My Sweet Angel

My Sweet Angel
Playing Peek-a-Boo

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What to do, what to do?

Well, I'm wondering if I should keep my current job or not, given the current economy. Feedback is invited and most welcome. I have a part-time job as an aide to an ASD child on a school bus. I ADORE working with the kids, but the bus driver (in particular, who we'll call 'Linda') just HATES me, and I don't know why. I've been working this route with her since the beginning of September, and have been using the 'kill her with kindness' technique. The monitor (the one who oversees the other, less violent, children) we'll call Sherri. Sherri is also a union rep, who is supposed to be working on my account.
There was a silly misunderstanding about a week in that is so dumb it's not even worth going into. Linda's style is to win at all costs, and she attempts to do so through screaming and threatening. I was told that if I didn't agree with her 100% (which would have caused me to perjure myself) that I was not allowed on 'her' bus. Now, my supervisor and another union rep have told me repeatedly it is 'OUR' (Linda, Sherri's and my)bus, but that does not play out in daily life.
I deal both physical and 'mental' disabilities (ie, clinical depression; but I've said for years that I'm the 'happiest depressed person on the planet')such as degenerative disk disease, fibro, depression and anxiety disorder. Yet, I have remained absolutely even-keeled, friendly, respectful and cheerful no matter what. When kids have gotten violent, I always make sure I take the blows (I'm VERY protective of other people).
I could give you a long, long list of things I've been falsely accused of and written up for (all of which are eroding my position and leading towards termination), but here are just a couple: on sick days, even though I give them the required lead time, I am written up. I have been written up for doctor's appointments that I've told them about 3-4 weeks in advance! (And I have to submit a slip, so they have it; plus I remind them all along the way).
Last Thursday a largish child got very, very violent. Neither Linda (a large, strong woman) nor Sherri (a smallish, older woman in her 60's) were handling him. He was trying to kill the quietest, gentlest child we have on the bus (for some reason he hates that child - is there a reflection going on here?) 'Though I am to stay ONLY with 'my' child, I had to intercede, and did so, by insinuating my body between that of the violent (let's call him 'J') child and Sherri. I got him in a bear hug with his arms pinned, and got him into his seatbelt. He learned quickly I wouldn't let go unless he settled down, so after a bit he did so. I intuited it was a ruse, so still held him, but more gently. Sure enough, he went completely wild again and again - screaming how he hates all of us, trying to bite us, kick us, punch us, etc. He figured out how to hurt me by head-butting me. I pulled his hood up to soften the blow and that seemed to work. We were there, parked, for over an hour; the entire time I was handling 'J'. Even the cops came (who did nothing - they were SUPPOSED to take him off the bus!).
Anyways, Linda FINALLY decided to send 'J' and his brother, 'H' ('my' child) back into the school for the staff there to deal with the situation, as the other, well-behaved children were getting rightfully upset that we weren't moving towards home. As usual, once things were back to normal, I asked Linda and Sherri and the children if they were alright. They were. NO ONE asked me if I was alright, and I was (as always) the one who took the physical beating. (Please know - I do NOT do this out of a sense of 'heroism'; let's just say my upbringing made me very, very protective of innocent people, even those who are cruel to me).
We finally got on our way, and as usual, I began using levity to try to lighten up the situation and help all have a better day (people in seminar know I'm a bit of a 'cut-up'). I always do this, especially when there's been a great deal of tension. It's my way. I talk to anyone, especially strangers who look like they are having a bad day, and get them laughing. I love it. This has never been a problem, and Lisa and Sherri join in and laugh and joke.
But on this particular day, because we were delayed for so long, it was well past time for me to take my Excedrin and Neurontin. I asked Sherri to hand me my purse (so I didn't have to leave my child), and then I hunched down in the seat so the kids wouldn't see me take my medicine (all prescribed and okayed by the company doctor, mind you). But on the next day, Friday, I was called into the office (a hardship, as I have no way to get back from there as there are no buses that go out that far). I was CHASTISED and told that Sherri said I had 'acted giddy' after taking the medicine! (Neither of these medications makes me 'high' or changes me). Since that Thursday, I have been accused daily of my 'mood changing due to medication'. Funny how it was never a problem until Sherri saw me take some tablets.
Now, I LOVE working with the kids, as I've said. I've tolerated having to sit as an outcast at the back of the bus so as to avoid pissing Linda off every day. I have handled every turn of events with equanimity. But when I learned I was being accused of 'being giddy' due to medication (and I understand that Sherri needs to put the needs and safety of the children first, so that is not an issue), I spoke with Sherri about it. She said 'After you took your medicine, your mood changed'. When I asked how, she again said I'd become giddy. I told her this is medicine I've been taking for a couple of years, and it is in my system around the clock, so there really cannot be a 'mood change'. She countered by saying that I'd been on it so long I didn't realize what it did to me. Now, I was speaking to her in a serious and somewhat dour manner; an affect I can assume but only as needed. When I reiterated that the medicine did nothing to my mood, she said, "THIS (my dour, serious, heavy state) is your REAL self; the other happens when you take medicine', I 'uh-huhed', nodded, and went back to my seat at the rear of the bus. This was the final straw for me. ANYONE who knows me (and I am having them write testimonials for the Friday meeting) knows the so-called 'giddy' me is the REAL me, and what Sherri called the real me is more a tool used as necessity than anything else. So, I was being told that, in addition to having to put up with the endless harassment of these women and this company, I was NOW to be all sour and serious all the time! I may be ABLE to handle that, but I don't want to. So, I told my supervisor that I'm taking a leave of absence; and that is the main reason for the upcoming meeting on Friday. What is said will determine my choice.
So, I would LOVE your input, responses, advice, PLEASE! Thank you!


  1. Debra,

    After reading all this I honestly say that you stepping down would be best for you. I am usually one who tells everyone to never give up, but I learned from watching everything my father in law recently went through that...Staying at a job you hate or are completely stressed out at is not worth it. The stress will wear on you and your health and mind set is more important than putting up with people who treat you like that. I hope this helps.


  2. Dearest Jennifer:

    I only now came across your comment; God Bless You! You know, both my doctors told me the same thing. But, like yourself, I hang in there until I'm, well, hung. I wish I had read this earlier, but BOY, is it appreciated even now! If you get a chance to read my new post, I walked out of the insane meeting. I will NOT return to that bus. Will other routes become available that I can get to in time without a car (they leave REALLY early in the morning, before public transit can get me there)? Will I ever, ever want to go back there again for ANY route or reason? Right now, my gut says, 'Nope, I've HAD IT'.
    What's taught you this wisdom, Dear One?