Tumbling Through the Rabbit Hole...
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To Apply or Not To Apply..

Posted by Haisla Saturday, 26 April 2014

I'm exhausted.

Work has caused me a few sleepless nights. I'm normally quite good at switching off when I get home and sustaining a fair work-life balance, but the past week has been wearing (and it's been a short week, thanks to the Bank Holiday, it really doesn't seem it).

I'm dealing with a really complex client case, which is looking pretty hopeless at the moment. It involves a lady with severe mobility issues, no recourse to public funds and the possibility of her being returned back onto the streets on Wednesday, after her stay at the current backpackers hostel comes to an end. She was referred to us by a hospital where she had been staying for 5 weeks, as they were about to discharge her onto the streets. We were able to put her up for a week, but the money is soon running out. There just aren't enough shelters for those who aren't entitled to benefits, even if their health is really poor. I normally love my job, but these impossible situations where my hands are tied and where I end up doing inhumane things (like having to tell a crippled lady that she needs to sleep on the streets until a bed becomes available) just leave me feeling haunted.. I'm just hoping and praying that something will turn up at the eleventh hour. At the moment, though, things aren't looking too good for her. I'm trying to prepare her for the potentially bad news and then have to go home into my own warm house and live with that at the back of my mind. No wonder I'm not sleeping.

People often say to me 'I don't know how you do the work you do', well, you know what I don't often know how I do it either. And increasingly (thanks to the way this government has been slashing health and social care budgets left, right and centre) I don't really want to do it. You set out to do good, to make some kind of a difference in the world (corny, perhaps, I know), but somewhere down the line the rules are changed and you end up in all sorts of ethically questionable situations, where you are actually unable to be of any help. Things are getting increasingly ugly and the poorest and the most vulnerable are being squeezed like I've never seen before (although I wasn't here when Maggie was in power, so perhaps things aren't that bad yet). It just feels like we are somehow returning back to the Victorian era. And the organisation I work for, should be able to do more, but can't for many and various, complicated reasons (which are often funding related).

Anyway, rant over.

But, those are the reasons why I am desperate (at least some days) to get out of my current job. It's just too hard. Not to mention the stress, the occasions when I have to deal with aggressive and violent client behaviour and the sheer physicality of the work, which make it wholly unsuitable for a pregnant lady (that is, should I ever get pregnant - perhaps it's the stress of the job that is keeping me from getting pregnant in the first place? It's the good old 'just relax' adage again, isn't it)..

So, great was my joy when I noticed that a vacancy had become available within the organisation; one that would be really interesting, far less stressful, a good match for my skills set and completely office based (no more running up and down stairs to respond to client enquiries, no more moving heavy furniture to set up for activities, and no more client aggression - hurrah!).

However, there are two things about this job that cause me some concern:

1) It would mean a salary cut of about £6,000 per annum. That one is no biggie in some ways because my salary is really quite good and I could probably afford it. I'd just have to be a bit less frivolous with my spending. However, with the potential private fertility treatments looming in the horizon perhaps I should be taking money matters a bit more seriously? Also if we were to ever buy a house (hmm, and perhaps pigs will learn to fly) a bit of extra moolah would be no bad thing..

Also 2) surely starting at a new job slap bang in the middle of fertility treatments is not the best of ideas? I know some of you ladies, whose blogs I read, have done it and I raise my hat to ya'll, but I just really struggle with the thought of it.

First of all, I would not be allowed to take time off (apart from holidays negotiated during the interview and you all know how 'negotiable' IVF treatment timings are) during the probationary period, which is three months. If I  was to get the job (and that's a big 'if'), I would start in early August (I have to give three month's notice as a manager), which with the summer holidays and the slovenliness of the NHS is too tight a schedule to squeeze in an IVF cycle before changing jobs.

And then the next time I  would be entitled to take time off again would be sometime in November. And by then, ugh, I would be much nearer to being 36 and in the position again of having to disclose to another line manager our reproductive challenges and try to negotiate some time off for fert. treatments. And who's to say that the new line manager would be as sympathetic to my plight as my current one is? So dream (pregnancy-friendlier) job = potentially postponing fertility treatments. How's that for a mind-fuck?

The other option of course would be to spill the beans at the interview and try to negotiate some ad hoc time off from the word go, but seriously, who in their right minds would hire someone going through fertility treatments, especially since people generally seem to think that IVF automatically guarantees a take home baby?

Perhaps I should stop fretting and just trust that if this is meant to be it's meant to be. It is just such an appealing opportunity, and yet, with so many buts.. I think I will just try to write up a killer application, send it off and then cross any bridges if and when they become crossable.

Anyone else tried changing jobs in the midst of fertility treatments? How did you play it? Did you bring it up at interview, or later, or at all? No judgement either way, just interested to hear how it all went down.

The problem with this job in relation to the location of our fertility clinic is that there is no way that I could arrange sneaky treatments around work hours. I would need to take time off. And I think I would rather be honest about it than try to fabricate some lies (I am a terrible liar, I always go stark red and get caught especially if the lie really matters). Anyway, I would appreciate any thoughts or even assvice.

The funny thing is that I am probably fretting for nothing - I have applied for a few of jobs in the past months and have never heard anything back. I know what the job market's like at the moment and that there will be about a million applicants each more qualified than the other. Anyway, thanks for reading my lengthy ramblings tonight,  I better go off now and finish that dreaded application..

Oh, oh and did I forget to mention that the interview date would probably coincide with IUI#2? Yeah, there's that little thing, too..


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