurality of adults will work well 9 to 5. These were good work hours for 2 out of 4 common circadian rhythm profiles. So basically society is set up to maximize profit based on the majority, but it’s not a moral thing, and not even a natural thing for all people.

    1. SpaceySteph*

      “its not a moral thing”

      This this this. People act like being an early riser is morally superior but its not, its just biology. I recently read that it was actually an advantage in cave-people times that some people were wired to be night owls, so they could do a night watch against predators/enemies when others were sleeping. Night owls still benefit our whole society, in defense, public safety, and medical fields.

      1. Smith Masterson*

        I’ve worked in Tech forever, and the night-owl SWDs had no issues w/ late starts. Our CEO didn’t roll in until 11 AM (unless we needed her earlier, she would make herself available.

  25. Teapot Wrangler*

    Wow. I am going to investigate more about circadian rhythm disorders because this resonates. Especially the heart attack part. I had to wake up before 9am this morning and it took me literally an hour to get out of bed!

    1. Katara's side braids*

      Same! I thought I knew quite a bit about DPSS/chronotypes, but somehow never made the connection with the heart “flutters” (maybe palpitations?) and lightheadedness I feel when I have to get up early.

  26. purpleprose*

    Sounds like you have delayed sleep phase syndrome, OP? I do too, and it really sucks in terms of trying to keep ‘normal’ workplace hours. I’ve battled with it all my working life – fortunately, it’s not been as bad for me as for some people with DSPS, as I was freelance for a big chunk of my career, and have a good amount of flexibility in my current job. But it was entirely normal for me to feel like a zombie for most of the day in previous jobs where I had to work a strictly office-based 9 to 5-5.30, and it has definitely hampered my career opportunities. (I’m in the UK and to the best of my knowledge this isn’t recognised by most workplaces as something that would get an accommodation, so I can relate to the difficulties.)

    1. purpleprose*

      Just wanted to add: I missed where Alison said it likely is a protected condition in the US; I really hope so, because sleep disorders in their worst form are absolutely a disability. And sadly I agree with a pp who said that most people don’t get it, or understand the sheer exhaustion these things cause.

  27. HannahS*

    Just want to say, this:
    “However, I see no reason I should trust a manager I don’t know yet to treat me fairly, and I’m more concerned with my ability to get a good job and be protected under the law than I am with my potential manager’s feelings.”
    You know what? Good for you. You have the right to exercise your rights, and other peoples’ feelings don’t trump that, and you should feel good about it.

    1. Fluffy Fish*

      Hard agree. I said it above in response to someone talking about the inconvenience of finding out after hire.

      An employers inconvenience will never trump someone’s rights to protect themselves from discrimination.

      OP has every right to disclose at a point its easier to prove discrimination should that be necessary.

  28. Dinah*

    I’ve been in…I don’t want to say a battle, but let’s say an intermittent conflict with my current job about this since 2019. The utter inability of my otherwise extremely intelligent and capable managers to comprehend why 6am to 6pm work times are not flexible for me was…something. Especially because I’d come from another branch of the same company, where I’d done pretty much the same job for years (with much tighter deadlines and higher volume) and was able to flex until 11pm no questions asked. In that previous office, I got two promotions in 3 years and was a national SME. In my current one, I got denied an ADA accommodation for my extravagant request to be allowed to work until 8pm with supervisory permission and just never got my feet under me. So yeah, I hope you find what you need, OP, because it makes an enormous difference.

    (To their credit, my management *did* promptly allow time flexing when COVID hit and has retained a lot of it since then, but it still burns that a) I was right that the work can get done that way just fine, and b) they just didn’t believe me enough to provide an accommodation that would have cost them nothing.)

    (Which leads to part 2, electric boogaloo: I’m back in conflict with them over schedule flexing for other reasons and shooting myself in the foot by not asking for a accommodation because of how I got burned the first time. ¯⁠\⁠_⁠(⁠ツ⁠)⁠_⁠/⁠¯ And I absolutely know I’m considered a worse employee for it.)

    1. Anna*

      I relate to this so hard. The amount of pushback an extravagant 8pm request usually gets is our of this world.

  29. i am a patient girl*

    Obviously it totally depends on what type of work OP does, but I’d recommend considering an employer with multiple shifts or even 24 hour operations. I’m in a factory setting on the East Cost that operates 24/7 and headquarters are on the West Coast – so the bias is towards later “West Coast” hours and there’s lots of opportunities for late night/overnight work even in positions that are traditionally 9-5. We have engineers and HR Partners who actually earn a shift differential because they’ve committed to working 4pm-12 AM or one of the overnight shifts. If OP is open to committing to a later shift (and it sounds like that is the case) they could possibly make a larger salary because of it.

