Saturday, 22 June 2013

Passed Over

You know, our family has just been through (and made it through, I might add), an awful lot of stress in the past several years.  Between the boys' diagnoses, our marital issues, financial issues, and some other really inappropriate offenses that transpired, we have had our fill of yuckiness.  I think so at least.

It is hard to focus on life and the mundane sometimes when these big picture issues are in the way.  That being said, I think me and my spouse have done an admirable job of doing so.  Neither of us has had to take ONE day of FMLA despite all of the appointments we have for the boys and chronic health issues that my husband deals with.  We have not taken extended periods of time off.  We have used vacation and sick time for every single absence and have thus not had the opportunity to take real vacation time in years.  Still we get by. 

There are certain things there to encourage us, family relationships, friendships.  Strong work relationships and trust are also a huge part of this.  I have several coworkers who know just about everything about our struggles.  They know when I am running someone to an appointment, or going to an IEP meeting, or on a call with a doctor, and they cover for me as needed, because that is what good coworkers do.  I do the same for them when a child is born into their family, or they go on trips, or they get sick.  I know this is "standard" in the work place, but I am talking about certain people that really have my back.  When the boys were first diagnosed I didn't feel very comfortable about my job situation.  What if I lost my job because of absences? What if I no longer got raises or bonuses?  What if I missed out on a promotion because of the effects that my two children with autism could have on my work performance?? 

Frankly, at this point in my life, with all I try to accomplish on a day to day basis, including taking the boys to 90% of their appointments, driving them to daycare/camp/school daily and taking most of my sick days for their illnesses, a promotion is just about the furthest thing from my mind.  I do think it is something interesting to ponder though.  How many autism parents miss out on opportunities due to their more than standard obligations to their children?  I do not think that would happen to me in my current workplace.   That being said, if I felt like I was passed over due to my or my children's health issues I would be livid. And frankly I have a feeling that it happens way more often than anyone is willing to admit.  Of course this could never be publicly acknowledged, as it would be considered prejudicial, and thus illegal.  Of course it would never be discussed, other than in very veiled terms.  Like an "attendance issue".  Or just a "very difficult decision" that was impossible to make.  Does that change how this person, who has worked very hard, twice as hard as the next guy due to all of the challenges in their life, feels about being passed over?  No, they know the truth. 

I can truthfully say that my job performance, even with two children with autism, is excellent.  I know that I do the best I can for my patients every single day.  I know my patients like me and seek me out because they consider me a "go getter".  I know that my husband has the same experience at his job, where outside clients and coworkers seek him out on a regular basis because of his expertise and willingness to help.  For both of us, when we are working, we are WORKING.  And when we have obligations to our children, we're not there.  The only difference between us and others is that when we're gone, we're not at the beach! 

Respect your coworkers who have children with autism.  If YOU think the job is tough some days, imagine how your coworker is struggling after being up with a kid all night due to his obsession with a BUBBLE WAND.  True story. 

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