You know that conversation we’ve all had about what you would do if you won the lottery? While most people would ditch their job in a heartbeat, I’ve always maintained that I would stay in mine. Crazy lady? Maybe, but that’s how happy I’ve been in my job for the last decade or so. I cannot contemplate life without the theatre or my friends and colleagues who do so much to make it the most wonderful place to work.
Well, I haven’t won the lottery – quite the opposite in fact. I, and my amazing colleagues, find ourselves facing the very real prospect of redundancy, and it is heartbreaking. Each and every one of us contributes something special and unique to a first class team that is being ripped apart by forces way out of our, or our employers, control.
In my previous post I hinted at my current state of ‘grief’, which is precisely what this whole process feels like. It’s probably too early for me to experience ALL the emotions right now, but I sure feel close to ticking most of them off.
It’s perhaps not appropriate for me to go into any detail about what exactly this process entails. However, I will say that it has placed a great strain on all involved. Where do you begin looking for a new job when the country is saturated with people in the same boat? And, more relevant to my blog, how on earth do you begin the daunting prospect of applying for jobs when you are disabled?
This is a subject that I know will resonate with many people with long term conditions. It is also a subject that, until now, I’ve personally been very fortunate not to have to worry about. I was employed at the theatre almost 2 years before my MS diagnosis, and so it had no impact on my work capabilities at that time. I’ve said many times before that I’ve been very fortunate to have understanding employers who have never waivered in their support of my changing ‘needs’ over the years.
So, where do you begin with applying for a new job? What happens if you can’t find a suitable role, especially one that enables you to remain seated? Do you declare your MS? I know there is no legal obligation to do so, but it’s tricky when MS is bound to have some kind of impact on the work, or at least the hours worked. Will employers have preconceived ideas about you as a disabled person? Will they discriminate? Or, just as unnerving, will they hire you based on positive discrimination?
So many questions, but most pressing of all:
Why must all good things come to an end?