Category Archives: Serious stuff

whoa…you have a blog?

Yes I do. I just completely left it untouched for over one month. We all do this right?

Although it is completely negligent of me to bury my outlet, I have had time to think up thoughts, you see…

Topic for discussion:

What is your labour truly worth?

My job is in the caring field and I chose to go in this direction. It’s really something I feel drawn to. It certainly isn’t the money I can assure you that. But my philosophy goes something along the lines of “caring for and helping people is rewarding” or something like that….

One of my 3 jobs I find more exhausting (physically and mentally) than the others and let me brief you without too many details but enough so that you can understand my reason for discussing your worth in labour.

The other day I showed up to work at a location I was last at in December – clearly I would be a bit rusty on the specific procedures but I consider myself “with it” enough that I am great “on the fly”. Immediately I am left alone with four individuals that do not remember me or really know who I am – and it’s 7 o’ clock in the morning (on a Sunday).  Things were off to a rough start. I spent 2 hours convincing one individual to move out of one room that someone else needed to use ( you can use your imagination to figure out which room that might be), cooked pancakes for everyone, assisted with 3 full on baths/showers/help to get ready. I was sweating by 9am. But really, this is kind of what I had expected – although it had been a while since I had worked in a place like this, I expected the chaos.

What I did not expect was yet to come.

In a nutshell, I was groped by one of the people in the house. Not like a gentle kind of possibly accidental one either. I was pinned down and my upper torso area (again figure it out) was grabbed while in front of the other people I was supporting. I was shocked, embarrassed and extremely distraught at what happened yet I had to pick up and carry on until the end of my shift. Of course there was paper work to be filled out and incident reports etc. but I seriously had to carry on like it was no big thing.

It was shortly after this exact moment that I thought to myself
“holy crap…is this really worth it?” Like how much do people really put up with at their jobs to earn their keep?

I know there are tons of examples of crap situations in the workplace. I just wanted to get it out and possibly get a discussion going….

I’ve moved on (I think) and have found better things to focus on in my week – such as the fresh oysters we picked, shucked and feasted on tonight.

I’m back blog…hopefully for good.

-SM

Advertisements

Bitter Sweet Work Stuff

be a mess emo boy b/w

be a mess emo boy b/w (Photo credit: EmoHoernRockZ)

Well I want to thank you all for your thoughts, ideas and input. It’s been tricky to decide what to do and emotional for me…I am always emotional but definitely NOT emo. (I feel like this last sentence could be my new catch phrase: Sarah Marie: always emotional, definitely NOT emo.)

I am taking the higher paying contract job and remaining on a casual basis at the job I love. I feel I get the best of both worlds: the freedom to build my own schedule, more money but still get to work where I really love. I figure this is a temporary scenario until the time is right in the future to apply for another permanent position at the place I love with better hours. My boss there totally understood but she was sad – which didn’t help. But I appreciate the chance to have both and realize in today’s tough job market (especially on this island) I am extremely lucky!

I had a couple of sick days this week – I wasn’t entirely playing hooky either, I actually did feel on the brink of a nasty flu (aching muscles, ear aches etc). With that time I did some productive things from the comforts of my bed and couch: I wrote some short stories and joined twitter. Totally random and unrelated right?

You may have noticed on the side above Jean Luc Picard a ticker with my twitter stuff.

The short stories were partially for an assignment for a course I am taking (well one of them was) and also for random enjoyment. Perhaps I have found yet another hobby to dabble in…and perhaps with some polishing I may share one of them sometime…..we’ll see.

Tomorrow is a marathon workday for me so I’ll likely try to check back in after the weekend. Happy first weekend of spring! I’m off to do the roller derby workout before bed.
Adios Amigos

-SM

With a little help from my friends

I know…I need to tell you all about the scrimmage on the weekend past. More on that later.

Right now I am faced with a tough decision to make and in a pathetic attempt to avoid making the full decision solo, I am soliciting input from my friends and readers.

So…for the month of March I have been making a conscious effort to track my mileage and gas receipts for my commute to and from work.

