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Am I going to lose my job?

Discussion in 'Health and wellbeing' started by CottonWoolHead, Feb 1, 2011.

  1. I have suffered from depression on and off for a few years now and have been a teacher for 11 years.
    I first had a serious depression in 2007 following the birth of my son, I had six months off work, was in hospital and after that had a year and a half of psychotherapy. I had about 6 weeks off in 2008 and about 3 weeks off in 2009. In 2009 I reduced my working hours to 3 days a week.
    This year I have had 7 weeks off so far. Four of these are due to having the flu and a cough so bad that I couldn't speak and following on from this I have sunk into a deep depression.
    It is not my job that is causing it, although I feel so anxious at the moment I couldn't possibly do it. When I am well I am very good at my job and have recently passed UPS 2.
    Since my first bought of depression I have worked hard by giving up drinking alcohol, taking my medication and also exercising regularly - yet I feel that I am back where I started.
    Am sure my school will just think I am a liability and want to get rid of me. I feel very stressed about this and that I am letting down my family, am worried about paying the mortgage if I lose my job. I just feel like a waste of space.



     
  2. I have suffered from depression on and off for a few years now and have been a teacher for 11 years.
    I first had a serious depression in 2007 following the birth of my son, I had six months off work, was in hospital and after that had a year and a half of psychotherapy. I had about 6 weeks off in 2008 and about 3 weeks off in 2009. In 2009 I reduced my working hours to 3 days a week.
    This year I have had 7 weeks off so far. Four of these are due to having the flu and a cough so bad that I couldn't speak and following on from this I have sunk into a deep depression.
    It is not my job that is causing it, although I feel so anxious at the moment I couldn't possibly do it. When I am well I am very good at my job and have recently passed UPS 2.
    Since my first bought of depression I have worked hard by giving up drinking alcohol, taking my medication and also exercising regularly - yet I feel that I am back where I started.
    Am sure my school will just think I am a liability and want to get rid of me. I feel very stressed about this and that I am letting down my family, am worried about paying the mortgage if I lose my job. I just feel like a waste of space.



     
  3. Hello, so sorry about your illness, depression is so awful and I really feel for you.
    You can't help being ill, please try not to worry about your job. Have you spoken to your union? This might be a good idea just to get reassurance.

    I am not much help to you but do care and I am sending you a big cyber hug.
    xx
     
  4. Am sure my school will just think I am a liability and want to get rid of me
    Even if this were true, it would be a bit of hard luck for them because living as we do in a civilised society, you can't just dump an employee because they've been ill.
    Guilt and worthlessless come with the territory of depression. Don't beat yourself up. No-one chooses to suffer from depression
     
  5. giraffe

    giraffe New commenter

    Depression may count as a disability; your school is prevented from discriminating against you by DDA. Make sure you are in one of the unions that is active in supporting members with such issues.
     
  6. Thanks everyone for your replies. Since my Doc has signed me off for another 2 weeks I have to now go in next week to see my HT.
    This is the first stage of the absence procedure policy, of which I have a copy and it states that in the first "informal" interview it is a one-to-one meeting and you can't therefore bring a union rep. It states that you can bring one to the next stage which is "formal".
    Is this normal? Despite having had a lot of time off in the past my old HT never applied any absence procedures but I think this new HT likes to do things by the book.
    If I can't take a union rep with me should I still ring them for advice?
     

  7. You must definitely ring your union before you see your HT, I am sure you are entitled to have a union rep. with you but best to ring to get confirmation of your rights!!

    Good luck!!
     
  8. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    To be frank, heads who do not do things 'by the book' are fools. Imagine a scenario where you (or any other member of staff) had an absence record like yours and the 'book' was not followed - but then this member of staff suddenly became absent for a year with no signs of returning. If the 'book' has not been followed, the head has put him/herself in a very difficult position - because (and it has to be faced) if someone does go off with no signs of returning (and that they are ill doesn't protect them), the school has to seriously consider dismissal.
    Doing it 'by the book' also protects you, by the way.
     
