Two years ago I started working for Scope as the senior community officer. I saw the job advertised on Twitter and retweeted it saying how I wished I lived in London so I could apply. I got a reply saying that for the right applicant they would consider remote working and so I decided to apply.
At the time I was blogging here and working as a freelance writer for magazines and for the metro and though I enjoyed it, it was hard work always hunting for the next job and pay was low and sporadic. Timm has always been self employed and I had been for the past few years and so the thought of working for someone else was also scary but the idea of a regular monthly wage was a definite plus.
I applied and was thrilled to get an interview but then just after I ended up in hospital having yet another emergency surgery and so the thought kind of went out of my head. We also had a big trip to India planned and I was trying to figure out if I’d be well enough to make it there.
So when I got the phone call offering me the job I was shell shocked. Years of illness had really knocked my confidence and I didn’t think I’d actually get the role. I stuttered a yes, put the phone down and burst into tears, the knowledge that I was still valid as a chronically ill person really hit me. Feeling wanted and needed in the workforce boosted my confidence and I couldn’t wait to take it on.
I started work and the change in working set hours every day was tough at first! But my manager Alex was so kind and supportive that I soon fell in love with my job. I look after Scopes online community and so every day I get to work with disabled people, supporting them, problem solving and I learnt so much about so many impairments, benefits, social and economic issues around disability. It was pretty overwhelming at first but I couldn’t believe my luck and adored my role.
Over past two years with Scope I’ve had 2 big surgeries and had to take quite a bit of time off to recover. I was frightened that they would be annoyed by this, that my health issues would be seen as an inconvenience and would I even possibly lose my job?
But my concerns were unfounded and the support has been phenomenal, mainly due to Alex’s management. He has always been concerned but supportive, sad for me that I was having a tough time but firm in his belief in me and in his support in getting me back to work at the right time for me in a way that I could manage and this helped so much. I felt guilty a lot of the time, feeling like I was letting them down and just sad in myself that I wasn’t fit or well enough to do my job.
Finding a supportive company who understand the value of a disabled worker is difficult, I have worked for other companies who have been awful. When I spoke to one about my need for toilet breaks due to Ulcerative Colitis I was told I needed to manage my time better. I’ve had bosses who phoned me every day I was off sick checking up on me, making me feel like they thought I was faking.
But Scope have been amazing and I can’t sing their praises enough. This year I made the very difficult decision to cut my hours from full time to three days a week and they made it all easy and non-judgmental. They know I work hard, I put my all into work and they appreciate that though my illness has an effect on my life, that it benefits them to have someone who actually understands what their customers are going through.
Two years had gone so quickly and I hope I’ll be there for many years to come! There’s not many people who love their job and I feel so lucky to be in a role I adore, with an amazing team and a company who are fully supportive!
Happy Scope Birthday to me!