The scenario:

In January I got a permanent part time position at a job I really love. The downside is, I work 5 days a week for an average of 4-6 hours each day. I drive about 40km in each direction to my place of work. The sick reality is gas is costing approximately $600/month. This is a little less than half what I take home in pay (after union dues, taxes etc.)

Recently I inquired about a job cleaning fancy vacation rental properties. Not glamorous by any stretch, but my Mom and I used to do this privately a few years ago and made some good mad money. The plus side of this opportunity is as follows:

A 10 minute drive to and from work. $2/hour more to start (compared to my current job) with a raise in a month or two. I work solo most of the time at swanky beach front properties.

The dilemma:

I really really enjoy my ppt job. BUT it is costing me to do it. So the decision seems obvious from an economical standpoint but I still feel torn.

The risk:
Right now there are some days scheduled in the next couple of weeks for the vacation property job and I’d need to give notice NOW to my current job. But there is a risk that there is not guaranteed every day work quite yet but will get busier as the nice weather approaches. Oh geez…just writing this all out is making my head spin.

Do I give up my ppt job and ask to stay “on-call”? Sure this is an option I suppose.

Ok….tell me what you think.

Thank you for reading and your input – I REALLLLLLY appreciate it.

-SM

There is light…..I can see it

It’s been a drabby and long, wet, winter. Today the sun has graced us with its presence here in small town. I celebrated by sleeping in (gross – but I worked a 19 hour shift the day before) and took the pups to the dog park. I walked by my chicken coop that I am itching to fill with life (as in chickens) and took mental note of the work I will do on it this Monday.

Chickens are on order for April – can’t wait! But in the meantime I will be occupying myself with getting the garden going and learning more about that. In addition to keeping up with my goals.

The light I am referring to is not only the sunshine: I am talking about breaking through the long and arduous wall that has been keeping me from getting financially stable since this move in November. Moving is hard and a huge financial burden, let alone moving to an island and establishing a job and working all that out. I am days away from being able to let out a huge sigh of relief and hopefully sleep restfully (after celebrating). The thing about money and the stress that accompanies it, is that it is hard to get it out of your mind, especially if you are falling behind. It can be terrifying: how will I make it until ____ date? how will I pay off ____ bill? what about gas for my car? There is always something that comes up it seems.

When we moved, I was in school full-time (correspondence) and had a loan, a small savings and the attitude that I can get a job anywhere. Which is true (to an extent) but what I did not take into account is the possibility that it could take a while to get going. I am grateful and realize how lucky I am, but MAN it’s been a hard few months. So my strategy to get through this all was to keep the best attitude about it as I could. Inevitably it got to me and there were times where I would stress and stress until I made myself sick. What a mess.

But I did keep telling myself that “it has to get better, and it will.”

It did. And I am quite certain it will continue to get better. So the sunshine today has really assisted in not only boosting my vitamin D intake, but also my proverbial spirits. The sun is shining and the weather is sweet my friends. Take some time to appreciate what you have, what you’ve worked for and share it with someone special.

Much love,

-SM

Accepting defeat

Today is a sad day for me and I couldn’t figure out how else to channel my feelings, so I thought I’d reach out blog-style. I have pets, and I love them very much. I have had a cat for years and a couple of years ago I adopted the cat I currently have. She’s a nice cat but very very shy. She often hides most of the day and wanders around at night.

We (my partner and I) have been experiencing a troubling issue with our cat for 1.5 years. She pees on our belongings. Unfortunately it is mostly on my partner’s clothes, bags, work stuff but on other occasions it has been random: our bed, blankets, laundry. It sucks. I have taken her to the vet (many times) and been told she is healthy and it is behavioural. I have tried artificial hormones (like a “glade” plug-in with cat-friendly scents), cleaning the litter box daily, vet recommended food, playing with her, talking to her, fancy litter box. I have tried and tried and tried. I love her so much that I have spent money that I don’t have to try to curb this problem. It has caused a great strain and tension in the house now because I am constantly in fear that she’ll do it again and I won’t find it in time.

