Standing Firm

Uh-oh! Trouble in Paradise? I'm afraid so.

It's not my job -- it's my boss.

Why is it that when we finally feel we made it to where we were meant to be, that someone is trying to stop us from reaching our goals? I love my job -- I just have a major problem with my boss.

As a job coach for vocationally handicapped adults, I teach them how to work in the community at a particular job and do it to the best of their ability. Just the other day, one of my clients had been given a different task than she was used to. She became nervous, as change is hard for her. I asked her to repeat our mantra "I can do it!" She did this and a smile broke out on her face. "You're right," she said. "I can do it!!" You can not imagine the happiness I felt at that moment. I had succeeded in teaching her that we are all capable people. Some of us may be more capable than others, but we all excel in something. I could not wait to return to the office to tell my boss. (I should have waited.) I beamed as I told her how well this particular client had done with a change in routine.

POLLYANNA LIVES!

My employer had nothing but negative reactions.

"She can't do that." (But she did!)
"She hears voices." (So do I!)
"She gets confused." (Me too!)
"She daydreams." (Wonderful!)

I stood there totally confused and hurt. I thought our purpose was to instill confidence in our clients and to show them they could make a contribution on their own. We are teachers, not baby-sitters. If I have the ability to teach and they have the ability to learn, what did I do wrong?

The very next day, my client asked me how I would feel if she told me that she did not need me on-site any longer. For a person who was afraid to take public transportation, would not talk to anyone, she had realized her ability to grow and think with confidence. She even had an idea of what she could do if she could not do her normal job. SHE wanted to ask the manager of the store if she could clean up the clothes racks, collect empty hangers, and re-hang any fallen clothes. The BIG word here is SHE! Her idea, her actions!! Hurray!

Wrong again.

Only this time I did not bother to tell my boss. The hell with her! Is she afraid that if our clients become independent, they will not need her? Isn't that the whole point? When someone has achieved a major goal, who has the right to take that from them? No one. I repeat. NO ONE! I am increasing my teaching to daily classes of one hour each. I am teaching our clients how to "Dress for Success", "Interviewing Skills" (or how to ace that interview), "Personal Hygiene", "Nutrition and Fitness", "Hair Care." Had I chosen the classes, we would have learned how to make balloon animals, created a collage to decorate the center, planted flowers, gone for a walk to hear nature, listened to music and danced. But then these are not work related. If all we know is work, how do we rest and renew?

I am once again on the hunt for a job, but this time I will choose more carefully. I will choose one that will allow me to teach with the knowledge that the learning can be used. I have made many friends in this job; my heart is filled with the joy and happiness they have given me, but I know I will never be satisfied because the lessons we share cannot be accomplished with the negative attitude of my employer.

All things are ever changing. For if things stay the same, we cannot learn. If we cannot learn, we cannot grow.

 

 

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