Last Friday I finally broke down and shared with my boss that I was resigning and leaving for Israel. Her response was, let’s just say less than stellar. I will quote you all the things that were said, and keep in mind that she would ask rhetorical questions and before I had a chance to answer she was back firing another. Also this is in no particular order. She said:
- “Does your mother know about this? What does your family think”
- Don’t you know it’s dangerous there? Theres wars and fighting”
- You need a break. What do you mean, you just got here? I know you worked at “A Better Way, but that was A Better Way” (mind you I worked there for three years, resigned on a Friday and then started work at this agency the following Monday. I’ve worked 7 straight months at this agency plus the three months prior at my last agency so thats a total of 10 months straight no vacation. But she can’t understand I’m tired and need a break)
- “Have you talked to Steve” (he’s her boss)? “He’s Jewish”. “Have you talked to Tenli, she’s the supervisor at the Adult clinic? She’s jewish”
- You can take a month off. I never do this bit this is how much you are valued here. I would have to talk to Paul about it” (He’s the senior person in charge above Steve). “You can wait to the end of the semester and then go during the Christmas break and take unpaid time off”
- Get out!”
- What about your clients, they are attached. What about your team?” (I have no team just coworkers)
- Then she ends with, “I have one word, Karma. You have to answer to the man upstairs. Karma will come back to bite you”
Now I found this mildly amusing after the after, but I also felt very sad for her. Her reaction was wrought with her own pain and insecurities. I knew she would take it hard but not this hard.
Yesterday (Monday) she met me for supervision and we talked some more. This time she had the letter in hand and the weekend to process so she was not as dysregulated. We talked about how to tell clients and families. She then asked me about what they can do better and why “she can’t keep anyone”. Later I found out that there has been a high turnover rate over the past couple of years. I shared with her the challenges I faced. These include:
- Moving from creating my own schedule to having a fixed scheudle. I thought this would be great but I didn’t realize how I would have no time to get shit done during the week since my work hours are 9-5:30 and that’s the hours of government offices. Theres three built in breaks, 2 fifteen minute breaks and a 30 minute lunch.
- Working on Fridays. I observe Shabbat. I need Shabbat to recharge. I have not fully observed Shabbat since I started because I get out too late, I’m exhausted and I have work to do.
- I didn’t share but this is true too. The client population is not my area of expertise and I often felt hamstring in what I could communicate as a therapist at this agency
- My office had no windows and was cold. I can’t survive without being in the sun.
- I felt like she didn’t listen as my supervisor and clinically we did not have the same or similar view of change. I come from a interpersonal neurobiological perspective (Attachment plus neuroscience). I can count the number of times she said something about Enabling clients. ugh! She also did not exit her power as the program manager except with us clinicians. She didn’t stand up for us and others ran buckshot over her.
- This whole check in check out system. No ability to work remotely. Questioning where you are and what your doing? too much.
It made me think about how my advice for anyone looking for work (and myself as I will be working in Israel) is to remember that you are also interviewing the agency/company. Particularly as a mental health worker or someone who is healer you really need to make sure the environment is in line/conducive/is aligned with your own beliefs and values. If you have a history of working as a community based therapist then you may have a hard time working in an office for 8 hours a day where it feels like your being micromanaged may be a stressor for you. Don’t be afraid to ask the interviewer questions and to turn down something that is not the right fit. Remember: MONEY IS NOT EVERYTHING. TIME IS THE BIGGEST COMMODITY.