I am not a happy bunny right now

Because of this news story:


I’m well aware that by sharing this on my personal blog, and actually daring to have an opinion I could face disciplinary action. However, this is my blog so I’ll say what I damn well please. What I have written is my truth.

If any of the management are reading this, stop now and go think about what you’ve done/are about to cause. If you really think the misery you’re causing is acceptable then I pity you.

So, if you’ve read the story you’ll be aware that a major employer locally is planning to shed 250 jobs. I happen to work at the site concerned, part time, in the technical department. I’ve worked there in various capacities since mid-2008 when I was made redundant from my position as a QC/Laboratory tech.

In that time I have been shuttled from one agency to the next as the firm sought cheaper labour. I’m not saying that this is the company’s reason, I am saying this is how I feel about the multiple agency changes I’ve been through.

Right now, I feel disappointed and insulted by the company’s apparent lack of respect for its agency workers, especially those who have been at the factory long term.

While a rumour was floating around late last month, nothing had been officially announced. I have had no contact from my agency, or management at the factory, informing me that my job was in danger. I had to find out by reading the article above. I only knew about that because my mother’s partner, and then my grandmother saw the report on the evening news and rang my Mum, and I went searching the BBC website.

I work weekends, and occasionally in the week if cover is needed, so I have little to no contact with my agency, rarely receive my wage slips unless I make a special journey through to Grimsby on a Friday, which I can’t often afford to do, because they refuse to post them out despite the post box being 200 yards up the road. Thus if anything important happens I find out after the Monday to Friday staff.

A notice has in all probability gone up at the factory, and letters attached to either this week’s or last week’s wageslips. I’ll find out when I go to work on Friday (I’m covering holidays for the next few weeks).

Theoretically none of this should be a problem. I’ll go into work on Friday, on my break I’ll pick up my wage slip and try to find out what’s happening. I’ll ask around and check the notice boards, if I get the chance I’ll talk to a few managers.

Except it’s really not that simple or rational for me.

As long-term readers will know, I struggle with anxiety and depression; this uncertainty has triggered an anxiety response.

My first response to reading the news report was that it will effect production rather than technical, so I’d be alright. I was in denial.

Then I felt anxiety: what if they decide to get rid of me? I’m unstable and have been difficult to contact in the past (technical problems with my phone – it was away being repaired but obviously that’s no excuse, I should have magically produced a replacement out of thin air). I have come to believe that they’d love to find an excuse to get rid of me for someone who isn’t so nervous, and who doesn’t fall apart from
exhaustion after working ‘only’ four days.

Finally, on top of the anxiety I felt anger because, even if my job is safe for now, how long will that last? And why the hell do they think it’s okay to tell the media. before ensuring all regular staff have been informed?

I’m going slightly off-topic – that of ‘I’m hacked off and going to tell you all why’ – but what I’m going to write next is important. It explains somewhat my anxiety.

Right now I’m frightened, anxious and angry. I can feel the physiological effects of my anxiety response. I know it’s happening but I’m not sure I can control it.

I don’t want to feel like this, or react the way I do. It’s not deliberate, just as I’m sure the companies involved haven’t deliberately acted to trigger my anxiety. It’s just another example of the corporate insensitivity to employee’s wellbeing I’ve become used to from large companies and employment agencies alike.

I had my first official diagnosis of depression in 2010, after I had a breakdown at work. The line manager was unsympathetic, the agency unhelpful. I should have walked then but financial pressure forced me to stay. This is how I feel about my experiences.

In 2012 I slipped on a wet floor and seriously damaged my back (and still continue to have problems with it to this day). I was off sick for eight weeks, during which time I was harassed by various people, my statutory sick pay way paid late, incorrectly or not at all, and I was then subjected to bogus disciplinary proceedings.
I was forced to attend a ‘disciplinary hearing’ two days after my grandfather died, and received the official results on the day of his funeral. I returned to work feeling bullied and threatened. I should have left then, but my pride won’t let me be bullied in to giving up. This is what I feel about events of that year.

Not surprisingly, my depression, which had been in retreat returned and knocked me off my feet. I was again diagnosed in early 2013 and given medication. Some days I am stable. This evening is not one of them.

I have managed in the last few months to find a position that allows me to work and time to write, I have fairly supportive immediate management within the department who are generally understanding and try to take the time to listen if I’m being too weird. I don’t want to lose that, and I’m scared if change. I’ve slowly started to get better, but I still have problems. I feel isolated and almost every week struggle with anxiety at the thought of going to work. The agency higher-ups are ignorant and insensitive, for example, when asked by my immediate superior at the agency why I was having problems I told them outright that working on a production line and the inherent uncertainty of the work (this was referring to the year before I moved to the technical department) had caused my latest depressive episode, I was told essentially that she couldn’t write on the report that it’s because of the factory conditions, and that she’d have to say that I was having problems at home. My objections were silenced and she put what she wanted on the official report. How am I supposed to work with people who won’t even listen to my answer to a question they’ve asked me? What if, losing my position I’m sent elsewhere, to a different factory, where I’m back in production doing a mindless job, just another ‘idiot’ robot? I might lose it once and for all. Or, what if I don’t get any work for months? I can’t pay my bills on JSA.

On Friday I will have to go to a place I feel unhappy, unwelcome, and unappreciated. This evening’s news has already triggered and preempted these feelings.

There are times when I want to say ‘to hell with it all’ and walk away. But then I remember my obligations and debts, and know that I can’t. Not yet, not until I find a viable alternative.

This is what I feel. And it’s not a good place, emotionally, to be.

A final thought:

If employers want loyalty from their staff, then they should treat all staff, whether salaried, weekly paid employees or agency workers with respect, compassion and understanding.

I’m going to try to sleep now, so I can enjoy my day off tomorrow. I hope you all have a good week.



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