Another Milestone?

Proves that you are never too old to get fired. I’m struggling with whether it is worse to work at the worst job in my life, or getting fired from the worst job in my life?

It’s certainly been a rocky road for the last few years. The reason I ended up here in London was following a woman who ended up cheating on me. My life went straight downhill from there, ending up living in a shelter with no job and no money. I don’t know how I could have done anything differently but my focus was on basic survival and not getting back out West where I belong. Despite my miserable circumstances I hoped that I would at least be able to reconnect with my kids after seventeen years, but that didn’t happen either.

I had obviously hit rock bottom and every step I took only kept me here. I got into public housing. I got a short-term job. My vital medications, costing almost five hundred dollars a month, were being covered. I applied for literally hundreds of jobs, but every time I got close my criminal record killed any chance I had at getting a decent job. I have been fighting for years now to get a pardon for something that happened almost twenty-five years ago, but I’ve failed at every turn. Finally I got the job at a call centre because they accepted that this was twenty-five years ago and not relevant to today. Barely a minimum wage job but I was thrilled to finally get any job. What I didn’t know at the time was that this company was so despicable that they would hire any warm body.

There is no way to accurately describe just how bad working for this company was. You had to be there to believe how they treat employees like dirt. My first clue should have been that they have a full-time hiring sign out front and a hundred and twenty-five openings in a city with the worst unemployment in Canada. I soon learned why. I’ve done a lot of different jobs in my life, plus my life has certainly been chaotic over the last few years. My doctors have always been amazed that my blood pressure is normal, in fact, low, when I am dealing with enough stress to kill someone. My kids. My health. My job. My car. My nonexistent love life. Yet I dealt with it all and didn’t “stress out”. Stream changed all that. I used to come home literally shaking from all the stress of the job. I started shaking before I went to work and loathed the job. Broken computers. Broken phones. Software crashes all day. Customers yelling at you all day. It was all too much. My last day before my medical leave I had to leave the floor four times just to calm down. I knew I was a heart attack waiting to happen.

When I went off on medical leave I had no intention of returning to work at Stream. Why would I? The same stressful conditions would still be there, so what was the point in returning? None-the-less I was passionate about all the issues that were affecting customer service at Bell. I wrote to the CEO and included a detailed report on all the unbelievable things we had done to customers, with the goal of getting a job working directly with Bell. The CEO passed my reports down to the VP – Care who contacted me by email. At one point she asked if she could share my reports with her “good and trusted friend” at Stream. Although I had some concerns about her doing this, I did not intend to return to Stream, so I agreed to let her share the information.

As luck would have it my medical EI was about to run out and I had not been able to find another job so I had no choice but to return to Stream. I was very concerned as to what they had seen of my reports, but my first day back I met with the head of HR and our Bell rep and they seemed very apologetic that no one had responded to the many issues I had raised and they said they wanted to work with me to deal with the issues. I was totally duped because the minute they read the reports they fired me. I am trying to find a wrongful dismissal lawyer who will take the case on on contingency. Stream didn’t even pay me the required one week’s notice, leaving me in a total mess financially.

Where I go from here I have no clue. My plan was to return to work here and get a transfer to their Chilliwack office, but that’s gone now. So, why not just leave Ontario? The problem is that I am on ODSP, the disability support program, which pays for my very expensive medications. I also live in subsidized housing with my rent based on thirty percent of my income. Even if I have no income ODSP will pay my rent. I’ve been trying to apply for disability benefits under my CPP but it requires documentation from my family doctor, which I have not been able to find for three years now. At least if I can get my pension increased I’ll have some income to support me in BC. It’s about eight hundred a month which is certainly not enough to live on. I’ve also written to the Ministry in BC to see if I can get the same support as ODSP for my medications. How I actually get to BC I don’t know. My dealer has been looking for a van for me so that I can take some things with me, but this was based on me working which now I’m not, so I can’t see him giving me a van with no way to pay him.

Life’s a challenge and then you die. I seem to be getting a step closer every day.