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Blogity-blah-blah-blog: Work, Work, Work Edition: Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Hope...?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Work, Work, Work Edition: Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Hope...?

...In my opinion, yes.

So, guess where I ended up after I was laid off from Fast Signs and quit my job at Papa John's? I went back to the place I swore I would never ever go again, Hope Enterprises. Why? Well, I had been laid off from three jobs in a row and I knew Hope Enterprises was always in need of employees. So there was definitely job security there. Another reason was because I had six years of experience under my belt so I knew the job. I think I should have re-read my blog post from the first time I worked at Hope though because perhaps I would not have returned. Here's a little snippet from the last time I blogged about Hope:

I was in my busiest semester at college, so things were pretty rough and stressful, and on top of that, the manager of the house I was working in was the absolute worst boss I have ever had in my life. Believe me, putting the words "absolute worst" in italics doesn't do it any justice. Now, I don't like to say bad things about people, so I won't. But if you happen to be a manager, or a boss of any kind, here are some tips to follow:

1) When one of your employees messes up and you're giving them a lecture about it don't ever use the phrase "That's a no-no." It's very condescending and will most likely piss off the employee.

2) If you need to call off and need one of your staff to fill in for you, don't whine and complain when they can't make it in especially if you have denied them time off when they were sick and treated them like crap.

3) If one of your staff calls because they just got backed into by a semi-truck while they were sitting in their car, one of the first things you should say are "Are you okay?" or "I'm sorry to hear that, do you need someone to take your shift?" You're first question should never be "Well, when can you come in?" in a very stern and uncaring voice.

4) The most important thing you need to remember is that if one of your employees has to be taken to the hospital because he/she passed out and a relative calls in to tell you they won't be in that day do not, I repeat DO NOT CALL THE HOSPITAL LATER AFTER YOUR EMPLOYEE HAS REGAINED CONSCIOUSNESS AND YELL AT THEM FOR MISSING WORK WHILE THEY ARE LYING IN A HOSPITAL BED!!! 

Follow these simple tips and you can avoid becoming the worst boss in the universe.

So, I should have definitely gone back and read that before returning. I guess another reason I returned was because things had supposedly changed there as far as pay, it was supposed to be much better. And it a way. I'll explain more about that later.

So, I went to the house I would potentially be working at for an interview. The man that interviewed me was the director for that house as well as a few other houses. He was a very pleasant man, and I've seen him a few times out in public and we've had some good talks. What's really funny is I didn't realize it at the time, because I never saw the Aquabats Super Show until recently, but the M.C. Bat Commander looks a lot like the guy that interviewed me.

He looked like him except for the missing tooth, goggles, headgear and fake mustache. The actor actually uses black wax on his tooth to make it look like he's missing a tooth, but the guy that interviewed me had a large gap between his two front teeth and that's why he kind of reminds me of the M.C. Bat Commander.

Wow, I've gone way off topic. Where was I? Oh yea, the interview. It went great and I was on board. The house they put me in was a house on the back roads of Williamsport and it was considered to be a "behavior" house, meaning that the residents there were known for their bad behaviors. I didn't think the residents there were all that bad, plus I had worked with one briefly when I worked for Hope Enterprises before. I had one week of training to attend to get CPR, First Aid, Crisis Intervention and Med Certified. I trained with the woman who would be the new manager at the group home I would be working at. We were the only two trainees that week, so we got to know each other and had a lot of fun during the week of training. I knew that I would enjoy working for her. 

Things started out pretty well, the house I worked at housed four ladies. They were independent for the most part, they mostly needed meals cooked for them and needed someone to help them with purchases. Before when I blogged about Hope Enterprises I told about the residents I worked with. I didn't use their real names so that's what I'll do this time as well. 

We'll start with Patty. 

Patty was probably the one who needed most help out of all the residents there. She has schizophrenia so sometimes she would have sudden outbursts where she would throw an object across the room or yell and hit herself but she never physically lashed out towards anyone. Other than that she was the sweetest person and is very affectionate. She loves 80's music and enjoys watching her Golden Girls DVDs.

Jen was one of the more independent girls in the house. She was even aloud to be alone in the group home for up to two hours. So if we had to run an errand and she wanted to stay behind she could. Jen has Down's Syndrome. She is very short and her temper can be sometimes as well, but overall she likes to joke around and play board games with people. Always enjoys parties and getting a lot of attention, but if something doesn't go her way, look out! Here is some of her handy work when she gets angry.

