This won’t be a long one but (insert scream here)…
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Firstly, WorkSafe sent a letter asking if they could use me in their research coming up. Not me in particular, just any workers. But do I have anything to say which could help others? Why, yes I do, sir. Please contact me. Or, employ me to design and conduct the research project – as I am also qualified to do so. But now I just blog instead.
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If I get the chance, I will explain to the good researcher that there is a problem with insurance companies. Professionalism. Duty of care. The critical role they should play in getting people back to work. I find mine lacking in this area. This makes ‘recovery’ more difficult when it needn’t be.
Also, could we possibly have a bit of recognition for psychological injury? Not to suggest that a physical injury does not harm and affect the inside, too, but WorkSafe, you are involved with me because I was sexually assaulted (etcetera) by my boss, and then heavily influenced to keep it quiet by others in charge. This is not a simple injury. It did not actually ‘happen on a Wednesday’. I cannot go back to a school on ‘modified duties’. At the heart of the issue, when you have me assessed every 90 days, you are essentially undressing me and requiring me to talk about my own body. Not in the mechanical sense. It can move. In the violated sense. The deeply personal sense. The embarrassing sense. The retraumatising sense. Am I painting a picture for you here?
Therefore, when somebody makes a mistake or an admin person calls to question me; it’s not as clean cut as you might like. I am a compliant person. I do whatever is asked of me in this process and apologise the whole time for bothering you all. I’m also trying to get better when I have a psychological injury. So please don’t fuck with me.
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I would also like to comment on the process of exiting the ‘system’ roundabout. I had thought recently that I would like to make some plans for the future. I know that I will need to continue counselling and medication but I would like to think I might have the chance to rebuild my professional self and earn my own wage, not through blood money. Now, you suggest I cannot do that in a school environment. This is probably true, though I will never be happy to concede this. I would also like to note here that should appropriate action have been taken AT ANY STAGE of this awful experience, I would not have had to forfeit my career, and you could have quite easily handballed me back into a teaching job which I loved. But even as I type, I have never been approached or addressed with regards to my welfare, safety, wishes…nothing. The schools, the Institute (especially, I might add), the Department and all parties involved (however tenuously) in my alleged repatriation. I have initiated everything, every step of the way. I have followed through despite what everyone around me did to make it harder for me. And now when I think of my future, you give me this…
I was forced from a professional position which I earned after postgraduate university study. I wanted it. I sacrificed for it. I thought my dream had come true. When I had to be assessed for future employability options, I was told that I would not be put into a random position. It would be somewhat commensurate to my position when I left. I recently made enquiries about retraining options. To get better, I need something to imagine. Something to work towards. I was told that I cannot be retrained until I have been declared Fit To Work. Here’s the conundrum. I won’t get better (from a psychological injury) without retraining. Catch-22, yes?
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So what retraining is open to me when I perform a mental miracle (presumably after a Department-funded partial-lobotomy to remove the memories and flashbacks..)? Oh, you only fund short courses? In what? What if I’d never worked in another role? I was only a teacher? How would you fix me then?
I offered to finance my own retraining and seek to complete my Masters in Social Work. I could study things that matter to me. Work towards helping others. Make a difference. It’s what I wanted to do at the start, but, funny girl that I am – I thought I could work in schools and be a positive adult for children before there was a need for social intervention. Quaint, aren’t I? A tragic idealist.
But I can’t do that either, can I? Because there is a component of Field Placement. An ‘internship’ providing essential practical experience. And the chance to get my pride back. But I can’t be in any workplace. Even in that capacity. Because I am certified unfit by my GP with regards to work before. But I can’t legally make a positive change and become a distant memory for you all when I regain my independence.
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Small balloon of hope: deflated. Back to the drawing board. As usual, I’ll do it all myself.
- Workplace watchdog accused of bullying culture (abc.net.au)
- Increased productivity and dignity at work are achievable (safetyatworkblog.com)
- Momentum increases for tangible action on workplace bullying (safetyatworkblog.com)