A few weeks ago while doing laundry, we discovered she had done it again and peed on a fancy wool sweater of John’s. Disappointing indeed. We had a talk…….It has to stop because it isn’t fair for anyone now. If the cat is upset or doesn’t like someone or her surroundings then I have to accept that. We just can’t keep finding our belongings marked. So the talk resulted in a last effort to “socialize” her more, which she does but she still managed to do it again. This time on an expensive piece of work equipment (that is fabric – kind of like a giant heating pad) that John uses for work.

Today I am faced with having to find her a new home and it makes me so incredibly sad. As I said, I would rather her be in a home that she is happy and relaxed rather than force her to stay here and be upset. But I can’t help but feel that I have failed somehow. She acts happy and lovey to me but she keeps doing this behaviour. I am sure that I will come off as a heartless bitch for parting with her, but that is far from who I really am. I am a sad pet owner that has run out of ideas and energy to curb this problem that has taken over my house in the last while.

My feeling is that my beloved kitty is best with a single lady rather than a big guy and two dogs (and me). I only hope that I can find the right person and that I will have the strength to let her go and not allow my own ego and emotions get in the way.

Are You Afraid of the Dark?……(I am)

I’m not afraid to admit it. I’m afraid of the dark. That’s funny. Not being afraid to say I’m afraid. Anyways, it’s true; I am scared silly by the prospect of being alone in the dark. And this is no funny matter. I have included a small list of things that come to mind for me while I contemplate my adult fear of the dark. Maybe, just maybe, I can work through it.

  • Shadows are creepy…..it can be as easy as a distant car driving by and the faint shining of the headlights that hit one of the walls in the house, but let’s face it….it could also be an ominous boogie-man doing shadow puppets to get a rise out of you.
  • Strange “house sounds”, you know the ones. They are the sounds of rapping at the window or the side of the house. Sure, they could also be the heater kicking in, but it makes more sense that the same shadow-puppet boogie-man is running a xylophone stick along the side of the house as he skips gleefully around your house in circles, laughing and snorting and looking all crazy. Obviously.
  • Dogs barking in the distant. I have dogs, but I KNOW this is spooky. The dogs are trying to warn you that there is something very creepy in your basement…..or your closet, and it’s most likely that bad-ass boogie-man.
  • Any scary movie. Ones that particularly come to mind are “It” because clowns are messed up, and the one with the scary kid with cat-eyes and teeth. Why is it that I am afraid of a creepy little cat-kid? Because cats like the dark and I know he’s hiding behind my door.
  • Ghosts. They seem to be quite lively in the dark. Which is ironic, since they are dead.
  • Pretty much anything that goes on while it is dark (and I happen to be alone, whether it is alone in my bedroom, or completely alone in the house).

Some of the things I do to feel even slightly less frightened include:

  • Flashlights….they are everywhere because I realize at some point I have to sleep and that requires lights off. But what if I have to pee? Flashlights.
  • A good clear path from the light switch to the bed to make a good, quick dash for under the covers. You’re darn rights I still make the mad dash.
  • *not to sound alarming, this only applies in the rare event that I am in the house alone overnight* I keep a sharp kitchen utensil at my bedside.
  • As a follow-up to the last point, I realize the kitchen utensil will not “cut it” (pun!) for a ghost, that is why I now have an enchanted tomahawk for such an occasion – which can also be found at bedside. (Apparently enchanted blades can take out ghosts and other spooky beings)
  • portable phone near by.
  • A text-book. For some reading that will surely put me to sleep.

Once you are done poking fun at my serious affliction, please provide any suggestions. Do I need a Ouija board? A Rabbi? A Ghost Hunter? A Life? Help!

SM

A big life changing moment that I will share, but don’t make fun of me

So last week the inevitable happened….earlier than anticipated. I gave notice to my job. I was planning to do this eventually, especially since we plan to move. But I did not quit for that reason alone. I have enjoyed my job and it breaks my heart to even think about breaking the news to the people I have been supporting for some time now. Thinking about it is really sad. I’ve had bouts of tears to my own personal network about it, which I feel shows how much I deeply care and how it breaks my heart to see “the system” disappoint.

My ultimate decision to do it was a long time coming, and included some personal values and beliefs that felt violated by my employer. I am in the human services field. This is what I am studying, this has been my life’s journey. I have been responsible for real people and their lives and my role has been to help these people realize their own potentials, goals, big and small achievements – things that we do in our lives every day without ever considering to be “a big deal”, only at my job, sometimes it is a big deal.

