Not working in the time of COVID-19

andre-tan-LZ-eqwE0NJA-unsplash

Hello. I’m sure many of us are not working right now. Many people have been put on furlough or forced to take unpaid leave or like me are getting paid to not work until the organisation can provide the infrastructure to work from home or the office reopens.

At first it was fine. Like I had plenty of things to do (still do tbh) and quite frankly wasn’t well enough to work anyway. But now Easter is over and everyone’s working and more and more people in my organisation are getting laptops to work from home.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m so grateful to be able to spend the time on my blog, on reading more and on looking after my health.

But there is a sense of guilt. Despite circumstances being completely beyond my control. And the purpose in my life is not what it was last month.

I want to go home and see my family but when lockdown ends, the office will likely reopen and by which point I will be expected to be in the office infrastructure to work from home or not as I’m still in my probationary period.

There will be too much guilt and worry to book the annual leave to go home because by which point I may not have worked for nearly two months.

On what planet do I deserve annual leave?

I also don’t really need it, asides from the fact that home is the other end of the country. So for me to spend a reasonable amount of time at home and ideally limit the damage to my ME I could do with a good few days of annual leave when work requires being in the office.

I don’t know why I feel guilty because this is all out of my control and it is currently illegal to travel home. I can’t. Or I can but I’d be risking a fine and it’s morally wrong.

It’s not like I’ve wasted this time and I could have otherwise used this time to go home or do any of the things that may require annual leave in the future. So it’s all irrational and stupid.

But I think in todays society it is all very natural to have this guilt over not working. Because society would have us believe that our worth is our productivity and that that productivity is somewhat meaningless if it’s not related to a job. That’s not true.

Not in the slightest. We are all have worth regardless of our employment status.

Is anyone else having feelings of guilt?

The stresses of working full time with a chronic illness

design-desk-display-eyewear-313690

I should not be sitting in the library on my birthday near tears over numerous things that have caused this. And one of those is working whilst chronically ill related, and others are just indirectly linked somewhat because growing up with chronic illnesses has made me feel inadequate. It’s made me feel like I’m less than. I’m caught between constantly having to prove these illnesses and feeling this overwhelming need to push myself harder than most in order to prove that I’m a worthwhile human being.

It sucks.

I’m literally two seconds away from not going home for Christmas because it’s too expensive, I’m not being paid my full wage this month and I’ve only just found out and because I know I need time out for medical appointments, and I already have one holiday day this month I can’t ask for the 27th off – which would make it a lot cheaper and less likely to put me in a flare.

And that’s just the half of the near tears. I also have a GP appointment during work hours next week which I need to tell my deputy line manager about. And normally I’d arrange out of work for GP because that’s self motivated and self started but this is about getting my medication which I absolutely need by Tuesday. I’ve already reduced my dose in order to do that and I can’t reduce it any further. I moved up north to do this job, so I’m with a new GP. The GP is being pedantic and won’t issue my repeats until they’ve seen me. So I try to negotiate outside of working hours but without me running out of meds beyond what is manageable and I can’t. This means that I have an appointment next Tuesday afternoon and have to leave work at 3:45 (if I get an uber) – which although I really can’t afford I’m gonna have to.

So I can’t be nice and fluffy about it. Just asking – or saying more like gives me so much anxiety. Especially when I’ve been on reduced hours these past couple of weeks and what if someone asks why it couldn’t have been done then. I mean I have the answers. I honestly didn’t realise the GP would have to see me until today. They’re repeats after all and next Tuesday is literally the earliest day that could see me. It’s not my fault, but I feel like it is.

I feel like it creates a bad impression of myself and that comparably I’m making excuses not to be in work.

Which I am absolutely not. I will happily make up the hours by coming in an hour early or whatever configuration they would like. But because organisation policy says to make appointments outside of work time I feel like it’ll be looked down upon and that it may even impact me passing probation.

The entire situation is ridiculous. And I know it’s not just me who feels like this. There’s so many others who feel that because they’re chronically ill they have to try 10X harder to be liked and respected. I think that’s the problem with how society views disability as a whole and how it’s represented in mainstream media.

You’re either an inspiration because despite your disability you’ve done groundbreakingly amazing things or your just lazy and not trying enough. I don’t want to be lumped in the not trying enough pot so I try too hard. And it’s so hard to stop that. But sometimes enough is enough. At the point I NEED my medication.  Being in so much pain your in tears is  nasty – which is why I need the gabapentin, that and because it is potentially addictive dependency is a thing. I know if I forget to take it for too long I get nauseous and then it gets to the point where I literally can’t get off the bathroom floor.

