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If Only This Daycare Cared For Its Employees

, , , , , , , , , | Working | September 26, 2023

This happened almost eighteen months ago, and I’m still angry just thinking about it. I moved in with my partner across the city from where I had been living, and I was elated to be hired at a nursery just three minutes walk around the corner. I’m autistic and I find subtext very difficult, so given bad experiences in the past, when I start a new job, I make a point to tell my coworkers that I mean what I say and I say what I mean. I don’t do office politics, and I I wasn’t interested in climbing the ranks; I was perfectly happy to be a “lowly” staff member working directly with the children.

Unfortunately, my new coworkers decided fairly early on that, because I was good at my job, it meant I was judging them and criticising them behind their backs, so they started reporting any mistake I made and twisting it to look like I had malicious intent. I got called into a meeting with the owner and the manager at least twice a month in the first three months, being accused of racism, neglecting the children, or bossing around senior staff. Every time, I had a reasonable explanation for what I’d done or said, so I never got written up.

When my coworkers realised this, they started straight up lying about me — things like, “I asked him to finish the activity he was doing, and he told me to shut up and wait because his activity was more important than what I wanted,” when I’d actually said, “Sure thing. Give me a second to finish up with [Child], and I’ll be out of your way.”

There were multiple mediation meetings, and there was a lot of “he said, she said”. I was told repeatedly that the manager and owner had my back and that they’d deal with the coworkers in question. It was a small nursery with less than twenty children on any given day, so it wasn’t like I could avoid these coworkers, but I tried my best every time to chalk it up to stress, and I blamed myself for not being clear enough or my facial expressions and tone of voice not being animated enough. I bought my coworkers Christmas presents, offered my college notebooks to help them with their qualifications, and pasted a smile on my face so wide my muscles hurt at the end of the day, but it just got worse.

It all came to a head the day before my six-month probation was supposed to finish. Weeks prior, I had been given a task my room leader felt should have been given to her, despite the fact that I was familiar with the topic and had three times as many years of experience as she did. I took an hour “out” of the room as I’d been asked to do, sitting in a corner eating my lunch and doing my paperwork silently. I was miserable, my paranoia and anxiety were sky high, and I just wanted to do my job. I don’t think I said a word to anyone above the age of four for that entire hour.

I took my break, and when I got back, I got called in to yet another meeting where I was informed that “someone” had reported that I’d spent the entire hour slagging off the owner and manager, calling them horrible names, and accusing them of homophobia. I broke down in tears yet again and confessed how awful these people were making me feel to the point I’d briefly considered stepping out in front of a car when coming back from my break.

My manager, tenderness in her voice and concern on her face, looked me dead in the eyes and said:

Manager: “Oh, [My Name], if you ever feel like that, please don’t hesitate to hand in your resignation.”

I was speechless with shock, trying to convince myself she hadn’t said what I thought she had, when the owner chimed in with:

Owner: “[Manager] is right; your mental health comes first. If this job is making you feel like that, then please resign.”

It was like something inside me snapped. I glanced at the clock, saw it was half an hour before the end of my shift, and made a decision. I stood up and said something along the lines of, “In that case, I hope you don’t mind if I leave half an hour early,” and walked out of the room. I said goodbye to the owner’s husband (the only reasonable person in the entire business), collected my stuff, and walked out. The entire time, the manager and owner were calling me back, promising to work it out, and I ignored them.

I sobbed the entire walk home and then spent the rest of the afternoon crying because I felt like I’d let down the children by leaving them. The owner and her husband kept trying to call me, but I declined every call while my boyfriend tried to console me. I only replied to a text from the owner asking what she could do to get me back with a scathing message detailing every instance when she had failed to improve working conditions. The next day when I went back to get my college notebooks, the manager couldn’t even look me in the eye. I don’t think she thought I’d actually quit, but I took pleasure in the guilt on her face.

I took a few weeks off to collect myself and mourn what I’d hoped would be a long-time job, and then I started looking for freelance nannying jobs. Within weeks, I had a new job working for a lovely family with a gorgeous two-and-a-half-year-old, which took half as much of my time, and best of all, I didn’t have to walk on eggshells around bitter, jealous coworkers.

I’ve been working for that family for over a year now, and about eight months in, they even asked to pay me more per hour because they felt my rates were too low for the quality of care I was providing. I’m now about to start my second year of a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood, I have two other families on the books, and I spend my workdays reading with their kid in the library, going bug hunting, playing dinosaurs, and anything else that takes our fancy.

So, I guess I have to thank them for being the final straw that pushed me into a much better and lower-stress job. I still get a twist of anger when I have to walk past that nursery on the way to the train station, but the last time I accidentally passed at closing time, I didn’t recognise a single staff member, so I guess being nasty little two-faced cowards didn’t work out too well for my former coworkers.

You Wanna See “Talking Too Much”? Well, Get Comfy!

, , , , , , , , , , , | Learning | CREDIT: Theverylastbraincell | August 30, 2023

I’m in a college communications class of fifty people, not including our teacher. For our midterm, we are to “become the US Senate”. The class will vote on several classroom measures, the goal being to “communicate professionally whilst demonstrating competent debate strategies.”

