Hi I need some advice. There have been longstanding issues at work with bullying and poor management support in dealing with it. It is a long story and a recurrent one. I have tried to deal with it in different ways at different times but i know it will never change and the poor management will never change either. About May last year a colleague of mine went off sick due to a severe limb injury and was off for about 7 months and so I ended up covering her caseload and mine. Throughout this, management were unsupportive and dismissive of me. Eventually events led to me going off sick last September due to work related stress but really it was in combination with the difficulties of personalities within the team. I am now on the cusp of going back to work 6 months later. My referral to Occ Health only went in early to mid January and because they were so busy I am just seeing them today for the first time. (I did try and make a self referral just before christmas but was told it had to come from management ). I was under the impression a referral was being put forward in November so was just waiting but nothing had come through. Throughout this time i have looked for other jobs but there was nothing available I could apply for. (Believe me stocking shelves in Tescos was really an enticing option I felt so bad) Within this last week 3 possibilities have turned up. (I am in a speciality that hasn't much staff turnover in my geographical area so that makes it more difficult. The jobs i am applying for are in different areas to my speciality.) How do i explain on my application or at interview about my sick time. Also any tips on how to handle returning to work to a toxic atmosphere in the meantime would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.
I believe honesty is the best policy when you have such a long time off sick - it was specific to that job role, and that's why you're leaving. No need to go into great detail, but any potential employer is bound to be concerned at your sickness record.
As for going back to work - keep your head down, be uber-professional at all times, be polite, do exactly what is required of you, and document everything - if your manager contacts you by phone or in person, follow up with a confirmation email to them of what has been discussed/agreed. In any meetings take your own notes.
Well I don't think anyone could do 2 peoples work for a sustained period, so I'd focus on that being the reason that you were off - which it was. If you can frame it as having x number of years of good service and this one off sickness period, then I think it plays ok.