I ended up being signed off from work for 6 weeks in the end. I was at a complete loss…….I spent my days in hazy fog……I got through the everyday mundane chores.
I still took my son to nursery; it was costing us £650 per month back in 2000 (more than my mortgage. I would take the dog for a 2hour walk through the woods where I had time to think, time to try and make sense of it all. I felt completely and utterly exhausted I remember feeling numb, I slept alot and had no get up and go.
I was so fatigued and stressed that my periods had stopped altogether and I had driven my car accidently into the nursery brick wall and my drive wall. I was just not thinking straight, I underestimated the distance of my car to the walls!!
At first work was paying me full pay but when I told them I was being signed off from stress they said that they could not pay me full pay only statutory pay because the company could not afford it and what message would then send to the rest of the staff. I gto told that they would all be doing it!!
When my pay was drastically reduced, my hubby worried over how we were going to pay the mortgage…..at the time he did not really understand what was happening to me and all he kept on saying is how are we going to afford the mortgage and if I am at home all day why is our son at nursery? It made no odds if Ben was nursery or not we would still of had to pay the £650 fees!
I felt really low…work has treated me appallingly and not I felt really unsupported at home. I decided that I could do nothing about these two things whilst I felt like I did. I took the time I had off to get well, to have some reflection on what I had, what had gone wrong and what I needed to change to get my life back on track.
My Director thought I was putting it on and sent me to see the main Occupational Health man up in London Dr Mason. After I saw Dr. Mason he spoke to my Director and followed this up by letter. He told them in no uncertain terms that what they put me through was unjust, unfair and amounted to discrimination and bullying. After this the company treated me with more respect, however my cards had been marked.
Although the company went through the motions of accommodating me this was just front. I went back after 6 weeks and tried to pick up the pieces but I just could not function properly at100% I became overwhelmed with what they expected me to do and the staff kept on making making snide remarks about me. I have been moved out of my office into the main room with everyone else…..someone would come up to me and ask my advise or ask me to do something and then say it “but only if you can cope!” or “if it going to make you cry just say I and I will get someone else to do it”.
I spoke to the ‘new’ Financial Controller who they had employed from an agency and he told me that the company that we were working for were ruthless and he told me that he drank copious amounts of alcohol to keep him sane!!
I also found something out that me made me mad……they had only paid me statutory sick because they said the company could not afford full pay. I looked through the payroll and the Directors had all been paid £30-50k bonuses 2 weeks prior to my return!
I told Dr.Mason all of this and he told me I had two options. Take them to a tribunal but don’t expect to work ever again because companies do not like ‘trouble makers’ or find another job. He told me that he would advise the second option because the job had made me ill and that they would not change.
I really could not tolerate working at this company any more….but was in a catch 22 situation…..I did not feel strong enough to go and look for another job and how was I going to get another job anyway? how would I explain away my 6 week absence to any potential employer?
I can honestly say my self esteem had hit an all time low :O(
I knew that the only way out of my predicament was to find another job…..I got offered an interview at The Priory Hayes Grove Psychiatric hospital. Even though I did not feel strong or very hopeful I thought I would have to put myself through some interviews anyway to get another job so it might as well be sooner rather than later! I told my Director that I was looking for other employment and he told me if I went quietly that they would re-imburse my full pay and give me a glowing reference (which I still have to this day!)
I went along to the interview and I felt at home! I hit it off with the panel and I eventually got offered the role of Finance Manager to 4 staff, be responsible for the month end accounts, budgets, forecasts and payroll. I was anxious and apprehensive but deep down I knew that I would be alright :O)
There was one snag…..The Priory wanted me to see an Occupational Health guy a Dr.Mason in London!!! I was really upset I knew I would now lose this job because he would have to disclose why I was leaving my present job. I called Dr.Mason and explained the situation and he told me that he could not lie to the Priory but if they did not actually ask him the question then he did not have to answer it!! I finally had something to look forward to and had some hope for the future.
I handed my notice in at my present company and a new part of my life began :O)