October 28th, 2008

Yellow head

The Job: How It All Went Down

In the last meeting I had with the management of the care home I worked at, I was given three options: I could be fired (let go, as they nicely put it), I could work a months notice, or I could work to improve my performance and be assessed over a period of fortnight.

The owner of the care home wasn't at this meeting. I got to stare across the desk at the deputy manager and the manager himself, instead of the trio of inquisitors who were there previously. I was willing to compromise to quite a large extent, even agreeing to work outside my job description (decorating and gardening). I admitted to making recording errors when dispensing medication and to making small errors when giving out resident's money. I offered a strategy in my procedures to make sure I wouldn't make these mistakes again.

But when it came to admitting that other aspects of my work were well below par, I found I just couldn't agree. I'm not perfect, but there's really not a lot wrong with the quality of my work. I'm popular with the residents and liked by most of the staff. The management's criticisms went well into the area of a personal attack, questioning my commitment, my ability, and inferring that I was uncaring about the residents.

I was also asked, as part of the deal, to remain silent over what had gone on in the disciplinary meetings, and agree not to make anymore negative comments about the owner. The latter point particular irked, as they're clearly trying to stamp down on any dissent. The home recently had it's refuse containers taken away because the owner had failed to pay the council tax. Staff moral is low, and so there is much complaining about the owner and his dreadful attitude to his workers.

These final points went well beyond where I was able to compromise. I'm certainly not going to humiliate myself just to keep a low-paying job. Amazingly, the management were really shocked when I then told them that I'd prefer to be fired, rather than be spineless and bend to their will. They really thought I'd just cave in and do anything other than lose my job.

So I'm out of work, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. I'm hugely relieved that it's finally over. The anxiety I've been suffering these past few weeks, has fallen away from me, like (and here I struggle to find a simile, but you know what I mean).