“Take the attitude of a student: never be too big to ask questions, never know too much to learn something new” – Og Mandino
Sunday is here again, and that means one thing. Or actually: seven things! Here’s what I learned this week:
- If anything, people don’t need a fancy story to be told, they need to know what’s really going on. My employers are stupid. Don’t worry, I’ve already quit, so I can say that without having to be afraid of repercussions.
Here’s the deal: there’s new work regulations coming, meaning that as of January 2016, the focus point of my current work is no longer the amount of time we have to clean someone’s house, but the chores that need to be done. Sounds pretty cool, right? Except that they told us we no longer work with set hours, but with a maximum time. For instance, imagine I have two hours to clean someone’s home, but I am done with my chores before my time’s up. Right now, I am obligated to stay and find something to do until the two hours have passed. In 2016, if I’d still work there, I’d have to leave if I was done early. It’s a cutback rule, and I guess they can be worse.
But what happened is that my supervisors didn’t explain this to my clients. To anyone‘s clients, actually. Which means that every single client of the organisation I work for (and most of them are elderly people), think that in the new year, they will receive ALL THE HOUSEHOLD HELP THEY NEED on a weekly basis, because my bosses told them there’s no “time-frame” any more, and “the chores are our new focus point.” It even got to the point where I explained to some clients about the maximum time, and they phoned to my supervisor who reassured them there’s not going to be a time-indication at all any more. Honestly, how stupid can you be?
I get it, it’s not nice having to break bad news to people, especially if they’re vulnerable in a way, but do it anyway. Because this situation, telling your employees one story and your clients another, will only lead to a series of upset phone calls in early 2016. Great way to start a year, if you ask me!
At least I got out before it got ugly. And explained everything to my clients. And told them to phone my supervisor in January with any complaints.
Happy New Year, and may your brains get a restart, too!
- No matter how bad you feel, there is always someone out there whose day is worse than yours. On Monday, I had to fill in for a colleague. When I got there, the lady of the house was in tears and her sister-in-law explained to me that her brother, my client’s husband, had had a brain infarct the Thursday before. He was still in hospital and wasn’t doing too well, and his wife had Alzheimer’s and wasn’t doing so well, either. And no one had known I was coming until one of their children had accidentally listened to their father’s voice-mail that morning, which contained a message from my supervisor saying that I wasn’t coming on Tuesday but on Monday. The message had been concluded with the words: “if we don’t hear from you, we assume this is okay.” Turns out my supervisor is not only brainless, but rude as well.
Anyway, my female client was constantly in tears and it was heart-breaking to hear her cry over her sick husband. Dementia getting the best of her, I can’t imagine what it must be like reliving that first scare and pain over and over again. Then I met one of her daughters and I couldn’t imagine what she must feel like, with her father seriously ill in hospital and her mother seriously ill at home. She was near tears, and I can totally understand.
I left early and made some arrangements with my supervisor so the daughter didn’t have to do that. But I felt so bad for them afterwards, it made all my own troubles seem so distant and futile
- Don’t let other people’s mistakes make you feel bad about yourself. This one is a direct follow-up on the previous one. When phoning my supervisor, C, to talk to her about my client’s situation, she made me feel incredibly stupid. First of all, C is a substitute for S, who is on maternity leave. I’m not saying S is my favourite person in the world, but at least she a) listens, b) gets things done, and c) feels some compassion towards clients. C lacks in all those aspects.
Anyway, I explained the situation to C and told her I’d said to the client’s daughter that C would give her a call somewhere next week to talk things over and go from there. Heck, I am not even their regular help, what do I know about these people? I figured it was best solved between them and my supervisor, especially since I won’t be working there in two weeks time.
C disagreed and nearly snapped at me: “Yea, we don’t do that! If we have to phone up all clients, I’ll be on the phone the whole day!”
I don’t handle people being mad at me very well. It makes me uneasy and I immediately start doubting myself. Replaying the conversation with C over and over again in my head, I concluded that it wasn’t me that was in the wrong. In fact, I’m 100% convinced that if I had been talking to S, she wouldn’t have minded at all. She would have climbed in her phone the second I’d hung up, to check up on her clients. This fault was on C, not me, and I refused to let it bring me down.
