Last night I received no less than 2 texts and one phone call from Honey Bunch asking for me to please find her another job. She's on the road and doesn't have a Blackberry so that leaves me to do her bidding. As much as I am her Svengali, I declined, opting to snuggle with my darling husband who I hadn't seen all weekend long. But she got me thinking about some crazy work experiences we've had, and I've decided to share one of my more awful ones.
Currently I love where I work (the picture to the right is me working in my basement dwelling). I work for a technology company which has absolutely nothing to do with the degree I have. I have a Masters in Social Work which I got from a very prestigious school (that was way over rated in my opinion) and paid about a gajillion and five dollars for it. But while working on my practicum, and after starting my career in Social Work, I came across three of the worst bosses I've ever had in my entire life. I guess I should put out there that one Boss had nothing to do with social work and was just a crazy woman someone gave a job to. I'm not kidding.
My wonderful supervisor during my second internship placement would say that social workers are either people who really do want to help and make a difference or they have been very hurt themselves and tend to lean a bit toward crazy. They are often wounded birds. I think she was on to something there.
Anyway, one of my bosses was my first placement supervisor, and this woman was in charge of a school based program in inner city Detroit. She was a very overbearing woman who had a degree in engineering but apparently found her calling doing community work. That is all fine and good except that she had absolutely no social skills at all when it came to
lording over supervising her slaves student workers. She is the cause of one of my most horrifying experiences.
A Christian Jordanian woman (I'll name her S) came to the school seeking shelter after her husband beat her up. Evil Supervisor takes pictures of her bleeding and bruised body then suggested to me that this woman, who had just fled her home with her children, should PAY for the development of the pictures as "a way to empower her". Could I roll my eyes any louder? I nixed that fast, but that should have been my first warning about Evil Supe.
S had no place to go, spoke very little English and since I used to work at a domestic violence shelter while in undergrad she became my sole responsibility. So S goes into hiding while I spent much of my time trying to assist her as best I could with the meager resources in the community. I drove her to her appointments and spent a million dollars in cell phone minutes calling her cousin who could translate for us. It was exhausting and draining being her sole advocate and attending grad school so I made it my goal to locate an agency that she could go to that would help her better than I.
One morning I got an email from Evil Supe telling me she's made an appointment for me with S's battering spouse at 1pm. Ok, its bad enough that she's making an appointment FOR me but making it with a batterer when I am his wife's advocate...that was another thing. It's near 11 when I read this and S had planned to come meet me at the school to fill out some paperwork. Well, guess who shows up at 11? Yep, Batterer.
So I'm freaking out because she's there, the kids are there and he's there! Well chaos ensues, he gets a hold of the kids and I ended up playing a pretty good game of liar with him while my fellow students sneak S out of there. But now she doesn't have her kids and for the most part I'd like to thank Evil Supe for that.
Later, I had the displeasure of meeting Batterer in court while trying to get a Personal Protection Order for S. That was terrifying! He was in my face shouting at the top of his lungs and two armed guards had to intervene. Did I mention I'm only 5 foot zero and no match for a large angry man? He even had a lawyer with him. Thank god his lawyer was a jack ass and pissed the judge off, that worked in our favor.
After chaos happened I decide to have a boundaries conversation with Evil Supervisor. Her answer to what happened was this.
"Sassy, Sassy. You have to understand, I meant to hit 11 but the #1 key sticks and it only typed one of my 1's. "
She said as if I would say, "Oh? Well alright then. As long as it was just a sticky key..."
However I said back, "Evil Supervisor. You should NEVER be making any appointments for me with the batterer of a woman I'm advocating for. EVER EVER EVER. You just don't do that in Domestic Violence. He could have talked to any of the other
slave students you lord over supervise."
"Well Sassy, I don't have the experience in DV so I didn't know."
"I understand Evil Supervisor, but when you don't know you ASK FIRST!!!! Oh, and I'm leaving and never coming back."
Ok, that wasn't exactly what I said. I'm sure I was meek and terrified when I explained what was wrong with what she did and why I was leaving. And I wasn't the only student who left after her awful treatment. Just before I left another quit after she verbally abused him in front of all of us.
But telling her I was quitting was one of the scariest things I've had to do. The look on her face made me want to flinch because I swear I could see in her eyes the desire to hit me. I cut out of there so fast and never looked back. That woman scared the ever loving spit out of me and it became terribly obvious when, a few weeks later, I had a dream that she tried to rape me. Awful huh? It was terrifying and I guess it just spoke to how awful she made me feel while I was working there.
After I left I still worked with S until I found an organization that would be able to help her. She cried when I handed her off and to this day feel like I didn't do the best of job passing her along as I could have. Another skeleton in my closet. I often wonder if she made it to Florida where she had family, if the kids were ok, if he ever found them. I worry she went back. I worry about a lot of the people I've run into through my course of working in the social work field. Are they ok, are children safe, will the girls grow up strong and the boys grow up gentle or will they all repeat the cycle they've been exposed to. All these questions, no answers...only hope for them.
During this brief experience I think God sprinkled people around me to help me, like the Victims Advocate at the court who went up on our behalf to talk to the judge and the Parking Lot Prince who, not only let me park for free, but gave me a Ten dollar bill to give to S (I told him what he puts out there will come back to him three-fold so the next time I went there I tipped him $30). Those of you who think there are no good people in the world, or in a city like Detroit, I beg to differ.
Image provided by this guy. I have taken this same picture however it was with my film camera so I had to borrow his.
So, do share your most awful work stories in our comments. Lets make HB feel better about working for a lying liar who lies.
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