Changes at work

Apologies  if this is the wrong place to post this…

As a bit of background I have suffered anxiety for 30 years.  I have lots of treatment over the years but it still manifests as self doubt and low self esteem. 

I work 4 hours a day in an office job which is quite technical.   I was promised training and support when I joined 4 years ago.  However in practice I was left very much to my own devices.   I managed to pretty much teach myself and clear a large backlog and deal with some really difficult and controversial problems that I inherited. This really exacerbated my anxiety. 

I have tried several times to get the training and supervision that I needed.  It would begin only to fall by the wayside.   I lost patience and I was told at the beginning of 2021 that they were hiring a new supervisor. 

The new supervisor started 5 months before I found my tumour.   She didn’t have the knowledge for my job but between us we were able to get rid of a few more historic problems.   She was always gushing with praise and knew of my anxiety (I am always open about it) and the fact that I’d not been supervised before she started. 

My new supervisor has been a great support and I received 6 months paid sick leave possibly due to her input.  I am coming up to 12 months sick leave (I’ve been receiving ESA) recently.   

I had a conversation with my supervisor yesterday about returning to work soon. She was so pleased. They have a contractor who had been doing most of my work but they only allowed him 15 hours a week (I do 20 a week).

My supervisor has mentioned the fact that the contractor is doing my job in 15 hours a few times now.  I pointed out that this was causing my anxiety to flare up (I felt she was making comparisons).  She said that the contractor was much more matter of fact if things didnt go to plan, whereas I would beat myself up.  I felt like I was being challenged so stood my corner.  She criticised me for justifying myself!! She pulled me up a couple of times for justifying myself and taking things personally.   She even said “we know what you are like”.

It became clear that the contractor is being reactive and not proactive like I was.   My supervisor has agreed to a slow phased return to work and indicated she is going to control and monitor what I am doing, as they’ve had no complaints to the contractors way of doing things whilst I have been off. It feels like they’re judging my work and think I have made a meal of things and that I am the problem because of my anxiety. 

I feel that they are going to insist I do things the way that the contractor did things.  I just feel when I return I am going to be challenged if I think my system was correct or if I point out why I wouldn’t want to do things his way.   I can see arguments arising with my supervisor.   I also feel like they will say I have done it wrong from the outset - even though I was left to it.  My self esteem is in my boots.

There has been no suggestion of reducing my hours, but its clear that they’ll monitor me and may insist I change how I do the job.

If it wasn’t for the fact that I’ve had cancer I’d look for another job.

Any thoughts on the above…sorry for waffling…

Snookie , sorry you haven’t had an answer so far . I found it really tough going back to work , it’s quite overwhelming, I think you don’t quite realise how much cancer has impacted on you until you take a step back into the real world again and are expected to just get on with it !!

Employers are supposed to make reasonable adjustments so that you can cope when you return - phased return , reduced hours - whatever you feel might help - you are protected in employment law as cancer is counted as a disability .Try to put your supervisors comments out of your mind , unfortunately these days they are always looking for people to do more work in less time but right now you have a lot of protection in the law . Negotiate what you need and get this in writing and tune this women out of your head if you can !!!

it does get better once you have settled back in x


I found your post interesting as I’ve had some similar issues. It’s unfair and I hope you find ways to manage it. But it was your last sentence that caught my eye, as I am thinking of changing jobs once my treatment is done … “If it wasn’t for the fact that I’ve had cancer I’d look for another job.” Can you tell me a bit more? Does having had cancer affect us negatively in the job market? Any insights welcome, as I’m trying to decide what next.