Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth." Genesis 9:13

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Closure, ain't it great?

Did you ever see the Friends episode where Rachael decides she is romantically interested in Ross and decides to tell him the same day he returns from China with his new girlfriend, having given up on her? She goes on a blind date to distract herself, gets drunk, borrows the date's cell phone, and leaves a message for Ross about how she has moved on, "and THAT, my friend, is CLOSURE". All sorts of comedy ensues when he gets that message.

Well, today was a rather amazing day in the closure department. I certainly didn't plan for it. I planned for a long day. I had a continuing education course all day, and while it was a really good course, sitting still is not my thing, nor is leaving very early as I had to do. I then had an hour plus drive and then a job interview. It was a job that sounded good and was closer to home. It was not a job change I was seriously considering without an incredible offer, and so I was able to be fairly relaxed about the whole thing.

I got there and had a large shock. Waiting to meet me was the rehab manager, known to all of those in my world as The COTA (assistant) From Hell. Go ahead, read that link, I'm not going to go back through that whole story again, other than my one sentence summary: she worked with me before and caused me to have to be transferred from where I had been working by spreading lies about how I was "psychotic, committed, on antipsychotics (ok, I was, but still nobody's business)" and heaven only knows what else. She and her accessory would sneer in team meetings "What does she know, she's crazy?". All that is plenty bad enough, but on top of that there were serious clinical issues. I'm not going to go through them because I'm tired, but let's say she was not doing her job, a cognitively intact patient was able to describe this in explicit detail for me and my supervisors, and I handled it and other situations precisely according to what I'm supposed to do. She got in trouble so she stirred up more trouble. That time she managed to extend it to include another totally innocent victim, a vendor friend of mine. Words were actually thrown around insinuating I somehow caused a 93 year old woman to get pneumonia and die, which would be tricky if I were there, but when she died I was at home on disability and unable to see well enough to drive, along with a lot of other problems from a medication reaction. The process was started while I was there that led to her eventual termination. The company made it pretty clear that they totally supported me but did have to go through procedures to get rid of her, and they ultimately did.

At the time of the incident I did not sue. I considered it, but it was more complicated than just an ADA thing, and it meant going very public, even more than it would have been to start with because there were 4 other women suing one of the parties involved for discrimination. I had a lot of evidence, but it gets all murky with contracted work. I had just gotten hurt so badly by someone knowing that I was all for not telling anyone. So I didn't, and then it quickly became obvious that in a way it was really good because I loved the psychiatric work that I was transferred into doing. It let me be far from the ugliness.

I think if this happened now I would sue. Not even so much the companies, but her for defamation and a lot of other things meaning "you're a big meanie". I had documentation for my supervisory issues and witnesses and proof she had said some pretty offensive, wrong, things which had come to her attention in her role as department manager.

Anyway, so there we were. I thought at first of just ending the interview before I wasted an hour of my life and a lot of cortisol, but at least it was cool in the building. And I was curious because the pictures were so pretty. So I saw it and answered many questions. Her questions, of course, were very pointed and could loosely translate into "Just Me, aren't you an evil old cow?" "Are you not a TERRIBLE superviser?" "Don't you treat your assistants like crap?" A couple probably violated the ADA because they were gathering data about something that could affect how I do my job because of my disability, based on her prior knowledge of the disability. I don't care about that.

I was SO proud of myself. I answered every question straight back, and I talked about the good situations in my life. I talked about the teamwork with most assistants. I talked about the good I do. I talked about my responsibility versus my assistant's responsibilities. I admitted that I get frustrated if assistant's don't pay attention to the information I give them, but since that is their job I really think that's fair. (I believe she was one of the ones that I had issues with this on, but I'm not even sure). It may not have been a 100% smooth interview because it was so very not anonymous, and the bias was clearly against me from at least her, but it was a chance to finally fight back. The worst part was that I could not maintain eye contact with her. Everyone else (eye contact during stress is something I only do with a lot of thinking), but not her.

I wrote the HR person an email withdrawing my application. I explained that based on history I will not work with her clinically, and also that even minus clinical issues there had been major issues related to improper treatment of me related to a disability. I told them that I understand if they throw my resume away, but that I was very impressed with them and would love another chance if one arose. I tried hard to make it a simple statement that there were major issues, that there were 2 sides to them, and that mine was valid. I hope it came across like that, because to them she is their employee telling them what a psycho I am.

I've wondered before what would happen if this came up. Now I know. And instead of re-opening old wounds, finally, finally I have won.

1 comment:

Emilija said...

I'm glad that you were able to be strong and stay cool in that situation! It shows that you have grown a lot. I had trouble with one of my co-workers. (I used to deal with it by telling myself that her problem was just that she didn't have a man in her life- otherwise she wouldn't be so petty). Now I am pretty much working by myself, so I don't have to deal with other therapists. It is both good and bad. But as I feel more confident in my new setting, I'm starting to think of it as more of a plus than a minus.