  30. Anne Wentworth*

    It hurts my heart every time we get a LW who reports a friend saying that they’d be upset if a candidate didn’t disclose sensitive info immediately, because neither the friend nor the LW seem to understand that the end of that sentence is “so that I CAN discriminate against them.”

    1. SpaceySteph*

      I typically read it as “…because MY reason for discriminating against them is more valid than others'”

      This shows up a bunch in letters like “do I have to tell my interviewer I’m pregnant” too.

  31. Gato Blanco*

    I wonder if OP would consider working a night job? Seems like something that would be genuinely beneficial for someone who does not function well during the first part of the day.

    1. Aggretsuko*

      Night job would be great, there’s just not that many out there necessarily (same with flex scheduling).

  32. Avery*

    Just wanted to share my own experience here, since it’s likely relevant.
    In my case, it’s not delayed phase sleep syndrome, but idiopathic hypersomnia–I need 9-10 solid hours of sleep to be mostly alert, and without my medication it’d be more like 11-12 hours each night and I’d still be tired all the time. But the overlap is that starting work at 9 AM or earlier, especially for non-remote positions, is nearly impossible for me.
    As it happens, in both my current position as a paralegal and my previous position as low-level admin for a nonprofit, it was a nonissue and I was able to start later without even having to disclose my sleep disorder. Flexibility is out there, even in fields like law where it might seem unlikely.
    It definitely takes some scoping out beforehand, though, and asking about schedules, flexibility, etc. in interviews. I actually had two job offers to juggle when breaking into the paralegal field, but the other one was a more traditional, non-remote, start at 9 AM type job. The pay and benefits were a bit better for that position, but I still think I made the right choice by going with my flexible, remote position instead of making myself miserable for a relatively small pay-off.
    I say don’t disclose before the offer. Disclosing or not after that point is up to you, but why open yourself up for discrimination when it’s not needed? Lots of people have lots of reasons to want a flexible schedule, so asking about that won’t raise eyebrows unduly except at places so inflexible that they wouldn’t be good fits regardless.

  33. Brain the Brian*

    This one hits close to home for me, as I currently work in a job that not only has a theoretical 9am start, but also works mostly with offices that are geographically 8-9 time zones of mine (meaning that the end of their day at 5pm their time is 9am my time). I struggle with sleep-phase issues similar to LW’s, and my natural circadian rhythm would have me sleep 4am to noon; add to that an epilepsy diagnosis with lack-of-sleep as a known seizure trigger, and this has the potential for (and has actually led to) very serious medical consequences.

    Thankfully, my own manager largely ignores our office’s officially mandated working hours, mostly allowing me to work 10-6 or 11-7, and I have developed a very elaborate system of always working a business day ahead of my colleagues whose days are earlier than mine to avoid major consequences. I still have to get up early for an occasional meeting, but I usually take a nap right after it and come back to work later in the morning. Working from home four days per week in the post-Covid era has helped enormously, too; fingers crossed that nothing changes on that front.

  34. OP_NightOwl*

    Hi, OP here! I’m seeing several types of comments repeated, so I’m going to do one response here that addresses each of those, plus a mini-update.

    Yes, it is Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder/Syndrome (DSPD or DSPS). I was happy to see comments from others with this disorder, it always helps to know others are in the same battle and to interact with people who understand it intimately.
    To those who said this really resonated with them: please read about DSPD! It can be difficult to get a diagnosis, but even without a diagnosis, you can learn about some things that might help, find community, and adjust your life as much as possible. My quality of life greatly improved when I learned about DSPD and started accommodating myself and stopped beating myself up for my sleep schedule. And if you are able to get a diagnosis, it will help you get school or workplace accommodations when possible.
    I also highly recommend checking out the DSPD subreddit as a place to learn about it scientifically (there are some really smart & educated people on there sharing relevant research), learn about how it affects real people, get advice, and find community.

    I have received an amazing offer (intellectually interesting, plays to my strengths, triples my salary) from a company that likely won’t be able to do much to accommodate my sleep schedule. The job, the salary, and the doors it will open are too good for me to pass up. Although I doubt I’ll be able to get anywhere near the accommodations I have at my current job (and even if I could, it would limit my professional development there), I am going to discuss my disability with HR when we discuss the offer, and enter into the “interactive process” of seeing what flexibility can be offered. Even some extra grace around morning promptness and occasional severe tardiness would help. And then I’m going to do my best, which might include taking Modafinil or something, and see how it goes for a year. If the difficulty outweighs the benefits after a year, I’ll start looking for something else with more flexibility, and having this on my resume will set me up to have better options than I currently do.

