Lake George Road, Sept 2007
Finding myself on this road today I wondered about my own destiny. As much as I've tried to fit into a place where I felt I could provide and share of myself.......to help other human beings find their way in their journeys, it was made clear to me today that I'm not wanted. No, I wasn't fired. I was told that many find me difficult to work with.
Though I have had clashes with some over the mistreatment of the citizens whom we serve, I have never heard this before. In fact up until I was moved out of my office, away from my colleagues and into another building and a new group of people who had no idea what to make of me, I was Miss Congeniality in the office. I have the mug and the photo to prove it! I was a mentor to the younger staff, I was a well respected trainer, counsellor, consultant. I was respected and my opinion and feedback was sought by many staff. I had many referrals, helped many people and was productively an integral part of a team who respected me. Well, except for one it turns out. And that made all the difference.
I'm difficult to work with. Yes, I do confront. I will demand that we own our own mistakes. I will go to bat for someone whose needs are perhaps outside of the normal realm of policy. Why not? Why would we not consider human contrived policies a living breathing ever evolving piece of legislation? These are debated daily in our courts and political forums every day!
I will also be the voice that isn't being heard. Turns out I irritated too often.......AND I irritated the wrong people........the ones who work underground to besmirch one's integrity. They did a good job because the virus has spread. I am to be avoided I guess until I go away.
When the "feedback" was given to me.......it felt like a kick to the teeth and a punch to the stomach. But, I knew this "label" had adhered. I could tell by how I was being treated, and how I wasn't being included in discussions or meetings in the past. It made complete sense to me, though I had prayed that I was just being paranoid..........that their treatment of me was simply because they didn't have the time or energy to find the best place for me. Not so.........and now I know. I WAS dumped from my old job into another undefined one and left to rot.
I'm a threatening person to work with..................It had begun as a couple of seeds planted by a few whom I have been an irritant to over the years as I challenged and advocated on behalf of a client or a staff member (which BTW is part of my job).
Now, I have been labelled this way. I'm too over the top. Scary I am, I am!
And guess what? While I have tried to find my own way in this job I was dumped into with no direction, no workplan, no emotional support or a speck of anyone going to bat for me, I scrambled and scraped and became more and more distrustful. I reacted, responded and continued to ask questions. I started by just being diplomatically direct......assertive.........but alas, it was perceived as bitchy, threatening.........I was stepping out my place of honour. By so doing, I fueled the fire. I played right into a self-fulfilling prophecy. Yes........I reinforced the notion that Im difficult to work with. I didn't play the game. I guess if I knew I was into the middle of a game, I would've tried........ but I just kept thinking........ they must see what it is that I offer.
I don't offer what is required. ooooops.
I thought if I owned my own feelings, and mistakes...........if I verbalized honest feedback and shared my feelings about how I was being "used" that someone would see the good I had to offer. Instead, I guess I continued to scrape at their own wounds they were trying to cover up. I revealed their incompetence. I was too much of a pain in the ass to help.........ignore me and I would go away. In so doing, I dug my own grave.
And yet............when I reflect on the week.............
This week, I have met with several individuals. I have listened and counselled and done my job well. How do I know this? Because the people who shared their deep wounds with me, who spilled their tears while revisiting past abuse, addictions, and depression and suicidal thoughts, because these special people thanked me, hugged me.............dried up their tears and felt better.....who left with smiles on their faces..........who called me afterwards to thank me. I didn't dream this. It happened all week long.
I also had several phone messages two of which were from two gruffy old men with very serious health issues whom I had met last spring on separate occasions to welcome me back to work..........to tell me they missed me.......to ask for help...........and they called me "Dear." When I first met them, they were defensive and distrustful of the system. Now, they are reaching out when they need to.
I had two emails from individuals whom I had helped years ago........touching base now that September is back and we're all getting back on track. They both thanked me again for "being there" for them.
I also had staff who sought me out...........to talk about a certain case........to ask about my family and how they are doing...........to welcome me back........one asked me to help her with writing out a job reclassification because she trusted that I could find the words to describe what she does in her job. Another wanted to tell me about a situation which rattled her, made her question her ability in doing her job. I reassured her, and told her that I would be there to help with this case when the next meeting rolled around.
So, I must be doing some things right..........right?
I met another person who works in the system, who travels the same back roads and who often meets with the same people as I do but in a different capacity. We spoke the same language....the language of serving citizens.........and began a new link to one another so that we could provide a more cohesive service.
I planned future appointments......some in my office and some on the road. And, I also advocated.......loudly to no avail for a person looking for a place to live.
In the evenings............it was a busy week............I chaired a meeting, found a new executive for my son's Home and School............began the planning of a Christmas Bazaar. I met with all of my daughter's teachers so that they would know that she is supported at home and that we take education seriously. I also took part in a wonderful group organized by a colleague who has just experienced a 21 day spiritual meditative course in India. She gave us all "oneness blessings" after she shared her life altering experiences.
Gee.......maybe I need another one of those oneness blessings........
SO many positives which fight for attention. Unfortunately, my goose has been cooked. Even though I was just TOLD this in a blanket statement with no specific examples or situations identified and with no names attached to the victims of my apparent bullying, I am not a stupid person. The writing is on the wall. I won't be receiving any direction or help to find the right fit for me in this work environment. I have been made redundant in their minds.
I have no other choice but to redirect my attention on a career change and get out of there. AT least I finally know where I stand and that my paranoia was justified.
Today, after receiving this news, I got in my van to drive out to see a couple who live in the country, who are in need. Afterwards, I took the long route home to enjoy the beginning of the fall colours.............to clear my head, to think of my journey, to reflect on what mistakes I made........which ones I own, to find some perspective, and to step out onto this quiet road to look for a new signpost.
Let's hope it's just around the bend. I have faith that it's not too far away.