Thursday, March 15, 2012

Shitty Jobs: They Exist Here, Too

Abortioneers can have shitty jobs. Most of us do the work because we care. We look to the greater good. We are motivated by helping others (and if you’re not, you won’t last long as an Abortioneer). Most of us are grossly underpaid and grossly overworked. Most of us have co-workers who are incredible and inspiring. Hopefully, we have bosses and doctors who give a shit and don’t take the crazy stress out on their employees.

Those of you who work in clinics are pretty amazing, really. You get up every day and go to work in the face of protesters that scream at them. You hold onto complete strangers' secrets and carry them as your own. You put up with threats. You get isolated socially because it's hard to talk about your job. You hold hands. You wipe tears. You smile. You're brave. Sometimes you get into the safety of the clinic to face unhappy, burnt-out, unkind co-workers or, worse, bosses. Yes, they exist. They exist everywhere, don’t they? Why should abortioneering be any different?

We’re all so scared to talk about the shit that exists within our work because we want to portray an image of the altruistic feminists who fight hard for the cause, never give up on women needing abortions, and never give up on their employees. That doesn’t always exist. The reality is, just like in any other job, there can be fucking shitty managers. Fucking shitty co-workers. Fucking shitty work environments. And guess what? We hatehatehatehate talking about it because we:
1) Don’t want to get outted to our employers (and possibly face getting fired)
2) Don’t want to fuel the antis who read our blog and will say, “See! You guys are suffering because of the evil work you do!”

I’m sick of both of those things. My dear, dear co-blogger, Sparky, just wrote about how she’s having a hard time at work in this post. She’s brave. I admire her. She spoke out. Our work is hard. It’s easy to get burned out. We givegivegive of our hearts and sometimes our employers don’t really give much back to us in terms of support. Sometimes our employers tend so much to the “business” part of our business, that they forget the heart of it. They forget that without passion, without advocacy, without caring for more than the bottom line (and without having employees who do, to their core, have these qualities), they will have a very cold business. They will lose those who care the most: who are motivated by making a difference in women’s lives. Some of my friends are getting lied to by their bosses: being promised that they would always have a job/not get a paycut/not get laid-off/that they’re too valuable to ever lose; then all of the above happens. And employees who are rude to patients, rude to other employees, who suck the heart out of a clinic stay behind.

I understand Sparky. I’m burned out, too. I’ve been burned out. And I realize that sadly, where I work, there are lots of unhappy people who probably are just waiting to get out. Maybe they want to find a replacement before they quit. I’m looking for a new gig. I’m loyal to abortion work, but I’m no longer loyal to my clinic. Hard to be loyal around those who aren’t loyal to you or who you can’t really respect.

So, we’re sorry to those of you who are struggling at work. It totally sucks. If employers dump so much stress on their staff on top of the inherent stress that already exists doing this work, they’ll lose all their best people (they’ll either quit or they’ll get so disenchanted and angry that you won’t want them anymore). What a terrible thing to squash the passion and the love of the work out of your employees or co-workers.

In my opinion, abortion clinics should be a place of love. When they aren’t anymore and there’s nothing you can do about it, it’s time to get out.

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