- There is a national (maybe international) “Arsehole On The Road”-day. It was last Wednesday. I know keeping your cool in traffic is very important. Accidents happen easily, especially if you get upset while driving. But honestly, I was pushed beyond limits last Wednesday.
I’m used to people pushing and speeding, and trying to get me to speed because they’re in a hurry, but as I was driving home from my last client, I was waiting for a car to pass before I could make a turn. Out of nowhere, another car had come up behind me, and apparently the driver was in a mega ultra super duper hurry, because he didn’t honk once, he didn’t honk twice, he slammed his hand down and honked at least six times in a row.
Now that’s the best way to p*ss me off!
As it happened, the car I was waiting for to pass was one of those tiny ones that can’t go faster than 45 kilometres an hour (less than 28 miles an hour). There was another car behind it, a regular one, then me, and finally the honker. I noticed how the car in front of me was trying to pass the slow car, but couldn’t because there was a lot of oncoming traffic. My mirrors told me the bastard behind me was also trying to pass ALL cars in front of him, but couldn’t because there was (surprise!) oncoming traffic.
At this point, I realised two things: 1) the car behind me wanted to pass the slow car in front of me before I did, and 2) I wasn’t going to let that happen.
I can only imagine the words he used after he tried to drive me off the road, but like I said: don’t p*ss me off! I might appear a cute, innocent blonde in a little car, glasses on my nose, but I ain’t taking sh*t from anyone in traffic! Especially morons who think they own the entire world, only because they’re driving a big fat, ugly-arse vehicle.
And so I played my role in the (inter)National Arsehole On The Road-day. Here’s to next year!
- Noting good comes from procrastinating. So so so simple, and it went so so so wrong. I only had to go to the store to buy body butter and tooth paste. I figured it wasn’t a real priority so I kept pushing it forward until Thursday afternoon, when I finally went. Or tried to go, more like. I was standing in the kitchen with my mother (she was coming along), our winter coats on, car keys in my hand, when my aunt came in.
I’d like to take a moment to describe my aunt: she talks. A lot. And there’s no escaping. Not even when you’re very obviously on your way out.
My mum and I (and my aunt – sigh!) slowly got as far as just outside the backyard, when we bumped into another talkative person (but only when she feels like it, and guess what? It was our lucky day!): our neighbour. She asked if my mother wanted to take care of her cat during the short holiday she and her husband were about to go on, and insisted on explaining where everything was (food, toys), as well as take her through the cat’s daily schedule (don’t ask. Just… don’t).
All in all, it took us FORTY MINUTES to get from the kitchen to the car. By then I didn’t feel like going to the store at all any more. But hey, let’s not wait until tomorrow with doing things we can today, right?
- Never wear a cotton sports legging! Polyester is the way to go! Cotton breathes, they say. Cotton is the best fabric to wear if it comes to sports clothes, they say. Liars! You see sweat in cotton clothes! Which is fine when it comes to tops (to a certain point), but NOT regarding your groin, and NOT when you’re at the front teaching a class and everyone’s watching you!
All I can say is: thank goodness I was wearing my also new, extra long sports top. It nicely covered my crotch, and I think the bad lighting at the gym helped, too. I didn’t find out about my it-looks-like-I-wet-myself-look until I got home. I hope I wasn’t the only one not noticing sooner…
- Paper wisdom! I saved this one until this very moment, let’s see what the Universe has to bring in today: If all days seem the same, it is because we no longer see the good things that present themselves in our lives. Okay, honestly? I really needed this. I feel so locked up in a small box, my days, weeks, months being alike. It’s like that Beauty And The Beast song: “Every morning just the same, since the morning that we came, to this poor provincial town.” That’s my life, right there.
Or at least, that’s what it feels like. Perhaps I am trapped in a singular way of perceiving how time passes. It won’t hurt to try and find the uniqueness of each day. At least that’ll give me something new to do.
So many things learned, so many more to come. This was it for this week. As a closure, here’s the Earworm Of The Week. It’s an intentional earworm, because I found out that if I play this song in my head, it helps me calm down and fall asleep (I tend to keep myself up worrying, this song breaks my thoughts). I hope it helps breaking yours, too, if you need it.
Happy the-year-is-almost-over-and-Christmas-is-around-the-corner-new-week everyone!