So sorry to hear of your experiences, so unfair, you have every right to feel the way you do & no apology needed - at least let off steam here. Sadly, although there are supposed to be employment protections in law, like everything else, everyone's experience whilst working through this is so different & inconsistent.
You did the best you could, in the circumstances & the saying 'no good deed goes unpunished,' in trying to keep your employers happy, comes to mind. They didn't deserve you.
It's probably going to take a little time as you've had a brutal year, but 2017 can only be better.
Thank you for thinking of me - that is so nice!
Well, no job....tried to fight, but financial circumstances did not let me take it to the Employment Tribunal, although I had a no win/no fee lawyer in tow. It seems unfair - it is unfair, but that is life, unfortunately.
So now 'siging on' for Universal Credit. However, I do have a 'fit note' stating that I can work a maximum of 20 hours per week (mornings) - fatigue and 'amended duties', due to light cognitive impairment (caused by chemo - chemo fog). Both, of course, should go eventually - I just wish someone would tell me when...
Nothing, which is physical, nothing, which involves multi tasking, nothing, which involves standing up for longer periods, nothing, which is in a slightly pressurized environment - I AM NOT 90 YEARS OLD!!!
So having to change career at my age and only being able to do specific types of work, for which I have the skill set - but no actual job experience - is more than challenging. Hope for finding a job - NIL!
Cancer certainly has changed my life....
From an energetic, self sufficient, horse riding, independant person - to a fatiged, benefits dependant, sofa hugging person, who from time to time could simply scream with utter frustration. Sometimes I feel bitter for having fought so hard to work throughout my treatment as best as I could - to then lose my job, because of lack of performance. Bitter for having to take the money offered ( 1 months wages in lieu of notice) and having to sign a non disclosure agreement, if I wanted my money straight away rather than fight for compensation via the employment tribunal. Bitter, that our system has been screwed up by people abusing the employment tribunal system in the past, so that it is now a chargeable process and peole who really need it cannot afford to use it.
It will pass - I hope - I just hate every moment of it.
Sorry for this outburst - it just has to get out! It will get better - I utterly believe that.
Constructive dismissal is unfortunately a very difficult thing to prove.
I've used 'discrimination' due to my cancer (I hate being under the umbrella of disibility but if I can use it to my advantage then so be it)
I have sent you a private message - perhaps I can share some of the knowledge I have gained through my process with you.
It sounds appalling, how you have been treated. Unfortunately employment legislation as well as Equality legislation is often quite ambiguous and is bent by the 'professionals' to suit the outcome they want.
ACAS have been less than useless. They keep re-iterating that they are not advisory and are just intermediaries (is that spelt correctly?!) CAB felt I didn't have a case strong enough to take to tribunal even though my ex boss has admitted to what they said. I walked out without serving notice as I was so stressed, over worked and exhausted. That comment, I think, just underlined what my boss (there's 3 of them, this is one in particular) must be thinking subconciously. He laughed it off and ACAS reported he'd apologised - he hasn't. I've worked there for 9 years, locumed there for 3 years previously......and that's it.
Quite convenient but the wife of the boss who made the comment has now got my job......
I'm currenlty in the early conciliatory phase with ACAS and don't feel suported at all. I feel no-one is on my side and I'm out of a job due to my boss' attitude to me and my cancer and referring to my time off having treatment as my "cancer holiday"!! They even had the gall to come after me for the remaining balance of my cycle to work bike (which I know they're legally entitled to do but just seems very petty.)
Again, it's a small private business (a veterinary practice) which are renouned for being poor people managers with no HR (I don't even have a signed contract and can't remember when my last appraisal was.)
I'm so angry at the way they've treated me and they said to ACAS that they'd been fully supportive of me.......don't know who they were supporting as it wasn't me.
I know life isn't fair (thanks Dad for always telling me that!) but this feels particularly unfair.
So sorry to read about what you have been put through.
Yes, unfortunately some things are legal - one really ought to start a campaign to get some parts of the employment laws and procedures to be changed - to protect those, who are dealing with diagnosis, such as ours and having to go through chemo, with all that it brings with it.
It would be interesting to find out, which criteria they have used to decide which person was to be made redundant, i.e. sickness record, performance record - and whether they could have offered you an alternative position, which would take account of your status. If it was a 'blanket' redundancy process that things, of course are far more challenging. But it is good to hear that, at least, they have compensated you financially to a degree. You are so right - it does dent your confidence, as if it was not dented enough by the diagnosis and treatments.
Perhaps, when I have recovered or somewhere near my old self and I can deal with more than one thing at a time and stress again - I might just do that.
Good luck to you, too - one day we shall put all of this behind us.
So sorry to read about the treatment you received from your ex-employer, it's shocking what they have done to you. Can I just say though that working for a large corporation is no better, I have been made redundant by a large well known IT company. They forced me to go through my redundancy meetings while I was having my chemo. I got the Union involved but all HR would say is "it's legal". They moved a lot of jobs out of the area to send to a cheaper location using university graduates. The only thing I can say is that my terms and conditions around redundancy were good and I received a fair redundancy payment which will keep the wolf from the door for a while. It's more the damage it does to your confidence and, like you, I feel very bitter.
