Trying this again!
Posted by Paula on 4/22/2018, 10:25 am, in reply to "Monday gratitudes..."
I start my new job on May 21st. It has been very hard telling my clients. I asked for 4 weeks notice time so that I could tell them in one session and still have time for another session so we can process it and say goodbye. I didn't want to blind-side any of them without time to think and feel their way through it. |
I sat with several clients who cried throughout the session after I told them. Some of them I have seen for 4 years or more. These are the ones who really have never had anyone in their life that they could truly trust, who didn't need anything for them, who just wanted to spend an hour with them for them. One of my older women, late 50s, has never told anyone about her HIV diagnosis or about other trauma in her life. She sobbed and there is just something about seeing a woman of a certain age cry. She told me that she always looked forward to see me and that as the week went on something would happen and she'd say, "Oh, I can't wait to tell Paula." The hardest ones for me are those had such a hard time opening up to me at the beginning, who had never really shared their hurts (abuse as children, violence, long prison sentences, substance abuse, what it's like to be gay and unaccepted by their families and the society, what it's like to have HIV and feel like a leper with difficulty having anyone agree to having a relationship with them, the loneliness of it all, etc). Some of them have at least 4 strikes against them: gay, Black, HIV, poor.
My coworkers are taking it hard, too. They've always known that their patients were in good hands with me and cared about. There is a a 60-something year old man who volunteers in the clinic. He has some kind of cognitive delays but has led a productive life. He walked into my office Thursday and said he heard I was leaving. He teared up, then started to cry. I got up and held him and he just sobbed. It's all terrible.
This was the work I was intended to do and I am very sad about leaving it. Creating this program and working it has been the source of my greatest career pride. But the environment is too bad for me to remain. My boss is an evil person. She lies and smiles at you when she is telling you things that she knows will disappoint or upset you. 2/3s of my co-workers are looking for other jobs. She knows everyone is miserable. At the last two staff meetings, she announced that she knows people are unhappy and that she will help them develop new resumes and interview skills to help them find new jobs. WHO does that? A boss should be having open discussions about what is bringing everyone down and do some problem-solving. People already feel disrespected and not valuable. They are overworked and poorly guided. She is a (b)witch and so hurtful to a group of great people. She also is being investigated by the University and Hospital for racist remarks she made to my office mate. It was a private he-said, she-said kind of thing but I have zero doubt that she did it. I remember the day I came back to my office from seeing a patient. She was sitting there looking sort of stunned. I asked her what was wrong and she burst into tears, telling me what the (B)witch said. It was terrible. The boss is lying about all of it of course.
So it is with a lot of sadness that I leave my patients and coworkers. I love working with the HIV population and having them share their hurts from all areas of their lives. Still, I know this is the right decision for many reasons: I have to get away from this boss. I'm too skilled and old to be treated with such disrespect; I'm worn out from working with people who are so miserable. On the positive side, I'll be moving from one public health crisis to another...from HIV to Opiod (and other drug and alcohol) addiction. I like that grassroots kind of work. It will be a lot of group work instead of 1:1 work. I've not done much group work so I don't know how I will deal with that. I am best at being in a room with one person having an in depth therapeutic relationship but I have noticed a lot of burn out over the past year and, maybe it's time for me to have less of that intensity. I will be working with the therapist I used to work with in my current clinic. She left the Infectious Disease Clinic to go there. I helped hire her and now she's helped hire me. It will just be the two of us working as therapists and we work really well together. I'll be making more money and will be able to get to work in my car in less than 15 minutes. I'll be in a new building and part of a developing program which I enjoy.
So there are trade-offs but I know I have made the right decision. Yes, Krista, I know you have concerns about me but I do know it is right for a variety of reasons even though I am having to go through so many losses to get there.
I have hellish weeks ahead as I help my patients through this. I spent time crying with them...only briefly as I have to be there for them during their pain, not the other way around but I think they appreciate my tears because it validates that he/she and our therapeutic relationship has been important to me, too.
So, going to hit 'POST' before I lose another long post.