Well, I need to do say that finally, don’t I? I lost my job because I was using mobile at work and I already had two warnings. It was obviously a bit more complicated than that and the whole problem started in 2018 on a staff Christmas party where all the three care homes staff from Swindon (I mean except of those who were on shift) were having fun together in a rented marquee and the next day we found out that two people had their money stolen.
Keeping mobile on us while on shift, unless out with the resident, was not allowed. But we had no lockers and what happened on the party didn’t change the company’s attitude to them: we couldn’t have lockers because we were a home, not an institution. Institutions are where all the abuse happens, you know? That means installing lockers on the premises will cause staff to abuse people we cared after.
So I started keeping my mobile on me. And then, you know, it’s only that easy to get it out of the pocket and have a look at your Facebook feeds. And you know, it wasn’t like I was the only person who was doing that. Quite the contrary – there was probably one employee only who wasn’t.
That was 2018 and I was dismissed in 2021. But I don’t think they actually wanted to get rid of me till after my psychotic episode a year later.
I was not on meds at the time but was doing OK. We had a resident at the time who had a bad infection but she was refusing to take any medication. I called GP for advice and was told to hide them in food. But you can only do that in the UK if their mental capacity advocate agrees and she didn’t have one because authorisation run out. I called the deputy of another home because ours didn’t have neither deputy, nor the manager at the time and the other home at least had the deputy, who was doing 3 people job while pregnant, but at least she was there.
I do appreciate her situation was very difficult. But… why would I be expected to have to take responsibility for the company shortcomings? I mean, I was told to make a note that GP advised ‘to keep trying with meds’. So basically I was told to commit a fraud.
I really don’t remember if I did it or not, you know? I think I probably did because I didn’t want to cause issues. And then I went home and realised those were exactly the kind of things that were happening to me in Home Group.
This way, a week and 5 visits to various medical professionals later, I was drugged out of my flat in handcuffs by 6 policeman while the pregnant deputy was watching everything. I presume she was there ‘for safeguarding reasons’.
When I came back, the manager was already in post, I got my reasonable adjustments, and all was well… kind of. It’s only that nothing felt right. I apparently sent 200 texts to the deputy (I remembered like 8) before I got picked up and it was her who called the ambulance and it looked like everyone knew. But they didn’t know the things from me.
Mind you, I never felt like people were actually gossiping about me. But I felt like I had to prove to the manager that ‘I’m not like that’; that I won’t be using my mental health to gain an advantage, while all the young people at work were convinced that they deserve extra breaks because they smoke!
Anyway, I am getting quite emotional now. Will have to stop giving all the details, but that was pretty much it: I lost my job for using mobile on shift.
But I’m grateful for that opportunity. I really do believe I made the most of it.