Laura was deaf and going blind. She communicated well through sign language. I learned a lot of signs while working there. Once a week we would take her to the movie theater. She loves horror movies. I always loved taking her to the movies because I'm a horror movie fan myself. Unfortunately my supervisor wasn't, but she would always schedule herself to go along too. It was hilarious seeing her react to the movies. Laura eventually had to move out of the house into a barrier-free home because the group home was a split-level house and with her vision going it was becoming too dangerous for her. 

Carrie is the one I worked with before when I had worked at Hope years earlier. We got along great, she reminds me of my younger sister. She was probably the highest functioning resident living there. She helped us out a lot. She often helped with cooking. She even helped me comb Laura's hair. It would always get so tangled and I felt like I was hurting her when I combed it so Carrie was always happy to help. She would always tell me, "You need to learn how to do this if you have a daughter!" I do have a daughter now and I am getting some good practice. 

So those are the ladies I took care of when I first started at this house. Everything was fine, a little rocky at times, but overall it was a good place to work. I got along well with the staff, especially the supervisor since we trained together. 


Then we heard that we would be getting a new resident to take Laura's place. At the time this resident's current residence was at the county jail. She was put in there for punching a doctor in the face during an ER visit. We'll call her Bessie. Did I mention Bessie weighed over 400 pounds? We were all dreading her coming to the group home. A couple weeks before she moved in, Jen made false accusations against our supervisor and our supervisor ended up getting transferred to a different group home. Reminds me of when I worked at Hope before and my supervisor there was fired, we were transferred and everything fell apart. 

Also, when Bessie moved in, our director (the one that looks like the M.C. Bat Commander) was no longer in charge of our group home. The boss I had talked about earlier, the one that called me while I was hospitalized and yelled at me, became involved with our group home. Eventually, the girl that she trained to be a director became the director of our group home. Our previous director would actually come to the group home and cover shifts. I remember one night when I was doing the overnight shift, he came in to do some paperwork at 3am to get caught up on a few things. Our new director never set foot in the group home. Within the first few weeks of Bessie moving in, all of my co-workers either quit or transferred. Bessie had already started intimidating the other staff and residents and almost caused the van to wreck by attacking the driver.

I was the only team member who stayed. Not because I wanted to. We were without a supervisor and a team for awhile. We had a manager transfer to our house temporarily and we had substitutes from the other group homes come to ours. Most of them worked there one day and then refused to come back. Everyday it seemed I had to perform a house orientation on a new person, and I had only been there for a few months. 

During this time things just got worse with Bessie. At least once a week Bessie would call for an ambulance to come get her. She made up some kind of injury so she could be rushed to the ER so the nurses and doctors there would shower attention on her. The police were often called to the group home as well. The one time I remember most is when Carrie and Bessie got into a fight and had to be separated. The police were called and Carrie's father showed up as well threatening to sue. I told him he should. 

An agreement was made and Carrie was transferred out of the group home into another one which made me really sad. She was the most helpful one there and I said before that she reminded me of my sister. Carrie is doing much better now since she left the house, but because of Bessie, the other girls in the house became much worse. It wasn't until after Bessie moved in that Jen became uncontrollable at times as the picture above shows. 

One day before Carrie left, Bessie had gotten into an argument with her. Carrie went into her room and locked the door. I was in the hallway keeping an eye on the situation. When Bessie couldn't get in the room she became enraged, turned around and punched me in the face. I yelled something at her, I can't remember what I said but my co-worker told me what I said and I don't usually use that kind of language, I was surprised. Anyway, after she hit me and I yelled, I ran outside to call the supervisor and talked to her for awhile. She told me to take one of the other girls on an outing to get out of the house for awhile. I thought it was a good idea. 

We eventually got a full time manager who was good for the job. And over time we built up a good team. We ended up getting another resident in the house shortly before I left. We'll call her Mandy. Mandy was pretty cool, very high functioning, much like Carrie. I didn't get to know her as well as the other residents so I don't have much to say about her. I felt bad about leaving but at the same time I knew I had to get out.

I've run into some of my former co-workers from there over the past year. Bessie is back in jail and things at the group home have gotten much better. I almost thought about going back, but I've had enough Hope for one life I think. I only have a couple more entries for the Work, Work, Work edition left to talk about, for now anyway. 

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