    I want to defend him a bit and say that there’s much more nuance to the conversation he and I had than is portrayed in this letter. It’s clear to me that his heart is in the right place and that if he found himself in that situation, he would happily do everything possible to accommodate his new hire. He’s basing his reaction off of his specific life and work experience, please try to remember that he’s a person doing his best (and trust me when I say that his best is much much better than average), and that you all got literally one quote from him that definitely cast him in a bad light.
    It’s also true that his quote illustrates the way bias around these issues can manifest and the dangers it presents.

    I have definitely considered this. It’s very unclear to me how to find these jobs. From what I’ve seen, postings for remote jobs don’t make it clear what time zone they’re operating on. If you have suggestions for how to seek out jobs like this, I’d be interested to hear to keep in my pocket for next time I job hunt.

    This is also something I’ve considered. I’m always interested to hear what these job options are, especially if they’re high paying and especially if they wouldn’t require me to go back to school (I have a masters, I’m done!). Please share your ideas, again, for next time I make a career shift!

    I was pleased to see that you were alone, and that the commentariat jumped to my defense.
    DSPD is truly a disability, and decreases my quality of life in some way no matter how I choose to deal with it. For the sake of increasing understanding of how DSPD and other invisible disabilities affect normal life functioning, I want to elaborate on what this is like for me:
    When I sleep on my schedule, my career options are limited, which probably limits my earning potential. Even with an accommodation, working out of step with my colleagues is isolating and likely hurts my career growth. I am still working when the people I’m close to want to have dinner, and when I’m awake and energetic, my loved ones are going to bed at least five out of seven days a week. If I sleep with a partner, I sneak in to bed like a thief after they’ve gone to bed and I endure sleep disturbances when they get up–and this isn’t great for them either! I can’t make it to events that I would love to attend if they’re before noon.
    When I push my sleep schedule to fit into “normal” hours, I end up constantly sleep deprived and I don’t feel rested even when I sleep 9 hours. I fail at getting up and deal with the resultant embarrassment and shame on a regular basis, not to mention social or workplace repercussions. My mind isn’t as sharp and my personality is dulled because of the sleep deprivation, so I’m slower and unfocused at work, which surely impacts my career growth and social interactions. I feel in a fog all the time and don’t enjoy life as much. To maintain anything like a normal sleep schedule, I need to be consistent on my bedtime and wake time even on the weekends, so I have to give up any nightlife activities on Friday and Saturday. And there are health problems that arise when you push your sleep schedule.
    I am biologically out of step with the way society functions, and no matter which way I choose to deal with it, my career and my social life are compromised because of my disorder. My happiness is compromised. My physical health can be compromised. Maybe I’ll find that tripling my income and being intellectually stimulated by my job outweighs the benefits of accommodating my disorder, or maybe I’ll find that feeling rested on a regular basis outweighs the of this new job, or maybe I’ll find a way to be well-rested and have a great career. But any of those paths will require me to make compromises, sacrifices, and tough decisions that people without this disorder just don’t face.

    1. Brain the Brian*

      I have a friend who works remotely for a company in a time zone that aligns better with her sleep schedule (she’s in Seattle; they’re in Australia). When she was searching, she just looked for remote postings and then looked up where each company was located, figuring (correctly) that their hours would match their main office’s location.

    2. hypoglycemic rage (hopeful ex librarian)*

      can i just say how aesthetically pleasing this comment was to read?

      op, congrats on the job offer! i like the idea of sticking it out for a year, evaluating, and then going from there. i hope this new job is able to be at least a little flexible and accommodating.

      also – this wasn’t something i had heard of prior to this post, so thank you for educating us and giving me something to read about. :)

      1. OP_NightOwl*

        lol, so glad you enjoyed the aesthetics. I try, I try.

        I just emailed their HR to set up a time to discuss accommodations. The job is very tied to the hours of the US stock market, so that’s why I doubt there’s much flexibility, but I might be wrong, and they might be able to offer other accommodations like leniency with timeliness (within reason), a place to nap on my lunch break, or other things I haven’t thought of. I’m really excited about this job, even though I’m stressed about the hours. They seem to really treat their employees with care, so I’m hopeful that HR will work with me on this.

