Saturday, February 28, 2009

Real Life - Discrimination? And New Work

It has been a week now since I quit my job. I know that sounds crazy with so many people being laid off and so many companies closing. My former employers really gave me no choice. My options were to stay and risk injury and further physical deterioration or leave. Not really much of a choice.

The short version of my physical condition is that I was born with a birth defect that required multiple surgeries and ultimately a hip replacement. I also have constant pain in my back. I don't go very many places I don't absolutely have to go. It about kills me to ride in the car. Every little bump sends waves of pain through my back, head and arms. That's not all but enough to get an idea.

I was with my previous employer 4 1/2 years. During that time I was off 10 months for the hip replacement. I pushed having the hip replacement done until I could barely walk. Some days walking was a gamble, I would take a step, my leg wouldn't hold the weight and down I would go. Almost immediately after I got off the crutches I went back to work with restrictions. No running, jumping, climbing or crawling. I also had to sit down quite often, though much less as time went on, by last week I was only sitting down a few minutes (less than 5 usually) at a time 3 or 4 times per shift and I was generally working on paperwork during those times so I wasn't just hanging out not doing anything. I should mention that I had worked my way up to assistant manager during my first year there so there was not much I didn't know how to do. The only reason there were a few things I didn't know how to do is because we were purchased by a different company shortly after I came back. Same concept, different procedures. When I returned I gave my manager at the time a doctor's statement outlining my restrictions. This piece of paper mysteriously disappeared when a different manager took over and I tried to talk to her regarding my restrictions. Hmmm....

Anyway, she kept insisting I do things that involved crawling on the floor (organization of floor level stuff), and climbing. I made several attemps to speak with her about this. Her response was to tell me that she knew I could handle it. At one point she asked if I could handle an hour by myself every once in a while. While not thrilled we were short a couple people and I figured I could suffer through an hour a week alone. That hour alone every once in a while turned into every day. Then a couple of days a week it was 2 hours alone. Finally on the last schedule it was 2 hours alone every day. I tried to talk to her about it and asked her to fix that because my body couldn't handle it. Her response: No, our labor hours have been cut and I know you can handle it. End of discussion.

I'm seeing a pattern here. Was she just trying to get me to leave? Maybe. Was it discrimination? I'm not sure. Was it just poor management or did it go beyond that? I can't answer any of these questions.

Has anyone else been in a situation like this? What did you do?

On the bright side - there is almost always a bright side - I have more time now to work on art and play with fabric, fibers, paint, beads, you name it. I am even playing with the idea of trying to sell some stuff.

Here is a photo of a bracelet and pendant that I have been working on. The colors are kind of washed out, they are a good bit darker. This is my first attempt at jewelry. What do you think? I really like working with beads, I'm sure I'll be using them more frequently in the future.


Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Whatever game this new management was playing, it sure wasn't fair or right. It was downright dirty.

How's your hip and back doing now? I hope much better. I was told many years ago I'd probably need a hip replacement due to hip dysplasia. I started taking fish oil and it made things much better for about 5 years...and then the pain and stiffness and creakiness started again.

So I started taking Glucosamine Chondroiten a year ago, along with the fish oil and within 2 pain or hip buckling as I walked down the stairs.
So far so good and I hope this helps me hold off on future surgeries.
I'm still healing from my knee reconstruction surgery from 7 weeks ago. gah!

Hang in there. Your beaded jewelry is lovely :)


Cory said...

I love the color choice, but then I like denim. Here is a tip..if you are using beading thread, be careful with the long glass beads. They have a sharp edge that will cause the beading string to break just by wearing it. As pretty as those beads are, I rarely use them when beading anymore.

Hope you are feeling better. Hope you keep making jewelry.

shirley bligh said...

Well what a piece of work that woman was. You are so lucky to be free of her. The advice of Lisa sounds good. Have you ever tried Bowen Therapy..doesnt cure what you have, but eases the pain.

On a happier note love your work, you are so clever and creative. Have you conidered classes which could be done at your own pace and within your own health restrictions.

Good luck, You sound a very strong person and I am sure you will be able to overcome all this.

xx shirley B