Oh, yes, THAT

I’m not entirely sure what happened to this week. There it was, all shiny and full of days and things, and then evening after evening I’d get home and go ‘phwumph’ in an armchair and then it’d be bedtime. The weekend, we Did Housework Big-Stylee, because we had to move furniture about so engineers could fiddle with our broadband connection. Of course, we’d hidden the plug/port/thing behind an entire flipping cupboard, so we had to treat the entire living-room like a game of Magic Square oh my God it was tiring. And having moved everything, we had to hoover under where it had been and I think H is mildly traumatised by the sheer amount of grey fludge (fluff/sludge, obviously) we shook out of the hoover’s dust container. I know I am.

So, a week ago, now, I booked myself Out-of-Office for a couple of hours and slunk off into the rain. The Occupational Health consultancy (yes, that! Take 2!) was the other side of town, you see, in an office block with a security guard on the ground floor and a secretary on the 2nd floor and gossip mags fanned out on the coffee table. Which was unexpected. But the room they showed me into was very like a large GP’s office (that is, the large office of a GP, not the office of a large GP). And the Occupational Health Officer was a nice motherly sort of lady who peered at one over the tops of her glasses a lot and said ‘mmm’ in a comforting sort of way.

We discussed how long I’d worked at Current Place of Work, how often I’d been promoted, did I get on with my colleagues? Did I enjoy my job? And then we moved on to my symptoms, and I put on my slightly Duchessy talking-to-medicos voice (it’s a nervous habit), and she practically undid me in seconds by being sympathetic and understanding and gentle. Goddamnit, she was even more gentle and sympathetic when the bit about the miscarriages came up. Well, we talked about why I wasn’t having a hysterectomy, say, or taking lupron, you see. She commented that I was facing some hard choices, and I felt overwhelmed with gratitude for Being Understood.


In her opinion, my job is protected by the Disability Discrimination Act, in that, they can’t just fire me, I’m Officially Right Poorly. But they can and may well decide to either cut my hours, so, basically, I don’t get paid for ‘off’ days, or get me to make up the hours with flexi-time. Which is fair enough. I’m almost prepared to beg for the former, as I’m bloody knackered a lot of the time, and we could afford it if I brought in a bit less.

However, we have to wait for her report (she dictated it infront of me, and promised to send me a copy) to filter through The Mills of God, also known as HR, to see What Will Be Done.

And then I slunk back to work in the rain, and tried to look insouciant.


25 responses to “Oh, yes, THAT

  • Hairy Farmer Family

    I’m very glad no-one got kicked in the stones. That would have been distressing.

    A four day week? A day free to be… May? That sounds… nice, aktually.

    • May

      A four day week in principle only. Four weeks in a row working the 5 days, and then SHARK WEEK, for which I won’t get paid, and back to work for four weeks in a row doing 5 days. I wouldn’t call SHARK WEEK being free to be May, fuck and alas.

  • Bionic Baby Mama

    Well, gosh. She sounds pretty decent after all. Though I don’t trust the secretary and her…MAGAZINES. (You have to let me continue to distrust someone, or I’ll go all mushy on you.)

    • May

      The MAGAZINES were awful. The sort of tosh I wouldn’t use for firelighters. So we shall distrust whoever put them there with FERVOUR.

      (Today I am CAPS GIRL).

  • a

    You never know where in business life you’ll find useful people… Glad to hear that your interview went well. Reduced hours may be your best bet, as it comes with reduced expectations. Makeup hours come with the same expectations, which I know you can handle, but wouldn’t it be nice to have less stress?

  • manapan

    I’m glad it went well. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for reduced hours for you.

  • Phil

    Glad it wasn’t the scary interview of doom that you were worried about.
    Useful for her to say that the problems should be covered under the DDA, brings in a good set of protections that does. Hope you can now find a way to sort things out with work (or more likely the HR people and rigid policies that people never quite fit into).

    • May

      I am hopeful, because there are a couple of other people at work who have health problems and who do flexitime and/or reduced hours to cope. Precedent-wise, HR is not insanely rigid and difficult. Just bureaucratically constipated.

