Hi all. Had a really bad day at work today. Managed to keep myself together all day but broke down in tears when I got home! The CEO is putting me under a lot of pressure to complete tasks without very little support from anyone. I reduced my hours from 5 days to 3 but now hes expecting me to help from home on my days off to get a project finished. I’m trying to do 5 days work in 3 days and its causing me a lot of stress, sleepless nights and worry. Wide awake now at 00.25 and up at 7am! No offer to give me any assistance has been forthcoming despite a promise of this when I reduced my hours. I cant afford to give up work yet. Was diagnosed with bone mets last July and struggle with fatigue. If I apply for another job who will want to take on someone with secondary cancer?! The HR Director and the CEO were very supportive to start with but now I feel like I’m an inconvenience and pushing me to make me leave. Im gobsmacked to be honest i don’t even get asked if I’m ok and how im doing. It’s as if they have forgotten I’m battling this disease. I did say at the start I wanted to be treated as normal and no one to take pity on me but I dont think they get it! Has anyone else experienced any sort of discrimination at work? I feel I need to get some legal advice but I cant face the stress that will cause and the expense. Maybe Macmillan might help me?
Hi Pairs. Really sorry to read this. It’s not what you need at anytime but especially when you’re dealing with a secondaries diagnosis and the effects of treatment. I am also working full time through my diagnosis and treatment. I have had a lot of problems in the past with employers - the worst one being when my employer at the time tried to sack me when I was diagnosed with my primary cancer (this was before the legal protection we have now was brought in).
My best advice is to get an advocate to deal with this on your behalf. I think we are often too emotionally involved in our own situation to deal with things no matter how hard we try and this in itself causes stress and upset when you don’t feel like we are being listened to. So, do you have a union rep or if not a trusted / respected work colleague who you can talk to about this? Often all it takes to resolve things is a quiet word in the right persons ear and there is no need for a big formal drama. It would only be if that failed that I would look to go down a more formal route as remember we have a cancer diagnosis so we are specifically protected by equality / disability legislation and your employer has a duty to make reasonable adjustments for you. If you don’t have a union it may be worth calling Macmillan. I have never had to as I have a union but I have heard from others they are very good at giving you information on your rights at work as a cancer patient.
The other thing I would say is I have heard of ladies being offered new jobs with a secondaries diagnosis. It isn’t the end and many of us live successfully with it for years. At the end of the day if you are a capable person with skills to offer then there’s no harm in applying for other jobs if you see something that interests you. Although I would be up front with any new employer after they offer you a job but before you hand in your notice to make sure that they will be happy to be flexible and accommodate your requirements - time off for appointments etc.
It really isn’t a hopeless situation and given how much time we spend at work it is so important that it doesn’t add to our stress whilst we are there. Xx