Honest Employee

by PammyMcB

So anyway, I was out looking for a job when I realized just how this country is really messed up. Come on give me a freaking break anyway.

Several years ago, I made a choice to stay home with my children. I have a special needs child with a sibling born just one year after. My child had been diagnosed with autism, and my health was failing. For a few years after their births, I tried going back to work; but because of my eldest’s needs the load became way too much to bear. To top it off, several years ago, I also found out I was to undergo radiation therapy. My marriage was in turmoil. My husband and I were talking divorce. In order to keep my sanity; all I could figure to do was stay home with my children. I had a weight bearing down on my body that my body could not bear any longer, so I quit working to help with my recovery. I had a long roller coaster of very hard work straight ahead of me. I grabbed my life with both hands, and I was able to take control back over it. My marriage healed, and my health would soon follow. The road with my child seemed to be the longer stretch of this roller coaster that I like to call my life. We began ABA therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and psychotherapy. Together, my child, and I had finally gotten to a point in our lives that we could depart from this bumpy ride.

I had been thinking for a while about going back to work. What can I do? What field should I go into? Should I go back to school? When do I go back to work? Before I had a chance to answer any of these questions, fate threw us yet another loop. My husband had been working for the same company for 3 1/2 years. He had only called off of work only a few days of that, two of those during separate years it was for the same thing that strikes many of us down on a yearly basis, that dreaded flu bug. Due to the increase in insurance rates from $200 a month to $200 every other week with his company, we had not been able to afford insurance. On January 31, 2003, my husband departed for work as he usually did on the graveyard shift. He was the perfect picture of health. When he arrived home the following morning (earlier than usual), he could barely walk. He fell to the floor in the bedroom and couldn’t rise back up. He has a herniated disk and a slipped disk. The company that he had shown loyalty to for the last 3 1/2 years had shown no loyalty to him. Because we had to find doctors with money from our own pockets, due to the lack of insurance. it had taken us a while to prove that he is actually hurt. His employer had tried to force him to resign and refused to let him use his sick time. They told him that he could, however, use his vacation time if he needed it. This had only come back to haunt us as well. The employer turned a statement into worker’s comp saying, “Employee felt so well that he took vacation time and went on vacation.” During that time he was actually laid up in bed unable to move. We were under appeal with worker’s comp and flat busted as far as money goes.

I had bills piling up and a doctor to pay. I had no choice but to go back to work. Because I had a sick husband, and a child struggling at school on a daily basis who has doctor’s appointments constantly, I was only able to work graveyard shift. I could not even think about working in any field that I have schooling for. No one in their right mind would hire someone that says, ‘thank you for the job offer, and by the way I have 34 appointments over the next month that I am going to have to take some time off for.’

So anyway, I was out looking for a job when I realized just how this country is really messed up. Come on give me a freaking break anyway. At one place I applied to I was told, “We are sorry, but since you haven’t worked in the last five years we would consider you a ‘high risk’ employee. We don’t like to hire mother’s that could not handle a job and their children.”

Eventually, I decided to apply at the place that my brother-in-law, the ex-con, works at. There was a questionnaire that I had to fill out. There were several goofy questions on there: Have you ever stolen from an employer? Thinking, ‘well of course not,’ I answered truthfully, ‘no.’ I have worked in many different areas and have never taken a thing. So, I am honest. That’s a good thing, right?

Have you ever called off of work when you were not sick or did not have a family emergency? With my eyebrows cocked I thought, ‘well, hell no; I have better work ethics than that.’ So again a truthful answer, ‘no.’ Not even as a teen did I ever call off of work when I was not ill. So, I am a hard worker. That’s a good thing, right?

Have you ever gotten drunk or high on the job, or have you ever come into work drunk or high? I lightly chuckled while answering this one, thinking ‘they have got to be freaking kidding me. Like anyone in their right mind would ever do this.’ Even when I was young getting high and drunk on a daily basis, I never showed up to work that way. (This was long before I had any children and when I thought I could not have children. The news that I would never have children devastated me so much that I turned to drugs and alcohol, but that is another story.) I worked in the morning and was off by noon, which left me with the rest of my day to party. So, again, another truthful answer, ‘no.’ That’s a good thing, right? (No, I am not a lush or stoner; get that thought out of your mind. I have a past just like most other people in this country.)

Again, those are all good things, right? Apparently not anymore, my brother-in-law said that his boss told him that he has a really hard time believing that there is a person out in the world that is this honest. He said particularly with these three questions, “Everyone that I have ever worked with has done these three things at one point of time in their lives. If she can’t answer them honestly, then I cannot hire her. I know that if a person answers no to these questions, then they have to be hiding something, either a really bad work record or a really bad criminal record.”

So, I was not being hired due to the fact that I have a good work ethic and always have. These three qualities of my work ethic are the reason I have always been promoted to management within a matter of months no matter where I worked.

A message to the youth of this country: Go ahead and slough off. There will always be a job for those who do. If you choose to stay home with your children for any amount of time, don’t ever expect to work again, no one will hire you. Get high and drunk at work and you will be rewarded. Rob a liquor store at gunpoint and you will always be able to get a job once you are paroled. Be an honest worker you need to realize that in the employment world, your honesty has caused you to be screwed.

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