Men(opause) at work! – How do we cope?

Any of us who’ve managed a team at work will have spotted them – the women ‘of a certain age’ who bring a certain ‘glow’ to the working environment.

There they are, bravely battling on in the face of aches, pains and puce-of-face inducing flushes.

Such symptoms would have most men heading for home and their beds, but as women, we stoically carry on – it is only the menopause after all…

Research has suggested that for as many as one in 10 women going through the menopause, being in the workplace is a struggle. Put simply, the menopause and work are often just not a good mix.

I know this first-hand because I quit my own executive position. Not that I could have told anyone why – I didn’t know that menopause was the cause!  My head was in the grips of a hormonal horror story and before I could comprehend why, I’d thrown in the towel. There was no one to help me make sense of the menopause and hindsight only arrived on a much later bus.

I felt that I was a ‘waste of space’ and certainly didn’t have someone in the workplace, such as occupational health, to speak to and seek support from. My emotions ranged from anger and aggression to being a blabbering wreck. Who was this person and where had she gone?

Vocalising how I felt would have made it real, an admission to myself, and I was concerned others may then start to scrutinise my erratic behaviour and moods, label me as ‘a bit mad’ and think I wasn’t pulling my weight. Better to quit while I was ahead (or out of my head!)

In this day and age of workplace mental health and wellbeing, women really shouldn’t feel they have no choice but to resign or face disciplinary procedures or dismissal for behavioural changes, brought about by the menopause.

Any employer worth their salt should have support available when an employee is struggling mentally or physically with the menopause. If they don’t, then they risk losing good staff for all the wrong reasons.

The menopause takes no prisoners – but there is help out there and if our colleagues are struggling, we have a duty to listen, understand and help in any way we can.

NB: Employers have a Duty of Care – menopause is recognised under the Disability Act 2010, as a disability.