So when I started this year of Ameri Corps I started with the intention to gain experience and learn new things. The playing field changed so my niyat changed to simply survive the year. I know it sounds dramatic.. but it was a straight jungle at my site.
I love service.. I love the feeling of helping people. It’s like a good quality hug it makes you feel loved and connected with the other person. When I applied and interviewed for the job I didn’t realize that it was an Ameri Corps position. It was only after the interview process that I was alerted to that fact. Which I didn’t care about – I just needed a job- any job. The economy is still in the tank and now as I am officially jobless again. I can tell you job hunting is a tough and tedious job. The people in power are lying to themselves if they think this depression is over.
So I signed up and was hired with another young woman as the two workers assigned to this site. Now this site deals primarily with domestic violence and I was hired to be a community educator. So my job description was to basically go out and teach the teen dating violence curriculum in the schools and then do other basic office tasks once I was back in the office for the day. Sound deceptively simple.
The troubles arose when due to a lack of agency policy for Ameri Corps members my boss wanted to hold us to the standard of a full employee. To the point that – she put us on a 90 day trial period, demanded that we request any days off two weeks ahead of time and then finally told me that I could no longer have any days off no matter what the cause, this was after I was out sick for a week with the flu. The Ameri Corps policy is different from the sites, so I was going by Ameri Corps policy because they are the ones who write my check bi monthly. Also as an exempt employee, I had to also work the furloughs that the rest of the agency had off.
My boss thought that she was supposed to get a mind reader, personal whipping girl, slave and workaholic with the skills of a $40,000 a year employee – oh what delusions of grandeur. By the end of the second month into our service – she was threatening to fire my co member and I – no to mention the Site Coordinator she hired. Finally right before the winter break she fired my co member and I was left to now take on her work load in addition to my own.
In addition to my boss never had the time to deal with anything except emergencies. So she only came into our part of the office when she wanted to vent about something that was going on in the office, or how we were lacking in performance in some way or needed something done – RIGHT NOW – because it had suddenly for what ever reason become the number one priority. The amount of appreciation was minuscule at best.
It also didn’t help to have a pushy, micro managing, rude, workaholic co-worker, who also was my bosses eyes and ears think, she was entitled to push me around and attempt to manipulate me in any way shape or form – this past week there were several high priority tasks that needed to be taken care of and she spent most of her time looking over my shoulder checking on what she thought I needed to do – and attempting to take over my responsibilities – to the point I had to call her out on it.
Yeah.. I have never been one for interoffice politics never will be. I also don’t live to work, I work to live. I learned a lot of valuable lessons including that I don’t want my work enviroment to be an office if I can help it. I prefer to be getting my hands dirty working directly with people or on a project that doesn’t keep me chained in doors and away from fresh air. I at a minimum.. I need a window I can open and get fresh air from the out doors into my office – maybe I would do better in a cubical but I don’t think so. I also can’t work with people who think what they do is more important than the whole team effort – just makes me personally resent them for their self-centered view. It also helps to work with people – who are comfortable saying – I don’t know or I don’t understand and I need help – and have an enviroment that makes it ok to ask for help.
I learned I want to learn how to use final cut pro and dream weaver – at the least – WordPress – I think I have a knack for it after being thrust into being the driving force of the social marketing campaign at my job site. I like making films. It taps the part of me that always wanted to be a story-teller except my words were never enough to communicate the images in my head.
I have learned I like working in the non-profit sector but I want to work within my religious community to get things done because frankly we need more than doctors, lawyers, businessmen and engineers. We need the other half of the equation to best serve our Ummah and local communities. InshaAllah.
In the end they fired the Site Coordinator, they hired the same month I was hired – he was let go last month. So out of everyone who was hired in August 2009 – I am the sole survivor. I knew coming in that I could handle anything thrown at me – the real question was – would I put up with it to achieve my goal of being debt free? Alhumdualillah I was committed and Allah made me successful – still no one should have to feel like they are the last person standing at the end of their year of service.