I’m doing it. I’m writing a decisive post on my two years as a 911 telecommunicator. It’s a scary thing. I’m not a boat rocker, I don’t like thinking that I might hurt someone’s feelings. But I believe in catharsis and so this has become necessary.
Working in the emergency communications business was very fulfilling and I’m glad I was able to have the experiences. I am a stronger more educated person than I was going in. I am SO incredibly thankful for the people that I met and those with whom I maintain a relationship. However, there is a dark side. I can’t be certain what causes people to become devoid of humanity. I can surmise that it’s too many years under a stressful job position and harassing leadership. Working in a basement without windows and poor ventilation may wear one down. Wondering when the next career blowing “meeting” will come because it isn’t if, it’s when.
You might be thinking, “Wow, she sounds like she’s just a disgruntled worker.” I would agree with you. I was very disgruntled. It was like playing chess without knowing the rules that changed every time you moved. I was a pawn played between tigers and wolves. If you asked for help you were incompetent. If you made a mistake you were crucified no matter how great or small. These mistakes were brought up over and over until you were so afraid to make any decision on your own that you were forced to ask for help but by doing so…? Some of my coworkers went so far as to demean others publicly. Most were decent to your face, but if you weren’t in the room the gossip train was always at the station ready to move. Now I’m not going to sit here and retell the sins of my cohorts without accepting responsibility for my own actions. Did I gossip? Here and there. Did I make mistakes for which I should’ve been in trouble for…Absolutely! I am just as guilty for some of these things as any of them are.
However, not once was I mean to anyone publicly or privately. When I spoke about something important regarding work, I chose my words very carefully. I rarely expressed any rash opinions or judgements, I think that bothered some of them. Maybe they thought if I didn’t get my feathers ruffled I wasn’t on their side. Really it was just that I have bigger eyes and ears than I do a mouth. Unless I was laughing – in which case my mouth is huge and loud and I know that annoyed many of them…I feel it necessary to apologize again for that. LOL!
I’ve painted a not so flattering picture of my former work, by doing so I believe I’ve put myself in a bit of a hypocritical position. My intention isn’t to be mean though, it is a cathartic detailing, because I know they’re still suffering. Some were villainous bullies, unable to be pleased, extremely angry individuals – truth is they ALL are horribly abused by their leadership. Their behavior is simply a reflection of how they are treated. Their actions, their own, but greatly influenced by the hostility of their work environment. I believe with all my heart that each of the people I worked with were, at some point, different than how I saw them. I believe they must do what they do in order to survive. They are at the mercy of a few people who take pleasure in manipulation, dishonesty, and aberration.
An emotionally healthy person can see this was not an environment conducive to positivity or civilized niceties. I thought I was dealing with the emotional stress very well, but then I started getting sick. I quit having menstrual cycles almost completely. My body was in so much pain some days it wasn’t worth wiggling my toes or opening my eyes to get out of bed. I was then diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and gained over 50lbs. Sometimes when you override the logic that your brain is telling you, your body takes over and throws it in your face. It didn’t matter how many times I told myself to hang on, to keep my chin up, to keep pushing forward because it would get better. It didn’t matter how much I thought I proved myself to be an asset to the department. It didn’t matter how much I thought I did good, the bad was equally thrown in my face. So it was with bitter aloes that I purged myself of it. I said my peace to the powers that be and I left with my humanity severely tattered but intact. Those powers continue to engage themselves in unbecoming behaviors that are destroying the fabric of what 911 should be. I greatly respect all the folks that remain, that refuse to quit fighting for good, that choose everyday to stay positive, that hope for change and hope for a better future. I sincerely wish each and every one of them blessings and love. I want them to know that despite our differences and for some, their extreme dislike for me, I forgive you. I forgive you for treating me like a second-rate, lower-class employee. I forgive you for not really taking the time to know who I am and what I’m all about. I mourn for the loss of friendships that could’ve been had things been different. I am SO blessed for the friendships I do have and I don’t regret meeting any of you. You each gave me something to build my future on. Without you, I would not have had the push or confidence to move on to my “something better”. And I am where I said I would be – In a library, writing, teaching, and continually learning. I’m surrounded by people who are in love with these things too. They respect and edify each other. They know that each person has something special to bring to the table. I hope that someday soon these things will come your way!
With All My Heart,
© 2012 C. S. Jameson