At the end of last month, I was thrilled to secure a position as a part time Sales Consultant at the Oxford branch of a well-known multinational lingerie and other ‘accessories’ retailer. Worrying about my student finance for the next academic year had led me to this point. In my CV, and during my interview, I stated my list of chronic health conditions and discussed how they impacted me on a day to day basis and ways this could be worked around. At the time I felt that not only was I heard but that reasonable adjustments would be made. So it was with a heavy heart that today I handed in my letter of resignation.
When I signed my contract I was joyous to have reached a point in my health where I could consider working a few hours a week. Today, I have left my job feeling belittled, I have been accused of lying about hospital investigations and I have been scheduled to work ridiculous hours. My contract was an 8 hour week yet I was being put down on the rota for 23 (sometimes more) hours a week.
After consulting my doctor, I approached the store to request that they rework my hours. The days they were asking me to put in were leaving me in agony and with frequent dislocations. I physically could not work the hours they were asking. This week I had to turn up to work in an ankle support, knee braces and reliant on a walking stick to enable me to get through my shift. Yet my hours were still not adjusted.
Tuesday evening I had planned a relaxing night in with my boyfriend; after both of us working long days, some good food, Netflix and cuddles were in order. Instead, he ended up accompanying me to my local accident and emergency unit after my right eye deteriorated further. As usual the hospital were stumped and asked me to return to the Eye casualty department the following morning. That night I informed work of the situation. Their response was ridiculous. Whilst at the hospital the next morning, through repeated phone calls, I was put under a considerable amount of pressure from work to still come in; despite the fact the hospital had administered dilating drops which decreased my already poor vision further.
These drops last around six hours. I had informed work of this. So you can imagine how insulted, and undervalued I felt when, upon my arrival, my colleague declared that her partner had said I was lying: that the drops did not last that long. Never did I expect to work in an environment that was so unprofessional that I had to justify and validate my illnesses.
In the shop yesterday, on multiple occasions, I was left in the store on my own. My vision was dire still, having had the drops less than two hours beforehand, I could hardly make out the wording on the products let alone watch the shop and provide high quality customer service. Yet my colleague deemed leaving me on my own in store to be appropriate.
Last night was rather emotional. The prospect of leaving left me feeling weak willed, and like I had failed. This morning however, after handing in my resignation, I feel empowered. I have taken control of a disastrous situation that was severely impacting my health. I can only hope that the store takes on board that belittling, insulting, and questioning the validity of a person’s health is in no way acceptable.