Eternally Grateful

I was thinking this morning while getting up, feeding kitty, making my tea, etc… just how lucky I am to work where I do. How many others out there do not have a workplace where it is acceptable to be mentally ill and be so open about it, to have it taken so freely, to have the benefits to stay off on a sick leave and get paid full salary as I am, to stay off work for a further period if it is deemed necessary (sort of like a Short Term Disability and still get paid…) I mean, sure there may exist within the company some individuals that might possess some negative feelings about it but by and large, my company as a whole does not stigmatize people who are mentally ill.

That is huge! In this day and age, there are still people that have to cross huge bridges and jump major barriers to deal with mental illnesses and that is if they actually choose to be honest about them. The rest, they hide. They bear the brunt of the fear and shame for risk of losing their jobs, their friends, who knows what else?

I posted earlier about being fired before. I never went into great detail in this post but I covered the basics. And I went on to complain a little bit about how it made me feel and how I was bitter about it. I still am. I know that sometimes bitter feelings may not be good for you and you learn to move on and forget about things and maybe I have a bit but it still hurts me and haunts me to this day.

I never went into the actual reason they fired me. It was lateness. I know, petty. But they had every right to do it. We worked on very tight shifts and timeliness was important. But PA with her sleeping problems made getting up in the mornings sometimes difficult. I drove at the time and sometimes traffic was also a problem. There was even an accident I couldn’t avoid and that was counted. They were so sticky about it even one minute was counted as a “strike.” So many strikes and you were “out” to use a baseball metaphor. Well, eventually, that was it.

What did them in, however was their computer software for keeping track of the time! Oh, I had to laugh at that one. They didn’t go the old fashioned route of using time cards or anything like that which certainly was more reliable. No, they had to be all smart and “with the times” but they purchased a really bad shareware program and PA had worked with it and knew it was so bad. They actually had no records to prove my lateness when it all came down to arguing the case!

Still, it would have been hard to prove elsewhere that it was in fact the whole illness matter that was the true cause of my dismissal. There were no real records of that. Even today, it would still be hard though times have changed with Human Rights here and our Charter of Rights and Freedoms Act. Oh well, it’s in the past.

I often think how things would have been different as I quit university and decided to take that job full time. What would I have become? I imagine myself in the Hallowed Halls of Academia with my Ph.D (or heaven forbid even that M.D.!) or pursuing some other profession even though it might have been difficult to get there. But I’m getting off track.

I had been at that job for nine years though. I was trying to leave as there was nowhere else for me to go but I was hit by a preemptive “strike.” That’s a pretty long time in this now current world or job/career changes hither and yon. I have now been in my current position seven years. Let’s hope I stay there and I am not forced to move on to another workplace that is not so sympathetic to my health issues. I think I should be okay where I currently am.

We have come a long way in terms of awareness and acceptance, though. I can feel it. There are tremendous advocates out there but we still have a long way to go.

  1. I was pretty close to being fired for lateness at a previous job. We got as far as written warnings before I preemptively quit. Strangely they didn’t take kindly to me pointing out that the actual time I’d missed there was less than the acceptable amount of time off sick you could have without them getting wound up about things. Then again, I’d been late by four hours more than once, so maybe they had a point.

    My current workplace is being fairly good about things. We’re quietly cruising towards the stage where someone will want to talk to me about whether I’ll ever be returning. My manager talks to me as if I’m liable to break into tears over the phone at her (more so now she’s seen the occupational health report, detailing all kinds of fun things), but I can’t really blame her for that.


  2. Hi chimpy, I’m glad to hear that things are fairly(?) good at your current workplace and that you managed to get out of the last one before you got axed.

    I really didn’t know what to do when I was looking for another job as I had in fact been fired. How on earth do you explain why you left your last job?! I just kind of told a little white lie and said that it was time for me to move on. Well, it was! I just didn’t say the precise reason!

    I had two excellent references that were from the company that we worked for–not from the contract company who fired me. Unfortunately I could not get a job with that company as they had some ridiculous clause about not hiring from the contract group. Also, they were very particular about their new hires having degrees (of which I am lacking) so it’s doubtful I would have even made it to the interview stage. I find that truly ridiculous as I probably could have done so many jobs there but it doesn’t matter now. I have a decent one now so I landed on my feet eventually.


  3. Yeah, companies are often reluctant about hiring agency staff themselves, since they usually have to pay a significant finder’s fee.

    True story: At the job I quit, I was originally hired on a 3 month temporary contract. It was a ridiculously ruthless company; if you’d had more than a couple of days sick, or hadn’t met your targets, they’d extend the temporary contract. rather than give you a permanent one. If you were unreliable enough then they’d let you go and were paranoid enough that I saw people collect their things and be escorted to the door in the middle of the day. I was one of the few who’d applied directly to the company. Most people were hired via an agency and were, I think, paid even less than I was.

    So, with my constant lateness, they refused to upgrade my contract from temporary to permanent. Except, it turned out at my second review that my original manager had given me the wrong paperwork first time around. Both he and I thought I was signing a new temporary contract, but it was actually a permanent one, which made it much more difficult for them to take action against me. Rather than just letting me go, they were going to have to do things properly, with written warnings and so on.

    It was quite weird, but given the levels of incompetence I saw there, it didn’t surprise me. Only time I’ve ever got a job by accident, though.


  4. Oh, chimpy, that is funny about how you signed the wrong paperwork and got a permanent position! I love it! But yes, I have heard of ruthless companies over here treating Temp. Workers quite badly as well. It’s not fair when all you can even get is that sort of work and then you just get crap in return for it. And yes, it seem the pay is always less! No benefits either!


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