    3. Aggretsuko*

      I feel so bad for you. Virtual hugs for having to deal with this for your entire life.

    4. Hlao-roo*

      Working different shifts (these might not be good career options for you, but hopefully they can be workable for someone else with DSPD/DSPS):

      – Manufacturing usually has second-shift options (hours are typically around 3pm – midnight) and second-shift positions are usually easier to get than first-shift ( ~6am – 3pm) because people without DSPD prefer first-shift

      – Nursing night shifts are usually undesirable, so there are probably hospitals that are happy to hire a nurse who wants to work all night shifts

      – Transit agencies – track inspections and maintenance usually happen when subway lines are shut down in the middle of the night (inspection work is probably done by engineers, maintenance work is probably done by construction workers)

    5. Destroyer of Typos*

      Fellow DSPS here! Yesterday was the one day I didn’t read AAM and I’m bummed not to have been able to participate with My People!! Can’t tell you how many people I have been able to educate about circadian rhythms and sleep issues since my diagnosis!

      I got a formal sleep diagnosis after I started falling asleep while driving to my 9am start-time job. It. Was. Terrifying. And even then, I think I only convinced the doctors to order a sleep study since narcolepsy runs in the family, and they couldn’t just ascribe the excessive daytime sleepiness to “probably sleep apnea”. DSPS could have been responsible for injury or death for myself and/or others if I had had to keep driving to work. “Not a disability”, psh! Even though my ideal sleep time is close to “normal” (midnight to 7:30/8), there can be serious consequences when I don’t follow my body’s clock.

      The job I had then was willing to let me work 10-6:30 to accommodate, for which I will be forever grateful. But I lived far enough that I couldn’t do any evening fun stuff with friends (why must things always start at 6:30?). When something starts before 10 on a weekend, I just won’t make it. Dinnertime was stressful, because I can’t make something healthy to eat by 7:30 when I get home at 7:15. So even with the flexibility at work (which definitely resulted in increased productivity and happiness!), I still looked for and found a new job that wouldn’t require me to commute so far, and landed a fully remote job at an org that lets people work 4 tens or 5 eights, meaning that no one started at any one set time! I can roll out of bed at 8:30 and start at 9, work til 5:30, and still make dinner and potentially see friends after that. I took a not insignificant paycut, but the ability to live and enjoy life is priceless.

  35. Azure Jane Lunatic*

    I destroyed my health trying to work against my (delayed) sleep phase. I also had a specific sleep neurologist (with DSPD himself!) tell me that I wasn’t willing to get better if I didn’t [insert specific advice that had made me suicidal in the past]. I had to make an appointment with a specialist 50 miles away to get actual helpful advice.

    1. OP_NightOwl*

      I’m constantly astounded at the ignorance and rudeness of some medical professionals… That’s really awful. I’m sorry you had to deal with that.

  36. Kat*

    I’ve literally stayed up all night or slept two or three hours. Many times. Same for my hospital colleagues. We still have to go to work and be on time. It’s not rare. A later accommodation by an hour or so seems reasonable but no one is going to want to continually schedule later meetings or work to accommodate this.

    1. Good Enough For Government Work*

      It’s a literal medical condition. Please take your ableism elsewhere.

    2. Dinah*

      If anecdata is all we need, I’m a lifelong veteran of sleep deprivation, though my record is only 50 hours, and guess what? My current job doesn’t justify that kind of health detriment. It’s simply not that urgent, it’s not customer-facing, and it’s almost entirely done alone. Meetings can be held mid-day because no one *else* is doing anything that time-constrained either. Except, funnily enough, in the morning when they’re taking their kids to school.

      If a job can be done and done well with shifted hours, refusing on general principal is, yes, ableist. Not everyone has your particular work conditions.

    3. WS*

      Staying up all night and sleeping two or three hours is a terrible way to live. There are many, many jobs in healthcare that work to different schedules than the 9-5. I have a close friend who, while not diagnosed, has tremendous trouble being awake before 10 am. She’s spent most of her career on the overnight shift, which she loves and other people hate, and also has higher wages, so it’s been great for her. “Suck it up” is terrible and ableist advice.

    4. virago*

      OP has posted (as OP_Nightowl) and provided an extensive and well-written explanation of the medical challenges that she faces. Please read it and educate yourself.

    5. Katara's side braids*

      That this is “normal” does not mean that it’s acceptable, especially in health care. Increasingly, research is showing that sleep deprivation is not just uncomfortable, but dangerous. The cognitive impairment is comparable to alcohol intoxication after a certain point (BAC of .05% after 17 hours awake, .1% after 24 hours awake per the CDC website). I thankfully have yet to need any medical procedures performed by doctors in the most sleep-deprived specialties, but live in fear of the day I do.