Good luck in the future.
Hugs Vik x
Thank you for asking - it has been a horrendous time over the past few weeks. The rads were ok - last one on 26th October -now dealing with the 'afterburn' and the increasing fatigue. But in a week or so, things should be improving again.
Different story on the work front though. I was called to a meeting a few weeks ago. Suspecting what it may be about, I finally issued my official grievance as advised by ACAS. Yes, I should have done so before, but felt not able to as going through chemo, having had a tracker put on my mobile phone (as in external sales) and the grievance having to go to my boss (the business owner) - I feared losing my job then.
As it was, they offered me redundancy with on month salary in lieu of notice and that is all. As I had officially started the grievance I tried to get a further months salary as compensation, however they refused. So I had the choice of going through an official dismissal procedure because of not hitting set (and not adjusted) targets and pursueing the grievance or give in and have it all go away.
If I had the resources to financially survive the months it would take to bring the claim to conclusion, the money to pay a solicitor and the money to lodge the claim (£220) and have the case heard (£960) at an Employment Tribunal after early conciliation would have failed - I would have gone the whole hog. Having spoken to a no win/no fee solicitor - they would have taken on the case. I still would have had to find the fees for the tribunal and had no indication how long all of this would take. Yes, the fees may have been reduced or waived, but I could not find out about that, before starting the whole process - so there was no guarantee on that front.
However I do not have such funds, especially after having months of reduced pay packets for the week off after every chemo treatment, before returning to work.
So I had to make the bitter decision to accept their offer - and was promptly bullied into signing documentation that I would not pursue my grievance. It has been a horrible week.
So here I am - job gone. Having learnt the lesson that despite laws being in place to 'protect' you - they are not worth the paper they are written on, unless you are mentally and physically fit and have adequate funds to see you through. So much for a fair system.
Sorry for sounding bitter - but there is is.
Somehow I envy those of us working for large companies and organisations, they may experience challenges, but are is a far better place. It is those of us working for small companies, who do not have HR people, who really struggle with this sort of thing.
Anyway - no point procrastinating - I have to get a new business of the ground!
I must admit I felt more comfortable ( if that's the best word) once I'd set a plan in place for my return to work.
Because my life before all this with my 3 sons (10, 13, 15) and my mid life crisis husband was jam packed with adventurous activities even my recuperation was fairly active; despite all the advice about healing, post chemo recovery, getting used to herceptin and tamoxifen etc taking a long time, I still felt anxious that someone from work would see me out and about trying to be normal and judge me. Once I'd braved that back to work interview I sort of relaxed( if I ever can!!)
So now you have that approx date ! You can relax a bit and look after yourself.
All the above family members are off work/ school with me next week so it won't be peaceful !!!!!
Thanks everyone, you are SO right, the NMC certainly isn't there to protect US!!
Funnily enough the RCN steward was on the ward today, haven't seen her since I went off sick. She was very supportive, keen to be involved if I needed her. She and my line manager felt I should have next week off, especially as hours have ramped up to full day and I have LOADS of holiday to take. They both said it was about taking care of myself. The week after is my OH review so we'll see how it goes. To be honest I'm just so looking forward to next week now ( have my herceptin jab on Monday anyway)
I am still struggling with the usual problems that were at work before b c . Things like an emergency occurring at home time, staff shortages. I must have been kidding myself thinking I would be able to ignore them!!!
but I am getting more used to BEING THERE again, so thats a step forward I suppose!!
As a fellow professional to another - please look after yourself and your people (family and patients) equally well. Stress to the Occ Health the meddling chemo brain - it is a recognised issue. You worked hard for your qualification - dont let the workplace & uninformed people push you beyond your current capabilities. The NMC looks out for those you look after - not you.
Sincere best wishes,
Hi sue, ( hi again Janey !)
been off this thread for a week or so as due to conflicting issues in my workplace I have found it difficult to objectively report on my return to work but here goes:
until November 11 th full time junior ward sister on a medical ward, mother of 3 boys, 49 , running approximately 25- 30 miles / week so fit
mx end nov, chemo finished Easter , now half way through herceptin and 6 months into tamoxifen
so my occ health doc said as I was still pretty fit once I could do 4 hours of activity without sitting down I was probably fit to go back to work; no offer of anything ' lighter'
even though I am still running ( slower) and it is helping with fatigue I was worried about work but when my pay stopped I sort of came to a decision to try it.
started back about 6 weeks ago. Phased return to build up from 4 hour shifts x3 per week to 7.5 hours over 6 weeks. So this week is my last protected supernumerary week.
i am still suffering from chemo brain, and keep finding I have my ' patient head' on, and get disgruntled easily on behave of patients in terms of bureaucracy etc . Also get SO tired!! My husband has been great until now but doesn't like me being negative, thinks I am home and dry!!!! Some colleagues have been great, others not so.
i think a lot of us go back too early ( I think I have) but we have to live don't we.
