“You want to give absolutely everything you can to your work. But when poor health gets in the way, you feel like you’re letting people down – and that’s very corrosive to your self-worth”. – Matthew, 43
Living with a muscle, bone or joint condition can affect you physically, emotionally, psychologically and socially. Managing your condition so that you can stay at work, can be a challenge.
“I worked as an academic in a university. I started this job happy in the knowledge that this was going to be my life. Then I got sick and had to stop work. After spending time getting well again, I had to start from square one. What am I going to do now? I can’t be what I thought I was going to be. It’s really hard to get a sense of self-worth. - Matthew, 43
Matthew has ankylosing spondylitis. He works as a volunteer on our National Help Line and his own experience gives others hope. More and more people are contacting us for information and advice about how to manage their condition and stay at work.
“What are my rights and responsibilities?”
“Should I tell my boss about my arthritis?”
“How can I avoid discrimination?”
“What are my options if I have to leave work?”
These are all valid and important questions and as the leading voice of muscle, bone and joint health in Australia, MOVE is uniquely placed to answer them.
Through research MOVE conducted with La Trobe University we know that people with chronic conditions are less likely to be able to stay at work.
I was a landscaper, which is something I always wanted to do. But it’s very physical work so I ended up having to quit...full-time work was just too hard, so I looked for part-time, less physical work. (Melissa, 52)
Working is good for our health and wellbeing. It contributes to our happiness, helps build our confidence and self-esteem, and rewards us financially. Not being able to work or having to leave the workforce earlier than planned because of a chronic muscle, bone or joint condition, places an enormous burden on people.
I work with a bunch of great people - we’re more like good mates than work colleagues. I worry that if I have to reduce my hours because of my condition, I’ll lose that connection. (Peter, 28)
Can you imagine the impact this has on a person’s life? Nurses and volunteers on our National Help Line assist people facing these problems every day. They’re able to help them navigate the complex health and employment systems to find the best solution for their unique problems. There’s no ‘one size fits all’ answer - everyone’s situation is different.
I’ve been thinking about resigning for a while now, because I’m just so exhausted and my whole body aches. But I’m frightened because I’m still young. What will I do? How will I support my family? (Rachael, 32)
You may be in a similar situation, or know someone who is facing their own health or work crisis. We can help.
“As someone who has arthritis – my working life has been a struggle. I’ve had to quit jobs that I love and am trained for – and this has been tough. Then I found MOVE and they’ve been such a great help in advising me on what I can do. I feel there’s hope for other people in similar situations.” – Jennifer 49
There are many ways MOVE does this. We provide information and support through our National Help Line and website; run free webinars on chronic illness and employment and provide peer support.
To continue to do this, we need your donation. It’s critical that we expand our resources, meet this growing need in our community and help people remain at work as long as they want.
Make your donation today and help fund a nurse for our National Help Line.
Please help us to make a difference to people’s lives.