The interesting thing about the job I’m about to leave is that it can be easy to appear as a non-person. I know it sounds weird. But in the business of supporting others, often there is so much emphasis on “these others” that we as supporters/counsellors/workers/caregivers/whatever-we-are-called goes by the wayside. It is a job that I believe requires a healthy respect and appreciation for all people involved. I truly loved the work that I have done and currently do. It certainly isn’t glamorous, but it is amazing to see some of the tiny triumphs for some of the folks I know.

The deal breaker has been the actual employer for me. I now feel that for an organization in the community living field to flourish, size and grandeur should not be the focus. A small, focussed organization has the ability to really become experts at providing exemplary service rather than expanding at exponential rates having not perfected the level of care for those people already in place. In order for carers (like me and many others) to be great at caring, there has to be some incentive and a healthy respect. Because I felt that some new developments where I worked were not up to ethical standards, and in fact were a step backwards, I was made to feel like a bad employee. After MUCH contemplation I realize I care more about the well-being of the small group I was caring for than the big company. So if that means I go out with a red flag on my file, so be it. My reasons remain deeply rooted in my personal values that I am no longer willing to compromise. Sadness…..

What I am faced with now is kind of scary and exciting. I am a very logical and methodical person. I like to have a contingency plan in place before I make major decisions. Guess what? I don’t have one. In fact, the funniest thing about this all is that I quit my low paying job that I gave my heart and soul to, to become a volunteer! Well that and a full-time student (living off student loans). Crazy. This feels like a big life moment for me and I have been a bag of all sorts of mixed emotions. Thank goodness for having some solid people around me (including John) because this is so drastic for me that it has me constantly debating with myself.

I think that I am satisfied with my ultimate decision. It will be a great relief to be done with a big corporation-style company that violates some things I believe to be right about this field of work. And I am a firm believer in Karma and that things always work out. Should I need a job right away, I’ll be able to get one.

Go with your hearts everyone. Do what feels right to yourselves. It’s been a very empowering experience.

The trouble with caring…..

So for those of you who don’t know me, I work in the caring field. As a student chipping away at a degree in Social Work, this seems appropriate. My job revolves around a series of unique tasks that are enjoyable at times and less than enjoyable at others. But I wouldn’t do it, if I didn’t care.

I’ve just spent the last 4 months in a role as a manager/carer. It was a great summer filled with challenges, frustration, pride and of course fun. This last week, I ran into a particular challenge that required me to work several hours past when I should have finished, resulting in a long, stressful and exhausting day though I wouldn’t have done it if I hadn’t cared. The day was so much in fact, that as I finally disembarked my bus in White Rock (from Vancouver) and nearly 11 o’clock that night, I stopped in at the local beer and wine on my walk down the hill to my house and grabbed a tall can of Kilkenney for the walk. It was a clear night, I could see the stars and the moonlight reflection off the water below.

I found myself sitting, alone, late at night in the middle of a (non-busy) road down a huge hill, watching the sky and the reflection on the water. It was lovely and I truly wish I had a picture to capture the night sky. I realized how little I allow myself to slow down and breathe. I barely wanted to peel myself up off the ground to keep walking (but a car came eventually) since it was so peaceful.

I realized how I need to care not only for my loved ones and the people I support at work, but I also need to care for myself.

Today I had a conversation with a colleague I respect, about the past summer and the events that went on through work. I’ve had some pretty mixed feelings about my job as of late – I like what I do, I do not like the organization I do it for. I justify this contradiction by affirming to myself that I am going to work purely for the direct people I am supporting. So, during this conversation about the organization I work for, I really realized how easy it is to be managed and overlooked and walked over. Not ok right? New lesson learned: Do not go quietly. If something doesn’t sit right (for example, if you experience something morally or ethically wrong in your beliefs) than it needs to be said. Speak up! Fight the good fight! That’s what I am currently planning to do.


My theory is if I can make an inch of difference or raise any sort of awareness on the subject of social justice, the well-being of real people or a lack of moral standards in the workplace, than I can move on a happy clam.