End of an Era

This morning I went in to the office of my old job for the last time. I had to pick up my w-2 since it never came in the mail, despite updating my address when I moved a while back.The entire drive I felt an anxiety attack coming on. I really didn’t want to go but I needed that piece of paper.Imagine my surprise when I felt depressed upon leaving the office.

Its not about the job itself. By the time I quit in august of last year, I was done. I started in the care providing field at the age of nineteen back in the summer of 2000.The first agency I worked for provided services to adults with developmental disabilities. Those clients in were in a community protection program, meaning they required 24/7 line of sight supervision.The majority of the clients were sex offenders but a few were violent or were arsonist. I worked for that agency for nine year. I started at $8.15 as a double staff and ended at $16.75 an hour as a manager.

My big mouth got me fired about four months before the company was shut down by the state. The very things I got in trouble for speaking out against were the same things that got them shut down. Of course that meant nothing to me at the time.After being unemployed for a month I got a job in the deli at top foods. The job paid minimum wage and I averaged nine hours a week.I felt the job was beneath me but at the time nothing else was coming along. Of course I found out later some smack talk by my former boss may have been the cause that.

After six months of frying chicken and sweeping floors I received a call from the last agency I worked for. I was elated to have a full time job again and to be in social work. The thing was I had interviewed with the company seven months before for a management position and was passed by. The call seemed to come out of nowhere. After doing some digging it appeared that it was a combination of my best friend Allen, an employee there, kept bringing me up. The other thing was my old boss had lost his company and suddenly felt like telling the truth. I started at $9.20 an hour but at least it was forty hours a week.

Even though I had interviewed for a team leader position before, and held the tittle above that one, they were surprised that I was so good at the job. I got a bunch of compliments and praise. Within six months I was running the house I started at and was making a whopping $11.55 an hour.It was made clear very quickly that the wage was frozen and I would never advance past my current station. I never deluded myself into thinking this would be a career job but the lack of any further advancement made it obvious. I had to leave.

I miss the client I used to work with. The clients were never the problem. Most of the people I worked with were kind, compassionate,generous people. I found in my years working in the field that the people at the top were often the problem. I’ve honestly never dealt with so many passive aggressive people in my life. The anxiety I felt this morning was a common feeling driving to work back then.I was constantly in fear for my job despite the constant praise. Why ? Anything bad that happens is the low man on the totem poles fault and I’m the way low man.I didn’t get in much trouble at the last job but my big mouth never went away. I’ve got way too much integrity to let things slide that affect a clients quality of life. That often painted a target on me.

It seems I learned a little from the first agency because I left on positive this time around. I have no doubt that had I stayed I would’ve gotten myself in trouble again.Another key factor in my exodus was finding gainful employment at the comic shop.The shop is awesome for countless reasons. Key among them is a respectful boss, flexible hours, and the opportunity for raises and advancement.I absolutely love my current job.This mornings depression was simply from the realization that an era had ended in my life. This is by no means a bad thing.

For thirteen years I was a care provider. I learned a bunch of invaluable skills. I spent six of those years in a management position gaining even more skills.I met wife during my days as a live in staff and made many friends.Becoming a family man finally drove things to a head. Care providers are expected to drop everything and live for the client, even on their time off. As much as I cared about the people I worked with I found I couldn’t give that time anymore. Even though its for the best its harder to say goodbye than I thought it would be.

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