  • Twangy

    Oh! Okay. Nice lady. It’s sweet when people are understanding. Why the confirmation that yes, this is a shitastic time is the undoing of us/me, I don’t quite understand. Mystery! Were we able to illude ourselves to the contrary before? I don’t know.

    Being that as it may, I am glad the reduced hours would not present a financial problem, and may even be a blessing. Although, I suppose your boss will decide? Or not? And if so, will she see your efficiency is worth the off-time? Hmm. Hoping for best, here.

    • May

      I feel I ought to enter these situations by making everyone sign and agreement to either a) not be nice to me or b) bring kleenex and hot tea.

      Boss has been very understanding about The Unavoidable Absences, and quite flattering about my hard work when present, so I am Hoping. But it depends on her boss and on HR, whether they want to spare the money or spare the time, just at present, what with HE in UK being in Parlous Financials, eheu, bastard Tories, POLITICAL RANTY RANT RANT.

  • Womb For Improvement

    If nothing else it must be a weight off your mind having had the appointment and discovered a real person who listened rather than a robot who barked about “productivity” to you.

    I reckon you should decide what you ant, and if you do want to work less hours you raise it with your boss. With the threat of the DDA wafting around she might feel worried about raising the idea in case it is seen as enroute to constructive dismissal or similar.

    • May

      Ah, yes, I must free Boss’s mind at once of any such misapprehension. The other plan, of working extra hours to bank against Shark Week, just right now seems an enormous bucket of wee-wee.

  • Jenny F. Scientist, PhD

    Well, glad it went well. Also hearing such things gives me a pang of envy for countries with REAL LABOR LAWS.

    • May

      Sorry, yes, reason Numero Uno why I will not emigrate to the States despite Wonderful People and Fascinating Culture and Many Friends And Family therein.

      • May

        Mind you, the way the BASTARD TORIES are dragging Blighty these days, soon enough it’ll make no odds as I’ll be getting royally shafted HERE. ARGH POLITICS RANTAGE MORESO.

  • Solnushka

    I think the reduced hours plan has merit (A sensible person for the interview! Hurrah!). Thing is, I think the pressure of feeling bad about taking time off gets to you, so there wouldn’t be that. And hopefully, if it is ‘booked’ not there time, less pressure to catch up (firmness might be needed there, but, you know, in principle).

    • May

      You are quite right. The pressure of taking time off makes me completely frantic. An it were not time off but simply time they weren’t paying me for, I’d have no compunction at all about not being in the office. I shall now go and practice being firm.

  • Katie

    Also.. glad she was sensible – I have a feeling my regular GP is also our Occ Health person – so I think in general they are GP types.
    One of my good friends has been suffering from General Malaise and Undiagnosed Tiredness for some time and went down to 4 days a week (she couldn’t manage a full week in a row without being wiped out). Without a diagnosis, they didn’t have any obligation to do this, but I think they were happy to keep her (as the alternative is a) lose someone good and b) take on someone random who could be rubbish). Hope it works out OK if that’s what you decide to do.

    • May

      I am hoping (big-headedly) that they decide me on short hours is a decided advantage over training someone else. I like to think I am GOOD at my job. But doing full weeks plus extra to cover Shark Week would SLAY me. I’m knackered all the time as is. *gloom despair sulk*.

  • Betty M

    I am glad your occ health person was human and sensible. I expect your work would jump at the chance of not paying you for shark week but only take it if that’s what you want. From what you’ve said in the past you probably work over your contractual hours so you could flex a couple of days of that week and still get paid. It would mean very dull logging of exactly how long you are at work but would mean more cash at the end of the day.

    Oh and rant in a political way all you like. I nearly choked on my bran flakes this am at Jeremy Hunt’s latest pronouncement.

    • May

      Jeremy Hunt is an insult to the good name of rhyming slang. Argh.

      I don’t really want to work extra to make up for Shark Week, because as is, work is wearing me out and I’m getting home of an evening and falling into an armchair and lying there, huddled and whimpering, too tired to get back out of it and cook dinner or wash up or sort laundry or anything, and H, who is a Very Egalitarian Chap, is doing more than his fair share of housework. And I don’t feel this is fair on him. My home-life deserves at least a little input from me, and work is currently stealing it all. Not work’s fault, my health’s fault, but still…

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