Total Pageviews

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Another layer of the onion

Yesterday I had to return to the shop in which I used to work, and which one year and four months ago, tried their very best to get me the sack. They didn't quite succeed, as after a long and very stressful disciplinary and grievance procedure which we each brought against the other, for various things, I decided to resign.

The reason I had to return was because an item I had bought from the shop, a couple of months before I left, had stopped working. I won't say what it was, as it would give the game away as to who the company was, which would not be good form. I didn't reveal their name then, and am not about to do it now.

I was surprised after all this time how angry it made me feel, and how difficult it was for me to return there, especially as the girl who reported me for my so-called misdeeds was standing behind the counter when I walked in. I could sense her discomfort and the way she kept looking at me out of the corner of her eye. I was served by a very nice man whom I did not know, who had just transferred from another nearby branch which had recently closed (I hope they handled it a little better than they did the branch I originally worked in). He told me a few interesting snippets about what has gone on there in recent months - like the fact that the Manager had most of February off for 'personal reasons' and returned to find that four of her staff had suddenly left - including the other one - a young man who purported to be a musician - who had reported me - I wonder why? I also though can't help wondering why I am still interested and think it is any of my business anymore, as I really am so much happier and better off since I left.

The situation there, which was ongoing for months and tied in with the closure of the branch that I previously worked in, which was not handled at all well, gave me the opportunity to work through many layers of work related 'stuff' that I had been holding on to and repeatedly experiencing for almost 20 years. Like a gramophone record that is repeatedly played until it wears out, it was beginning to wear me out, and wear me down. Each time it happened, the feelings grew more intense, until I came to the point where I knew that I no longer had a choice but to see it through and express what I felt, and so with Coran's encouragement and support, I did. The results and the fall out, for both parties were not pretty, but the rewards have been immense.

So, why I continue to feel so angry about the whole situation remains a mystery. I really felt that I had come to terms with it all, and moved on with my life, but each time I have to go back to that store, up the feelings come all over again. We wear our feelings like layers, and each time we work through a layer it is like shedding a skin, so I suppose yesterday was all about shedding another layer of that proverbial onion - like an onion, many tears have been shed along the way.

The end result though was good, as I got the replacement product that I needed - thanks to the insurance that I had the foresight to take out. The guarantee had expired, so otherwise I would have been stuffed. I now then have a shiny new toy with play with, and yet more feelings to toy with and ponder on. For the moment though, I am off to the gym ... Just like the treadmill at the gym it seems like I spend my life going round and round the same old stuff - one of these days I will see it coming in the distance and run towards it rather than away ...

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

A controversial issue

A strange thing happened at work this week, which I am not sure I should even write about, as it is quite a sensitive issue. Nevertheless, it is one that has really got me thinking.

About a month ago, a new Kitchen Manager was appointed, whom I and most other staff, get on very well with. However, for some reason one of the care workers, who is from West Africa, does not seem to get on with her at all. I suspect this is because this particular girl has a habit of taking things from the fridge for her own consumption which she is not entitled to. The Kitchen Manager has pulled her up on this a number of times, but she continues to do it, sometimes under her very nose, hoping it will go unnoticed. It may seem petty to pull her up on this, but the thing is that all departments, the kitchen included, have a budget that they need to stick to. If that is regularly or even occasionally over used, then the money has to come from some other budget - and more often than not this is the wages bill, meaning that there is less money in the pot for overtime, bonuses and wage increases. This then is something that affects us all.

Anyway, a few days ago this girl was caught red handed, and the Kitchen Manager once again pointed out that she was not entitled to consume this particular product - that it was meant for residents and not staff. The Manager went on to say that since she had already poured it (fruit juice) into her mug, she might as well consume it, upon which the girl went over to the sink and poured it down the drain. The Kitchen Manager was understandably very unhappy at her actions and further words were exchanged, upon which the girl stormed from the kitchen muttering words to the effect that the Kitchen Manager 'had a thing about black people'.

This shocked and upset me, for it is a serious allegation to make, and since the Kitchen Manager had left the room by then, I felt obliged to inform her. She in turn felt she had no option but to discuss the matter with the Care Home Manager, whom once she had calmed down, went and spoke to the girl who had made this allegation. Thankfully she did not wish to make an official complaint, but had she done so, I made it clear that I would have backed the Kitchen Manager up, for the comments that she made had nothing to do with the girls appearance or race, but were merely pointing out the fact that she was in effect, stealing, taking as I said previously, something that she was not entitled to.

The whole episode left a rather nasty taste in the mouth and has made me re-assess the way that I relate to this girl, in that I have seen a side to her that I do not much like. It seems to me (and I realise that this may sound controversial) that many black skinned people are far too quick to use the race card when they are caught out for doing things that they should not - when I worked in retail, it was not unusual for black shoplifters to use the race card and insinuate that they had been banned or removed from the store because of their skin colour, rather than because they had been caught shop lifting or up to no good. I mean, I have never heard of white person using the race card and stating that someone dislikes them because they are white, so why are black people so quick to use this?

I recognise that as a race, blacks have been greatly abused and mistreated by our society and that racism continues to be a cause for concern, but in this situation, the girl was clearly seeing things that just were not there. I don't know either what her history is and whether she has been subject to racist taunts in other areas of her life that cause her to feel this way, but if this is so, then she needs to get help and not take her problems out on other innocent people. It is just not the way to go. I mean we all have issues (I know that I certainly do), but we need to take a step back and learn to channel our anger in a positive, non damaging way that does not affect others.