Sunshine

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I was hoping to sit by the bank of windows, their light murky and scattered by years of grime. Ceiling tiles overhead have been removed to reveal years of dry, and maybe, wet rot. A spare classroom. Used for students who need extra testing time, the afterschool program’s space to complete homework, or on Wednesdays where I unglamorously provide mental health services to kids. Here I sit across the room next to the electrical outlet to charge the phone.

The sound of students reaches me: running in the halls, shoving each other in the cafeteria line, the dull thud of soccer balls.  I try not to think about who sits alone at lunch or who is bullying to the point of being sent to the principle’s office.

I want to sit against the window pane. Instead, I stare at the little table at which I do all my work covered by my lunch bag and coffee mug, the EBP model booklet, coloring pencils, collage materials &c. The vestiges of last cling to me: dry eyes and a headache, perhaps a resurgence of a pinched nerve; more likely holiday dread. My own, but also the kids whose heads swim with financial dreams their parents can’t meet; dreams of hover boards, happiness, fully attentive parents, family trips.

I’ll hold them, but Jesus, are you holding them too?

Substandard

Since my last post, my financial issues have continued to get worse. I continue to pay in excess of 360$ for car insurance. I learned this is due to my insurer coding the scrape I incurred from my then-new garage as an accident, instead of hitting stationary, inanimate non-vehicular object. No injuries, no bodily injury, no collision payout to a non-existing second party. Thank you, Farmer’s Insurance Exchange. You’ll be losing my business once I find someone to replace my policy at a slightly lower cost.

I’m looking at other positions in the mental health community. I have started to dislike my job very much. Since the company picnic for it’s community services sector, the supervisors have been embarrassed by how it was presented:

  • no hired entertainment: we had a theme, each team was to dress and act it out.
  • dessert were those little plastic cups of ice cream that usually come with a wooden spoon; except there was no spoon.
  • Vegetarians received a flattened sandwich from Subway (creepy, right?); meat-eaters got what looked like a kid’s meal with a thigh/leg/breast from KFC, with cole slaw or Mac & Cheese
  • There were $5 Starbucks gift cards for winning a water balloon toss, party hat made from the animal/long thin balloons

I don’t want cookies, or a water balloon toss. This company is an embarrassment to itself. On their career page they say “join one of California’s  largest and most awarded behavioral health companies” and boast of being selected as “Best Places to Work” in 2012 by L.A. Business Journal. How can you expect to be seen as awarded and best when you treat your own employees as children? How can you strive to be a local industry leader (they tell us this is their goal in staff meetings) when you treat your employees in a substandard manner? I have been with this company for four years, and I’m still paid below entry-level for a full-time, 401(k), health benefits position.  When I’m done paying rent, car insurance, car payment, student loans, internet, gas, gasoline, Water & Power, and my out of pocket therapist (nearly no therapist is covered by the insurance provided to us; I checked): there is  no money left for me to buy food. Let alone things like car batteries (I had to get a new one the previous week for $200, which led to me cancelling my therapy for two weeks), shoes (which have holes and are falling apart), birthday gifts for family members, Christmas gifts, co-pays on medication for migraines (I haven’t  been able to take medication for years due to this).

I’m embarrassed by my employer: treatment, lack of appropriate income/compensation, pressure to take PDL if we don’t meet productivity quotas, etc.  I can’t even talk about this with friends or family members whose own employers host parties and company picnics with catered food, provided entertainment, give a raise that’s worthy of being called a raise.