I hate my job and yet I can't legally leave, I don't think. Help me cope.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I sustained a repetitive strain injury from work. Although I'm not in construction or anything like that, my job is largely physical and demandingly so, hence the injury. Modified duties, investigation, doctors and therapists, etc. proceeded.
Fast forward eight months. My condition has improved, but it won't heal; it doesn't seem to be too bad in terms of severity (pain levels are at 2-4, sometimes I'll have periods where I feel almost normal) but very little things can set it off and thus I'm unreliable and still on modified duties at work. Since my job is largely physical, it's been challenging (to say the least) for both sides of the table here - my company can't ethically fire me because I got this from my old job, but it's a challenge for them to scrounge up enough modified duties for me. On my side, I'm a liability to my coworkers, and the well-meaning but really irritating constant barrage of "how's your injury?" doesn't help because I don't know what will make it get better, argh.
(This is not a query for medical advice, I've a handful of medical professionals on my case including my doctor, physiotherapist, massage therapist, a kinesiologist, etc etc... I'm just stating the story here.)
Work regulations and laws around here (I am not from the US) states that I must be rehabilitated back to pre-injury conditions. However, they define this as "worker is able to resume original work duties" and not just "worker is not in pain for several months". My physio has stated that due to naturally lax joints I am easier to injure than average and prone to reinjury, which he has told my employers. However, legal requirements mean they still have to rehabilitate me back to my old job - ie. I can't just transfer to another job; I have to be able to prove I am able to do my old job before I can go to a new one.
Remember what I said about prone to re-injury? Yeah, this doesn't make me happy. (By the way, I work for a multinational corporation which I'm sure is lawyer'ed up the wazoo, so even though I did not consult an employment lawyer I don't think they're BSing me. And we're not quite as pro-suing where I am...)
First time they tried to rehabilitate me back to work (at the 4 month mark) failed spectacularly. We're going to try again next week. Again, I can't transfer to a new job within the company until I can prove I am fully rehabilitated back into my old job (which probably means DOING my old job again for a while); they think that with the new knowledge I gained from injury myself and lots of stretch breaks I should be able to avoid re-injury once I get back on the horse again, so to speak. I am skeptical. My company also can't (won't?) guarantee me a transfer in the "we know we will have this position available and we'll save it for you as soon as you are legally cleared to leave your old job", which would've made me feel better but does not apply here. (Instead, they have to put out an official posting and everyone fights for it and blah blah.)
I've never liked my old job, but I took some satisfaction that I was really, really damn good at it. My coworkers and managers loved me, etc. The love is souring somewhat in my opinion; coworkers can't rely on me for help, my injury is a headache to management and something they can't solve but they still have to pay me for it. And I'm not keen on returning to a job I can get reinjured at. But I can't leave. Well, I suppose I could, but the worker's compensation board would be pissed (and probably won't pay me anymore) and my workplace would be pissed and having a paycheck is important. So I am stuck. Getting a new job elsewhere would a) probably piss off all of the above mentioned parties and b) the new workplace probably won't accommodate my limitations since my injury wasn't their fault, so even if I could get hired (questionable) I probably wouldn't last long.
My post is probably teaming with resentment because that's how I'm feeling. I hate going to work every day as is (although I am quite thankful the modified duties, while not making me better, has not made things worse) and now that I'm going to be "gradually reintroduced to my old job starting next week" I hate it even more.
1) Since I can't seem to leave yet and don't know when I would be able to, what would make the situation suck less? I spend 2 evenings a week in the gym as is (rehabilitating exercises for said injury), schedule 1-2 days at the pool per week, and make sure to relax like hell on the weekend. (By the way, I have also been brushing up on the old resume because I intend to leave--by transferring into another job at the same company OR finding a new job at a new company altogether --as soon as I can legally do so, but since I don't know when this damn injury would heal actively applying for jobs isn't very useful.)
2) In the off chance that the return-to-work plan fails again, and they stubbornly keep on the course of "we'll just modify the plan and wait SOME MORE and EVENTUALLY we'll get you back into the old job no matter what", I may be forced to just quit and damn all the consequences. (Legal, from workplace, from worker's compensation board, etc etc etc) I've only got this one body in this life; I didn't like the old job much and didn't pay enough anyway, so it's not like I'm hurting to keep it. I'm not quite at the stage where I want to ragequit yet, but if they give me a few more reps of the "RTW plan fails, wait, try again" while I'm the one hurting, I might. So...on the chance I have to go down this path, how would I do it while minimizing the burning of bridges? I probably can't avoid burning some, but I'd like to try and minimize the damage.
Sorry this is so long...8 months is a long time to pent up frustration. Thanks in advance.