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I Sued and Suddenly I’m Self-Employed

March 11, 2022

The pandemic has been a time of tremendous change and upheaval for me.  As previously posted, I have CLL, which is a form of blood cancer that is incurable.  However, with treatment and monitoring I am expected to live at least 20 years since diagnosis (at 42), hopefully more.  New treatments are coming through all the time, two since I was diagnosed and one of which I am on now!  It’s unknown, so I’m assuming I will have a ‘normal’ lifespan and acting accordingly.

Before the pandemic, I had been working for a firm of solicitors as Legal Secretary for over 19 years, and had spent 10 of those years as a qualified Specialist Paralegal fee-earning for them with clients in Wills, Probate Administration, and Powers of Attorney.

meme by Dom because I complained one didn’t exist for my job.

Boom, pandemic.  I went into hibernation shielding on 15th March 2020.  I have not been released yet; it will be two years of shielding soon and I’m thinking of a having a party of one.  Two if I let my husband attend.  Three with the cat.  I was due to start chemoimmunotherapy in that month, having already had bone biopsies and aspiration of bone marrow in January 2020.  It was delayed, and I eventually started treatment in June 2021.  I finish in June 2022.

Blood cancer, especially my kind which is chronic and incurable and means I have a very compromised immune system even when not in treatment and also means the vaccine has very reduced if any efficacy, means a very high risk of death from any covid infection.

There was legal protection whilst the furlough scheme was in effect.  However, my firm was being subsumed by another as the partners were retiring, and in April of 2021, when I was working 20+ hours per week from home, the firm switched.  From that point, I was excluded from being able to work.  I have not been to an office since.  I have not seen the work colleagues I spent so many years working closely with.  It was a small firm, only 8 of us.  I did not realise when I went into shielding that that would be the end of my working life in an office.

One case through ACAS later, which I won, and it is accepted by the DWP that I am no longer able to work outside the home safely.  No job interviews for me.  I am hampered by the pandemic and the disabilities I have, which whilst no employer will outwardly say so, puts me at the bottom of any prospective firm’s wish-list in the job market.

I have even been advised by HR to lie about my health to get in through the door, as if they’d never heard of probationary periods.  I spent six months of last year trying to be heard, only to have professionals talk over and around me and make decisions for me without any consultation at all.  I was completely open with them.  They were not.  I had a mini-stroke from the stress.  There is a reason I won the case.

So, I made a new year’s resolution.  I have many skills, I have a brain, I can work from home (as proven by the 11 months I did so successfully whilst on furlough), and furthermore there are a lot of people out there who do not want their blood relations to have rights over them and their estate when they die.  There are many people in non-legally recognised forms of relationships who need to have their chosen family covered in the event of their death or ill-health.

It feels a bit like a calling.  I know though that if the transfer to the new firm had worked then I would still be with them, working from home.  The security of a wage has always been extremely important to me.  It has taken a mini-stroke and therapy to get me to this point.

Now I could not be more excited about my new business.  All Inclusive Wills, named by my mum when I told my parents what I was going to do and who I intended to help first.  My options may be limited, but I am so excited about this one it doesn’t matter.

I know I have the relevant expertise. I have systems in place to ensure continuing professional development courses are accessed.  I have business cards, a website, precedent documents ready to go. I love the job of creating the legal documents and seeing the relaxation of my clients when they know their wishes are met and their loved ones safe.

image description: All Inclusive Wills for your chosen family, written in purple font over a turquoise background. There is a black-line image of two hands grasping to form a heart shape. Purple V shapes outline the image on top and bottom.

It launches on 6th April 2022.  Watch this space!


From → Autobiography, health

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