  37. Kimberly*

    I think two things can be true at the same time:

    (1) This is a legitimate disability that deserves recognition and accommodation.

    (2) Not every workplace is equipped to accommodate this disability.

    I feel like this comes up in this space a lot. The “I need an emotional support dog” and “I am allergic to dogs.” The “I need unscented products” and “I can’t afford to get new products”

    Whenever these topics come up, there is a clear majority viewpoint and if you don’t fall into it, you are pilloried.

    Some, not all, workplaces won’t be able to allow a shift in hours this dramatic from the norm. This is a fact.

    1. Dinah*

      I think we can credit OP with filtering for jobs where this kind of accommodation is doable, no? They didn’t ask “how can I become a museum tour guide who only gives tours at 1am” or “how can I force employers to make accommodations they can’t actually make”; they asked when it’s best to disclose.

    2. anna*

      Do you have some reason for believing the OP would be unaware of that? They’re asking when to bring up their need for accommodations to see if it can work, not saying they think any job in the world will be forced to provide them.

      Disability law is clear on how to handle it when an accommodation is not possible.

      1. Kimberly*

        I have no problem with the question asked and the answer Alison provided.

        I am talking about the general attitude of the comments, where a Correct Opinion and Incorrect Opinion is entrenched pretty quickly.

        I can easily see a lot of jobs that could not accommodate this. I am a little confused why the LW didn’t go into a 24/7 field from the jump.

        1. anna*

          probably because a lot of jobs CAN accommodate it. I’ve never worked in a 24/7 field and all my jobs could have handled this. that doesn’t mean they all can but a lot can.

        2. SpaceySteph*

          Our society forces people pick a career path in their teens, and also its really common for teens to be late sleepers, so the OP’s medical condition would have been harder to recognize at that age.

          Not every career field is set up for 24/7 and while now OP might know that nursing/manufacturing/etc. would have been a good career for their medical condition, its not like someone can just become a night nurse tomorrow if they don’t have the degree.

  38. OP_NightOwl*

    Hi Kimberly, LW here!
    There’s opinion and there’s what’s legal. What’s legal is that those with disabilities are entitled to *reasonable accommodations* in the workplace. Obviously, what is reasonable is going to vary from workplace to workplace, depending on what the major job functions are. I’m not asking for anything besides what I’m legally entitled to.

    There are several reasons why I didn’t go into a 24/7 field from the start. The main one is that I didn’t realize that this disorder existed and that I had it until I was halfway through my graduate degree, and the field I was studying wasn’t one that set me up to go into a 24/7 job. Another one is that my sleep schedule is not the only thing about me–I have strengths and weaknesses, interests and dislikes, and a desire for a certain income that are also considerations in my career decisions. I’m giving up a job that easily accommodated my disorder but didn’t pay well, didn’t allow enough room for growth, and basically bored me to death for the chance to have a job that uses my education, plays to my strengths, and pays what most people would consider to be an obscene amount. A job like this just doesn’t exist on night shifts.

    I’m willing to give up some of my health for a job that meets more of those other factors, but I will still need some leniency. If the job cannot accommodate me at all, then it’s not the right job for me, just as a job that required certain physical tasks to be performed wouldn’t be the right job for someone with certain physical disabilities. I think an apt analogy would be to consider someone with pain and mobility issues who says that the best case scenario is that they could be seated 100% of the time, but they’re willing to move around as part of their job for the right job, but even in that case, they will need to be allowed extra time for physical tasks and time to rest in between physical tasks, giving them leniency that isn’t offered to employees without their disability. And if that isn’t possible, that job wouldn’t work out for them.

    In a perfect world, I would find a job that fit my sleep schedule perfectly, it would pay well, it would be interesting, I would love it and they would love me. But realistically I’m going to have to sacrifice on one side or the other. I’m going to sacrifice health and quality of life for my next job, but even then I’ll need some leniency around timeliness and I might need a designated quiet space to nap partway through the day. I’m not expecting every job to let me walk in at noon to begin my eight hours of work like my last one did. I am expecting that, to the extent it still allows me to perform my essential job functions, they make accommodations for my disability. I am expecting that because that’s what is legally entitled to me under the American’s with Disabilities Act.

    1. Kimberly*

      I agree with all of this and it makes a lot of sense. I wish you the best of luck and I really hope this works out for you.

