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The New Job

I officially lost my last job because of poor performance, and truth be told my performance was pretty poor. On the face of it, that’s that. However, I also did tell my employer that I had bipolar and I think that it also became a contributing factor. They simply didn’t believe that someone with bipolar should have been in my position.

When I applied for my current job my new employer asked why I left my old position, of course. I said I was let go for poor performance, but I didn’t want him to think that I was just a slacker because why, then, would he hire me? So I told him that I had an illness and that medications hadn’t been working well. I told him (truthfully) that now I was on new medications that were working much better. He spent about half an hour telling me how he didn’t care what was wrong as long as I did my job and met my deadlines.

A few days ago I went in to pick up the contract, and my employer brought up the issue again. This time he specifically said “I don’t care if you’re crazy as long as it doesn’t affect your work”, “be crazy on your own time”, and “there are other crazy people working here and I don’t care”. I listened to him and I couldn’t believe that he was saying the word “crazy” to me in an obvious provocation.

Okay, listen. I use the word “crazy” in an ironic sense to refer to myself all the time. I think it is important to take control of having bipolar as much as possible and I think controlling the language I use is a big part of that. To me, calling myself crazy means I’m deflating some of the negative power of the word. It’s the same thing when I use the word “queer”. When I use “crazy” and “queer” they are not bad words.

Just a short aside, I know other people who have bipolar and I would never use the word “crazy” around them because they would find it hurtful in all contexts. These people would never accept that the hurtfulness of the word could somehow be used ironically. So around these people I’m very careful.

So, back to my new boss referring to me as crazy before I’ve even signed the contract. Obviously he’s provoking me. Just how big a deal is this whole mental illness thing going to be at work? Am I one of these sensitive people? The answer is, unless my boss makes a habit of this kind of stuff, I’m not going to let it make much difference. I’m still going to sign the contract and I’m still going to work there.

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Categories: bipolar
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