A woman sits at a desk at home and cradles her head in her hands and dollar signs encircle her.

Deciding Whether to Go Back to Work or Not

If you’ve read my other articles, you will know that before I got sick, I was a remarkably busy person. I used to work a lot while being a student in college. I was always on the go.

I went out on sick leave from work in March of 2020. I was too sick to work. I had no energy, and I could not walk properly or stand. I was bed-bound for three months.

In the past year I have gotten much better. I’m still tired all the time and constantly in pain, but it is manageable.

The stress of not having an income

Since leaving work I have been claiming illness benefits. Which is €203 a week, a lot less than what I was earning when I was working. My illness benefit stopped on the 7th of July this year. This has caused huge stress in my life. I have applied for disability allowance. This will take at least 8 weeks to be approved.

Luckily, I am living at home rent-free. My parents help me out a lot. But I miss earning money. To be honest, I miss working. As much as I dreaded going to work, I had a routine and I enjoyed meeting new people. Now I’m finding it hard to stick to a routine.

Today I went to the café where I used to work to get a takeaway coffee. Every time I go in there my old manager asks if I will come back working any time soon. I do not know if I will be able to go back to work in a café.

But like everything else, I won't know unless I try

I live in Kinsale. This is an extremely busy tourist town in Ireland. You should google it, it is beautiful.

Today my old manager and I had a chat about me returning to work. I explained to her that I will not know if I’m able to work unless I try it. I told her if I do, she needs to expect me to be unreliable as my illness is so unpredictable.

I also explained that I cannot start working until my disability allowance has been approved. Here in Ireland, once it is approved, I will earn €203 per week. I can work less than 20 hours a week and still receive this payment. So, if I were to return to work on a trial basis it would have to be in 8 weeks’ time.

My boss explained to me that they are very stuck for staff, and she would be willing to pay me cash in hand rather than being paid through the books and the bank. This way I could start working as soon as I wanted to, and it would not affect my disability allowance.

It's decision time

This really got me thinking. Am I really able to go back to work? Especially waitressing. My boss is very approachable, and she knows about my condition. We said that my first day would be a four-hour shift and I would stay behind the counter, serving customers and making coffees. No lifting heavy trays or plates and no washing up (that would really hurt my back).

So, I told my boss to give me a week to think about it. I’m going to chat with my parents. I think I will even try just one shift to see if I am able to work again.  I miss having an income and a routine. The café that I worked in really was a nice bubbly place with lots of atmosphere.

I will keep you updated on my decision.

Does anyone here work as a waiter/waitress? Please let me know your experience.

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy. We never sell or share your email address.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The AxialSpondyloarthritis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

or create an account to comment.