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Saturday, 1 December 2012

Choices, consequences and responsibilies

Today being the 1st of December, we have possibly another 21 days until the end of the world, not that I believe in all of that, well, not all of it. I believe that a great change is coming, in fact has been coming for some time (you only need to read the news to know that), but not that it is the end of the literal world. The material one yes, the me, me. me attitude and the idea that we can do what we like without consequences, that is the thing that is changing, very rapidly now indeed, and I for one hope that it changes as quickly as possible. When it does I can think of one or two chickens that will be sitting on very large roosts ...       

Sadly despite all my good work and effort, things at work this past week have gone from bad to a hell of a lot worse. I know that this is only my own perception and the stress comes from my own inability to deal with and accept the situation, but having said this, none of it excuses what has and is happening there and the behaviour of certain individuals, which has left a lot to be desired.

Due to the fact that one of the other housekeepers moved house on Monday, and was granted a weeks holiday at the very last moment (she is supposed to give a weeks notice), we have had one housekeeper once again, every single day this week. With only one housekeeper in all weekend as well, this means that by the time I return to work on Monday, the house will not have been cleaned properly for nine days - with an epidemic of norovirus (a thought that I definitely do not want to put out there) sweeping across hospitals and care homes throughout the country, this is plainly unacceptable.  

This was bad enough, but when I got to work on Thursday expecting that there would be two of us, plus the Kitchen Assistant, I found that the other housekeeper had phoned in sick. That was one thing (apart from the fact that no one bothered to tell me and I had to ask when I noticed that she was not there),  but a little while later, the Chef came and told me that the Kitchen Assistant was being sick also and had to go home! That meant, you guessed it, that I had to then do the job of all three - cleaning the entire house, doing all the laundry and all the kitchen work.

It seems to me (and I have said this I know on numerous occasions) that all we are doing at this place is continually papering over the cracks. The Director doesn't care one iota about the staff, and they know it, so his attitude towards them filters down to the extent that they no longer care about anything either, and they are surprised that I want to leave!

Now that I am leaving I have got to the point where I am past caring, and I say let those cracks open up as wide as possible, as this is the only way that things will change for those that do choose to remain. On Thursday, I therefore resolved to work as slowly as possible doing only the absolute essentials, and deliberately put the dishwasher on a longer wash cycle so that it took longer and I could not complete all of my tasks - that way the rest of the staff were forced to help. As I said to our maintenance man, it is important after all that the dishes are washed properly - infection control and all of that - there is an epidemic of norovirus in a lot of other hospitals and homes and we don't want to take any risks ... While most of the staff did rally round and do what they could, two of the carers refused to help, stating that their hands and arms were causing them problems - it didn't stop them doing their own jobs though. Strange that, as people weigh a lot more than dirty dishes!

Our new Manager is it seems going to have one hell of a job on her hands to get this lot into line - at the moment it seems to me that they are acting like spoilt children who are testing the boundaries to see how far they can go. She is facing a difficult task - on the one hand she is still getting to know people and needs to find out who they are and how they work, on the other, she also needs to let them know who is boss, and in my opinion at least, down some very firm ground rules as quickly as possible and put her foot down with a very firm hand. It is interesting then that she herself has injured her foot, by tripping over a loose paving stone near where she lives. I would have given her 10 minutes of Reiki on Thursday, but I did not have the time ... I have a good relationship with her fortunately, so can say a lot of things, and tell some home truths and I have, as has the Chef ... She needs though to find these things out for herself, and she will. The trouble with, she is also under pressure from the top.

Yesterday morning though, when the alarm clock went off, it all got a little too much and the combination of a sleepless night, the exhaustion of the previous week, and the 13th anniversary of my Mum's death all got a bit too much. Coran too could not sleep, as she had a halter tape strapped to her body recording her heart rhythms (a follow up to last years tests), so both of us were in the same boat. For the first time I actually shed tears, tears of exhaustion at the thought of going into that place to do my work. I have experienced this before, in my previous job and so knew the warning signs, and knew that it meant that I had to take some me time and rest, and so I asked Coran to let them know that I would not be in. Thankfully it is also my weekend off, so that means three days of rest.

Things there seriously though do need to change for those that choose to remain. The Director, and indeed the staff, need to understand that it all about choices, consequences and responsibilities. If they choose to have the attitude that they have and not work properly together as a team, then that has consequences and they all have to accept joint responsbility for those consequences. If they cannot or will not do this, then they have to do what I have now chosen to do - get the hell out!   

As for me, well I will not be there to see those changes (just the beginnings of them, and that too is already happening). The fact that I am leaving means that the rumour mill is already beginning to work. It may not yet be official, but that is only a matter of time and I know that after this week there will be absolutely no going back and no changing my mind. It is though only a matter of time before an earthquake of seismic proportions tears that place apart bit by bit from the inside, and right down the middle. I only hope that it doesn't affect the residents too much.

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