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Getting a new job having been off long-term sick with stress in previous role

(10 Posts)
NewPenName Mon 15-Jun-09 13:44:42

Any advice gratefully appreciated esp from those with HR/public sector perspective.

Basically, I was off sick with stress/depression on 2 occasions last year for a period totalling 5 months, far longer than i can believe but I was in a bad way.

My ex-boss was somewhat supportive but rather exasperated & disbelieving by the end, which from his point of view I can understand. I feel my reputation is now tainted and that I was seen as being a malingerer.

I also realise that to get a new job, I have to give my ex-boss as referee but that he can say as a statement of fact that I was off for 5 months. What to do? I'm looking into voluntary work/PG study as a way out of this stalemate but wonder if there's any point applying for jobs at all. Any thoughts/honest advice would be helpful

NewPenName Mon 15-Jun-09 14:13:11


fircone Mon 15-Jun-09 14:24:01

Well, Cheltenham Council has just lost their case against a woman who failed to declare her previous bouts of depression resulting in a lot of time off work. There's quite a bit about it just now on the BBC news website. I expect there's some discussion of the implications of this there too.

flowerybeanbag Mon 15-Jun-09 14:28:30

Well absolutely you can and should apply for jobs. Your attendance record isn't something that would be looked into until later anyway, until you've had a chance to wow them

When it comes to an offer and references, your boss can and should give factual details of your absence record, so your new potential employer will have to know. Your previous boss won't be able to tell them what you were off with but they will ask you and you should explain.

They may want you to see an occupational health specialist or other medical expert, but basically what they will be looking for is reassurance that the problem is solved now and that this won't be an issue in a new job. if they've been impressed with you at interview, your qualifications and experience, and you can provide them with assurance that this is not an ongoing problem, then there's no reason you can't get a new job.

NewPenName Mon 15-Jun-09 16:38:45

thanks, both that's encouraging. To be honest I've lost loads of confidence and had thought i'd not be able to get back in with such a long period off (and the reason why). It's also the attitude of my ex-boss that worries me - what could come over in a telephone check on reference (happens in this sector) even if just in the tone he uses etc.
Maybe I should just be brave! I'll check the chelt council ref too, thanks.

NewPenName Mon 15-Jun-09 18:37:04

bumping to get a few other views, hopefully.

NewPenName Tue 16-Jun-09 09:59:35

bumping again

karenleigh Tue 14-Jul-09 12:13:38

Message deleted

Tortington Tue 14-Jul-09 12:17:04

i would so lie. i mean really big porkies.

i would probably set up a fictional company at a relatives address and make up some headed paper using microsoft publisher.

lie lie lie - then ask my lying relative to do a fake lie reference for me.

knoing that if i get caught i would be sacked.

knowing that without this measure - iw ouldnt get hired

take my chances - get in a job for a year - move on so that i have a genuine last reference

dancingqueeen Thu 06-Aug-09 00:27:33

I was off for a large chunk of time myself this year. due to illness but initially triggered by a bout of stress. I was (and still am, to a degree) worried that it would be hard to persuade someone else to employ me.

this is my action plan (any more tips from people gratefully received)!):

- make the most of my time off, so I can say to interviewers etc i have done x y and z(voluntary work and sport in my case, as well as socialising). I hope this will provide factual evidence that I am able to do the job.

- not explaining this on application form/ cv, but being happy to discuss at the appropriate moment (e.g. on health declaration form/ at interview). I feel I want to be open and honest as I want my next employer to be supportive (i.e. if they're going to be put off when learning about this, its probably not the right place for me)

- applying for jobs which I am overqualified for. I figure that they might be more prepared to take a gamble on my health if the upside is that they might get a great employee

- applying for part time jobs, but maybe planning to do a couple in combination or combine them with further study.

- I also checked my works reference and they were actually very decent about how it was phrased, I'm sure yours will be too.

- apply for things which I'm confident I'm able to do, in the hope this will come across in my application and interview.

- I have concerns about my ex boss, so have raised a grievance, and as part of that the HR director has sent me the reference she will be sending out so I could feel happy with what was being said.

- I have managed to get a small part time (but quite interesting) public sector job now and I'm looking for another. if I can't find one then my 'if all else fails' plan is to do some further study, so I can relaunch my career further down the line

I hope some of this helps

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