I would like to highlight that dependency and addiction are two different things. I class addiction as more of a mental and psychological dependency – generally because of positive side effects the drug has that are unrelated to what it is for. Dependency however is more of a physiological reaction from your body getting used to being something for so long. Dependency is why with some drugs you have to taper down – in order to avoid debilitating withdrawal. This isn’t necessarily because your addicted. It’s literally standard protocol for some prescription medications. 

The reason I can work is because of the meds I’m on thus I need to get the meds on time. I have bills to pay. I have adult responsibilities.

I want to write this post to send a message that A) Doctors please please be more flexible. I don’t know what the solution is here. I don’t know how the NHS can resolve the issues with getting a medical appointment at a convenient times without GPs lives being even more about work than it already is. Maybe it’s making telephone consultations for a prescription review standard common practice. Hey maybe even facetime.

B) Employers please realise that us chronically ill people are some of the most anxious, stressed out and concerned about our reputation people you will ever manage. Being chronically ill in itself is a full time job. We are also some of the most hardworking and dedicated people. Even if you also managed x who had the same condition and you think they were better, missed less work, went to more social events it doesn’t mean we are trying less than x. It just means these conditions are highly variable and we all have different levels of responsibility outside of work.

C) If you are chronically ill and working full time, even if your conditions are under more control than mine are and you for all purposes feel well most of the time you are amazing. Stay strong and all of that cheesy stuff! Please don’t ever feel bad for putting your health first. I know we’re all quite bad at that anyway. I push myself to work when most people absolutely wouldn’t do. I even do this thing of overcompensating and acting extra bubbly at work on a worse day. And find that’s my choice, that’s what I need to do. But I shouldn’t feel bad for prioritising appointments over an hour of work if I can’t negotiate them out of work within a reasonable time scale. (That time scale is different for each appointment too!) Remember the Equality Act 2010 and the reasonable adjustments. Now doesn’t mean you’ll get everything. I can’t get flexible working until I’ve passed probation and that would really help remove this medical appointment stress but such is life. But it does mean that your employer should allow you to take that time for medical appointments, ideally without making it up. (because there are difficulties with that for people with a condition like ME.). Now I always will offer to make it up but that’s just me.

Anyway. This was a lot longer than I wanted it to be. But hoping someone else can relate and that we have all learnt something even if it’s to just not be so hard on yourself.

 

Why getting a job is sometimes more luck than judgement .

So imagine this, you are just out of university. Every graduate in the country is looking for a job. This time, that wonderful season called summer, is a time where the job market is heavily saturated. And it’s difficult. Every single job seems to ask for experience or is in a difficult to get to location. Or due to health issues, it’s one that just isn’t possible. Not only do you need to think of a job now, but you also need to plan your future, apply for training contracts, mini-pupillages etc.

Then again you just have a thirst to travel. To run away from it all but here’s the catch – it’s borderline as to whether you have the funds. Due to flights it’s borderline as to whether I’d have the 5000 aussie dollars necessary for a working visa. (Would be planning on office temp work because health if I did it)

I actually have an interview to teach in china with EF on Monday to lets hope. I got a not really legit teach in china job a few months ago and turned it down due to that. The differences in how EF do things is already evident in the recruitment process.

But anyway. I Fear I have gone on a tangent.

This blog post is targeted at explaining that often times whether you get the job or not is just luck. To go along with that I truly believe that everything happens for a reason. And this is not to underestimate the hard work that is also involved in securing a job. For law, all the research into firms and in any case CV’s should be tailored for each position. Yes it is a lot of work, but it is also a lot of luck and that is the stance I am going to take in this post.

Many of factors go into how good the application was and whether you progress, such as;

  • How tired you were when you applied
  • How distracted you were
  • How tired/distracted the recruiter was
  • They may have filled all the positions and just not taken the job down
  • Where you live
  • You don’t have a driving licence
  • The recruiter just doesn’t relate to you
  • Hours your available to work
  • Potential commitment time
  • How good everyone else who applied was
  • Your CV is not ATS compatible

and many many other reasons why you may be rejected for a job without getting to interview but may get an interview for a more skilled job.

Getting a job can be a difficult journey for some of us. I still have these two provisional offers under my belt with no signs of progress and one is meant to start next week.

Shit happens with references too. Which is one of my issues right now because all of my previous employees have left their jobs. And due to health issues I wasn’t great at those jobs anyway…

Remember not to be disheartened about rejection.

Rejection is redirection and it could happen for a number of reasons.

Just take action and persist and eventually life will work out.