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Monday, 5 August 2013

The Nature of the Beast

Eight short or perhaps very long days have gone by since I returned from the beautiful island of Lundy, where for the first time in four years, I spent my annual summer holiday. There was a time, not that long ago, when I visited the island three or sometimes more times each year, but lately my visits have been confined more to early spring - around February or March. I have observed over the years that the more stressful my life becomes the more I feel the pull to visit the island - with this being my second visit this year, does this then mean that my life is becoming stressful once more? At the time that I made these bookings, probably yes, for at that time I was working through my notice in my previous job, something that was very stressful indeed. Since then the stress has for the most part melted away, and so I noticed a different feel to my visit this time around. My relationship with the island seems to have changed to something which is based on want rather than need - that is to say that I want to go to the island rather than actually needing to. This can only be a good thing.

It was as always a glorious two weeks, made all the better by the fantastic weather - I had blue sunny skies from dawn to dusk on most days, with temperatures soaring into the lower 30's. It was on the wind free days if anything too hot, which meant that horror of horrors I was forced to sit in my little yard in the deckchair instead reading a book - I got through no less than 10 books in total during those 16 days (a day at either end of the holiday for travelling too and from the ports).

Of course I acclimatised to the heat quite quickly, and so by the end of the first week I was walking my usual average of around 8 miles each day - with visits to the North and South Ends, and trips down to The Pyramid and Brazen Ward for birds and seals respectively. My not so new camera, which is the only one on the market to boast an aperture of F2.8 throughout the zoom range proved its worth, as the pictures are truly spectacular. It is amazing what a bit of extra light can do. It was well worth the (for me at least) somewhat hefty price tag.

Since returning to work I have been right back into the fray. With us housekeepers away on our respective holidays back to back, it has been weeks since I had a whole day on my own unit. Despite the fact that I work an hour less than everyone else, I am the one who is it seems expected to do the bulk of the extra work., by cleaning the units of those who are on their own holidays, in addition to my own. The last housekeeper to have her holiday returns next week, so hopefully it will be back to normal then.

When I was cleaning the Head Housekeepers' unit though last week (I think it was Wednesday - that was the day we had a visit from Head Office that kept her in meetings throughout the morning), I noticed that several other housekeepers had booked holidays for the autumn, and so thinking that I ought to book mine, the following day I went and requested a holiday form. The reaction from my boss was puzzling to say the least - she stated that things like that needed to be dealt with during your morning tea beak rather than when you had just started work (I had actually started half an hour earlier), and that I should not be booking another holiday anyway when I had only just returned from one. She didn't just say this, she actually shouted, and I have to say I was slightly taken aback. Thankfully I had a spare form at home, so that night, I made a copy of it (so that I don't have to ask her again) and filled it in. When I got to work the following day I just left it on her desk without even telling her. I really do not know what her problem was, but I do not expect to be spoken to in that way, as per usual though, when I came to informing her of this, I completely chickened out.

The next person who had a go at me was not so lucky. On Saturday I was walking between different parts of the house when I saw four of the carers sitting down and gossiping. One of them was saying that various things appear to be going wrong in the home and that the Manager needs to be aware of these, and so I stated that I simply did  my own job and let them worry about that. She really bit my head off, stating "this is nothing to do with you, leave your nose out of it" or words to that affect, and this time I saw red. I tore her off a strip, and made it clear that she has no right to speak to me in that way. If she does not wish me to overhear these things then she should not sit around gossiping. If I see people doing this, then I consider it is my business, as I work there just the same as they do, and to be honest, if they consider that the home really does have problems, then rather than sitting around talking about it, they should be administering that care that they are paid to carry out. That very morning I as housekeeper, had spent thirty minutes talking to a very distressed resident and calming her down - something which strictly speaking is their job and not mine. I did it though as she wanted to talk and also because I was there. This is that I mean when I say that carers sitting around gossiping is my business, for it affects the way that I also do my job - they forget that.

Once I had calmed down and thought about all of this, it became clear that the reason this had happened was of course to show me that in actual fact, I can stand up to people and ask them to show me respect. This lady, like my own boss can be very volatile, for she is nice one minute and nasty the next. If then I can find the courage and the wherewithal to stand up to her, then I can also do this with my boss. Of course the other reason why these things have happened, for these are far from isolated incidents, is because I did not deal with it properly in my previous job. If you had met my boss there then you would know why and just how difficult that would have been - for he was not just the Manager, but actually owned the home - he was the Director. Because I failed to deal with it there, it now means that I created a similar experience again. This time then I have resolved that I will not run away and I will face things out, for the more that I fail to do this, the more that this will continue to happen, and that is something that I do not want.  It is it seems, the nature of the beast.