My contract with my last employer finished on the 26th April and so unemployed once more. I felt a mixture of feelings about leaving, on the one hand I found the job itself draining as I have anxiety about talking to people over the phone (I often wondered about the wisdom then of me taking a full time job where I am on the phone on the majority of the employment, however as a close friend once said I am a glutton for punishment so that probably explains it well enough) and given the nature of the work I was always afraid of making a mistake, the mistakes I would make in this case would affect people and I’ve been in that position of being stressed due to the mistakes of others.
In particular though there were times I felt I was part of the problem for some of these people I spoke to, I couldn't help them and had to tell them so, the bearer of bad news for people who were in poor (at times desperate) circumstances, one call will always stand out for me, a woman called to make a claim for JSA (Jobseekers Allowance) having been disallowed from her sickness benefit despite her stating she still suffered from the sickness in question which would greatly impact on her ability to work, also due to some bad advice she had waited for more than a month to make a claim meaning the whole process would take much longer for her than had she called within a month.
This woman was upset from the beginning about the whole situation, it sure felt horrible for me to say to her that the only way I could help her was by taking a new claim and under the circumstances this isn't help at all, anything else I can't do anything for her. She constantly re-told me her situation in the vain hope this would somehow change things for the better, of course it didn't and so it came to the question where I asked her how her sickness or disability affected her ability to work (I already knew but I wasn't allowed to answer for people, they had to answer every question no matter how bleeding obvious the answer was) so she told me, she however went into detail about why she suffered from panic attacks.
The previous year she was raped and during the attack the rapist had stubbed out cigarettes on her. At this point (bearing in mind I already felt guilty about the whole thing, it just didn’t feel right to me what was going on for this woman and I was part of it) it sent me over the edge, feeling so guilty I just couldn't carry on taking the call, the whole situation was just wrong, so I got the deputy team leader and explained to her I couldn't continue the call, she took over for me. This happened on Friday 15th March, I remember the date as on the 16th I went to to watch Derby County beat Leicester City 2-1 (the first time I saw Derby win in almost 3 years) and straight after I went to a friend's birthday night out, so the 15th was an awful day, the 16th being a very good one.
By far and away the worst call I ever experienced during my time there. For the most part most of the people I dealt with were okay and many of them took the time to thank me at the end of the calls. What ensured I kept going through the difficult times there was the support I had from the people I worked with, in particular my team leader and deputy team leader I doubt I’ll get as much support or understanding I got from them from another employer which I why despite the fact I far from enjoyed the job I am sad I am no longer working there.
As to what I will do next well I think its time I bite the bullet and attempt to get into working in the mental health field despite feeling crippled by self doubt that I would be able to cope in such a role (after all I didnt cope at all with the call I described above) then again not long before I started the last job I had the feeling I wouldn't be able to do it, well I bit the bullet and did it, did it well.
7th May 2013 the journey continues again.