Not working in the time of COVID-19

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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?

What even was this week?

Seeing as I don’t really have the cognitive energy for a proper post I thought this week would be a week in the life.

Monday I had an ultrasound before work. Oh don’t we love those bright and early trips to the middle of nowhere to get an ultrasound. Fortunately this medical centre wasn’t as in the middle of nowhere as my previous ones but it was out of the city. I think it was clear which is irritating because it means I’m going to have to push to ensure that referral is made which I really don’t have the energy for but such is life. I found it was painful though despite the fact that the ultrasound wand wasn’t pressing too hard on my abdomen. Asides from chaotic, work was actually okay on Monday. Horray for one day in which I don’t go home and have a mental breakdown. (Okay an exaggeration but Friday hit hard).

Tuesday work got all the more chaotic and I had a climb after work. Honestly I was going to train hard but I ended up chatting and projecting a few things as my bod was struggling. I did get a burly swirly that I was proud of and some roof work so was still sore mind you!

Wednesday we worked again and still chaotic from Tuesdays happenings but it calmed down a little. I had the most efficient service in boots ever when grabbing my prescription and then climbed at the women’s group. There were loads of us this week which is incredible to see! I took it quite easy cause injuries and shit but tried to get back on the roof and que soreness.

Thursday I wasn’t doing good with my ME but got through work regardless. No rest for the wicked hey? A few things made Thursday a really bad mental struggle. I don’t want to provide details on here cause privacy of myself and others. I also don’t want to give the wrong impression about my feelings towards anyone because it’s not at all one person and part of it was I didn’t have enough energy to feel happy. I was essentially a shell of a human who went home, made dinner, had a bath and then slept.

Friday I came into work feeling more rested and more positive as a result. Even with some pretty hellish cases and some phone calls to make! I’m definitely becoming more confident talking to applicants on the phone though and it’s nice to see some progression there. It hit rock bottom after a talk with my manager. (Yes I’m kind of implicating here but I honestly don’t know who or what or idk. Maybe I’m just an awful person.) But I came home cried. Drank tea. Tried to make myself less empty shell so hard to see her way through the next 10 and a half months in this job if she even passes probation like and a little more (faux) positive for an evening at the wall.

The evening and night really made my day. I didn’t really climb well or much because endometriosis hurt like hell but got a couple of projects and then went out out and um didn’t sleep cause chronic illness hates me and alcohol and a normal 22 year old. I felt pretty horrendous (not hangover or drunk horrendous) until 2pm and then madly headed to a climbing competition. Didn’t do particularly well – there were problems there that I know I have in me but just could not do on the day! Either because my joints were playing around or due to general strength issues even once knowing the beta! But had a good time regardless and enjoyed socialising and not having to put pressure on myself.

And that concludes the post.

Hopefully next week will be more positive and less painful. Despite many little wins and moments of joy, can’t say it was a great week!

Working full time with a chronic illness

 

Work Work Work Work Work….

Working full time with a chronic illness is rough and if you cant then that’s okay.  I also think whether your employer is supportive enough to make the necessary reasonable adjustments or indeed if those adjustments are reasonable. (I’m just about to read about that actually as despite being out of law school I’m still a law student at heart and law is power. Especially knowledge of employment law if you ever end up with a shitty employer.)

But anyway this blog post is going to give you some tips as to how to manage it if you’re at all in a position where you can. But firstly I’m going to say that if you’ve been in one place if employment for a while you are likely to be treated with more respect and given more leeway. Office politics. They are your best friend when in your favour and worst friend otherwise. If you see inequalities in those ways then unfortunately you’ll just have to deal with it if your coming back into the workforce.

On to the tips:

  1.  Be honest with your employer/line manager but not too honest – this is an interesting balance to strike but essentially if your not honest they’re not going to know if you need extra support and if you’re too honest they’ll start thinking your not up to the job, not trusting you, being completely and utterly irritating and just cause major anxiety.
  2. Only apply for jobs you have a reasonable chance of being able to do successfully. I.e if you can’t stand up all day don’t apply for a job that requires that.
  3. Ask for the adjustments you need and if they don’t give them to you take it up to the employment tribunal (Not straight away cause that shit costs money. Understand why not and if you can’t go to citizens advice for advice as they will know more of the nitty grittys of the Equality Act 2010.)
  4. Work in a way that works for you as much as you are able to.
  5. Appreciate that your going to have good days, bad days, average days and everything in-between. This is okay and it doesn’t mean your failing.
  6. If you can help it, don’t work for an agency – I don’t know if it’s real or imagined but I definitely feel a disparity between me an agency worker and so called “real people” (the not agency workers). Also although agency workers are gaining more legal rights they’re not 100% on par yet.
  7. Health first – by this I mean please take a day if you need to. I am useless at this myself but I help others are less so.  You need that time to rest and recuperate and you shouldn’t feel guilty for it.
  8. Meal prep, meal prep, meal prep. Otherwise you’ll be ordering a hell of a lot of take out.
  9. Believe in yourself, god, the universe etc. – I feel like people with chronic illnesses are often overly hard on themselves and overly critical. Try not to be, you can do this, you are enough. I believe in you.
  10. Final tip is to prioritise. You won’t be able to do all the things. Working full time is exhausting and so to successfully balance that with your other responsibilities, family, friends, hobbies, volunteering will be near impossible and will require successful prioritising and allowing time to rest.

I hope some of these were useful and helped if you’re in the position where you are currently working full time or looking to work full time whilst dealing with a chronic illness or two.