Temp job terminated

goodbye copy.jpg

Today I picked up my last check from my temporary holiday job. I am still processing the whole experience.

I shared the first part of my experience in the post Re-entering the Workforce.

After my hours were cut down to 10-12/wk., I began to feel confident that maybe I could do this, and began to consider staying permanently.

That decision was then made for me, when one of my managers approached me and said she heard a rumor I was leaving at the end of the month. I told her that I had planned on leaving whenever my temporary job ended, I only knew it was up to 90 days.

She informed me they already decided to keep me and made me a permanent employee, and then asked if I was okay with that. I honestly didn’t know. She went through a checklist with me,,Did I like the people? Yes. Could I handle the hours? Yes. Did I like my position? Eh…Yes. Okay then, why don’t I just give it a try. She walked away congratulating me. I had a big proud smile, but, I was shaking inside. I really didn’t know how to feel and I was scared.  I was thrown for a loop and concluded that I would just take it one step at a time, and I could still leave if I wanted.

The next few weeks the pros and cons were weighed and feelings processed.

The pros:

  1. A sense of purpose. I highly recommend either volunteering or working a few hours a week to anybody on disability if possible; because the sense of purpose is highly rewarding and therapeutic.
  2. A little bit of extra money. Though this was truer when I was working 15-20hrs/wk. When my hours were cut, I was only making $30./month more than I would be back on my benefits, and that’s not figuring medical expenses.
  3. Socializing with others. It is definitely a positive experience (yet terrifying with social anxiety) to get out of the house and socialize with other human beings.

The cons:

  1. Working was very challenging for me. It took all my energy and strength to maintain a job. I found it extremely difficult to constantly process the anxieties I had to deal with.
  2. I had to cut back down to one therapy session a week. I realized that I was going to have to put therapy on the back shelf for a few months but it was disheartening because of the increased anxiety.
  3. I was working for less money than my benefits. After figuring out medical expenses, (because they cut some of my medical) it wasn’t worth it!

Some feelings:

I felt slightly manipulated, not having been discussed to regarding becoming permanent. Then I wondered if it were some kind of corporate maneuver. My co-workers were begging for hours and yet they hired me. Why? Was I cheaper? I listened to the woes of a woman who was struggling financially because she couldn’t get hours. She had been working there for years, and the only answer she got, is that it was because of her raise. She then added that the Now Hiring sign still hangs outside, but yet the already employed can’t get hours. This made me feel bad and not want to be a part of the corporation.

Other things bothered me too. The manager that informed me I was permanent had really aggressive and poor communication skills. I had an unpleasant experience with her when she called one evening to ask if I could come in, because some one called out. I never responded, I was out when I got the message and didn’t think anything of it until I saw her the next shift I worked. She acted very angrily and made it clear it was directed to me. I never confronted her on it, though I did discuss it in therapy; because I wasn’t sure what to do.

A week after I became permanent, she approached me again offering an extra shift on the weekend if I was interested.  I told her I’d think about and thank you.

The following weekend, I got called by a different and very upset manager that I didn’t show up for my shift. I explained the conversation with my other manager and that I never said I would work, and had no idea she had put me on the schedule. That was my breaking point,,my decision maker. I realized that I couldn’t work there anymore. After weighing the pros, cons and feelings, I concluded that the extra stress wasn’t worth less money! I gave my notice a few weeks later.

had enough

I found having to give my notice was almost as challenging as asking for the job to begin with. Ashamedly, I think it’s the first time I ever left a job with a notice. I explained that there was just too much on my plate right now and that was why I applied for a temporary job. They received it well and were appreciative of the two week notice.

quit job

 

All in all, its been an enlightening experience. It was a great boost to my self confidence. I know that I am capable of more than I gave myself credit for in a long time. I now know what to expect when I do start working permanently, as far as all the cuts to my benefits, so I can plan accordingly for the hours and wages that I will need. I also learned a little more of what I’m looking for (and not looking for) in a work environment.

Now it’s back to the drawing board. I want to work on my blog and my writing. I would like to start an online shop with my daughter, selling crafts and vintage stuff. I plan to sell my old burlesque costumes. I will also return to EMDR therapy and work on my health. In the Fall, I will look for a job again.

back to drawing

 

 

 

 

 

Reentering the Workforce: My Holiday Job

back to work

One of the reasons I haven’t been blogging as much lately is because I had been totally consumed by my temporary holiday retail job that I started in late November. Reentering the workforce is one of the most daunting tasks while on disability. Especially challenging for me, because the work I was doing before my breakdown was not realistic for me to return to. Therefore, I literally have to start over.

I worked 16yrs as an exotic dancer, several years as a model and aspiring actress, I had my own shop with my mom, and I have had several employment experiences ranging from waitress to veterinarian technician. This resume is difficult to convey in a simple application. I left the dancer, model, actress bit out and focused on the retail and customer experience.

Narrowing down what to put in the application was the first step. Then how do I explain a ten year gap? Personally, I find the truth is the best policy; however, I have learned to keep that truth to a minimum without having to share my life story. I simply stated I was hospitalized and placed on disability and that I am only now beginning to return to the workforce.

The application process behind me, the day of my interview I was calm, grounded and confident. I’ve worked very hard in therapy and I noticed the difference in my anxiety level.

However, on my first day I had extreme anxiety. I reminded myself that it was okay if I couldn’t do it; but there was a part of me who knew I was ready. The loud thumping in my chest was only slightly subdued by my deep breathing. I gasped for air as I sat in my car outside the building. I forced myself to take slow, deep breaths which helped me calm down enough to not be overcome with panic. It took every bit of my strength to walk inside, and I went immediately to the restroom, where I took more deep breaths. I told myself, Ok I made it in the building, I cant turn back now. The rest of my first few days were more of the same. One baby step, one deep breath, at a time.

The first week I worked mostly as a cashier. I had experience so the learning part wasn’t too overwhelming; but being thrown into confronting social anxiety by having to greet and converse with customers was mind blowing.  I had planned on speaking to a manager to ask if I could work a different position at least some of the time. Learning to communicate with employers is a skill that I realized I have never learned or practiced. During the earlier part of my life, my pattern would be work hard, shut up and when it gets too much, quit. I asked my therapist how to communicate my needs; but, never had to have the conversation as my second week I was put in the fitting room, this is where they were short staffed.

The fitting room has brought quite a different set of woes. Standing in one spot for hours with nothing to do but gaze out at the store is maddening. I came home in tears as my feet were red and swollen, and my mind screamed, I cant do this. I was completely and utterly overwhelmed; but I persevered.

I just kept showing up, and by the end of my third week it started to feel slightly easier. I felt an amazing sense of pride. There I was in the middle of chaos and the holiday madness, and inside I wore a calm big proud smile. I did it. I forgot the comradeship you share with employees, after a hard day’s work. It was a good feeling.

My fourth week I had a mini vacation for the holidays. I had requested the time when I got hired.

This is the beginning of my sixth week. I finally feel not so consumed and overwhelmed. The holidays are over and everything has calmed. I am only working two days a week as my hours were cut from 20/week to 10/week.  My employment will end Feb 24, as it is only up to 90 days.

When I thought I couldn’t go on another day, I did. I may not be ready for full time employment; but, I have learned that I am not totally disabled or incapable.

It has been an enlightening experience.