Experiences of Employment

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DomPage

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#1
Dear All,

I am currently in the process of writing an extensive article on our experiences of employment - some of the problems we face, challenges in day to day work and stigmatisation... Basically, I would like to construct the whole thing out of personal stories from us all! I have been writing the background for a few years now but really want to engage in real life experiences. Just wondered really if anyone would like to tell their story - it can either be written and sent or we could discuss them in person or even over the telephone! Well I am looking for around fifty people in total... I have written mine and I have to say it was a theraputic experience!!! It was the first time I verbalised my mental health problems and some of the stigma I had faced!

Well anyway.... Id really like your help so message me if you are interested and we can arrange meetings telephone calls or ways you could contribute! You will of course be given editorial rights etc!!!

I just hope this is an opportunity to discuss what its like both in work and looking for work!! Anyway rant over! look forward to hearing from you! If you know someone who might be interested let them know!!
 
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Dollit

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#2
Hi Dom - I'm a touch busy this week but I will write something down. I spoke at a government conference last year on destigmatising mental health problems in the workplace. The other key speaker was a guy from BT - wow they do wonderful things there. Some places are fantastic until you acknowledge them and others just don't give a damn from the outset. :tea:
 
Rorschach

Rorschach

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#3
Hey Dom, I've returned to work and it was a bit of a long old slog, and has it's problems at times; I'm really quite good at biting my lip...until I'm not :unsure:

I'd be happy to write a few words on my return to work etcetera.

As an aside I have a book on my shelf which I really should have read a bit more. Might be interesting for you to look at. Not exactly the same thing, but...

Speaking Our Minds

...looks like there's a second hand one there for £3
 
daffy

daffy

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#4
Hi Dom, where i worked seemed as if they were being very good to me. It is a very large company and when i went on long term sick (5 yrs ago)they kept my job open. Which i spose is very good of them. I was also under the companies health scheme , which i didnt know. So i get a small % of my salary till i return.

All sounds excellent in theory. I have been told i cannot do any voluntary work, cos if i am fit to do that i can return to work! I have also been told on the quiet that as my job was a very stressful one, ill be put in a dept that would be much easier, and boring i.e. mailroom or suchlike thinking that i would resign within a short while. Or one that is closing so i would be made redundant a few months down the line.

I cant win. I would love to do voluntary work and i know it would help me but i also know i could not go back into the pressurised enviroment i worked in:(
 
sandybob

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#5
dom

i havent returned to work (yet)

medically retired (for reasons other than mental illness) 10 years ago

might finally get off my butt and think about doing something else soon



:rolleyes:
 
D

DomPage

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#6
Hey all thanks for the replies and the suggested ready all very helpful! Well if you would like to have a discussion at some point over the next few months about your experiences both in and out of work guys then PM me and we will sort it out!

I have just finished writing my own 'one' - an interesting experiences!! Mostly good I have to say.... but certainly reflective! Anyway look forward to talking to you about this but on here more generally!!!

ANd if anyone else is interested give me a shout!!!
 
Brimble

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#7
mental illness and "low skills/limited capacity"

Hi Dom

If you are researching mental health & employment it would be very useful to investigate the supposed link between mental illness and low capacity, who is qualified to assess this in the workplace? The label of mental retardation is a death sentence in employment terms leading to social exclusion.

I have always done OK/well academically but the assumption that my social anxiety is an indication of mental retardation persists &, of course, adversely affects my working life. How are we ever going to integrate into the workplace with such discriminatory practices shaping our chances?

There should be some means of legal redress, or a compulsion on all employers to allow employees to sit proper standardized tests before labels are applied. I have grown weary of waving certificates around because once you are labelled by one employer no one pays any attention to the fact you actually have the exam passes asked for in the person spec's.

If our exam passes are invalid/ignored because we are mentally unwell we have no hope at all. This questionable employment practice has to be addressed if we are to have the same employment options as eveyone else.

Regards
Brimble
 
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DomPage

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#8
Hey Brimble,

A really interesting point - mirrors my experiences to some extent - I am a lecturer at Uni, but last year had to take a significant period of time off with anxiety related issues. To be honest having to stand in front of 300 people and talk doesnt really help.

However, the assumption has been since that I lack the capability to complete my PhD, and to some extent a sense of pity directed towards me.

Would be interested in your experiences if you would be up for it. PM me if so!

But either way thanks for your point of view - very useful suggestion and well received!

Dom
 
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ramboghettouk

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#9
If you get a degree and your mentally ill, the combination makes it worthless, in fact worse than worthless because then the benefit people and services hold it against you and you are trapped in the benefit system

My experiences of work, when i worked in a social services office the social workers had it i was unfit, on the other hand when i go to social services for help suddenly it's another story, i'm not a priority on mental health grounds
 
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Michael

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#10
Middle Ground

Who is it that actually has the 'power' to sort things out?

I can understand the reasoning that employers bringing somebody back to work after stress and to put them into a less stressful job to enable them (if they want) to progress again. And that payment for that job would have to in line with the others doing the same work.

I can understand the reasoning that if someone is fit for voluntry work then they are fit for (at least the equivelant) paid work (if that work is available to them).

I can understand that some people claim things they are not entitled to, this in turn makes it more difficult for the people having to administrate the system.

I can understand that the adminstrators are damned if they do and damned if they don't - they are in a no win situation.

What I can't understand is that there is no apparent transparency in resolving the issues.