Hope this makes sense
best wishes with your recovery
good luck with your rads today. I am due this evening for number 6 out of 15.
Your anxiousness is so very understandable - we always tend to relate to bad experiences, don't we?
Yes, it is exhausting - I am so tired all of the time and sleep does not alleviate it. I guess I am paying the price for working through my chemo the way I did and never having a break to properly recover. It is all coming home to roost, lol. But I shall cope - I have to -
thank you - fingers crossed. How much time has passed since your active treatment finished? I hope you are feeling able to return and that it will not be too challenging for you.
Thankfully Macmillan are helping me to navigate all - my employer is very small, so it is more challenging than with a mid size or larger company. No HR department, no HR knowledge, etc. - Thankfully I have a good head on me and am aware of the relevant legal requirements, etc. - but even then, it is a most difficult thing to manage. Especially when ACAS tells you to follow the grievance procedure - and the person to approach in the grievance procedure is actually your line manager and owner of the business - who happens to be the person, who wants to get every ounce of work out of you, which you can give - forces you to take time off sick on statutory sick pay, instead of being able to use up holiday entitlement first (so much cheaper for him), etc.
It will be challenging - and I hope that I get through all of this with a successful outcome.
I hope you may be able to answer my questions.
How long, on average, post your active treatment - did you return to work? Did you go back with a staged return, and if so - how long was it before you worked full time again?
I have had an mx, 6 x chemo and still on 15 x rads.
As I have some challenges with my employer, I would just like to have, albeit limited, data - as how others are managing their return to work.
As it is, I have worked through my chemo with 10 days off, 11 days working full time and now also working through rads full time. However I am due to file a claim for discrimination, as having worked the way I did (fearing for job loss, which is now just about to happen) - I am physically and mentally completely wiped out.
Being able to demonstrate (even in a very limited way and anecdotal) how others have dealt with the challenge of bc treatment, might be of help outlining that I have done everything possible to minimise the effect of my bc on my employer at a cost to my own well being.
thanks for thinking about me!!
sorry, went away last weekend (RAN A HALF MARATHON!!) then straight back into work
work has unraveled a bit actually,
on Monday got in just as the nurse in charge went off sick and I immediately stopped being supernumerary
just got to oncology in time for my herceptin clutching a sandwich
must have looked frazzled because every health professional passing ended up sitting with me giving me advice, most of which was along the lines of ' your job is just too busy/ stressful etc etc'
i think I let myself down as I didn't say enough is enough at the time, just struggled on like old times
spoke to my boss the next day, she has suggested I don't ramp the hours up as quickly as occ health planned
next week I was essentially going to be back to usual hours
one of the people that chatted to me in oncology confided that she had had bc a few years ago and reckons that some days you just have a patient head on, even if you are meant to be on the other side of the fence
so I just don't know about it all. I feel shattered at the end of the shift but perk up when I get home!
i suppose I just need to carry on for a bit longer but sometimes all the hassles just haven't been addressed and all the stress is still there and I just don't know if I want to wade through it every day
in fairness I think I am more emotional at injection times so that might have been it
sorry for waffling on
hope you are ok
well done on trying to keep in touch. may i suggest (if not doing so already) you keep a log & ensure these attempts are also backed by written confirmation / log telephone calls to management. I wish you an uneventful return - sadly mine was more bumpy, and thankfully i had documented / fed back my perspective of meetings held / decisions made. Stress of the workplace & poor management of my fatigue on my return (despite detailed Occ Health advice) lead to my resignation.
Good luck & smooth returning
Day 2 was harder!! Despite being madly busy it just dragged!! Had a quick peek at my emails at the end of my shift.... 9 months worth ( hundreds of them!!) oh no !!
Well thank you!
it went ok today.. Kept it basic and as unchallenging as possible!! Had oncology appointment this pm which in a way proved there is still a lot of stuff going on!
but it was a bit surreal at times. A couple of the docs acted like I had only had 2 days off not 9 months!!
Loads of new stuff, some of which needs training before I can do it!!
Felt drained after the four hours so I think reduced hours to start with are a must!
back in tomorrow!!
Thanks Janey, will let you know how I get on! I'll be putting in a few posts I think!!
i will try and be objective in the hope that it might help yourselves and others!! ( I make myself sound like a martyr!!)
going to take a notebook in with me in case my chemo brain goes off on one!!
I have 3 days to go before I go back to work. Same ward but staff nurse not sister and part time ( which I'm fine about). It's all probably psychological but this week I have felt SO tired, particularly after my herceptin jab. So that's 9 months off and my diagnosis feels like yesterday!
My kids seem to have been particularly useless and dependent as well just to make me worry all the more!
Work still appearing to be very supportive, just going in for four hours instead of my usual 7.5 but I feel so apprehensive and mixed up about it all. I'm sure it's a normal response! Fingers crossed!! Will report initial findings back!!
I returned to work after 7 months off for ttreatment and have just walked out (3 years post diagnosis - see another thread!)
I look back now and wished I'd taken more time and care about when to go back, take your time. Your journey has been more complicated then mine, give yourself time and emotional space to be able to cope. Don't go back too soon.