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Total crisis of confidence about returning from sick leave

(2 Posts)
Notgrumpyjustquiet Thu 25-Jun-15 09:10:39

I am a qualified project manager and have worked for a local authority for 10 years although not always managing capital projects, more usually things to do with workforce change or supporting programme managers.

Owing to a series of unfortunate events in my personal life I was signed off sick almost 3 months ago due to panic attacks after I broke down in a meeting to do with my new role (my department had been restructured and it was widely acknowledged that I and many others had been badly matched, in my case I had absolutely no idea what my new reporting manager was talking about and we already had a team of people with tons of experience of doing what my new function was meant to be so I was just baffled). Prior to this I had had no line management for a year and no appraisals or reviews for 3 years so I had just been pulled in different directions by competing 'big bosses' and had become isolated with no real idea of how well I was doing, how I could improve or where my skill set was going. There was/ is a general culture of learning from one's mistakes despite the presence of 'mandatory systems' to fit in with - mandatory systems are fine but they had set it all up before I moved to that department, explained it once to those present and seemend to expect newcomers to pick things up by osmosis. Many other people were in the same situation, this was endemic and definitely not personal.

Since I've been off work, my GP has repeatedly tried to get me started on various medications (beta blockers, anti depressants) but I really don't think the problem is medical because it's only really when I think about going back to work (there) that the panic starts. I think I need a change in direction, either a different job altogether or at least a different employer where I can operate in a more conventional team structure and preferably with less pressure because while all this has been going on my partner has decided to set himself up self-employed and needs a lot of moral support because he has also had significant setbacks career-wise over the last 6 months.

My plan, such as it is, is to postpone any return to my current employer for as long as I possibly can and in the meantime start looking for other opportunities. I think a good place to start would be recruitment agencies and see if I can find 'A N Other Job' so I can leave the council and regroup while my partner gets on his feet. I really can't face going back, not because I'm emarrassed (although that is a factor) but because nothing will have changed and I'll still be under the same pressure, if not more.

I'd be grateful for any advice, how should I explain this lengthy period of sick leave due to 'stress' to any potential employer? I think it makes me look flaky and I really wouldn't want to have to elaborate on the circumstances in an interview. And I'm not flaky, I'd challenge anybody to cope with what I and OH have had on our plates the last 18 months or so.

How have other MNers pulled themselves together and made changes when their sanity/ mortgage repayments depended on it?!?

Is it too much to ask to have a job which leaves me with something left in the tank for my family when I get home?

bellathebluebell Thu 25-Jun-15 19:29:57

In your position, I think I would contact HR and tell them that you feel that you aren't going to be able to resolve the issue without leaving and finding another job. Ask them if they can smooth your exit by giving you a good reference. It sounds as if they have been remiss in their duty of care to you so i would imagine you are in a strong position to get them to agree.

You will feel completely different in a new job/organisation so don't worry about lacking in confidence. It will come back in the blink of an eye in the right role. Also, there are lots of busy jobs out there but it's just a case of finding the right thing for you.

Best of luck

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