Fit for Work?

This is going to be a little contentious, so if you are offended by what I have to say may I apologise in advance and emphasise I am speaking about my own experience, no-one elses.

Today, my Social Worker came to visit. We are *still* working on my initial assessment.
After a couple of hours of meeting with her, I am invariably so tired I need to take a break.
I haven’t got the energy to attend for longer than two hours at a time.
Her individual style seems to be to wait until I’m in this state before asking me important questions-
“Do you really intended to go back to work full time?”
“Yes, of course I do.”
“But you can’t work. Look at you. What work can you do if this exhausts you?”
“Well, my employer will have to find some work I can do. I may need to take a few breaks in the day, but I think I will still be more productive than some. I’m a good employee, they wont want to lose me.”
“Well, I dont think you can work.”
“I am going to work.”
“Will you go back and say, work part-time?”
“No, I want to work full-time. I hope to go back on a graded return, and build up to it. It may take some time.”
“I think you are still dealing with this as the person you were, and not as the person you are now. You used to be a full-time worker, but now, when I see your needs, I think you are not able to be a worker. I think you need to look at how many needs you have, and maybe you need to not be a worker anymore.”
“But I am a important income generator for my family, I need to work. Besides, its important for my identity, and my self-esteem to work. Perhaps I’ll have to work from home a bit, but I can do it.”
“I don’t think so. I think you should let your partner work, and you should not work.”
“But what I’m doing now, looking after kids, that’s work. It’s exhausting me, and I would like help with it, but it is work. And if Im doing that okay then that proves that I can work.”
“But you need support….”
“..Yes, but that will help me stay in work. I don’t want to stop work. And if my occupational health doctor tells me I have to go part time, then I will. But it isn’t really what we have to discuss, and I have to rest now.”
I have a lot to say about this exchange, but I’m exhausted, I think you can work out what it is I’m trying to say…
Leave a comment


  1. Wow! I really can’t believe the SW. Not even a bit of confidence in you. Can you ask to be assigned to someone else’s caseload?

  2. Wendy

     /  May 16, 2011

    Another sad example of low expectations from professionals who are there to provide support. Sometimes I think we are as disabled by these low expectations as by any physical issue.
    Thank heavens not all workers have this attitude, but experience says they are the majority. *sighs heavily*


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