Saturday 16 November 2013

Job Envy

I just saw an ad for my dream job. Dream. Job.

And so Job Envy rears its ugly head once more.

In the 40 years I've been on this planet, I've never seen a job I'd be better at or where I could make a bigger difference.

It pays about £33.000 Probably just about enough, as the only way I could even consider working was if Dave could give up his job to be my PA.

But here's the killer line
"will be expected to work very flexibly and to participate in a system of shift working including regular overnight shifts" (In London :(( )
It's full time, and realistically, it would probably be way more hours than that.

Well, that's me out then.

The huge irony is that I'll be doing the job remotely, for free, anyway. Probably at least full time. I'll just be doing it from my beanbag, on my laptop with a vomit bowl nice and close to hand.

Is it really beyond us in the 21st century to trust that if they would only let me do it that way, I'd be the best person they would ever get?

Even more ironically, I can only work very flexibly using a system of shift working including overnight shifts!!! The elephant in the room is that I can't say when that might be. It might be 14 hours a day. Or it might be none.

For the first time I can remember, I'm even considering asking if they might make some fairly unreasonable adjustments.

Then, I remember how ill I feel. All the time. I wake up in the morning ill and in pain. I go to bed ill and in pain. I'm not moaning, that's just how it is. But every time I ever let a dream like this creep in, the sheer scale of the pain and exhaustion I'd feel all the time looms, daunting; enormous.

Every day I do it for myself, I choose. If I just can't do it, I go back to bed. If dangerous levels of relapse loom, I can step back.

The minute I promise to do it for someone else, for money, I have to change the only way I can do this and slowly, I get critically ill.

You couldn't build a better trap.


  1. Couldn't hurt to ask about adjustments perhaps...? Nothing ventured, nothing gained and all that.

    Back in the real world - have a hug from me x

  2. I agree. I recently started a job that was advertised as full-time but I asked for part-time because if my circumstances and I got the job and 3 days a week I requested.

  3. Worth asking.....I thought I'd have given up my job years ago but have since found people and employers very understanding and accommodating. Of course not all are but I'm sure there are many gooduns still left x

  4. It does depend on the employer. It shouldn't, but does. I was working for a London FE college and was ok when I began but had mobility problems after a few years and they made the adjustments that let me go on. I did some other training too which meant I could change some work.

  5. Finally reached my state pension age for a woman so no more ESA (Hooray)
    Received my P45 - reason - leaving ESA, and now a new tax code. As if?

  6. I know the feeling. I just have to keep reminding myself that I'd be fired within a fortnight for taking so much time off sick.

  7. I don't think many people realise how the "not able to" do the job you did, or the job you loved, actually hits, and I mean hits and hurts like hell!
    I tried to carry on after my accident but it was obvious it wasn't ever going to work and I was dismissed on medical grounds.
    I would go back tomorrow if I could...........
    I say that 27 years later - come to terms with it - I don't think I ever will!
    I'll be buried with a scrap of sheep's wool in my hand.
    & in case you don't understand that, it's so St Peter lets me in as he understands why I wasn't in church!

  8. Been there myself recently - perfect job came up, even with the right employer, and right up until the job spec arrived, I was determined I'd be able to do it, even with my problems, because it was just a part time, simplified, version of what I've done in the past, and a variant on what I do voluntarily anyway. But like you, I then realised (apart from the fact I need a heck of a lot of retraining) I can only do what I do now, because it's on my terms - as soon as I have to meet someone else's timetable, or methods of working, those terms fly out the window. I've got no chance of holding a job down even if I got it in the first place, because I never know from one day to the next, one hour to the next even, what if anything I'll be capable of, and even the most disability enlightened business won't accept that level of 'flexibility' (and I'm not sure I'd ask them to - not fair on them, or the colleagues who would have to take up my slack). It's so frustrating, when everyone is saying 'get a job', but no-one can understand the barriers to that happening.

  9. i know what that feels like sue I've had many job offers over the years but they have all been overseas and despite i would love to have had a go you have to take on board that your ill and that's the bottom line

    of course at the time of being asked you feel that you could do it but you know that is just wishful thinking and that you would fail albeit in a better climate plus the fact medical bills overseas are expensive

    oh well i can dream

  10. Hi Sue. I really enjoy reading your blog. I haven't commented before but this really chimed with me.

    I loved my job and when I got sick with ME 20 years ago I fought like hell to get back to it. My friends used to joke I was the only person they knew to read the boring trade mag! (My way of trying to stay in touch.) I never did get back to it but it certainly wasn't for want of trying.

    Right now I manage a small amount voluntary work which I also love. I have seen job adverts (even part-time ones) come and go and it hurts every time I realise that I couldn't do them. It is not just the illness that is unpredictable but even the effect of of activity which, if I get it wrong, makes me ill later on. 'Just Me': you absolutely nail what it is like to have a fluctuating condition.

    The belief that most fuels the claimant-haters seems to be that many of us could work if we tried but we just don't want to. I never understood what made them think we wouldn't, if we were able, instantly swap a tiny income from benefits for a rewarding life out in the world. ESA is not a lifestyle choice - it is the option of last resort.

    PS Some years back, whilst having a DWP medical for Incapacity Benefit, the examiner asked what I would do if I was offered my ideal job. At the stabbing realisation I wouldn't be able to do it I burst into tears of pain and frustration. I found out later that this was taken as evidence of mental health difficulties. You gorra laff!