My teacher often sticks to his word, and we really do make a cool little senate, complete with dress codes, a candy desk, a gavel, and a flag. This is important to note because the teacher wants our senate to be as accurate as possible.

We debate three measures, all created by us, the students, in advance.

  • Hats should only be allowed in the classroom if they are cowboy hats. (Passed, 39 to 11.)
  • We should be able to wear pajamas to class. (Passed, 48 to 2.)

And finally:

  • Fidget/stim toys should not be allowed in the classroom. (You’ll find out how that went.)

I use fidget toys because I have ADHD. They’re all pretty silent, and the person who wrote this “bill” has it out for me because I get accommodations — like extra time and earphones — that no one else does. Since we are allowed to talk as long as we desire about any measure, I get comfortable in my seat (since we are all remote) and begin to talk about what my ADHD accommodations are, why I need them, the fidgets I use, my favorite books, and what majors I’m thinking about.

Five minutes pass. Then ten. Then twenty. And then my professor interrupts.

Professor: “[My Name], you’ve talked too long. Give someone else a turn.”

I look him dead in the eye.

Me: “No.”

The LOOK on his FACE!

Me: *Politely* “Since this is a senate, I am allowed to filibuster.”

That is, to delay a vote simply by talking us out of time.

The other classmates looked at [Professor]. He turned red and spluttered but allowed me to proceed.

Grades are based on individual performance, so I knew I wasn’t harming anyone but myself; everyone else had already spoken enough. So, my ADHD a**, the one always scolded for talking too much, successfully filibustered the remaining hour and thirty-six minutes of our four-hour midterm. As for the fallout, my classmate’s bill died on delivery and I got a B+.

Thanks To ADHD And The ADA, You’ve Been HAD, Part 2

, , , , , , , | Learning | August 29, 2023

I was diagnosed with ADD and short-term memory loss when I started college around fifteen years ago. (Better late than never, I guess.) The only accommodation I really needed was a formula sheet for my algebra class to use on tests. There were no answers of any kind on this sheet, just formulas, e.g., a²+b²=c². I still had to do the actual work myself.

Somehow, though, my algebra professor took this to mean that I had a “cheat sheet” and constantly made nasty remarks about it, even trying to get my classmates to agree with him that it wasn’t fair that I had a “cheat sheet” when they didn’t. Thankfully, my classmates all told him he was being ridiculous and making everyone uncomfortable with his snarky comments.

I finally had enough and decided to stay after class to have an adult conversation about the comments being rude, unprofessional, and downright inappropriate, and to ask firmly but politely that they stop. Unfortunately, it’s hard to have an adult conversation when the other person refuses to be an adult. I explained that I needed the formula sheet because I have memory issues, and it in no way provided anything that my classmates didn’t have (since they had the advantage of keeping the formulas in their minds instead of on a sheet). Everything I said was met with more snark and condescension that was, honestly, childish.

Eventually, I realized that the man simply would not be reasoned with, so, irritated and out of patience, I had no choice but to pull out my nuke.

Me: *Frustrated* “Look. We can go back and forth with this as long as you want, but at the end of the day, you can either stop the nasty comments, or you can have a chat about the ADA [Americans with Disabilities Act] with my dad.”

Professor: *Scoffing, condescending tone* “Oh, you’re really going your father involved?”

Me: “Well, he’s your boss.”

And I watched this man’s soul leave his body.

Professor: *Tiny, horrified voice* “…what?”

I stuck out my hand as if to shake his.

Me: “Hi, [My First Name] [MY LAST NAME]. [Dad’s First Name] [OUR LAST NAME], head of the math department’s, youngest daughter.” 

The professor’s eyes went wider.

Professor: “…daughter?”

Suddenly, he didn’t have a problem with my formula sheet. I still mentioned the issue to my dad, who looked into [Professor] and found that he had several complaints against him from students with disabilities. Dad promised to keep an eye on him, and they did indeed have a chat about the ADA and professionalism at the end of the quarter.

[Professor] had been teaching at the college for many years already; Dad had just taken over as head of the department that year, so that’s why he wasn’t yet aware of the preexisting complaints against [Professor]. They would have been addressed as soon as he found out about them, my having issues with [Professor] just led Dad to find them a bit sooner.

Thanks To ADHD And The ADA, You’ve Been HAD

Therapy That Gets Ginuine Results

, , , , , | Right | August 6, 2023

Caller: “Is this the Smith’s Therapists Office?”

Me: “No, this is Smith’s Gin Bar.”

Caller: “Ooooh! That works, too!”

In This Editor’s Experience, That Diagnosis Explains A LOT Of Things

, , , , , , | Right | August 4, 2023

When I was in college, my old high school — where my mother worked — moved locations. We couldn’t afford another car, so I carpooled with my mom and took the bus to get to the college. I also had undiagnosed ADHD, which will explain things later.

One day, I was waiting for her workday to be finished after I’d gotten back — school hours were flexible, so teachers stayed a while — so I went for a walk. If you went a quarter-mile across a field, you could get to a strip mall where there was a coffee place, and I wanted to try it out.

I got there. I ordered.

I had apparently forgotten my debit card.

The cashier took pity on me and gave me the coffee. I still remember how nice of her that was.