I am both celebrating and commiserating this week, strange as that sounds, for I have a new job. I say commiserating because although I know that it is time to move on, I am still sad for the lovely residents and the staff that I shall leave behind who have supported me.
I must say though that I was and am surprised at the speed in which it all happened - the universe in this case seems to have pulled out all the stops. It is almost as if once the decision was made, the universe said to me, "right let's get you a bigger and better position before you change your mind".
My decision to move on was precipitated by the news that the Manager of the home in which I work has once again decided to move on. As the third manager in a little over 18 months, this does not bode well for the home at all, and she will in my humble opinion be a great loss, for above all the Managers we have had, this one was the best opportunity that we had to turn things around and make the home the truly holistic place that it once was and could once again be. That though has all gone out of the window, once again because of the Director and his attitude. During a conversation that I had with the soon to be outgoing Manager, who was originally taken on as a Deputy, it transpired that following the abrupt departure of her predecessor, our former Manager, and her promotion to that post, despite the huge increase in responsibilities, she has not received a pay rise either. Of course once her own decision was made, The Director offered to match her new employers offer, but like me it seems that he underestimated her ability to sense, see and hear, for it is not only about money, but a matter of principle and so it is now for me too.
Following then her announcement and my own decision to leave, I went straight home and logged onto the website of a company that was recommended to me by my neighbour and friend, who used to work there. There I found a housekeeping job in a relatively local home, the closing date for which was that very day. I emailed my application and two days later, they rang me at work to arrange an interview. It was duly arranged for Thursday just gone, and two days after that, I received a letter offering me the job.
The day prior my application I finally found the courage to ask the Director to his face when I could expect a reply to my letter - a letter which was sent 7 weeks ago asking for a pay rise. In typical head in sand stance, his response was that his wife deals with this sort of thing, and that we would have to arrange a meeting. He doesn't at the moment know that I have other plans, or another job, and I must confess that my ego enjoys this knowledge. My ego would also I confess, love to be a fly on the wall when he reads my letter of resignation. That though will have to wait until my new employer has obtained the necessary references and CRB.
The new home though is so very different from what I am used to - in every conceivable way. For one thing it is purpose built, which means no more dipping into rooms to get out of peoples way. It also means proper facilities, including storage and no more mountain climbing each time I wish to get clothes out of the tumble dryer (our Director, in his breathtaking stupidity and lack of consideration for our health and safety, has installed the tumble dryer on top of the washing machine, which means that we have to stand on a stool in order to reach it). Everything in the new home is shiny and well maintained, with no nasty smells (and that includes the ones that emanate from Directors). I could tell straight away when I walked through the door that this place is a lot more relaxed, although I am sure they have their moments.
During the interview, I had a long chat with both the Manager and Administrator and was then shown around the home. There were some interesting questions about coping with negativity and so on that did make me wonder, but I don't think it can possibly be worse than where I already am!
Although the basic hourly rate is the same, there are all sorts of bonuses that bring the pay up to considerably more than I am getting here, including double time for Sundays. These will more than compensate for the fact that it is slightly less hours at 35 per week, as opposed to 37.5 which I currently do. The fact that it is a later start at 8.30 rather than 7am will make the biggest difference of all, plus the fact that I will no longer be expected to work seven days in a row - the Manager, who incidentally started her own career in the home where I currently work stated that in her opinion this is bad practise and something that she very much frowns upon. I have then been thoroughly reassured that this will not be a case of out of the frying pan and into the fire.
All in all, no matter which way I look at it I will be so much better off in every conceivable way. Of course when Coran rang me at work on Saturday to say that the letter had arrived, I spent the last hour of my shift walking around with a huge grin on my face. Sunday was much the same, so much so that the other staff on duty must have wondered what I had taken!
Yesterday then I informed my soon to be ex Manager and the other housekeepers and domestic staff (this has come as a huge blow to them) before ringing the company to formally accept the offer and arrange a time to go and fill in all the necessary forms. That being done today, I now have to wait for the references and CRB to come through before formally handing in my notice.
Now that the news has begun to sink it, I can start to relax and let go of all the anger and frustration that I have been holding on to for so long. I am desperately sad in many ways to be leaving such a (mostly) good team, for they too have had their moments, some more than others, and such lovely residents behind, but life is about change, and I have come to realise that none of these are reasons for me to stay.
It is true what I said in the interview, that I have learnt all I need to from being here and it is now time to move on. I no longer need to experience the negativity that has emanated from this place, and the Directors attitude these past few months. I have no regrets about my time here, for it is all a learning curve, and this has been a wonderful place for me to learn much about life and about hoe the care industry works. When I first began work here 3 1/2 years ago, I had little knowledge or indeed conception of all that awaited me - it has been both an honour and a privilige to spend time with people of such wisdom, with so much to share. They have taught me a great deal, as I have no doubt taight them.
It is natural that as I start to relax knowing that the end is near the doubts are starting to creep in. I have had several really moving moments with various residents today that have tugged at the heartstrings - one of the residents went home today after having been with us for a few months. He was and is such a lovely man who has been through such a lot in his life - fighting in the war and losing his son in a car accident, where he and his wife had to make the heartbreaking decision to switch off the life support.
I had an interesting conversation too with one of the other younger male residents who has cerebral palsy. Yesterday we were talking about Remembrance Day and I commented to him that I didn't suppose he had been allowed to join the Army and fight - it was a simple off the cuff remark that I didn't really think that much of. He said to me today though that had upset him a little, but he was glad that I said it all the same, as all of his life he has fought against his disability and my stating that has made him reassess and realise that he has to count his blessings and be grateful for all that he has has and all that he has learnt. We shared a little hug and both of us had damp eyes!
All this has though understandably made me wonder whether it is the right thing to leave. I have to though realise that this is all part of the letting go, and remember that the reason I am feeling happier is because I know that I am going. It doesn't then change my decision and there will be no going back. The attitude and behaviour of the Director cannot and should not be tolerated, and if I stay it is sending a signal to him and everyone else there that this is acceptable when it is clearly not. A line has to be drawn.
I have then this afternoon been over to the new home to fill in all the forms, CRB, bank details, uniform and so on as the quicker I do that the quicker the CRB will come through and the quicker I can give my notice. It will be sad leaving all those lovely residents behind but none of them are really a reason to stay, as everything changes, and a year from now some of them may not even be alive. I know that I have done good work and changed lives by being here and that will continue with a new set of people in a new environment. They are though losing a very good person even if I do say so myself, and it isn't just me either, but Coran as well, for she has often volunteered there helping at the parties and so on, and the staff all know her as a friend as they do me. Things at the home though can only go from bad to worse, and I get the feeling that things will get a lot worse before they start to improve. Our Directors His loss is someone else's gain, and I guess that in time he will realise what he has lost. I am not the fist person to leave there, and the way things are, I certainly won't be the last.