Will Work For Donuts …

donutA lot of my friends seem to be shimmying up the career ladder at the moment.

Me? I’ve fallen off it and will probably always struggle to get back on the first rung (dodgy grip certainly doesn’t help).

It also didn’t help that my previous employer’s definition of making ‘reasonable adjustments’ to my MS included sitting me near a window, alone, in a faraway room – the staff kitchen no less (to combat heat intolerance, natch), taking all my duties off me and launching a bitter ‘get her out by any means’ campaign.

My job now is brilliant – who wouldn’t want to work with their best friend? And as the Project Manager/Chief Nagger/Design Bod of a construction company, I’m in my element. I roll out of bed (literally), chuck some work gear on, hide unwashed hair under a hat and I’m good to go, bacon buttie in hand. Bliss, and perfect for those unpredictable MS days.

Which brings me to my next point. I now choose my working hours – they fit round appointments, fatigue, and general meh-days. Me and my friend have worked out a flexible system and it works for us, plus it helps that I am of course totally excellent at my job.

But a little part of me hankers after a ‘real’ job, with a proper career path, dress-down Fridays, babies trundled into work during maternity leave, gossip in breaks and water-cooler moments. I’ve just caught up with Poldark on telly and have no one to share my, ahem, thoughts withΒ (anyone outside the UK, please google Aidan Turner, you’ll understand my dilemma)Β .

Could I ever go back to a normal job? Could I work 9 – 5? Well, no. MS demands a certain flexibility plus a pretty decent employer. Besides, even getting past the initial interview would be a trial:

Scary Interviewer: And which skills could you bring to the table?
Me: Um, I speak Norwegian? And I’m super-organised *cough*.
Scary Interviewer: That’s nice. Anything else?
Me: I’m a team-member, I have blue-sky thinking and I can think outside the box.
Scary Interviewer: And any health problems we should be aware of?
Me: Um, well, kinda, p’raps.

(stumbly exit, drown sorrows in nearest Starbucks)

So, ok, the glittering career is gone, but when you know that 80% of people with MS give up work within 15 years of diagnosis, it spurs you on, no matter what the job. For me, my job is more than a job. It may not have a distinct career path, but what could be nicer than making people’s lives better and helping them to create their dream spaces? My job satisfaction is immense.

Should it matter the career ladder has disappeared or is quality of life more important?

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14 thoughts on “Will Work For Donuts …

  1. Sue says:

    I totally get the Poldark reference. Phew!

  2. Yup,you have the nail on the head for people of a certain disposition. Poorer but happier. Quality of life is what its about

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Exactly, which is what I hope I bring to my work. It’s about the satisfaction.I don’t think I would have the same level as that in a desk job?

  3. David says:

    Why change job, you seem to be doing ok even with a blip or 2. As you say you’ve a flexi job, cottage, teenager and writing course at uni + a kitten and of course your MS. Blog post as well, you are still young ish so no rush, go with the Flo you will know when enough is enough, till then keep at it. Xx

    • stumbling in flats says:

      I LOVE that, ‘you are still young’. Thank you!!!
      Kitten is doing my head in. She’s wild and testing me to the very limit of my patience …

  4. Nicky says:

    I’d never seen that stat before – that 80% of people with MS have stopped working within 15 years of d
    iagnosis. It’s quite shocking!

  5. I couldn’t hold a 9-5 job, but not just because of the MS. Too many years dealing with horrible costumers getting angry at orders that are not your fault and asking daft questions, I couldn’t do it anymore without calling someone an idiot :p working retail is why I treat staff like people and not robots like a lot of people do :/

    they keep cramming down our throats at Uni about jobs we can have after we are done and we could go and do this…
    1. um MS stops me from getting a lot of those jobs, even tho legally it is illegal but happens all the time
    2. its an art degree :p unless you go and do a masters after the 4 years, you will end up asking if they want fries with that :p
    would be nice having a 9-5 job in art that pays but most of us will be jobless for awhile after graduating unless we make connections/get a job while at uni *shrugs* i am not going to get a job at the end tho, would be nice but i’m going to learn new skills and get out of the house lol πŸ™‚

    • stumbling in flats says:

      Totally agree with your points!! They may say it’s illegal to discriminate, but I certainly found the opposite when I applied for loads of jobs before I gave up and just enjoyed working for my friend. I’ve come to the realisation like you, that unless I know someone who knows someone, I’ll never get the dream job. So I’m just concentrating on the MA instead, which gives me a lovely balance. And who knows, I might end up going for the PhD!! (In my dreams).
      One of our recent customers said I should set myself up as a proper design consultant as I had some great ideas for their extension. A very nice compliment πŸ™‚

      • you could set up your own business as a design consultant, that is if you ever wanted to leave the job you have now. its something you could do, set your own hours. would be a bit of work to get off the ground, but you could do it πŸ™‚ (unless you go for a PHD and then we will have to call you DR πŸ™‚ )

        • stumbling in flats says:

          I’m definitely toying with the idea for the future – it’s been lovely to have such positive feedback. I absolutely adore my job at the moment, plus it’s nice to have an ever-shifting workplace :-). As for the PhD, we’ll see! Mind you, Dr Stensland has a certain ring!!

  6. Debra Smith says:

    I had a great job, with a good employer, who did make “reasonable adjustments” – ground floor office opposite disabled toilet & set me up with home office having access to work IT network for days when I was too ill to attend the office. However, these only happened within final 2-3 years of my time at work & it probably helped that I was a specialist (patent attorney) & was head of the patent department!
    I was diagnosed with MS end 2003/start 2004 and when redundancies were required in 2013, I applied for voluntary redundancy as my department had shrunk from 7 people at its peak to just 2 people at the end. I left end Jan. 2014 (10 years). I set up my own company and still do the work I enjoy, BUT at a much slower, more haphazard pace and at the weirdest hours – no more 9-5, just as and when able and work is available. Touting for new work can be a challenge and as you say, I miss the day to day contact with work colleagues. However, I enjoy keeping up to date with recent developments and am slowly getting to grips with a different and hopefully much healthier lifestyle! πŸ™‚

    • stumbling in flats says:

      So, so good to hear a positive story!
      I was telling the boss today that I’ve had three office jobs in my life and the first two were brilliant, it’s just the third one that was awful. And I know what you mean, my lifestyle now regards work is far healthier, especially as I can choose my working hours to suit both me and the boss. And if I have an unexpected day off, there’s always an essay to research and write up!

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