Thursday, June 21, 2007

And, relax....

So anyway. My new job.

Obviously I can’t tell you anything about it. I’ll just say that it is utterly removed from my last job. In some ways this is a Good Thing. Other things I will miss.

My last job was doing admin (impossibly glamorous, I know) at a residential school for children with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties. I want to start by underlining how fabulous the kids on site were. I mean, I know there’s this whole scepticism about things like ADHD*, but really, some of those kids had had horrendous experiences and in light of that it’s no wonder they could get a little, um, agitated at times.

By the time I left I couldn’t wait to get out of the place and it makes me really sad to remember how enthusiastic I was to get started a mere ten months ago. The trouble was, you see, that the “organisation” was run by a mad European despot (how I wish I could tell you his name – and how I wish I’d googled him myself before accepting the job in the first place) with more money than sense. There was no business plan to speak of – so far as I could tell, the marketing director was buying properties and leasing them back to the company to use as care premises**, the personnel director was only qualified to do her job by virtue of the large investment she made as a shareholder to get them out of a hole a couple of years ago, and the whole place operated at the level of a bunch of blind people wandering around in an enclosed space, occasionally tripping over something large.

By the time I’d decided to leave, the business was pretty much in tatters. The building I worked in when I started was closed down. We had been given a five percent pay cut. The kids had no idea what was going to happen to them next – they knew that their current homes would be gone by September but hadn’t been told where they would be living after that. The staff couldn’t tell them, as they didn’t know either. This, understandably, unsettled them. If you’ve been abandoned by your mother at eighteen months, been through a series of foster homes (some of which were less than welcoming, some downright abusive) and watched your friends gradually leave you as their local authorities wised up to the ramshackle nature of their placements with My Old Employers, you’re going to be pretty fucking scared if nobody can tell you what happens to you next. And if you can’t deal with your feelings of fear because you can’t trust anyone to still like you if you show any sign of weakness, you act out – smashing the place up, pulling knives on people, running away, getting drunk, getting high, sleeping with strangers for money to get a bus to your sister’s house. All that. And worse. To be honest, there were days when I felt like joining in. Not the bus fare thing (I could afford a taxi if push came to shove) but there were certainly a couple of managers I could cheerfully have battered with a box file full of housebricks. Rarr!

So, as of last week, it was all well on the way to going utterly tits up. The organisation had debts to the tune of £7 million. OFSTED had come in and wandered around with disbelieving looks on their faces for three days and finally ordered up a surprise fire inspection at four pm on my last day. The fire inspectors apparently wandered around with disbelieving looks on their faces for eight hours, before accepting the emergency maintenance work that had been done and leaving, darkly promising to return sometime in the next week. And at four thirty pm last Friday, I shut my computer down, gathered my things, hugged the kids and made my way up the drive for the last time.

I’m never going to forget those kids. I will always wonder what happened to them, whether they managed to find some peace and happiness. I miss them.

But, do you know what? I’m not sorry to be out of that place. Not one little bit.

* Not my favourite syndrome though. Oh no. My favourite is Oppositional Defiance Disorder, which I’m pretty sure means “not doing as you’re bloody well told”. Genius.

** Except for the one he bought that got as far as being fitted out before the inspectors deemed it unfit for use as a children’s home owing to it being about fifteen feet from The Busiest Dual Carriageway in Our County. You’d think someone would have thought about that before buying it and spending all that money on the interiors, really.


Anonymous Thursday chimed in with...


22 June, 2007 08:39  
Blogger bobbins chimed in with...

Holy shit, I'm relieved that the powers that be have finally cottoned on. 10 months? Makes me think what an easy life I've got in comparison, I'd probably walk after 2 or 3, I'm crap at stress. Glad the new job's working out so far!

22 June, 2007 10:00  
Blogger Urban Chick chimed in with...

bloody hell...


22 June, 2007 10:31  
Anonymous Miss Despina chimed in with...

It sounds emotionally exhausting. I hope your new job is less heavy-going.

22 June, 2007 10:38  
Blogger Fidel chimed in with...

At last we know what it was.

Glad to hear your out of it and worried about those left behind.

The care system in this country sometimes appears to resemble that of Chaucescu's Romania.

Good luck in the new place.

22 June, 2007 11:01  
Blogger claire chimed in with...

I thought it all sounded a little bizarre to just be a regular office. That sounds awful and emotionally draining. It's a shame you didn't get more "rewarding" out of your stay there as, i'm sure, that was what you anticipated in the beginning.

congrats on the new position. hopefully there will be less people thrown on your desk, eh?

22 June, 2007 14:00  
Anonymous Bill Door chimed in with...

My favourite syndrome is probably Task Avoidance Syndrome. Our school is a Centre of Excellence in this particular field. Even a couple of the staff have it...

22 June, 2007 21:25  
Blogger First Nations chimed in with...

i, just, DAMN.
just DAMN.

so what happens to the kids? yes, well done on the new job and i hope this one turns out to be the job of your dreams! but still...where do those kids go next?

24 June, 2007 17:50  
Blogger Trapped in an adult's body chimed in with...

Good lord.

There's a lot to be said for working from home, you know. OK, so there's not much in the way of cheery banter and water-cooler moments, but at least you don't encounter delinquent employers...

25 June, 2007 13:29  
Anonymous rivergirlie chimed in with...

those kids deserve better than they're getting from this outfit! but you're well off out of it, i reckon.

25 June, 2007 23:29  

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