  11. Life is hard for many now, even those who are not disabled and life is, and always has been, unfair since humanity became 'civilised', a misnomer if ever there was one. I myself had mid level Chronic Fatigue which started a few years back now and I went from being able to cycle here there and everywhere, do exercises in the morning, keep a very trim figure and was fighting fit, to someone who couldn't walk for half an hour without having to sit down in a supermarket café, and the cycling and exercises finished I couldn't do them anymore. I then wavered many times when filling in application forms whether to tick disabled or not, because if I didn't I might feel or get worse, and if I did perhaps I wouldn't get the job. And you lie one way or the other, you might get kicked out of the job sometime in the future. So there is that dilemma. I have also in the past suffered with at times severe depression, and to be honest there are so many negative connotations about that, that who wants to admit they are flawed in some way?

    I am a Christian and praying puts this issue for me in a better light. I am more than my past and more than any illness or depression I may have. There are many things you could do. No I am not being naïve or offering false hope, but if you have spare time because of your illness, there is always something you can do even if in some voluntary capacity at the start. Perhaps you already do. But you are writing this wonderful blog; perhaps writing is your forte, something to earn a crust at?

  12. Without knowing more about the job, they do say 'work very flexibly' so that could mean flexible to you, too. And the 'overnight' work... could this possibly be something online?? As someone above has said, you've got nothing to lose by asking .... maybe you are THEIR perfect employee!!! Good luck!

  13. In a normal world with a decent government, you would be paid a good living advising politicians on the best interests of disabled and mentally challenged people in the country. Of course, the government would have to be efficient, useful and not ignorant, so at the moment that job offer probably won't be coming from 'Call me Dave' anytime soon.

  14. I started my first company because I needed to be so in control of my working environment that it went far beyond "reasonable adjustments" - and anyway, the stress of being employed and feeling I needed to deliver would have killed me off. By starting my own company, I was able to control-freak my way and dictate terms to clients. Won't work for everyone everyone, but worth considering.

  15. I think you should apply if you can muster the spoons Sue, but be very clear about the working constraints and suggest that you might be a very useful consultant for them if not appropriate for the full job? 'Cos that might mean your ideas would reach more people.

  16. Hi i have been reading though some of the posts whilst up all night between bed & loo visits ( Crohn's also but not as bad as Sue's looking at her profile. bad tonight though so can't sleep and surfing the web.) I used to be a builder but over the last 10 years, lost my job when i became more ill, lost my house when i could no longer pay the mortgage, and finally my wife & son when she could not cope with it anymore. I am now living in a small flat (which i hate) and on ESA (which i hate more) But i have been wracking my brain to trying to change my situation as at present i am living on Asda basics, have no heating and am feeling rather sorry for myself, lol.
    Unfortunately i am struggling with the randomness of my illness and the type of job i could do? Some days i feel OK, and would love to work, apart from the nagging worry of an unforeseen trouser accident (Fortunately for me still quite rare, Usually i know if i am bad so don't go out). But then there are the bad days ( sometimes weeks?) Or those nights like tonight that i can't get off the toilet & the times after a bad spell that i cannot get out of bed at all.
    Anyhow that was just for background as i know most of you are well aware what its like to be poorly . so to my point.
    I went to my first work focused interview in June this year. I felt quite positive about it before hand, expecting some assistance in, maybe re-training on a computer or some sort of home based course, maybe getting help to find a flexible part time light job.
    Ha' what a joke, my interviewer after typing the stuff i said and asking the same questions i had answered in all my forms and at my assessment. then suggested i sell stuff on e-bay for a living? ( As i said 1 room flat & cannot afford food) How do i buy stock ? and where would i store it? (I have £20 a month left after bills) I don't qualify for DLA & could not face another ATOS assessment if i did.) He then went on to say how lucky i was,My next re-assessment was not to be for four years which was the longest he had seen and He, would not need to see me again for a year? thanks very much goodbye?
    What a waste of time! To me it just proves that these reforms are not about getting people back into jobs but about forcing us into despair so we no longer feel like living our lives of lazy luxury and pop into Tesco for one of there many highly paid cushy night jobs!
    All i want is enough money to be warm, buy decent food, and pay for my son. I would love to find a decent job. I hate being ill, but even that is weighted against us.
    I asked. If i were to have a good patch and got a temporary job what would happen to my benefits as i always get sick again eventually? Answer- you have to sign off ESA, declare yourself fit for work then start a new claim when after a couple of months the inevitable flair up occurs.
    To start the whole terrible application process again having declared to ATOS i am fit for work? I would need to be totally barmy to risk that, i could end up homeless.
    Why cant i just work when i am well declare my earnings and be ill if i am ill??? then i could maybe sign for an agency or something? BUT no a few weeks to ease you into it and then sign off. So i lie here (money all gone because my son comes up on my pay weekend and i spent more than i should on some food ,sweets and pop for him.) in bed sporting 2 jumpers and 2 quilts plucking up the nerve to head back to the icy bathroom for the fourth time since i started writing what has now become this epic of a rant.
    I really wish i could put some of the haters in the comments of these blogs and some politicians too for that matter into our situations for a bit. Not for ever, I don't wish that on anyone (except for Ian Duncan Smith and maybe David Cameron. They should probably burn in hell for all eternity )
    Sorry about the length of this post but it felt good to get it out there and once i got started it was hard to stop.
    Maybe after venting i can now sleep? oh bugger, daylight!

  17. "will be expected to work very flexibly and to participate in a system of shift working including regular overnight shifts" (In London :(( )........ how/////?????