Thursday, April 27, 2006

Career Opportunities

In October, I was forced to take a leave of absence from my job, and focus on getting treatment for a medical issue. Since then I have been doing a lot of thinking about my job, my clients and my co-workers, which I love, and the organization that I have worked for the past two years, which I do not.

I am a Certified Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor. What is that you may ask? Well, according to the United States Department of Labor:

Vocational counselors who provide mainly career counseling outside
the school setting are also referred to as employment counselors or career
counselors. In addition, career counselors provide support to persons
experiencing job loss, job stress, or other career transition

Rehabilitation counselors help people deal with the
personal, social, and vocational effects of disabilities. Rehabilitation
counselors also work toward increasing the client’s capacity to live

Basically, I am a guidance counselor for adults. I work for a non-profit social service agency that is more concerned with the status of their bank account than the well being of their employees. Since I have been on leave, I have kept in touch with most of the high-level administration keeping them abreast of my treatment and some of the more pertinent information regarding my condition. It’s not like I’m on my death bed; just unable to work at this time. Recently (last week), I was told by one of the administrators that I would need to quit or risk being fired due to the extended leave that I have taken. Their reasoning was that my job is too important to the facility and that they are losing revenue based on my absence. Clients that would come to see me are now sent to another facility within the organizations umbrella. I was given a month to make a decision. If I quit, I would be able to be re-hired by the organization when I am ready to go back. If I refuse, they can fire me, and then I would have no guarantee that I would get my job back, and lose all medical benefits. I spoke with my lawyer friend who said that they are within their rights to offer these options to me.

Before this ultimatum* was issued, I toyed with the idea of not returning, looking for something different in the same field. Since I have gone through so many changes in the past few months, this would be another place to be able to start fresh; the irony of this is that this is what I do for my clients. Since I am pretty well known in this field, I am not concerned about finding another job; I am always getting job offers sent to me. So I think I have made my decision to terminate my employ with this organization...I'll let them sweat it out until May 30th.

*I don’t work well with the ultimatums…you’ll see what I mean if you keep reading.