If They Hate You, It’s In Their DNA

, , , , | Working | September 13, 2017

(I take a job in a home for the developmentally disabled as a habilitation tech, someone who helps the residents with daily living. I am filling in a chart at the nurse’s station while my supervisor, with whom I don’t really get along, stands nearby. A resident bounds out of the TV room and goes up to my supervisor, who isn’t doing anything.)

Resident: “Hey, [Supervisor], would you tell me what DNA is? We just saw it on TV and none of us knew what it was.”

Supervisor: “I can’t tell you. You aren’t smart enough to understand.”

(I stare at my chart, appalled at the insulting response, until my supervisor leaves and goes into an office. When I look up, the resident is looking at me, much subdued.)

Resident: “[My Name], could you tell me what DNA is?”

Me: “Well, did you know that your body is made of tiny cells?”

Resident: “Yeah, I understand that.”

Me: “Inside each of those cells, there is something like a tiny book that has instructions about how to make you. It tells your body to make your eyes brown, your hair brown, and how tall you should be. Those instructions in every cell are called DNA.”

Resident: *now smiling* “Thanks for explaining it.”

(As the resident walks away, I look back to where my supervisor had gone. She is standing in the doorway glaring at me. I look back down at my chart without a word.)

Resident: *in a clear, bright voice to the others in the TV room* “[My Name] is much smarter than [Supervisor]! She told me what DNA is!”

(I know I cringed. My supervisor moved into openly hating me after that. I quit not long after. The home closed a few years later.)

Needs To Make A Clean Break From The Job

| BC, Canada | Working | August 15, 2016

(I work as a caretaker for disabled individuals. My position involves only one specific client whom I directly support. He is known for being very unhygienic. He refuses my support and does not want me around. My client lives in a cluster program so when he refuses my support, I spend my time helping other clients.)

Team Leader: “[Client]’s suite is very dirty. I need you to mop and sweep his floors, the hallway, and clean his bathroom.”

Me: “I was hired as a support worker. I provide support for [Client]; I am not his housekeeper or maid. I will not be doing his chores unless he’s there for me to support him. If he refuses my support, there is nothing I can do.”

Team Leader: “It doesn’t matter whether he’s there or not. It’s not about you being a maid. You’re getting paid to do this so if you don’t want to clean up after him, I’ll just move you to another program.”

(I don’t want to move to another program as this one is conveniently close to my home and I’m tight on money so it saves me a lot of gas. I’m unhappy about this matter but I decide to listen to the team leader anyway to avoid further conflict. The next day, I immediately start to clean his suite at the start of my shift. I spend two solid hours wiping boogers, urine, and feces off of his walls and floors. I do his dishes, put away his clothes/personal belongings, clean, mop, and sweep his bathroom, bedroom, living area, kitchen, and hallway while my client sat on his couch and watched me clean. My blood is boiling at this point but I grit my teeth and suck it up. My client leaves to have a smoke and my coworker walks in.)

Coworker: “What are you doing? You’re not supposed to be cleaning the suite for him. That’s his job. You’re just here to help him.”

Me: “…”

Working In (And Only In) The Present

| San Francisco Bay Area, CA, USA | Working | May 9, 2012

(I work at a house where people with autism and other developmental disabilities live.)

Me: “Hey, [our handyman] wants to know if it’s going to rain this weekend. If it is, he needs to cover up his project to avoid rain damage.”

Staff Member: “I don’t know.”

Me: “Well, I see you’re watching the news. If you should happen to find out, would you tell him?”

Staff Member: “But I don’t know!”

Me: “I understand that. He’s just trying to find out.”

Staff Member: “But I don’t know!”

Me: “But, if you should happen to find out…”

Staff Member: “But I don’t know!”