Out of sight…

Let me tell you about work. I’d be interested in your opinion.

I haven’t worked a full day since early July when I was diagnosed with cancer, though I worked a bunch of half days through the month. I haven’t received any pay from them since early in August when my sick leave ran out. I’ve been on unpaid leave since and have had no income pending insurance finally coming through later this month (other than a Centrelink benefit recently paid).

When the news of my cancer broke, I got calls and emails from the head of the Marketing department and the manager in charge of the Digital arm of that, where I sit.

They were sympathetic and understanding, made the right noises, and even sent me a small care package.

The last time I heard from either one of them was July 7, the Digital manager, who said he’d make a low-key announcement to the team advising them that I would be away for a while with an unspecified illness. I was fine with that – these things need to be managed – but it never happened.

Much to my annoyance, I occasionally am contacted by people unaware of my condition, regardless of the out-of-office on my account. I either fob them off or find myself telling them of the situation. It pisses me to repeat this unsavoury news again and again when it should have been properly handled.

I find it a little ironic that it pisses me off. I’ve always been one to proclaim my independence and sense of privacy. I kept worlds separate, letting only select people enter one from the other. And here I am complaining that the most intimate details of my life haven’t been shared (to be fair, all they need say is that H is crook, he’ll be off work for a while, we’ll keep you updated, leave him alone in the meantime…).

There’s very much a practical consideration in this, though. From a work perspective, don’t people need to know I’m unavailable? And I hate that the burden of sharing details has devolved to me in the absence of an announcement. I have enough on my plate. It feels unprofessional and vaguely disrespectful.

Quite aside from that, it’s been over 3 months since any management has been in contact with me. After that first flurry, no checking in, no wishing me luck heading into surgery, no checking how I went coming out of it, no cards, no flowers, no bowl of fruit, no nothing. I’m hardly surprised the dept head hasn’t been in contact, but I’d speak to the Digital head each day in the office, and even WFH, we’d catch up every week one way or another. But now, zilch. Out of sight, out of mind.

Am I wrong to think this unusual?

Do they have any idea of how I’m going? How could they?

I’m in contact with random people in the office I consider friends and sometimes help out my direct colleagues. My team manager checks in with me occasionally on a personal basis, but the last time was a month ago when I shared two lines with him.

It’s no secret that I’m disenchanted with my work. I was mighty pissed off when the pay-rise came through much less than mooted and without a word of explanation. My faith was wavering before then, but after, I felt betrayed. I realised that our values were misaligned. I value authenticity over pragmatism and believe it pays. And how can there be trust when actions don’t measure to words?

Then there’s this, and it’s easy to think they’ve practically forgotten me. Am I unreasonable?

Ideally, I wouldn’t return to work at the same place, though it’s not straightforward. I’d love to get a better-paid job at a more agreeable organisation, but it would have to be good. I’m due long-service leave in a bit over a year, and I’ve factored it into my future plans. It would be hard to sacrifice it.

I know I can’t really return to the role I had before. The world has moved too far, both for me and the business. I’m out of the loop, and it would take weeks to get up to speed again for about 50% of my role. I’ve no interest in it anyway. It seems terrible trivial in light of everything that’s happened to me in the last few months. That part has been backfilled – let them keep it.

That’s where the opportunity might be. I intend to confront the Digital manager on my return about what happened to my pay rise and promotion. The compromise might be an evolved role more to my liking and with a matching salary. That’d be enough to keep me until my long-service leave matures.

All of this is still a few months down the track – probably around January. Still.

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