Thursday, December 13, 2012


So, today I was at work. I needed to talk to my boss. We are like two ships that pass in the night, really, because I'm everywhere, but today, we were in the same building, and I was not going to let that opportunity pass. I had a favor to ask.

There's a COTA who works for the state, but provides services for some of our clients. I've heard of the therapy, read about it, but I want to see it. Work with her. Understand it. I'm willing to do that on my own time. Actually, I'd knock people down to have the opportunity. But it's a dicey proposition. I'd be in one of our buildings, not on the clock. It could ruffle feathers, so I figured to ask permission. I was prepared to beg if the truth be told.

So I put it forward, laid it all out for her. She stared at me, and I knew it. Her answer was going to be no. I said, "This COTA has a wealth of experience, and she is willing to work with me. I think it would be in the very best interests of the company. It would amount to free training..."

She said, "You know, you're a rare bird."

I froze a little inside, stopped talking, and looked closely at her face.

I was remembering other words. The clinic manager at the nursing home told me, "I've never had a student like you before. You're so terrible, I don't even know what to do with you." Those words made me cry, in front of people. She wouldn't let me speak. I felt like a failure when I left that facility, and I knew that not being like everyone else was a bad thing.

This time, though, there was a smile. She said, "I hate to see you not get paid." Seeing that I was about to get what I wanted, I quickly said, "I don't care about that. I want the experience. I want to be good at what I do."

She gave me permission. I AM different. But sometimes being different is a good thing.


Lynda Halliger-Otvos said...

Debby, doesn't that just make you feel so good inside ?~! Knowing you are different is a big deal. I had a respected boss say to me one day, "You have very rare priorities." A huge compliment and I just knew that being different was the best thing of all.

For you too. I love that you recognize that it''s best to be who you are whoever that is.

You are a credit to humanity.

Bob said...

I've always told my kids you have to set yourself apart

Bob Barbanes: said...

This is great, Deb! Sounds like a wonderful opportunity.

But you know me, I have to add one of my patented, "Yeah but..."'s.

When your boss said, "I hate to see you not get paid," MAYBE she was going to say, "...And so I'll authorize some overtime for you since this is a good thing for you AND us." MAYBE you shouldn't have jumped in so quickly and told her you don't care about money - which is probably what she heard.

Maybe in the future you might not be so impulsive. Just sayin'.

But I am happy for you! You seem to have found your calling. I'm still looking for mine :-/

Debby said...

Actually, Bob, no. She could not have authorized overtime. The fact is, all our forty hour employees have been cut back to 35 hours. They still are considered full time, w/ benefits, however, they lost quite a bit of money per week. I only have my job because a woman quit, refusing to take the cut. To give me overtime would have been a slap in everyone else's face. I would not have accepted it.

jeanie said...

In which case, Debbie, make sure that you add it to your onsite training - even if it is unpaid, it is valuable to your professional development AND your workplace.

quid said...


You're different. In a good way.