Why we need to talk about menopause at work

Often menopause creeps up on you during the peak of your career and when your life is very busy. It’s those years where you’ve worked hard to get where you are, you might be looking after a family, caring for relatives…..you’re juggling lots. The symptoms of menopause are another thing on that list to manage and it’s not easy.

Having a hot flush in front of a room full of people during a presentation is not fun. Neither is looking at the slide deck, knowing you have something really important and profound to say but you cannot find the words. If you’re like me, you’re wondering if anyone has noticed that you look like an erupting volcano or if you are completely dim.

Women have fought hard to break through barriers in the workplace for years. Although women still only make up 30% of leadership roles in the UK. In an instant gratification culture, where worthiness appears to be associated with numbers of Insta followers, youth, beauty and a neverending need for ‘perfection’ (by the way that doesn’t exist, sorry to burst your bubble), it’s no wonder women don’t want to talk about menopause at work.

As disappointing, disheartening and downright wrong as it is, ageism and discrimination still exist. Women leave their jobs during menopause. Women are managed out of their jobs during menopause. Women are treated badly in work due to menopause.

Lack of sleep, anxiety, brain fog, forgetfulness and feeling pretty rubbish can have a significant impact on you and really knock your confidence. You may be starting to question whether you can do your job anymore…..you absolutely can!

The first step is having a conversation with your manager. You don’t need to go into the intimate details of your monthly cycle, but you do need to let them know that you’re experiencing symptoms that mean things are different for you, and you need their support. If you don’t think your manager will be receptive to a conversation, speak with someone in the HR team or a trusted colleague.

You can read more about how to start a conversation with your manager in my Menopause Mini-Guide. It’s downloadable from the pop-up on this website, or you can request a copy here

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