I was a serious gym-goer a couple of years back as you can see, but I stopped going, because I was wearing myself out trying to get fit so that I could get a payrise. I’d been marked down arbitrarily in a performance review & so I was going to the gym 3 or 4 times a week to try & stop being so sickly.
Anyway, so after not having a day off sick for 6 months my then employers decided to bring in a new HR policy, whereby they’d be looking closely at anyone who had been off more than average over the last 12 months. By this logic that meant half their people, and it was backdated so that whilst I hadn’t been off in 6 months, they were looking at the previous 6 too, during which I’d been very ill indeed.
They decided to send me to an Occupational Health specialist, which I agreed to since I wanted to avoid being sick. They then told me that in accepting this I was accepting a verbal warning. A verbal warning for doing right by them, without having been found doing anything wrong Messed up. Seriously.
So I get the appointment made & I forget about it because I’m supporting an app that (to quote my boss) “if it breaks down, questions will be asked in Parliament” (so no pressure then). My boss goes absolutely MENTAL at me, shouting and screaming that I’ve wasted company money & this & that & so on. I get the appointment re-made & attend this time. The specialist takes a look at me, measures my peak flow reading & tells me I have the lungs of an old-age pensioner, at least 69 years old, and that this is technically a disability.
So, I’m being held back and kept down at work because of a disability. The specialist says that without a doubt I’d need more time off than average. I’m still kind of reeling from this news – I’dnever thought of myself as disabled before. Anyway when I get back, they make me sign a contract to say I won’t be sick more than 10 days (3 days less than they’d previously given me as a guideline number).
Can we see the logic here? Can you predict or influence how sick or well you’re going to be? And I’m disabled & need more than average?
It was roughly around this point that the depression deepened to borderline suicidal state. My GP signed me off sick for six months, and when I returned, guess what, to welcome me back they put me on a performance improvement plan. Remember – there wasn’t anything wrong with my work – only the fact that I was off sick more than average, well over (by now) a year previously, if you don’t count the fact that they’d driven me stark staring bonkers with their stupid HR policy.
As it happened, there was a round of voluntary redundancies, and like most people I knew there, I went for it. We had a veiled snidey talk from the bosses saying they were sad that we weren’t good enough for them, and that was that.
So, that was a couple of years back, and now I work for one of my employer’s direct competitors. These guys took me on with full disclosure of my condition & have treated me with compassion & respect. I’m doing much the same work, and doing it okay, and now finally I’m back in the gym. My weight during my depression ballooned to 20 stones. I’m back around 18 now. Hope to get back to 16.
To those people at my old work who drove me genuinely mad, fuck you very much, you bullied me into becoming a nervous wreck & a physical wreck too. I hope some day someone returns the favour.