Any Issues like actual mental health issues can not be resolved all at once by some magic pill, potion or one fits all procedure. They require chipping away, one issue at a time, in conjunction with the actual people concerned and the situation(s) they are surrounded by.
What may work in London may not work in the shires.
Availability of resources whether they be medical or employment can only be relevant to the area that the demander lives in, should the area have limited resources in any area surely then support must be compensated by other means, flexability is required.

We all have positive inputs we can put into society, is it not the fact that it is our narrowminded attitudes and expectations that has created this society we now live in, and that it should be considered that some form of yet more change is required?

It would be easy to ramble on, this is a topic that will never go away, and in many ways it affects many groups within current society who consider themselves an 'undergroup'
When will we actually wake up and see what is happening and revert to the caring sharing society mandated to me by my parents, my upbringing, my schooling and maybe as important my spiritual upbringing

Michael
 
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DomPage

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#11
Repeat Appeal!

Hi again!

Just a repeat request really - still looking for people to contribute to a piece of work I am writing on the employment experiences of those of us who have mental health problems, the problems we face, the reactions of others, returning to work after absence etc!

If anyone wants any details or wants to contribute I would be really keen to hear from you! Whether in work or not or currently looking for work all would be equally interesting!

Many thanks in advance to anyone who would like to contribute there experiences!

Dom
 
L

Louise 28

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#12
thats so negative and not always true!

If you get a degree and your mentally ill, the combination makes it worthless, in fact worse than worthless because then the benefit people and services hold it against you and you are trapped in the benefit system

My experiences of work, when i worked in a social services office the social workers had it i was unfit, on the other hand when i go to social services for help suddenly it's another story, i'm not a priority on mental health grounds
Thats so unhelpfully negative- it may be your oppinion and thats fine- but I just wanted people to know- that having good qualifications and mental health issues- isnt a worthless combination, it really just depends upon each individual persons circumstances.

I have a degree, and its not useless! It helps me inmany ways- and no- not just in the carreer zone- it helps in other ways too.
And I feel that with or without mental health issues- the degree is mportant in my life!

And yes it still helps with my carreer,mental health problems are still present too- so what- just another challenge- only my own expirience, but it still is valid too.
 
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DomPage

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#13
Well said Louise! I totally agree, I have found self-confidence and

reassurance through my academic study, a place I have retreated when I

couldn't cope with many other things - I think we need to be careful not to

self stigmatise ourselves!
 
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Michael

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#14
Whilst I have no degrees, in fact little formal approved training since leaving high school at 15, I totally agree with you!

Going back on topic though; my employer I have to admit it has been good, the company itself has a bad reputation in the locality with the labour force but only because the ones 'spreading the muck' are the ones who tried to cheat the company.
If it could help it would, disabilities are only considered if it effects the practicalities of work, if items can be purchased that would help specific cases then that has been done.
With particular mention to mental health, this is not quite as simple, if a physical complaint is there then it is something that could be acted upon, because MH is something that is not directly 'seen' and certainly no or very little information is availbel to employers without having dig around for it.
They could see that all was not right with me, they took me out of the stress area and took a lot of flack from me by doing it, slowly and surely they have re-introduced back to the stress, but allowed me to do it more on my terms, none of this is official company policy, it just sort of happens.
I suppose in this legalise world this is not right but it has worked for me, I do work, I have never claimed during my current 15 years of diagnoses, and there are companies out there trying to poach me.
I think maybe it is down to education to the employer (and employee) to show what can be achieved.

Michael
 
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DomPage

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#15
Michael - I think you raise is a really important and insightful point!

The issue of physicality it central - because SMI and MH is not something that is obvious - particularly the ways it affects our day to day lives, practical arrangements for helping, for example people back to work, are difficult to implement or even understand!

I think in terms of the law, what your employer seems to have done was right (if I understand this correctly)......
 
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Louise 28

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#16
agree

I agree with Michael.

The jobs I usually get on well in, are those with employers who are willing to do a bit of give and take- when Im well i give them my all, and more- when Im ill, they are as leanient as needs must... it works well for both of us- and I think they get the most out of it- I know Im good for custom too!
So win win all round- and they dont seem fussed about my mental health stuff- they seem to only care if Im not well- and that should be the way with any illness if you ask me- if it isnt a problem to work, great, if it is a problem, then do what you need to do, unitl its fixed!

Give and take, usual good rule for most things in life- I think?
 
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DomPage

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#17
EXACTLY - some bloody common sense! Treating each other with some

mutual respect - its just a pity it seems that this is so rare!!
 
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Louise 28

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#18
hey can you guys just confirm Im not hitting on either of you

Hey, can you guys just confirm Im not hitting on either of you- and that we were just talking about being employed even with our respective mh issues is ok, and that its also not a waste of time being someone with a degree and an mh issue- that its not a waste of time, and often life is what you make it- just would help me out if you could settle this for me, up front on the forum- I may be jumping to a conclusion here- but someones got the wrong idea I think, from a totally innocent blog!
 
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DomPage

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#19
Of course you were not hitting on anyone!

We were simply having a useful conversation about work, and the value of having a degree both personally and in career terms!
 
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Michael

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#20
Sorry don't understand, it is irelevant whether you have a degree or not, if the job requires a degree - it requires a degree - if you can handle the job to the satisfaction of the employer whilst having a form of MH then that is what matters.
If you have a degree, or any education for that matter it can only expand the areas to which you can look for work, but its your ability and application to the job that is the priority.

Employers that are that short sighted that decline prospective employees due to MH problems without at least first doing some form of investigation as to the extent of the problems are not worth the effort as they will probably be bad employers to the rest of the workforce.
(Thinking about that they may be out of line with the discrimination at work act?)

Hitting on me - you having a laugh - in my dreams!!!!!

Michael:D