Friday, January 29, 2016

Damaged...But Not Tainted


Well, my first week of working for the county started out good and ended with a release... from employment.  I had to step down and leave due to a health issue from a previous employer that dogs my every step... Asthma!  Some years ago I worked in a building that had a very bad ventilation system, which even may have contained toxic molds.  


I tried to fight and argue, but the company insisted there was nothing wrong with their system.  "We've had it tested..." I was told repeatedly.  I even asked to see the test results and specifically know what kind of airborne things they had tested for.  They told me that wasn't possible and it was company privilege.  Finally, I was told that if I wanted to get a test done of my own I'd have to pay for it, AND I'd have to get their approval to allow the people who would do the test permission to enter the building in the first place.  

Really fair and independent, right?

At the time I was too sick to fight 'city hall' and wound up leaving.  But the damage to my lungs remained.  I've gotten better with time, but they've never healed completely and probably never will.  

Fast forward to this week.  We began orientation in a building that I had no problem with.  In fact I felt rather safe there.  But the actual training was taking place in another location which I did not enter until yesterday.  My lungs felt itchy, but I figured I would tough things out.  After all I was only supposed to be there for 12 weeks (that's what we were told in orientation).  Unfortunately, reality stepped in and said we'd be there at least 17 weeks, with the strong possibility that after that this building is where we'd be assigned.

Still I kept quiet.  But then we went on a tour and when I reached the areas where we'd be working I felt much worse.  I continued throughout the day in the hopes that maybe it wouldn't be so bad, but those of you with asthma know what it's like.  It doesn't get easier in a place that's triggering you off.  If it had truly been only 12 weeks, I might've been able to stick it out.  I was willing to try, but when I heard this might be were I'd be staying (and no there was not a way to make sure I'd be located somewhere else after the training) I had to make a decision.  

I couldn't risk being stuck in the same type of situation that damaged me in the first place, so today I tendered my resignation.  


As you can imagine, I felt completely lost and gutted by this decision.  I felt like I let so many people down, but what choice did I have.  I spoke with my better half first and she told me to quit.  She could hear the breathing problems over the phone.  

By the end of the day I asked the trainers if this was the only facility where this kind of training took place.  They confirmed that it was and then said, "Why do you ask?  Is there something wrong, you don't look all right."  I told them my problem and they were very sympathetic but explained that indeed their hands were tied.  

So I came home last night and spoke with Helen who told me not to go back.  So this morning I put on my 'big boy' pants and made the phone call to resign.  Now I had a special ID badge that I wanted to get back to them and the person I spoke with told me to take it to office where Orientation had taken place and sign the forms for my resignation.


Well, I braced myself for the experience and went to Personnel and told them the purpose for my visit.  The folks that greeted me were very sorry and asked if I wouldn't mind talking with one of the higher ranking personnel staff.  I agreed and was shown in to an office where a very nice woman sat me down and talked with me about the situation.  She was very sweet and sympathetic and then asked me a particular question that floored me.  It was "Would you want to come back and work with the county again?  In a a different position and location of course?"  

Naturally I gave her a resounding and enthusiastic "YES!"  

She smiled and told me to keep watching the employment board online and if I saw some positions I qualified for, to try for them.  I took this to mean that the fact that I got on with them in the first place, meant that they considered me the kind of person they wanted in their employ.  


I spent the rest of the morning getting myself back to full-time status as a student at the University and so I could get my full financial aid package, as well as preserve our current residence for possibly the summer if nothing else happens on the work front.

Where do I go from here?  Attend classes, try and get something part-time either at the college or nearby and keep putting in applications for State and County work, as well as write.  In short I move forward and keep trying.

At least now I know that I do appeal to employers and can land something.  Parts of me are damaged, but I'm not tainted.  There's no cloud or stain that tells people I'm "Unemployable", and that means a lot.

Until next time, take care and keep writing...