For many women, the menopause – and the period leading up to it- is a stressful period. An important system in the body is out of balance, while daily life continues as usual. You can literally be sick due to your menopause and want to call in sick.
Recent research shows that, especially in the work environment, attention to menopause complaints is perceived as a taboo. Reporting yourself sick is often chosen as a possibility after a long period of worrying.
Talk about it during your application procedure
A smart women is prepared for her future. This I strongly believe. When I was in my late 30’s, I saw my older friends, who were in menopause, struggling in their work. I decided that I don’t want to organize my working life like that. During the application procedure with my current employer, I indicated that, by the time I would get into the menopause – and possibly get complaints – I wanted to be able to work part-time without discussion.
Not a light step to put this forward during an application procedure. I think many employers don’t see this coming, which can cause awkward moments. Stay calm and professional and make clear that you want to be and remain employable. This also benefits an employer and is a lot cheaper than absenteeism.
Discuss it during performance reviews
If you get a negative response, that’s fine. Often there are still plenty of moments where you can raise your wish for flexible working hours. Take for example a performance interview where you can indicate that you have, for example, used leave hours to compensate for sick leave. The fact that you have invested in advance can convince an employer.
Ask for flexible hours
What helped me enormously is to ask for flexible hours. At one point I had trouble sleeping through and often had stomach pains. It made it harder for me to keep up with my work. I decided to ask my manager if I could occasionally make a quiet start to the working day. It made a big difference to me whether I started at 9.15 am instead of 9 am.
This cannot be achieved at every workplace. However, you can try to gain understanding from your employer and colleagues. It helps to think about it beforehand. So you don’t have bring it up during heavy times.
- Talk to your employer and record that you “must” be able to work part-time if your menopause complaints become too much for you. Discussing it beforehand makes it easier.
- Discuss it during the application procedure. Stay businesslike and do not discuss your complaints in detail.
- Discuss your capacity during another occasion in the HR cycle.
- Do not count hours if you are allowed to start a little later, but deliver something extra when you feel good.
Who knows, someday special leave will come for women in menopause. So that you can take time out when you feel overwhelmed.
In my next blog I will tell you more about how you can deal with these feelings of overwhelming at work