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What they don't tell you about starting work again

Discussion in 'Health and wellbeing' started by lindenlea, Nov 4, 2012.

  1. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    Returning after 8years was one of the hardest things I did in my younger days. It drove me pretty near the edge ( anxiety attacks) but I loved the income and the feeling of being back in the world again and I stuck with it. I felt a complete fraud too and out of my depth but gradually worked my way back and went on to have a good career. Not easy though. Had some really b i t c h y colleagues who made it extra hard but - what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. After 3 years a new headteacher thought I was worth promoting and I hit my stride. You've got to give yourself more than 4 days.[​IMG] Keep posting and stay strong. I paid a cleaner for a few years and that helped - as did the lovely husband of course.
  2. NellyFUF

    NellyFUF Lead commenter

    It is called Imposter Syndrome. Lots of people have it.
    Just enjoy the pay - until you get found out[​IMG]
  3. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    Took them 23 years to blow my cover.
  4. Asking for help does not mean you are failing. It shows you are a reflective practitioner, who has considered areas in which you need to improve your practice. As someone who has been away for a while, you are bound to feel unsure of yourself; many of us feel that way without being away for the length of time you mention. Do not overburden yourself, and prioritise your workload; none of us is perfect and ticks every last box.

    Going back just before half term when students are winding down big time may not have been a true representation of what the job entails, you may see an entirely different environment when you return. How has your return been managed? Are there issues that management need to be made aware of regarding your health/fitness? If they don't know you need help, they'll assume you're ok.

    If things really aren't any better in a few days time, and the anxiety/stress you are feeling are preventing you from functioning then you may need to consider visiting your GP, and telling them exactly how you feel. Hope you feel more positive soon, and look after yourself.
  5. You have described eloquently exactly how I felt last year and I was off for 3 months.

    The environment caused my problems in the first place and it became clear to me that a) things had got even worse during my absence b) I wasn't going to get better staying there, as it continued to aggravate my problems, so I resigned. That said, I felt relieved when I did so but I didn't feel better for a LONG time (I still have moments now, even though I've since gone onto better workplaces and have a much easier life)! To my surprise and frustration, I must add, as I had no history of health issues etc until that time! :)

    I know I am going to be asked to increase my hours, but I have to tell them that until christmas, I can't work certain afternoons and this won't go down well. I have been asked to apply for a job at the college, but I dont' know if I want it or not, because of the hours and commitment. Or if I will get it, and if I do, that I won't be able to do it and will get booted out.

    Again, I thought like this too but the truth is that you are protected by the equality act. They can't just boot you out because you're not well enough to manage a full timetable (unless your teaching is consistently graded as a 4 despite support from them-I very much doubt that this is the case, btw. Even when I was very ill, I was still graded as a 2). Does the college have an occupational health service or doctor? If so, you don't have to tell the college anything, as that's not your job. OH should already have contacted you and explained to the college what you can and cannot do as a phased return. If this is not happening, I suggest that you speak to your union and HR about this and ask for advice in making your needs clear to your managers who owe you a duty of care, I might add. If you're ill again because you've been pushed in too quickly, that's the college's fault and it could be sued (theoretically)!

    The place I work is lovely, the staff who I do see are helpful and I am sure that the support I need is there if I ask for it, but asking for help means I am failing and that will result in my losing this job.

    Again, I know this thinking process well and feel the same but the one thing I've learned from my experience is that asking for help is a strength not a weakness, so ask for it, especially if as you say, you're working with people who would give it to you. Anyone who has a go about it is the one who is weak, as it shows that this person cannot support his/her staff and is ignorant about the effects of sickness on a person's ability to work.

    Finally, you have the right to do what makes you happy and another thing I realise is that you must because no-one else will do it for you. If you don't want to apply for a job there, then don't. No-one who matters will think any the less of you, especially given your current circumstances. There is nothing wrong in taking things easy for a bit while you regain your health/confidence.

    I feel a complete fraud and that I am going to let everyone down at home and at work, and there is nothing I can do it about it, other than battle on and just see how long I last.

    As another poster commented, this is a common phenomenon called imposters syndrome and is a reflection of your current state of mind. I feel like this too. When I think like this, I remind my self of all of my past achievements and experiences (not in an arrogant way, I add) and tell myself that I wouldn't doing what I am if I couldn't do it because no-one would have trusted me enough to give me the opportunities/responsibilities that I've had in the first place (if that makes sense). When this doesn't work, I focus on the here and now or what I think is most important at a particular moment in time and worry about the other stuff later as it occurs (very hard for me to do because I'm analytical but it works for me when I try it). One thing I also remind myself is that I can always do something about something. i.e. I always have a choice, it's just that some are more plesant than others. Even deciding to do nothing is a choice, albeit an unconscious one at times..

    Anyway, forgive that little homily! I didn't want to preach to you, as I don't know you or your exact circumstances. You are free to tell me to f'off and mind my own business because I know sweet FA about you and your life and what I'm saying is total garbage. That's fine! I'll be upset because I wanted to help you but I'll get over it! Hehe!

    I hope that you've found my post reassuring if not helpful, anyway! :) I also hope that things improve for you soon!
  6. giraffe

    giraffe New commenter

    You are bound to feel odd at the start of your return. It's normal.
    Give yourself time and make sure you have the right person supporting you.
    Since you have had time off, your workplace now has a statutory duty to make sure you are properly supported in your return.
    I have been through similar and it was only on third attempt at return that it went well.
    Try not to over analyse what you are feeling - don't tell school you are fine when you aren't - look after yourself and be prepared for a long, slow journey back to full health
  7. I got away with it for 30 years
  8. mmm...Milk

    mmm...Milk New commenter

    Thank you all for your lovely Comments and support, it is much appreciated .
    People have work must have noticed, because I got the offer of loads of support for areas that they had seen I needed help with, which I have accepted gratefully. It has made me feel SO much better.
    The offer of the hours came up, there is no pressure, and it's not anything too scary so I may accept them after all.
    No doubt I will still have scary days, and still have moments of panic that something isn't working quite as it should, but one person said to me "as long as they are doing something constructive and is relevant, you are doing ok".
    Maybe I will be able to get it away with it after all. [​IMG]
    Queen Ann - Thank you for your comments, you were fine and much appreciated. I mention you as you were particulary scared you had upset me. I'ts nice to see that there are some people on TES who do support others.

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