For someone with obsessive-compulsive disorder, work of any kind can present two major challenges: dealing with the tasks of the job itself and dealing with the social issues that having OCD can bring.
Some of these problems are internal and things that you'll have to deal with using your own willpower and the tools and advice your medical caregivers supply you with. Other problems are external and can come from the social stigmas and prejudices that people who aren't familiar with or are misinformed about OCD may have.
Dealing with Work and Stress
Your first order of business as someone with OCD who is working is to deal with the internal problems that you have full control over. You can control whether or not you deal with your situation - how determined you are to do your job and do it well, how much you want to overcome your OCD and work as well or better than your colleagues, etc.
Although you may stumble or falter along the way, learning to control your OCD or even use it to your advantage in the workplace is a challenge with great rewards. Your doctor, counselor, family and friends all want to help you succeed, and there are many tools at your disposal for dealing with the stresses of work and life.
As with all other challenges in life, dealing with OCD at work is all about learning to control and eliminate stress. Talk with those who know and understand your situation, and learn how to manage your stress and keep OCD from affecting your life in a negative way.
Social Stigmas and Working with OCD
In the U.S. and Canada, it is illegal for an employer to discriminate or fire an employee for having a disability or illness, including OCD. Although this is the law, there are ways that some employers may get around it if they wish to. Luckily, most employers are not out to discriminate or "dump" employees who have an illness.
Divulging your illness, however, can bring social stigmas or unwanted stress on the job, including worries that you may be the exception to the usual understanding most employers have.
With exceptions for specific jobs, usually involving security issues, patients on medications or with OCD are not required to divulge their illness to their employer. For many, not telling is the easiest route.
Others may find this to be a moral issue and see themselves as being untruthful if they don't tell. Talk it over with your counselor or physician if you need to figure this out for yourself.
Discussing it with your employer and colleagues may be another route you wish to take in order to clear the air about your OCD on the job.
Whatever your choice, be sure that you have discussed it with your caregivers and medical professionals and that you are comfortable with your decision.
You will find that most people are supportive and not as judgmental as you may believe.