Monday, April 07, 2014

What's Right For Thomas

I wrote the other day about the problems Thomas is having at work and a couple of you responded with thoughts about his work and whether or not it's a good idea for him to be working in the type of position that he is. I have given a lot of thought to it since I read your comments but I have wondered that myself for a while. This job of his has always caused him grief in one form or another and it has not been an easy road for him by a long shot. So, the question is, should he stay there or go and find another job?

When he was looking for a job, every place the rehab specialist pointed him to included customer service in one form or another. Fast food work was out from the start because of the amount of pressure he would be under at a job like that. When I was a teenager I worked at McDonalds and me being a highly anxious person at the time, I was tested every shift I worked. It wasn't easy, the pressure was huge and working with customers wasn't easy. I stayed in the job because I had friends that I didn't want to leave. Putting Thomas into work like that would have been a disaster, obviously, so he avoided even applying there. So in the end, he applied for positions in retail and got the job he did.

Originally he was hired to work a graveyard shift from 11pm-4am unloading trucks and organizing the warehouse. He would have worked in the back of the store with a couple other people but then there would have been no interaction with customers and crowds. It seemed perfect for him and was everything he wanted but the hours were just plain wrong. He was sick, his meds weren't working and what they were doing was making him tired. On top of that I didn't feel like it was wise for him to screw up his sleeping schedule since in the past, when he didn't sleep, he got worse. So, his rehab specialist fought to get him out of that position and here he is now where he is. No back stockroom to hide out in, there are crowds during sales and a raging anxiety disorder to boot appear to be making his employment impossible at times. Clearly, for the most part, he is in the wrong job but the question is, "what is the right job for him?"

I remember back to what it took to find him this job in the first place. It wrecked him to have to deal with the anxiety of finding a job, going through the interview process and waiting for an answer of whether or not he was hired. Applying for a new job would be a job in and of itself. Should I suggest he go through all of that all over again? Somehow I just don't feel right about it. I also have to wonder, "is this even my choice to make?" I know him and I know he would tell me he is fine where he is and because of that I am forced to step back and just watch but then be there for him when he struggles.

I don't know what's right for him or I do but it is out of my hands to make that decision for him. I can suggest to him that he find something that better suits him but without the job rehab specialist he is completely on his own to find, apply for, interview for, and get another job. I could help him but it almost seems cruel to put him back through that process. Really, we can't win. Every direction we turn will have pitfalls. At least now he is somewhere where the managers know he struggles and are flexible about it. Perhaps working in therapy to learn how to fight through the anxiety is our only answer. It is failing miserably at the moment but hopefully as the clozaril leaves his system and the Latuda gets to work all on its own, he will be successful and happy in the job he already has.

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