Tuesday, January 13, 2009

60 day sentence

My crime? I got a job working for the TSA, a federal agency. Really, I guess the crime was getting injured. The coworker that caused the accident didn't get such a stiff sentence, so maybe the real crime was my filing an accident report and becoming a claimant in a federal workers' compensation claim. So far I have served an open-ended sentence of about 5 years. Now I have been given a 60-day sentence to work a job that has no real definition, for people that I've grown to hate (not personally, but as an organization). Basically, they do own me. I wrote somewhere earlier that they don't, but I'm finding that they really do.

This sucks.

It's not just sucky, it's perfectly sucktacular!

This sucks.

So, for now I have told them that I wanted to start Monday, though they said I had 30 days I can put it off. Why put it off? I just want to get this overdonewithgone. I start Monday. My poor children will go into the daycare around the corner, if they have room. This daycare teaches them sign language, which is something I've been starting so at least there is that benefit. Plus, I guess I'll get time to crochet and read a little on breaks. I won't get much sleep, though, as I won't be able to nap like I try to do when both babies are asleep (a rare occurrence, but it still happens from time to time). They aren't sleeping through the night, yet.

This sucks.

I will have to try to figure out when to breastfeed these little guys since they are used to being breastfed at night and bottle-fed by day. For now I'll stick to breastfeeding them in the night and early morning feedings, but if I'm to be to work by 7 or 8 (they haven't clarified my hours), then that cuts out 1-2 breastfeedings per baby. How sad. They actually won't take the breast much when I offer it in the day. They are very used to their routine. I'm afraid that they won't breastfeed much after I get home from work.

This sucks.

Ah, routine. Well, that will get messed up. Joy of joys. Also, the EC we've been doing with the boys will also get messed up.

This sucks.

I had a conference call today with my claims examiner with the DOL, the DOL guy in charge of my vocational rehabilitation, my vocational rehabilitation counselor, and the person who will become my boss at the TSA. I was doing really well until my claims examiner started accusing me of being uncooperative and unwilling to work. Oh, I hate those words!!! I hate her! I lost it. The stress became too much for me. I hyperventilated, and started gagging. I just physically couldn't handle all the stress. Later in the call I lost my cool in another way and called the claims examiner and the DOL guy in charge of my vocational rehabilitation "devils" because they are truly evil of the purest form. I told them they are basically soulless, otherwise I asked them how they could sleep at night. I told them they are experts at ruining lives and that their actions will not only affect me, but my husband and my children. I accused the claims examiner of being negligent of her job and told her I will follow that through in writing to her manager, providing evidence - and I have evidence. She is continually putting erroneous information in her letters to me. I have to give credit to my vocational rehabilitation counselor. She was very helpful and she's been very kind and supportive, and I'm sure that if she could, she would get me out of this very bad situation. I'm not sure about the TSA woman, yet. I don't think she's evil, but maybe the government has already sucked her soul, too. It depends on how long she's worked for them.

My vocational rehabilitation counselor was cut off from the phone call not long after she defended me. She was not reconnected and I was left on my own, outnumbered against the devils. That's when I truly lost it.

This sucks.

Anyway, they said I need to work 60 days to fulfill my obligation, to prove that I am capable of earning $36,665 a year with my new restrictions. This amount is supposed to be suitable, after all, I worked for that amount 5 years ago when I was single and without children. Never mind that I made much more than that at my previous job, and have made more than that at any of the jobs I've worked since the early 1990s. Never mind that I took the TSA job more for something to do while the economy got into better shape after the dot-com crash, and that I also took the job with the full intention of moving up within the government and transferring to an office job in another agency when the right time came. When I worked for the TSA I was volunteering for extra work and authority so that I could apply for a promotion to supervisor and then manager when there were openings. Basically, they expect their claimants to have no drive, and no career path. They expect them to be lazy, uncooperative, and unwilling to work. They aren't used to dealing with people like me.

This sucks.

And yes, if I were to get the schedule award for my disability rating it would be worth it. However, they will fight me tooth and nail on that affair, too. I know that. There is the principle of the matter. I learned from an insurance lawyer a few years ago that 95% of all injury claims are dropped within the first year due to the stressful toll it takes on the claimant. Those that remain are those who are usually truly badly injured and have the strength to stick it through. Make it through that first year, he told me, and they just up the ante and make things harder and harder. Their goal is to get out of paying or to pay as little as possible. Dave and I have stuck it through this far and I am entitled to a schedule award, and if it is high enough, it could cover the boys' college education.

But then, that's a different fight and frankly, I'm not sure how much fight I have left in me. I just want my OWCP part of the claim closed once and for all. I wanted it closed cleanly so that the DOL can't come back after me for any reason. I want to buy back my life. The only way to do that, it seems, is to work those 60 days. The 60 days are work days, not calendar days, so it will be nearly 3 months. 12 weeks. Right now it seems like an eternity.

This sucks.

Have I mentioned that I hate them? I don't like being filled with hatred. Hatred brings out the worst in people and it's just bad energy. I don't want my children being around hatred. Hatred causes cancer.

This sucks.

I saw Doctor R. this morning and he verified that my claims examiner got her details wrong in her latest letter. He also told me that if they make me work outside my restrictions then he will have no problems pulling me back off the job. I have another appointment with him in 4 weeks to see if the job is taking a toll on my arm.

This sucks.

So, I start Monday and have to try to get these little guys into the daycare around the corner. At least I can walk them over there in their stroller instead of dealing with car seats. At least they are in the neighborhood.

Oh, and I gave the TSA woman a heads-up warning that I will require a room for pumping my breast milk, a room that is not a toilet stall, and that I will need breaks to do this. She said that she was not aware of any obligation that they had to provide that for me. I reminded her that it was California labor law that she was required to accommodate and she used the whole, "we're Federal" bullshit that they don't have to abide by California law. Well, that may be another fight I will have on my hands.

Have I mentioned that this sucks?

1 comment:

Lissa said...

They are really taking you for a ride! I am so sorry, Lizzy. I wish I could do something to help but I know that I can't. :( Our government is truly evil. Certainly California Labor Laws override Federal. They do in the case of minimum wage from what I understand. I'm so sorry you have to deal with all of this on top of being injured as a result of those people.