The working world is a strange place. You work in a zillion crappy jobs for most of your life, and then, if you're very, very lucky, you find the right
job. You go along for a year or two, thinking you've got it made, being glad to get up every morning and go to work. Then....some life-changing event fetches you upside the head with a two-by-four, and you find yourself in the mud, sprawled on your assets and wondering what the deuce happened.
In thirty-five years of working, it never once occurred to me that I would ever need the Americans with Disabilities Act. I never thought I'd have to be treated as a special case in order to perform my job at an acceptable level. Every workplace has its sad sacks who can only do day shift, or work in a single department, or work only a few days per week; some folks feel sorry for them, while others ignore them or even bully them.
I just joined them. Next week I'm starting a four-day week because my company has decided I need more time off because of concerns over my mental health. I'm good with that; in nursing, five-day weeks are hell, and they wear me out. It's the reason
for going to four-day work weeks that galls me, as does the fact that several people from the upper echelons have told me that they expect me to use the extra day to "rest and rejuvenate" (their words, not mine).
As much as I'd like for altruism to be the driving force here---and there is
some genuine worry on the company's part because they know me well and have always liked me---I've been on the business end of things enough to know that this isn't all about making Viva happy. It's about the fact that they see me as a potential ADA issue and need to show that they are working with me; if they were to fire me without having at least attempted to accommodate my 'disability', they'd be toast because they have no other reason to let me go.
Don't get me wrong. I'm grateful for the help, not only because I fear being 50-something and jobless in this economy, but because I really do like my job and want to stay there until I'm done with nursing. It simply feels like something fundamental has shifted in my work life, and it will never go back to what it once was. I'm branded now.....I'm someone who "needs accommodations". And that feels really, really weird.
So, how many of you are working under similar conditions? Does your employer work with you willingly as mine is doing, or did they have to be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century? What sort of accommodations do you need---restrictions on physical activity, time off for medical appointments, a quiet space in which to work, reduced hours? And how is this helping you succeed on the job---if it helps at all? Inquiring minds want to know!
Not recently, but at a prior place of employment, I requested & received reasonable accommodations without having to go into the specifics of my Dx. I was in counseling once per week for 1.5 hours at a time. I had an 8 to 5 job with 1 hour for lunch. I requested to work until 5:30 (no commute, the counseling was in the same bldg. an elevator ride away) and take an extended lunch to on those days instead of using all my sick time.
Last edit by mariebailey on Feb 18, '13
: Reason: correction
Feb 18, '13
by Esme12, ASN, BSN, RN Senior Moderator
ME? I have not found the workplace so forgiving. I pray that it is not going to be true for you as well.
((HUGS)) my friend
Last edit by Esme12 on Feb 18, '13