Thanks for your reply, Pip.
I’m sorry your in a similar position - as are so many right now.
But it IS harder with MS, isn’t it?
I still don’t know if I even want another job. The whole idea of starting again at my age, and with MS, is so exhausting and anxiety provoking.
If I decided this was Fate’s way of telling me to stop (I’d never really envisaged working much past 50 anyway, especially since I got ill), nothing bad would happen immediately. I could get by for quite a few years, probably, provided I lived modestly.
But what really worries me is not the immediate future, but long-term. When I’m my mum’s age, but in a lot worse health, and with absolutely nothing, because I spent it all in my 40s and 50s.
If I’m hesitant about looking for new jobs now, it’s not going to get any better when I’m 50, or even 60, is it?
And of course, we’re all going to be expected to carry on until 68 now…
Yes, I am the person who’s worked from home for years and years. I really don’t think I could go back to the daily rush-hour commute again. I was struggling when I did it ten years ago, but that was before I knew I was ill.
I did think, initially, that being registered with HR as “disabled” might give me some measure of protection.
But unfortunately, the company is still allowed to get rid of disabled people, as long as they can show selection wasn’t on that basis.
They’ve already said the selection criteria will be: (i) Knowledge and skills, (ii) Performance and (iii) Adaptability and flexibility, in that order of precedence.
I feel all three have inevitably been impacted to some extent by the fact I’ve not been well. I haven’t been aggressively pursuing chances to update knowledge and skills, I have only “fair” performance ratings (nothing awful, but nothing outstanding either), and I’ll definitely score low on adaptability and flexibility, because I don’t drive, can’t/won’t relocate (Imagine the stress!) and can’t really manage a daily commute.
With more than half the team facing the axe, there’s no guarantee I would have kept my job anyway, irrespective of MS. I was steady and conscientious, but was never gonna win Employee of the Year!
But having MS doesn’t do anything to protect me either.
I know I should be looking in earnest for new jobs now, as you don’t need second sight to see what’s going to happen.
But when I look at what’s on offer locally, I feel even more apathetic and despondent.
Pages and pages of low-paid, physically demanding jobs (porters, cleaners, kitchen staff, warehouse staff), which I couldn’t do anyway, even if it weren’t for the poor money.
Loads of “commission only”, that promise “on-target-earnings” >£30K (perhaps a lucky few can make that much, but I don’t want to depend on commission there’s no guarantee I’ll get), loads of “charity fundraisers” - which you think sounds good and worthwhile, until you realise it’s those horrible people who accost passers-by in the street, and persuade them to sign up for direct-debit (Yeah, there’s going to be a high take-up rate for that, in this climate - NOT).
Call centre work - that’s all cold-calling, selling stuff, as well. I don’t appreciate it when I’m on the receiving end, so no way would I sign up for that.
I feel as if my 23 years in the workplace have equipped me for absolutely nothing.
My last formal qualifications were over 10 years ago. They’re good, but I’ve never used them, and recently threw all the books away, thinking I’d never need them again… They were probably out-of-date anyway.
I’ve no retail experience - not even working as a Saturday girl, and I can’t type (except the two-fingered variety, sufficient to post on forums), or operate a telephone switchboard…
I’m just not seeing anything.
Higher education has got very much more expensive now, if I decided I was going to bite-the-bullet, and retrain as something else. I’ve already got one degree but not used it. I don’t want to start collecting the damn things!
I know I must be very careful what I wish for (with all the stress, it might come true anyway), but I’m almost hoping for a relapse, as company rules don’t allow you to be made redundant whilst actually on-the-sick. Having MS by itself wouldn’t save me, but being signed-off with it would.
A less honest person might go to the doctor, and say: “Aah, aah, I’m feeling terrible! I think it must be a relapse!” - and get signed off for six weeks. After all, you can’t prove OR disprove neuropathic pain, can you?
But somehow, I just can’t bring myself to be that cynical, even though it might mean the difference between keeping a job, and not having one…