>I don’t believe this…

>Life is a nasty woman sometimes. She holds you and cuddles you, but as soon as you make a mistake or disappoint her in some way, she slaps you across the face and swears at you…

Sound familiar?

If you know me, you’ll know I’ve had a bad couple of years with depression and illness. I’ve been painstakingly hauling myself out of the latest abyss – PND associated with losing a baby a year and a half ago. It’s been hard, but for every foot I slip down, I pull myself back up another five.

I thought I was getting somewhere. *sighs*

I’m a Teacher. It’s a hard job, difficult and stressful and that’s just dealing with the kids and the actual teaching. Add into that, the politicking and paperwork and it’s no wonder that Teachers have a high rate of stress related illness, nervous breakdowns and alcoholism. (I know very few teachers who don’t have a drink or two at the weekend in an effort to relax properly)


I hauled myself out of the Abyss back in July and thought “Getting working again is going to help me with this. I’ll sign up with a couple of Supply Agencies.”

I just called them to find out how soon I was likely to get work. One agency said they were happy to start looking for me. Happily, I called the other one… and no, I am not going to tell you who – it’s not their fault…. asked them the same question.

“Sorry, we won”t be able to use you.”

“Pardon? Why?”

“Head Office have decided that you aren’t reliable enough.”

I blinked. I could feel tears welling (automatic reaction, a bit like comfort eating) and I had to take a couple of deep breaths. “Excuse me?”

“In your last three references, the schools have said that reliability and sickness were major issues with your work.”

I explained what I had gone through in the first two jobs I had – Living away from home for my NQT year, Losing a baby and PND in the first real job I had.

“Sorry, but there isn’t anything I can do. We can’t use you until they say otherwise. Bye.

So there you have it.

That is the reason I can’t get a job – I’m being penalised for being Ill.

Now you can shake your head and say “It isn’t like that, they don’t really do that.”

I have the proof – The Agency woman told me straight – “You’ve had too much time off sick and you are not reliable enough for us.”

It’s not her fault – I’m glad she told me, at least I know now…

I am angry though.

I am angry with the bitchy, uncaring HR bastards that have written my references without thinking about their wording. Without thinking “Oh, this might make her depression much much worse if she doesn’t get a job, I’d better reword it.”

The stupid thing, is that it doesn’t matter who I go for a job with – Schools or normal business – they’re going to get the same references and come to the same conclusions!

You have no idea how angry I am. I want to march into the schools involved (Cheltenham and Bristol are the main culprits) and shout at them, to punch their lights out and force them at blade point to rewrite my references…


I wouldn’t do that though. I’m not vindictive, nasty or even mean. I’m going to take a deep breath, have a cry, have a stiff drink or two to relax (I told you that’s how teachers do it) and then I am going to painfully and slowly drag myself out of the mire I find myself in, before I sink through and back into the abyss.

I forgive them their wrongs against me. I even apologise to them for making their lives and jobs harder by being such an awful employee.

I assure you, should I manage to get any Teaching work, I will force myself to work when I am ill, when I am dizzy with vertigo and a possible danger in a workshop. I shall push myself to go into work when I am so deep in despair that I will burst into tears if the most mild eleven year old laughs at me or looks at me in the wrong way.

I will do all my marking late into the night, I will work myself into an early grave if that is what I have to do to mend my reputation and prove that I am not useless.

Excuse me, I need chocolate….

2 thoughts on “>I don’t believe this…”

  1. >That kind of discrimination is illegal in US. Move on over here, baby, and I'll help you get a job teaching in Hawaii.I'm a therapist/school counselor in Dept of Ed for 11 years now with principals on speed dial. Maybe a change of scene is what you need!

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