Saturday, February 9, 2008

The rocky road to...work!

Hi peeps. Yes, this week has been a saga of work. My personal life is going fine, my health and fitness levels are better than they've every been, but on Monday I went to do my day at my local MIND centre in the office and found everything kind of collapsing around me. It would have been inexplicable except that a friend who knows someone on the committee had told me that they were in a lot of difficulties with their funders. They basically may have to close, and it's clear that no-one is quite sure if they will still have a job in a few months. Which is all fair enough, mental health organisations are all being squeezed these days, but no-one said a thing to me. I was left to do my own detective work. Finally I asked the admin lady if it was true they might be closing and she didn't confirm or deny, they were having a meeting at lunchtime and it was clear that everyone was pretty preoccupied. It absolutely was not a time to be taking on volunteers!

There wasn't nearly enough for me to do, I wasn't told who my line manager was or introduced, I didn't even have my own computer to work at, just a desk with nothing on it that they had pushed against a wall for me. I have been volunteering at a volunteer office! I kind of know that this is not the way to treat volunteers! Why did no-one tell me anything? Is it because I have been a service user, or is everyone just in denial, trying to pretend everything is fine? I can only speculate and perhaps it's better not to go there. Whatever the reasons, it's not good enough.

So I said perhaps I better leave it for now (no perhaps about it but I was being polite) and she said OK and to call in a few weeks if I'm still interested. Well frankly after all this malarkey, I'm not! I went straight up to the gym and worked out then went to Learn Direct but the disappointment over the lack of communication (as well as the loss of the job) kind of threw me out for a few days. Not helped by the fact that I am becoming less satisfied with the volunteer centre work. My line manager there does not really supervise me to speak of and I'm getting stuck doing jobs that feel peripheral (and very dull) such as inputting numbers onto a database. All day. This at a volunteer centre that definitely knows better! I bumped into this guy my line manager in my local area last week and we went for a cup of tea. He talked! I listened and tried to get a word in edgeways now and then. Basically he isn't that happy in the job, he's stressed and by God it shows! So I have to say that that also unsettled and demotivated me.

So the week wore on and I felt a bit stressed and disenchanted with the whole volunteering scenario. However I knew I could not give up on it, I need to get stuck into something that will help my job prospects. On Thursday I plodded wearily to the volunteer centre to do my boring work (phoning our organisations to ask them for flyers/leaflets, well at least it wasn't the database). My line manager wasn't there as he was at a meeting (hadn't even told me). The volunteer coordinator was though (I get on quite well with her) and I'd told her all about the MIND thing. She said 'Tulip are looking for someone'...they are another mental health organisation in the borough, really, the only other one they've got on their books and not one I've had a lot to do with as a client. 'Shall I phone them for you?' That's her job, you see.

I had a brief chat on the phone to one of the administrators and arranged to go in the next day. Eureka! He and the very nice (somewhat pregnant) lady who does most of the HR work both interviewed me. They were everything that MIND wasn't! Very volunteer-aware. She will be meeting with me regularly, proper supervision. I've got my own desk, will be answering calls and transferring them and my own computer. Quite a bit of reception-type work. No contact with service users (I'm OK with that). A variety of admin tasks and they can adapt the role to suit me (so some higher-level stuff). It's a really pleasant friendly office, they get good feedback from their volunteers and it's really local, I can walk there in fifteen minutes or so. They want me for three days if I can manage that, but can be flexible. HOORAH! So in the space of a week things have turned around. As we say in the 12-Step Fellowships, 'these are high-class problems!', in any case. A few years ago I would have given my eye-teeth to be worrying about work! Except that I don't have any eye-teeth, they were taken out because my mouth was overcrowded!

Enough! All is well and this weekend Richard and I are driving down to see my Mum. Weather is unseasonally gorgeous. We're also set to see Jasper on Thursday. And I go on retreat on Friday. I will start at Tulip on Tuesday 26 February. Lots of love! Zoe.

1 comment:

Gianna said...

it's so nice to hear you happy, Zoe.