Employment, Redundancy and MS

This week Fergal Hughes shares his thoughts on life with MS, employment and the feeling of guilt after being made redundant.

There are maybe few things more satisfying psychologically than to have a job, i.e. to have paid employment, to feel like you “belong” someplace during the hours of 9 to 5, Monday to Friday.

And consequently, there are maybe few things more devastating than to be made redundant from that job.

Years ago, I worked 10 full years in a small but ambitious software company. Before the boom, there was only 12 or 13 staff. During the boom, the number rose to as high as 25. A small team but we knew each other as intimately as a family.


Unfortunately, my job was made redundant in 2008... along with some others’, which means that my MS had little or nothing to do with it; after a merger, the new owners were changing the direction of the business as regards the technology they were using and I and my skillset (along with 3 or 4 other people’s skillsets) were no longer required.

I remember after the redundancy, I felt so deflated. I felt like I had been told by the world, ‘you’re no longer needed’.

I tried to find other employment. But soon I realised, that this was going to be difficult.

MS itself had encroached significantly on my life physically and the limp in my right leg had become prominent. I didn’t know if I could even still be “successful” in interviews, aptitude tests, etc.


After some time, an opportunity arose to do a year-long internship in a locally-based multinational computer company. I applied and was given the chance to take it. I jumped at it! Well, I figuratively jumped at it.

After a couple of job interviews at the company, the internship turned into paid employment and I was never so happy.

The job itself was very challenging and stressful but I tried my best to keep my head above water. Sometimes succeeding, more times (probably) not.

However, MS-wise, I’d found that I had progressed further still. Physically, it’s my right side that’s affected and I had noticed that sensation and muscular movement in my right limbs had lessened somewhat. Over time, my boss told me that he did notice that my cognitive skills (memory, understanding) seemed to him to have worsened.

Then, after 4 years (5 years if you count the internship), I was told that my position was being made redundant. I was devastated … again!


With job redundancy, there is tremendous guilt. I feel like I’ve let my kids down, it breaks my heart. I also feel embarrassment and shame.

But just having MS, I feel a lot of guilt. I think this feeling happens to most people living with MS.

The guilt of feeling like you’re a burden; The guilt of attending or not attending social events! Now I had to add on the guilt of losing a job.

This last redundancy only happened a few weeks ago, so things are still raw for me. Things have to be considered now. Options have to be weighed.

Either way, I will attempt to get back into employment. Hopefully, next time you read my blog, my situation will have improved. I can only try.