Thursday 28 July 2016

just make it (the moaning) stop

Work nonsense is ongoing. 

Anyway, it's too depressing (and frankly embarrassing) to go into, so let's get POSITIVE
  • One positive outcome of the Occupational Health visit was the assessor's recommendation that I look into doing regular Meditation. As is the modern way, I downloaded an app for my phone, and I'm not going to pretend that I use it every single day but I know that when I do I find it incredibly helpful - just to stop, switch my brain off and do nothing for a few minutes.
  • Little Ms. Domino has finished her first year at school and had an end-of-year report which to be frank made me sob. She's such a smart cookie and we're so proud. No doubt she can be a massive pain in the arse but we're so lucky in so many ways (for instance, she can also be super-considerate about Daddy's walking). Love her. 
  • Five years after we last played there, Frankie Machine has been asked back to play at the Indietracks Festival this coming weekend. As before we've been rehearsing, and being a bit of a lapsed musician has been challenging (am I a Relapsing and Remitting musician?) but I'm having a blast. My callouses are coming back nicely too (see photo below for evidence). I'm pushing for us to have more regular rehearsals in the future so it will give me some impetus to 'keep my hand in'. But I really am loving it. Although this year we are playing on a (moving) train - you'll be pleased to know that I have requested a chair.
they might look GROSS but those manky bits on my fingertips are a GOOD THING
  • Next month is mine and Mrs D's TENTH Wedding Anniversary. What a long strange trip it has been. As I've mentioned before, we got married in Venice at the height of Summer. We have always intended to go back for our 10th anniversary but we've decided to look at going when the temperature is less oppressive - it's frustrating (to admit defeat to MS) but we'd rather play safe than spend a load of money on a potentially depressing couple of days with me sweating and limping (best case scenario!!) through the crowds. The plan now is to go back at some time next Spring.
  • We went to see The BFG movie at the weekend. It was a good film, a bit sickly-sweet in places (Spielberg) but some good funny bits too. My favourite bit of the film, however, was before the main feature. Our local cinema has a very funky ad ident which is obviously a 21st century version of the classic Pearl & Dean ad - loads of Latin percussion and Jazz Flute, it's fabulous. Anyway this started and Mrs D began to intensively mime playing the flute - apparently this is something she does whenever she goes to this cinema with Little Ms D, who normally takes on the role of percussion. For some reason she wouldn't do it on this occasion so we just clicked our fingers (strictly on 2 and 4) and laughed our asses off at Mum, who was going TO TOWN. This was absolutely my favourite part of the whole weekend - I really love my family.

Sunday 3 July 2016

by way of an explanation

AKA my glittering career

In the past, when the gaps between posts have dragged on, it has been because nothing has happened. 
This has not been the case this time. 

The appraisal process which I mentioned before has been going on since February. There have been many regular (interminable) meetings, which have felt quite personal and pointed (call me paranoid but that don't mean it ain't so). 

Somewhat annoyingly, way back at the start of this appraisal process I was asked if I wanted to reduce my hours or take a position with less responsibility. My pride got in the way and said that I wanted to step up and deal.

If I could go back in time, I would bite my boss' hand off.

At one point in the process (probably before another meeting) I told my boss that I was hating it and wanted it to be over. It was making me miserable and ratty, at work and at home. 

He said "I know what you mean. I'm going through it the same as you". 

To which I responded, "With the greatest of respect, I really don't think that you are". 

(If memory serves, that was the day my daughter put this plastic medal in my shirt pocket, where it remained for the whole day. She's a heartbreaker.)

FULL DISCLOSURE: in the middle of all of this, there have a couple of things which I have let slide at work. I'm not proud of this.

We recently had a board meeting and I was left feeling incredibly exposed and attacked. And I did not respond well (I should say that I put my head down, rather than standing on the table, giving everyone the finger and loudly suggesting they had known carnal relations with their maternal parent). 

Questions have been asked about my ability to do my job (I've been asking them of myself too). I was given a series of key tasks to achieve and I have met them - even going so far as taking documents away when we went on a much-needed holiday recently. 

On top of all this, the Board requested that I have a workplace assessment. Now I've had these in the past but they've always been from the view of supporting me. The employment law specialist on our board recommended this company:

Now in my pre-assessment research, my feeling was that this website didn't look like it belonged to a company that was overly concerned about protecting the rights of disabled employees. To put it mildly - no matter how conveniently (or even cynically?) multicultural the images on their website. This was the view shared by the Equalities Officer at my local council.

My boss said there was nothing to worry about, that the trustees needed to show the organisation had thought about all the potential outcomes, which would mean a nice healthy 'tick' in this section of our Risk Register.

But my last relapse was four years ago, and my attendance record is little short or exemplary. If all this is prompted by my recent performance, surely this should be a disciplinary matter; rather than being about my wonky genes and uncertain prognosis.

I was righteously nervous, so much so that I asked my dad to come along to support me - as suggested by my MS Nurse and the aforementioned equalities officer.

Despite a couple of hairy moments, this actually went ok. The assessor seemed to have some knowledge of MS and made some pretty good recommendations - timetabled work from home, regular breaks throughout the day, and MEDITATION. The first two of these will come under the heading of 'reasonable adjustments' that my employee will have to consider. The third one is for me alone.

Right. That's everything up to date. It ain't over, not by a long a stretch - but AVANTI!

PS - I am aware that there have been seismic changes in UK politics in recent weeks, but I feel that they are currently beyond the scope of this little blog. Plus things seem to be changing on a daily basis. I am scared about the future of this increasingly inward-looking little country.