So Mr. boss man sat down and told me how wrong I was, and how I'd been unprofessional. He then gave me a chance to speak. I did not deny the accusations. I agree, that wasn't the best I've ever done, and there were certainly better ways to handle the situation. I learned a lot from it. What I asked, when he said I could speak to it, was what was happening to the clients after their brutal verbal abuse and discrimination of another client. The answer, nothing. And no matter how hard I tried to acknowledge that I wasn't disputing the fact that I was wrong, our ED refused to acknowledge that there was even the slightest possibility that the clients had done anything wrong. Heck, I wasn't even saying that the clients had done something wrong to ME, which I still believe they did, but it was the things they said about another client that really, really got to me, which I tried to express. However, I was not heard. I mean, really, it makes sense, Mr. Boss Guy has no idea who I am, he didn't even know I had been a permanent employee of the shelter. At one point, and i counted, he had introduced himself to me four times thinking I was a new staff person each time... and he has NO idea what goes one with the clients...because he's never there to talk to them, and NEVER there at night.
But enough's enough. By the time I left his office, I was tearing a bit. I wanted to just run out, but my supervisor stopped me and pulled me into his office. And I'm glad he did. He told me that he knew that what happened wasn't representative of me, and he knows and respects the way I treat the clients and the respect I have for them. After getting beat down so much at that place, it was nice to hear. I still left and cried my way home though.
It occured to me, as I got out of the car, that my neighbours, if they see me, must think I'm crazy for all the times I've come home crying. Then it further occured to me, that with only one exception it's all been related to the job at the shelter... can you say "unhealthy work environment"? (interestingly enough, the other time was related to volunteering at Street Ministry and an incident with one of my shelter clients). I started to have a panic attack when I walked in the door, which totally surprised me, and, here's where I'm proud of myself, I said to myself "no, you're not having a panic attack, there are better ways to deal", and I took some deep breaths and chilled out and was fine. YAY!
Now for the funny story! So, when I work at the shelter, I generally wear jeans, a hoody, and skate shoes with my hair in a pony tail. Now that I'm working with the work placement team I have to look professional, so today I was wearing black pants, a button down shirt, a jacket, and heels, my hair was up nicely in a clip. When I walked through the drop in to get to the office, the entire room went silent as my clients just staaaared at me walking through. I HAVE to remember that if I know I'm going there after work to bring a hoody or something, at least, and some flat shoes.
So that's my today. I'm feeling okay now, and I'm glad it's all over. I am still not impressed, but hey, philosophies and policies like that are why I got another job. I really miss the shelter clients, but I'll still see them sometimes, I'm not dropping off the face of the planet. And as my supervisor said today, my professional career is on it's way! Hopefully I can go to sleep early tonight, and when I wake up it will all just be a memory long forgotten...well, except for the letter on my file for the next two years (assuming of course I stay casual for that long).