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Thursday, 11 October 2012

Paying off Karma

I have had a really strange week, that this morning has left me feeling really out of sorts. It seems at the moment as if the mind just keeps on ticking over, going into overdrive over what seems like trivial matters, but when put together, add up to make one complete and rather large whole. The pressure is mounting as the weather starts to bite, at this my least favourite time of the year - all sorts of things need replacing - winter clothes, eye glasses, my car stereo and so on, but the money doesn't seem to come in to match.

I have been in this job for almost 3 1/2 years now and during all this time not once have I received a pay rise, or even been told that one is on the horizon. I know that many others are in the same boat, but one has to consider that the health care sector that I work in is one of the most underpaid and overworked in the country, if not the world, notorious for this sort of thing. The problem is not you understand with the job itself, although there are certain things that I would change, or even with the Manager, but lies fairly and squarely with the Director, who in this case is a former Director of the investment arm of one of the big four banks.

To say that he is difficult to deal with is somewhat of an understatement. In the environment that he is used to, people do not communicate but rather, shout, and stamp their feet if they do not get their way. I have seen him do both on numerous occasions. He has this habit of getting angry for the least little thing - a mop and bucket left in the wrong place, a few specks of dust on top of a cupboard, things that in the scheme of life, like I say, considering the sector we work in, are really not important at all. But for him of course they are, for every time this happens, he sees it as an attack on his imagined authority. I say imagined, for although he (sadly) writes the cheques, he does not run the home - we do that, every one of us who works there, cleaning floors, washing clothes and wiping bums. I sometimes think that the carers get a really bum deal, but someone has to do it!

The lack of pay rise has though been on my mind, especially since I completed and passed my NVQ. To my mind this should entitle me to a raise, since this increases my value, but has one been forthcoming? No.

About three weeks ago, the Head Housekeeper, my Line Manager came to see me and said that she had asked about a raise herself, and had been told that she had to put in a formal written request. So, knowing that if I did the same it would add weight to her own request, we got together and put out letters in at the same time. The Care Home Manager, whom I have a very good and open relationship with, has indicated that to her the pay for the entire team is a major issue that needs urgently addressing, and that if she has anything to do with it, we will all get the raise that we deserve, but three weeks have gone by with no word from him. He is as I write, ensconced in Birmingham at the Conservative Party Conference. It worries me that a man like this has political aspirations, and says a lot about those who have already voted for him as Councillor in the London Borough where he lives. I would not have been one of them had I lived there!

He is though one of these people (a growing trend) whose world is quite literally crumbling around them, as the balance of power starts to shift away from those at the top (for this read those with the money), for bankers believe, that is this that brings power and influence, and it is all about who you know rather than what you do. This though is changing, and he can see this all around him, but he does not want this change, for he knows that he will have to change with it, and so he tries every trick in the book to control and manipulate others into doing what he wants so that he does not have to. I can read this man like a book, as I have been there and so know the signs - the look on his face tells me that a lot of the time, he does know what he is doing and the effect it has on others with regard to how they view him, and he knows that he needs to change, but does not know how to do this. In many ways I feel sorry for this man, but sending him compassion is the hardest thing to do when he is shouting the odds and acting like a general, well, one of those things that the carers spend so much time wiping ...

Against the backdrop of all of this lurks the spectre of winter and the cold, frosty, dark mornings with the daily struggle to get to and from work on country roads. This is also the time of year when the deaths start to increase - we have had one already this week - the husband of one of our long standing residents. The gentleman in question has been a regular visitor to the home seeing his wife several times a week. Around a week ago he informed us that he was going into hospital for some issues with his heart, exactly that these were I do not know, and so he would not be visiting for a few days. He was due for discharge on Tuesday, and when I got to work I found a note at the Nursing station requesting the Night Nurse to prepare the paperwork for his own admission - I guess he was coming in for some short term respite.

I didn't think an awful lot of it, and continued with the rest of my job, but then a short while later I had the thought that while he was there something would happen to him, and he would not be staying with us for long. Then, ten minutes later I was told that he had passed away. This understandably was a shock to all of us, as it was so unexpected. Later on that day, I was told that his wife had said to one of the Nurses last time he visited that she would not be seeing him again - somehow then she also knew. It was then for most of us a sad and rather subdued day.

While all of this has been going on, I have been trying to buy winter clothes from Ebay - to be precise, Rohan outdoor clothing - mostly jackets. Last winter I bought a beautiful fleece with matching zip-in waterproof jacket, but I have since lost weight and so both are now too big. They have sold out of the small sizes in the colour I want, and I could not afford them anyway, so I have been looking on Ebay instead. Three times now I have sniped at quite literally the last second, losing garments which I really needed to see me through the next 10 winters. It is heartbreaking and for me a really nasty thing to do, to steal something from right under someones nose like that without giving them time to react. I have though decided that I must wise up, and if you can't beat them I will join them - without feeling guilty, as although this might not be the most ethical of behaviours, it seems that on Ebay at least, it is the norm, so when my next auction runs out, I will be one hovering around my mouse putting in my last minute bid and gazumping the others, and seeing how they like it.

Today though is a day off - Coran is with a client, and the mist and drizzle has descended, so I am off to bed with a good book!  After the week I have had, I can only conclude that I must be paying off Karma at a vastly accelerated rate!

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