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The Big Unknown

It’s been quite a while since I wrote anything here – where SHALL I begin?

2016 was a year which personally started off positively, got bogged down in the middle and ended with me losing my job.

Actually, that’s not strictly true. I didn’t lose my job – I didn’t quit and I didn’t get fired. How did Gwynnie and Chris put it? Oh yes, that’s it. My employer and I have consciously uncoupled. Well, however you cut it, I am – as an actor might say – between jobs. For the first time in over twenty years.

And it genuinely feels okay.

I spent all of last year having my work scrutinized, despite the fact that I’d been in a management position for 9 years. The work I was doing hadn’t changed much in all those years but the culture – both at my organization and nationally (globally?) – had altered massively. And suddenly it just wasn’t good enough.

Trying hard to make it work at work

Despite my paranoid thoughts, I genuinely don’t think this was anything to do with my disability – although they did get an occupational therapist in to make sure that wasn’t the case. But ironically the whole process had the effect of making me pretty ill. Being a conscientious kind of guy, I knuckled down and tried my best to make things right. So I spent nine months working really long hours, weekends, holidays (and I’ve never done that before). Home life suffered and I was a pretty crappy husband and father as I tried to keep it all together with my role as The Great Provider. The fact that I didn’t have a relapse, and my family is healthy and safe, were the only positives from last year.

After having another draft of a strategy document rejected (in a format which had been perfectly acceptable in previous years), it got to the point when, with the support of my family, I just had to say enough. Now I’m dealing with the reality of applying for jobs with a chronic illness. People shouldn’t discriminate against me because of it. Indeed, there are laws against it. But y’know what? People can and some of them will.

And that’s cool, because I don’t want to work for those people.

Which is all well and good until the money starts to run out! Wish us luck.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • kamf52
    3 years ago

    I can totally identify with you. i was an office manager/adm. for a group of surgeons for 32 years and Wow did the culture change! i was having trouble doing things there that i had done forever! i couldn’t get organized or make a decision. my emotions were everywhere. I took great pride in my work & knew i had to leave before i wrecked all those years. i was 62 so i took early retirement. of course 6 months later i was diagnosed with MS. Anyway i didn’t want to not do anything so i went for a 3 day part time job that had little stress i thought. as it was in the medical field, front desk, i figured easy, right? Wrong. i couldn’t learn! nothing stuck with me, simple things! I panicked which just brought my symptoms out. I went to my boss & explained i had MS & thought i should leave. She talked me out of it. She & the rest of the staff have been so patient & understanding , have helped me so much. I know i make a lot of small mistakes. (my brain ain’t like it used to be) and i feel very lucky to have found this job. There are still good people, good employers out there. I am definitely different than what i was but i still have value, just in a less managerial job but that’s ok. I don’t feel like i’ve devalued by taking a lower level job either. Keep your options open, maybe a different type of job would work. i wish you much good luck.

  • Steve Woodward author
    3 years ago

    Thanks – here’s hoping I can find an employer like yours

  • Julie
    3 years ago

    I wish you all the best in your new job search. Such stressful times really can bring out a relapse and even give you new symptoms that you never had before.

    I was diagnosed in 2001. For almost 20 years before that, I worked at Coca-Cola in the accounting department. In May of that year they gathered my whole department together and told us they were outsourcing our department. Been nice having you as an employee, buh-bye. Well, actually they gave us until the end of the year. They wanted us to get everything straightened up and cleaned up for the new people. Nice!

    In July of that year, I woke up one morning and couldn’t feel or move my left side. I had no idea what was wrong with me. My primary care Dr sent me for tests all over the spectrum of everything medical. When I saw the ophthalmologist he looked into my eyes and asked me if anyone had mentioned MS to me. I had never heard of it before. By August and several tests later I had my diagnosis.

    It’s easy for me to blame Coke (and I do at times) LOL but the truth is, it was sitting there just waiting for the right opportunity to rear it’s ugly head. I never went back to work. Now I understood all the silly mistakes I had been making, things I knew but didn’t follow thru on.

    So, please be careful with your decisions right now. Hold close to you those that you consider your support group. Always have a second, or fall back plan. That’s it, my words of wisdom lol. Take care and be of good health.

  • Steve Woodward author
    3 years ago

    Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment, Julie

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