May be about to be offered a temp-to-perm job, but also may need to start 6 to 8 week voluntary medical process that will preclude working. What do I do?
posted by primate moon to Work & Money (9 answers total)
I have not worked in a permanent job since spring 2008, though I have been looking hard. I've been doing temp work (accounts payable) for the last 4 years, with lots of unemployed periods between temp assignments when I can't find any work at all. The last period of unemployment was 5 months long, which I cannot afford to happen again.
Meanwhile, I have suffered from moderate to severe depression since I was 15 years old (I am now almost 52). Also, since I was 18 I have also seen therapists off and on (mostly on) and taken different antidepressants which have not been effective. Almost 2 years ago I underwent a series of ECT (electroconvulsive therapy--"shock therapy") which was successful: my depression went into remission for just over a year. Even though I had many, many severe difficulties in my life during that period, I was able to cope easily and stay optimistic. Last summer I noticed that I was slipping back into depression, and I am now feeling its full effects. This is very common with ECT, and most people need to have "maintenance" ECT sessions or repeat it. It generally consists of 3 treatments a week for 6 to 8 weeks. This basically makes work impossible. It's possible and easy to work the 2 non-ECT days each week, but there aren't many jobs that can accommodate this.
In the meantime, I was contacted about a possible temp-to-perm position at an organization where I recently worked for just under 4 weeks, covering a vacation. I was told that they may be interested in having me come back, but it would be to fill a newly created position, rather than a vacation or maternity leave, and it could very well end up being a permanent job. They already know me and my work and think well of me.
I really hated the ECT (hard to explain why; no pain, everyone's really nice, no overt negative side effects. My head tells me there's no reason to resist, but I feel like my inner core, my body at a cellular level, is screaming "NO! Don't do it!"), but it's been the only effective treatment. I feel that I have a responsibility to my family (I have 2 teenage children) and myself to receive the treatments again. So recently I have been trying to psych myself up to look into it, especially that I am once again unemployed and would have the time. I have a consultation scheduled for early next week to discuss the possibility of ECT treatment.
I expect to hear more details about the job tomorrow, and I don't know how to respond. I don't feel that I can ask them to let me start in 6 to 8 weeks in order to accommodate the ECT treatments. And, of course, I'd never tell them what the details were; I guess I would just tell them it was a medical issue and not offer details; but then they might think it's rehab or something!
From my very extensive experience temping, most clients want a temp to start as soon as they have identified their need for one and don't want to or can't put it off for another 2 months. I think that they would almost certainly say I wasn't the right person for the job. But if I don't take or get this job, there's no way to tell when the next job will come around--it could be another half year or longer! And we need the money! But, then again, if I don't do the ECT my quality of life will suffer, my kids will suffer, and I know I won't work as well as I am capable of. Very often in the past I have had days where I was simply unable to get out of bed to go to work; I have ended up calling in sick and have actually lost a few temp jobs because of this. I have not done well at work for the last several years; I'm not sure exactly why. In addition to my problems with missing work, I feel like I might put out some kind of depressed and desperate vibe that puts people off. None of the places that have fired me or chosen not to go from temp to perm has given any feedback at all, no matter how much I ask. But I don't know; this could be my depression and low self-esteem talking. Anyway, to find a potential employer that already knows and likes me and my work feels like something I absolutely cannot afford to throw away.
But, having a job greatly reduces my stress and anxiety, and I am more able to cope with daily life.
If they do want me back, should I tell them I can't start for about 2 months, and throw away an opportunity with the rare situation where they actually want me? If so, how should I explain it? Or should I just say I'm not available and take a break from the job search (and risk a long, long period of unemployment) and do the ECT? Or are there other possibilities that I'm not seeing? Thanks, all.