It has been a terribly difficult decision but I guess it’s what I have to do for now. I’m scared that my aptitude to writing the truth will cost me my job. It is difficult to say whether it’s true or not, but I guess, if I’m scared that means I need to take my fear seriously.
Basically, what happened today was that I went to work, to a supported living place that I’ve been to before, and I found out that I’m not on the rota. And my agency only sent me re-confirmation on Friday. I was also not on the rota for 24th. I forgot to ask about my booking for next week but I guess that doesn’t matter as I asked GP for a sick note. I presume I really need it.
My agency pays a bit more that others, especially for sleeping shift – I still get hourly rate, so I get 90 pounds for 9h of sleeping, while other agencies pay approx 40-50 pounds. So it wasn’t very surprising for me to find out last week that my sleeping for tonight got cancelled by the client. To be honest it was surprising that I got any at all – it would be common sense if clients only use my agency to cover sleeping if they have last time cancellations, while I got offered those shifts like two weeks in advance.
But my day shift didn’t get cancelled, that’s why I went there. And I found out there is a staff from another agency there and they are on the rota and not me. The staff who was about to leave called the on call manager and I was told by them my booking is not on the system. Great, isn’t it? And I had to get up at 5.30am to get there on time!
As I did a couple of shifts for this company already, I started wondering if I probably told any staff that I’m a blogger. That was the first thing that came to my mind: that my blogging has been reported, someone from the management read it and did it to let me know I’m not welcomed there.
The problem with my blogging is, I suppose, that I don’t write about things that are confidential so I can’t be challenged, while at the same time I still write about things that I think should be different in social care, therefore I can be seen as a problem.
Only after asking about it on my autistic female group I started thinking about it more clearly and got to realise that the company that cancelled my booking is the same one that always gets their permanent employees wages wrong. I know quite a few people who worked there and they all said the same thing. So if the company can’t take proper care of their own staff, why would they bother about agency?
Yet, the fear that I experienced made me realise that I either need to go anonymous or delete some of the posts and instead write things like: I took resident for a walk and he saw some flowers growing on the side of the road, picked one and gave it to me and that was so sweet.
And btw, the above really happened, and it really was sweet. But the thing is, those type of stories are being constantly told by everyone already while the more uncomfortable truth gets buried in the soil under the above flowers.
And I’m really not saying this is Winterbourne type of truth (Winterbourne is the place where the tremendous, organised abuse of people with learning disabilities was taking place that included hitting or pouring ice cold water on them). Thank god, I’ve never witnessed anything like that and I deeply believe that vast majority of people working in social care have good intentions. But I also know that they are confused about what is expected of them and that can cause everyone, autistic or neurotypical, more likely to make a mistake.
The management is confused too. Because it’s never very clear what the comissioners want. Is serving decaf coffee instead of regular one ok or is it abuse? Most people without learning disabilities only drink regular coffee in the morning. It is well known fact that caffeine affects most people sleep. Yet, I used to work in a learning disability care home for a few years, where we had a resident who would refuse any other drink, but coffee, and when someone suggested we should purchase decaf as he only sleeps around 4h a night, the person was shouted at by the area manager and called an abuser.
We once had a manager who wouldn’t eat normal meals, she was just snacking on sweets all day long. She was skinny btw but she complained of low energy and had really bad skin. She was fully aware her eating habits could be to blame, yet she didn’t change them. It was her choice. Not the most wise one, but that was what she wanted.
Mental Capacity Act says everyone (so that includes people in care) should be allowed to make unwise choices. But if I asked residents if they preferred chocolate or stew for dinner I’d be called lazy for not wanting to cook and I’d have significant discussion with the manager.
But at other times we’d be told to give residents choices and respect their wants.
And that is the real problem in social care: everything can be twisted around to say that we’re not providing quality care. That’s why the managers are confused and getting scared of literally everything.
So I need to be anonymous for now. It’s sad. I made the changes to my wordpress profile and the About page but I still need to remove any references to where I am from and – this may turn out to be the most difficult part – delete my digital art as I also have it on my Instagram account.
I’ll do the rest in a couple of days. I don’t have loads of readers so far so as long as my name has been removed I’m fine for now.