  9. Just a thought- your GP has signed you off but have you questioned if your medication is either working for you at all( there are always alternatives that may suit you better) or is the right dosage?
    I realise you need advice about your work situation but managing your illness better might change your work situation. Unfortunately you sometimes have to push a GP hard to get what you need. Good luck.
     
  10. ilovesooty

    ilovesooty Lead commenter

    Since you will still be signed off as unfit for work, that doesn't sound a good idea at all.
    Contact your regional (not school) rep on Monday if you haven't already done so.

     
  11. giraffe

    giraffe New commenter

    You cannot be asked to come into school when you are off sick.
    If a meeting is set up, it could be on 'neutral' ground - and you absolutely must have a union caseworker with you - not just a rep - get in touch with Regional Office
    The school may refer you to their Occupational Health people - remember, even thought they are doctors, they work for the employer and so think carefully about what you say to them.

    Depression ought to be treated in a similar way to a bad back in terms of return to work and protection of rights etc. Your employer has a duty of care to you and must be involved in supporting you back to work when you are ready.
    What sort of school is it? If Academy or Independent, then you need to be particularly careful that they follow the law on this

     
  12. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    You can be asked - you cannot be made to go. Some people are happy to go, others not.
     
  13. Hi, I'm sorry to hear you're not well. Look after yourself.
    I have been signed off long-term with depression several times and I know that I wasn't up to a visit or meeting with HT. If you don't feel up to it, then say no and say that at the present time your doctor advised against it - I'm sure your doctor would. However I did have an informal visit from my HT and I remember the shock on her face when saw how ill I was. I was actually much better when she saw me but I'm glad she could finally realise that I was ILL! I don't think I was really believed up til that point.
    Anyway, I digress. If you feel you can't avoid a meeting make sure you take someone with you and be prepared to say when you've had enough.
    I was brought in to a meeting with HT and HR just before I was due to come back to work. It scared the living daylights out of me as they told me that if I was off long-term again they would start capability procedures against me. The union rep I took with me was as much use as a chocolate teapot and basically patted my hand and said that even if they did start it would take a long time and the onus was on the school to prove that I was incapable of fulfilling my teaching duties. I hope things go well for you, but do get in touch with the union and make sure youare supported.
     
  14. giraffe

    giraffe New commenter

    <u>should not</u> be asked, rather
     
  15. Thanks for all the messages.
    In my boroughs absence policy it is required that you attend absence meetings even when off sick and failure to do so just means that the meeting goes ahead without you, apparently! I could of requested a meeting on neutral ground or at home on medical grounds but absurdly I was too ill and stressed to think about it.
    In the meeting I was told that I must return to work this Thurs or face stage 2 of the absence policy (stage 3 being possibility of dismissal). This meeting was a major catalyst to me taking a large overdose 2 days later. I ended up in a mental health unit and then was discharged to the care of my husband and a home treatment team.
    I am not better and to be honest am not really responsible enough to be trusted with 30 teenagers right now. So it looks like I will be moving onto Stage 2 next week. Have contacted my union and am awaiting a response.
    I know that it is just a job but I have been in my school for a long, long time and enjoy teaching the kids and my fellow teachers. Plus when I am well I am v good at my job. Really feel like the world is against me at the moment.

     
  16. Am so pleased to say that I am feeling much much better. I never feels like it at the time but depression does get better - I had a change of medication and it seems to be working.
    I have now been back at school a few days and am enjoying it and happy. Also when I went for a stage 2 absence interview it turned out that stage 1 had not been carried out properly and so therefore my stage 2 became a stage 1.
    So all in all there is light at the end of the tunnel. Here's hoping that this good mood lasts for a long time.


     
  17. voodoo child

    voodoo child New commenter

    Well done! Great news!
     

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