I’ve worked for the same company for nearly nine years. I declared having MS on the medical questionnaire. For a small company (as they were when I started) they have always been supportive about my illness and taking time off for relapses. Our contract only allows for very small amount of sick pay in a rolling year so the vast majority of the time, I only receive SSP. I went part time in April 2012 after a relapse at the beginning of the year. I am still there five days a week and only work seven and a half hours a week less than full timers.
In July 2012, I was effectively promoted (without a title) to create a team consisting of just me. The area I cover was desperately needed. I got lots of positive recognition and I really love what I do. I had a bad eight week relapse at the end of 2012.
In April 2013, I got a payrise for the work I’d put into creating this team and told they had approved me getting an assistant as the area had grown so much. I had to interview the candidates (never done an interview in my life) and I was told she would report to me and a change in my title would be forthcoming to reflect this (which never happened)
She started just as I went onto Gilenya and it’s been a very rocky road for me with three relapses in nine months including one just before Christmas then back at work two weeks then another. I am currently awaiting a referral to be considered for Tysabri.
To be honest, she has been an absolute Godsend. She has picked everything up really quickly, is far better at the technical kind of stuff we do and has really been pushed in at the deep end as with me being off so much, she’s had to cover for me during the times I’ve been off and learn pretty quickly. We work well together as the parts of the role she enjoys, I don’t and vice versa so we decided between us to split our workload along those lines. I’ve always stressed that we’re a team but she has always said she feels like I’m in charge.
I went back to work yesterday and I definitely feel there is an atmosphere. She has really not been at all chatty with me like we usually are. During my most recent absence, she has been very involved in some new regulation that will effect us which has included visiting our head office to meet the team we deal with (which I have been pushing for since I began doing this role) and seems very “in” with both our direct manager (DM) and our operations manager (OM) For example, she was told by our DM that we’re moving desks tomorrow which she then relayed to me (DM didn’t tell me) and our OM asked me to do something this morning to do with this new regulation (a reallly crappy proof reading task) and when I got back to my desk, she didn’t say anything to me until I later mentioned what I was doing and she said “oh yeah, he told me he was going to ask you to do that”. Our DM interviewed for new staff for our team last week (I didn’t know we were getting any new staff) and “my assistant” sat in on those and was told yesterday by our DM who they had made offers to - which she (assistant) then relayed to me this morning. The biggest thing is that this new regulation is being rolled out this week and next and when I asked to sit in on these briefings, as I’ve missed all the discussions regarding this, I was told no because they “don’t want to bombard me”. I made it clear to our HR manager (back to work interview) and my DM (brief update on changes mainly for her role) yesterday that work is not an issue, the problem is I’m on a drug that’s not working for me. Even something stupid like the fact that we share a single phone (mine was taken away last time I was off sick) and it now has her name first on the display is really getting to me.
I know it all sounds really petty but I’m actually pretty upset about it all. I feel like I’ve effectively been demoted without anyone actually telling me and now also being completely frozen out.
The other thing is that myself and my OH have already decided during this latest relapse that I’m going to leave work later this year once our AST is up on the flat we live in even if I get on Tysabri. I just want to enjoy any quality time I have left to be honest. We are going to be moving to a property owned by his father (so living rent free) which will also massively reduce my OH’s travel costs. It is the only way we can balance out losing my money until some debt we have finish next year. My employers have no idea about this.
Part of me thinks I should just suck it up - I’ve only got eight months left and then I’ll be gone and I’ll be laughing when my assistant gets pregnant (which I think she will this year) and then they’ll be screwed… but the other part of me wants to say something and I do feel like because I’ve not been around that much, they are effectively using my MS against me even though they chose to promote me after I’d just gone part time!
Thoughts please (be gentle with me!)