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My job search was going nowhere. I’d been out of the work force for nine years and had been self-employed for the last seven years before that. I had not been anyone’s employee for nearly 16 years. That didn’t make me very employable.

I tried my best in interviews but knew I bombed every one. I tried to seem confident, but sixteen years of severe abuse made me feel unworthy of even the lowest job anyone might offer. I used every connection I could think of, and I hounded them.

As I was going through newspapers to use for starting fires, I noticed an ad for a local eye doctor’s office. He’s my doctor! I had an in! The newspaper gave little information but directed readers to Craigslist. The paper was a week old, but I checked it anyway.

The listing was gone. However, only an hour before I booted up, my obstetrician’s office posted a job opening! I quickly did up a personal letter to him and one to the office manager. I ran them to the office. I mean I literally ran. I drove as quickly as possible and sprinted through the parking lot, barely making it in before the last employee locked the door for the night.

It wasn’t long and the office manager called me for an interview. We clicked! We seemed to have so much in common. We knew some of the same people. We laughed at the same things. I was on top of my game and answered her questions smartly. She tried to trick me, and I diverted it. I sold myself. She let me know that she wanted me and as far as she was concerned the job was mine.

I was elated. We just had to wait for the job listing to close, as a formality, and then she’d call me in.

I waited. And, waited. And, waited.

I finally could take it no longer and called her.  They had closed the job without hiring.  They planned to do some revamping so were not going to fill the position just yet.  She promised to call me when it opened back up.

Months went by with no phone call.  I decided to just start cleaning houses.  I had to have an income, and I wasn’t getting anywhere in a conventional job search.

It was spring before she called.  She wanted to know if I’d found my dream job in the interim or if I was still interested.  I told her that her job was my dream job, so I was cleaning just to bring in money while I waited for the opportunity to work at her office.  She invited me back for another interview and shared with me that she had been referring to me as “her L” and that upper management had told her to just call me back since she wanted me so bad.

I was elated to have a job.  I was devastated when I had to leave my crying babies at daycare though.  I hated it.  But, I had a job; I was working.  I’d soon have a paycheck.

The hours were much longer than she’d represented, and the training was practically nonexistent.  I was told to shadow but not interfere.  They were horribly short staffed, so no one was available to train me.  The young girls were snappy and seemed to stare at me and purposefully leave me out.  I figured I was the dumb, slow, old woman, and they resented the dead weight.   I thought I just needed time to learn the job and get into the swing of things.

My loving new boss was placing more demands on everyone.  No one was allowed to ask each other anything.  All questions had to be directed to her.  Yet, she would glare and close her door if we came to ask her a question.  She refused to return a friendly smile as she passed us in the hall.  I became convinced she didn’t like me and confided that to the young girl I was working with.  She flippantly answered, “She doesn’t like anybody.”

I got in trouble for not knowing how to perform certain duties.  I had certainly been there long enough.  I should have known that by then.  Even though I’d not been trained and had been told to stay out of the way and just wrap specimens and clean rooms.  Somehow I was supposed to have learned the software system and the specific protocols for orders tracking.  I was supposed to know how to assist with procedures I’d never watched.  I was expected to have learned everything through osmosis, by just being there.

I was told to be in her office at 8 a.m. every morning for instructions for the day, but she wouldn’t be there.  When she did come in she would shut her door.  I tried to keep busy while I waited for her door to open, for her to give me instructions for the day, but I was always afraid I wasn’t finding the right kind of busy.

The hours were so long that everyone was required to work a half day to prevent them from going into overtime.  During my interview she’d told me it was because, as a doctor’s office, they want their employees to be able to schedule doctor’s appointments and such.  They were just as concerned about their employees’ health as they were their patients’.  However, my half day was fluctuating so that I couldn’t even plan my childcare, let alone schedule appointments.  One week my half day was scheduled for Tuesday, and on Monday she firmly told me that I would have to work a full day the next day and just take my half day later in the week.  I asserted that I couldn’t, my children had appointments scheduled for Tuesday afternoon and I couldn’t cancel with such short notice.  She snapped at me, “What?!  Are you trying to tell me all of your kids have appointments on the same day?  You’re going to have to cancel them!  I need you here!”  So much for concern about everyone’s health.

I began having several little seizures throughout the day but tried to pretend that everything was fine.  She caught me a couple of times.  She called me into her office after one episode and told me that she was worried about me.  She wanted to fix me a meal.  She wanted to be there for me and help me through everything.  She was so full of compassion and friendliness again.

Then, the best employee, the only bilingual employee, was suddenly fired.  That caused everyone to fear for their job.  Several people put in their two week notice.  I was picking up on a vibe that this woman was making everyone’s lives a living hell. She was certainly making mine difficult.

I wasn’t happy with having my children in daycare, and I didn’t want to put my older two in public school.  They have always been home schooled; our local schools are pretty bad; and the boys were too emotionally wounded to face that big of a change at that point.  They needed some stability and familiarity.

So, I prayed.

And, the Lord gave me cleaning jobs again.  I scheduled them for my half day and Saturdays.  I made my escape plan.  I would leave this abusive woman and this demanding job and work for myself again.  I’d rather clean other people’s toilets on my schedule and have them appreciate it than submit myself to her degradation.

She wasn’t a man and she wasn’t a romantic interest, but an Operational Risk Assessment was necessary for her, too.  Though not a critical level, I determined she presented a level III threat and decided to withdraw.

I truly love what I do now, and I love my clients.  I think about these lovely ladies I clean for and how I hope I make their lives easier by performing these duties.  I listen to music and sing while I scrub and wipe, and they smile when they catch me singing and dancing while cleaning their tubs.

It all seems pretty safe.  No risk here.