Second guessing job/ cold feet ahead of Occupational Health assessment

akushla Community member Posts: 2 Listener
edited November 2018 in Work
Hi there,

I'm new to this forum, just looking for some support as I'm feeling so anxious.

Brief about me: I have chronic migraine and cervical radiculopathy plus bipolar disorder type 2, plus other intermittent/ milder health issues. I have always been hard-working/ high-achieving but my health has caused lots of short-term absences and 1-2 longer term ones throughout my career.

Long story short, after a traumatic health event a few months ago (multiple consecutive miscarriages), I was so severely depressed that I quit my then-job of 6/7 years. Couple of weeks later I was so lucky to be offered a truly brilliant job opportunity, being paid almost twice my previous salary. Our family are stuffed into a tiny one bed flat, so this is much needed/ long-awaited as I was v overqualified for my last role.

However, after I was offered the job (conditional) over the phone, I disclosed my health and childcare needs and asked for a compressed full time week to give me a day off for my child and for appointments. The line manager had been phoning (and texting!) me weekly at first but stopped communicating during the process of the pre-employment checks. I have been told they are waiting for my occupational health screening (26/11). However, here's my main question/issue:
 - I need the salary/ career progression of this role, but my family and some close friends wonder if I'm taking on too much (I have always piled on way to many things so for them to say that, this must seem really foolish)
- I am spending most days since I quit my other job in a state of acute anxiety/ restlessness and insomnia, and now that I can see that, I wonder if I should be putting my health first (but first over my family's well-being/ accommodation needs? No I can't!)
- I am uncomfortable with how silent the new employer has gone. I wonder if one of my references flagged my sickness record, and they are having doubts but are trying to tread carefully because of the legal sensitivity around disability

What should I do? I don't want to burn any bridges in my small industry - also, I have done well to get offered this post and don't want to kick myself if I turn it down now in favour of part-time work that doesn't improve my family's living situation.... 



  • Pippa_Alumni
    Pippa_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 5,778 Championing
    Hi @akushla, and a warm welcome to the community! Great to have you here.

    Thanks for sharing this with us, and congratulations on your new role! I really hope things work out and you'll have the support you need. Hopefully one of our employment advisors will be in touch soon with some guidance, but please do keep us updated in the meantime.
  • Geoark
    Geoark Community member Posts: 1,464 Championing
    Hello @akushla and welcome to the community.

    With regards to the new employer if there was an issue with one of your references I would expect them to have spoken to you. I suspect that all they are waiting on now is the ocupational health screening. 

    As you want the job I would suggest hanging in there and see what happens. With the right support you will find things a lot easier and less stressfull.

    While I fullly understand where you are coming from regarding your health needs and the needs of your family the two are not mutually exclusive. If your health deteriates so does your family situation. So yes you do need the job, but you also need to be mindful of your physical and mental needs, you ignore them at your own peril.

    Occupational health in my experience are more interested in helping to keep  you in work, rather than providing reasons why the employer should avoid you or terminate your employment. Not easy, but as your assessment is on Monday why not look at it as having an opportunity to spend more time with your family and enjoy your time with them this weekend and try not to stress too much over things you have little control over.
  • akushla
    akushla Community member Posts: 2 Listener
    Thanks Pippa and Geoark, I really appreciate the support and advice!

    I agree that I’m over-stressing about an aspect I can’t change and it would be better to enjoy my family time while I have these few extra days.

    So fearing their reaction/ their reluctance to hire me know that they know more about me is one big thing. The other aspect related to my cold feet is, if I decide this is too much to take on after speaking to occ health, how do I bow out professionally? And even legally after they’ve spent money on occ health?

     I’ve completed pre employment checks and paperwork but didn’t sign the first draft of the contract as it didn’t explicitly come with compressed week/ flexible working terms, which they said they’d reissue a month ago but then this process took over.

     I don’t think I clearly said in my previous post, sorry, but I do have some part-time applications in the running with possibly 2 interviews in December. So I’m unsure how actively I can/should pursue those if I am more or less bound to the full-time role now. I’m a people pleaser and hate to let people down, but sense I am about to!!
  • Geoark
    Geoark Community member Posts: 1,464 Championing
    Hi @akushla

    I think I may not have expressed myself well previously, but didn't want the post too long.

    Despite being taken on by my current employer on a trainee program to help disabled people who wanted to work in housing I have never had an assessment. For most of the last five years I have had a poor sickness record but at least understanding managers. It was however my current manager who sat down with me to discuss how they could better support me, and requested that my needs be assessed. The person who does the initial assessment however left and it didn't go any further.

    She did put in some accomodation, compact hours so I only work four days, with Mondays off, later start which removed the stress of travelling to and from work, I do finish a couple of hours after most of the others in the team, but find this to be some of my most productive time. The option of working from home when travelling is messed up. She also had this put into my contract so it could not be removed without consulting me first. She also turned a blind eye when I bought my own desk stand so I could work parts of the day standing up, which has helped with my sciatica and also on concentration.

    I have had a one to one this week with HR as they are moving the office location and this was part of the consultation. So once we move she will arrange a formal assessment so my needs can be properly assessed and any necessary equipment needed will be purchased for me. She said to mention the desk stand and ergonomic keyboard and mouse and how they have helped me so that these can be considered as well as if I need a special chair and any other equipment.

    It is the accumulation of these minor changes I have made for myself, along with the changes made by my manager, which have had huge benefits to my physical and mental health and allowed me to concentrate on my work and greatly reduce my stress levels. Recently I was speaking to our IT department and moaning that the printers had not been set up to make it easy to print off and break down larger pdf files into smaller files. I mentioned that I use the free version of PDFSam at home which makes this a lot easier. A couple of weeks later this put on my work laptop. I love this program, and last week upgraded to the professional version at home. But it is a small piece of software that saves me hours of work standing in front of the printer.

    I fully appreciate how you are feeling, I was unemployed for around 10 years because of my back, was so convinced I had not got the job when they called to tell me I had been successful I started to thank them for interviewing and giving me the opportunity and had to stop and ask her to repeat what she said. It then took three months to get me started because of issues with the checks - no bank account, no driving license or passport etc.

    You have to do what is best for you and your family, for what its worth my advice is hold on and see what happens, if it doesn't work out you have the part time jobs to fall back on. But having an employer who understands and wants to be inclusive  can have a huge affect as to how sustainable the employment will be.

    The point I was trying to make is don't sacrifice your physical or mental health to achieve what you want as this will be to everyone's detriment in the long run. I often get criticised for saying this, but as parents we are expected to put our childrens needs first, sometimes that means putting the parents needs first so that they are able to take care of their childrens needs.

    What ever you decide I wish you good luck for the future.