      1. OP_NightOwl*

        omg, did we just have a reasonable exchange of ideas on the internet? I think we deserve an award!

        Thank you so much for your well-wishes. I plan to send Alison an update in a year, and I hope it’s a victorious one!

    2. One HR Opinion*

      I love the specific exchange you had here. I like that you were both very cordial and logical.

      For OP, I appreciate that you are looking for the “reasonable” in reasonable accommodation. So many people totally miss this part of the law :)

      I hope this works out well and we get a great update in a year!

    3. toolate12*

      Hello LW – I have a very very similar sleep disorder, and just want to say that not everyone’s experiences with prescription stimulants is negative. They absolutely unlocked a life I would not have been able to have the last five or ten years. Just in case that is something you are still considering!

  39. jill*

    try to get remote work with a place that is based a few time zones away to the west.

    (or australia! or any time zone that matches your internal time zone!)

    i live on the east coast, and i have enough west-coast colleagues that i generally don’t have meetings before 11am and i love it (i am a night owl; sleeping from 2am-10am).

    not extreme, but it works for me!

  40. Caitlin*

    I’ve had a lot of experience with being unable to wake up for a regular 9-5 job until I finally got a proper diagnosis and treatment (was sleep apnea for me – turns out not getting enough oxygen means you need more sleep no matter what time you go to bed…). I didn’t get a lot of support from employers, but that was also because I didn’t know how to explain that disability (didn’t help that my brain just considered it laziness…), and led to me losing a few jobs.

    Although re the “turning off the alarm without even waking up”, I managed to finally kick that “habit” by using an alarm app which made me solve maths problems before it could turn off – it’s called Alarmy and you can also set it to make you get up and go scan a qr code you put somewhere else in your room/house, or a bunch of other “missions”.

  41. fluffy*

    Can I just say how much I appreciate the tone of the comments on your own site vs. the ones over on The Cut? Holy cow there are so many awful people saying awful things there.

    1. Katara's side braids*

      Yup. I’m fighting for my life over there. Made an account just to challenge some of the harmful attitudes.

    2. ijustworkhere*

      Ditto. Interesting to see what comes out of people’s “mouths” when they think no one knows who they are.

  42. Mothman*

    Sleep disorders are SO hard to navigate. Falling asleep during the day or not sleeping at night are seen a lazy or just stupid. I’m typing this at 4 am, several hours after taking a sleeping pill, because they just don’t work. I have always been like this.

    I’m BEYOND grateful that I work at a place that straight up said “we don’t need details. A flexible schedule is fine,” when I started to request accommodations for mine while I work on a diagnosis. THEY even put it in writing, that we had had this conversation and agreed on what I needed for.my…Narcolepsy? Seizures? Autoimmune? Rhythm disorder? But damn, there’s a lot of shame around it just in general.

    All that to say…there are nontoxic workplaces out there, and I hope you find one.

  43. ijustworkhere*

    You don’t disclose until you get an offer. That protects the employer as well as you, especially if the employer doesn’t hire you. The employer cannot be accused of not hiring you because of your disability if they didn’t know about your disability.

    I don’t want to know anything about somebody needing accommodations until I have made an offer. It simplifies things for me and protects me from litigation on discriminatory failure to hire. It’s much easier to work through an interactive process and either make the accommodation or document why the accommodation cannot be made.

  44. DomaneSL5*

    My company always posts what the hours are for the job. When I have been hiring, I have always been clear what the hours/days are for the job. If you came to me with your situation, I would just plain tell you upfront what the hours are. That being said I have had people work 7-4, 8-5, 9-6 and 10-7. We have to have folks on site 7-7.

    For me I would feel a little blindsided if I explained this and then you came back with a “well actually” can I get something else. Now if you asked for the 10-7 when I explained this, I would do my best to get that for you if it was possible.

    So I like the advice others have given, try and feel out what the employer needs when it comes to coverage/people on site/etc.

  45. Fiona Orange*

    I have a disability and I work in the disability field, and I agree with Allison’s advice. If you disclose prior to being hired, there’s nothing you can do about it if they don’t hire you. But if you disclose after being hired and they refuse to accommodate you/fire you/otherwise give you a hard time about it, you have reason to file an ADA lawsuit.

  46. Quickbeam*

    I know it’s not available for everyone but I am a total night owl and worked as a night shift RN for 20+ years…..without caffeine. I was alert and functional every night. I slept like a log from 8 AM to 4 PM. It was the best work experience I had from a sleep rhythm point of view.

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