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"...another reason I'm intrigued with the hanged of Salem, especially the women, is that a number of them aroused suspicion in the first place because they were financially independent, or sharp-tongued, or kept to themselves. In other words, they were killed off for the same sort of life I live right now but with longer skirts and fewer cable channels." Sarah Vowell, The partly cloudy patriot.


Why is it not wednesday yet?

I need to whine.

It's not bad enough that I lost my cell phone, lost my flash drive, my glasses snapped in half, and my printer is broken - now my laptop is not charging. I don't know if it is the cable or the laptop - but I have a hunch it is the laptop and it is about the plug itself - which apparently is costly to repair. WHY? WHY? WHY? Why can't everything just work?

I just got home from my interview, and I am frustrated. I originally applied for this job back at the beginning of May, and had my first interview mid-may. I learned today I am one of the top three applicants. Super. I also learned today that I may be unable to do the job. And I am annoyed.

First of all (I need to remember to hide this post later as I am going to put in details), the pay is 30k - not super, but I think it is doable. Except, I am responsible for paying 30% of my insurance - which she said is $150-200 a month - that's not an insignificant chunk of my potential pay! The job description said they paid 100%.

Second, they told me that part of my responsibilities would be to go out to schools and do therapy with kids there. That was not in the job description - and would be difficult to do without a car. There was nothing in the job description about needing a car or needing to work anywhere else.

Third - and this is the capper. I had been told at the interview that I might need to take the crisis lines occasionally. Not thrilled with this as I've done crisis line work, and would prefer not to again for reasons I've detailed elsewhere (bad traumatic incidence involving a man calling and saying unless I said sexual things to him he would molest a little girl). But, I need a job, so I agreed to this - providing it wasn't super frequent. Today I was told it would be one weekend a month (the whole weekend or one shift - I don't know). And, I would not be paid extra for that time, as I am salaried. And part of doing crisis lines is being a medical advocate - which means that after someone is raped, if they call the crisis line and want an advocate at the hospital (or if the hospital calls the crisis line) we go out and provide advocacy during the rape kit, the exam, and the reporting.

I have two problems with this (besides not getting paid extra):
1. There are 6 hospitals in the suburbs for which this organization provides advocacy - and I can guarantee you that even during the day I'd have a hard time getting to any of them in any kind of reasonable time. Moreoever, the busses in the suburbs don't run 24-7 - so I might be completely unable to get there. But at any rate - a commute of 1-2 hours (which is what it would likely take) would make it impossible for me to really be helpful - you can't just show up to help a rape victim hours after the rape! It seems to me as though they ought to have advertised this as it really does make it so that the person in this job NEEDS to have a car.

2. This is an intense job anyway - working with rape survivors - much less having a focus on kid rape survivors is really really hard work. If I have to do that all day every workday, and then on top of it handle crisis lines on the weekend and potentially spend all night at the hospital (as the interviewer said, sometimes the calls come at 2am - however she also said sometimes they can take as little as 15 minutes - which was never my experience when I did this work - usually it was hours and hours and hours), and then potentially have to go into work the next day and be a shrink to fragile clients? That seems like a horrible set-up and a recipe for burnout and resentment (esp. since this will be a new thing - and so those who are already working there will have to start doing it too - that would make me super grouchy).

So, I'm not even sure if I *can* do the job - and if I am chosen, if I would want to. However, without those things - it would be the BEST JOB EVAH. I saw the office that would be mine today and it is seriously the world's best office (and I even said that). It is basically half play room/half office. I would so be in heaven.

At some point soon-ish I will know whether or not I am their top pick - in which case I guess I will try to negotiate or something.


At 6:16 PM, Blogger Eddie said...

That's a tough decision! It's really not fair that they changed their tune about how much of your insurance you'd pay.

At 6:34 PM, Blogger Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

I think that if they offer you the job, you need to ask for more money and an expense account to handle cab fare to the hospitals. The job description does not include a car and you should not be expected to pay extra transportation costs because they added this extra stuff onto the job.

It is quite possible that the salary they named was reduced assuming you'd negotiate it back up... so do so. For those wages you'd be better off waiting tables and working at Borders.

Tell them that you need at least what they said the salary was plus $10,000 or so and see what they say. The reason women have a salary gap is that they fail to negotiate their starting salary when men regularly get more than is offered.

At 7:42 PM, Blogger BrightStar said...

ooo... I like the idea of an expense account for transportation! I would think that if you had a car, they would have to pay for mileage, so this is similar.

I also think they expect a lot of work for too little of a salary. I mean, you need a graduate degree for this line of work, right? Sheesh. They should know better.

Also, I think they demand a little too much flexibility with your time.

It's too bad that they're trying to ask so much of this employee, because otherwise it sounds like a great job for you. Maybe you can make something work out through negotiations.

At 10:33 PM, Blogger Ianqui said...

Do they already know you don't have a car? It doesn't sound like it. In any case, if you should get the offer, then yeah, asking for a transportation add-on sounds like a great plan.

And I've never negotiated for my own salary either (though I plan to at tenure time...), but it can't hurt you to try as long as you're (internally) willing to accept the job even if they don't increase it.

At 12:24 AM, Blogger shrinkykitten said...

eddie: I know - and if my paycheck gets eaten up by job-related expenses, that will make me really grouchy!

The problem with asking for money is that agencies like this - that serve victims of violence and are non-profits - often don't have any wiggle room with money. And negotiating is NOT the reason why women are paid less. It is much more complex than that A part of it is that women take jobs like this because they want to do jobs that provide some service - and there is no money in counseling rape survivors because our society does not deem that an important thing to support.

b*: I think I'm hoping that this is just an idea the director has (she's kind of new) that will likely bomb if she tries to implement it. I can't imagine the staff going for it. Plus, I know that when they advertised for the person whose job it is to do the crisis lines and medical advocacy - they stipulated that that person needed a car, and needed to live within a certain geographical region so that they could get to the hospitals quickly. So given that we were not given such restrictions, it seems unfair to do this.

ianqui: Well, the person who I kind of know knows I don't have a car - but I'm not sure she realizes the piece about having to go to hospitals (she just started, and I don't know if they've told her this yet - as I know she was unhappy at the idea of even just doing crisis lines). The director at least knows I took public transport to get to the interview - and how long it took me. She didn't ask me if I had a car or not.

Back when I had a real job, we had to make sure that everything we wanted to consider as a qualification for the job was on the job description - and that all questions we asked related to that. So, I'm really used to very comprehensive job descriptions with no surprises. Also, so that if someone doesn't get hired, you can defend it by showing how they didn't meet the job description. Is this not a national law thing?

The hard thing right now is that once again, I got my hopes up - and had been waiting for so long, and to get so far in the process only to find that I might not be able to do the job. I cannot tell you how disheartening this is.

At 8:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it that you don't own a car or that you don't drive? If you do drive, do they have zipcar where you live or other car sharing programs? That might be good for the occasional trips you would need.

At 10:44 AM, Blogger dr four eyes said...

Shrinky, so sorry to hear of this new complication! It does feel a bit like a bait-and-switch.

I do think the advice to negotiate salary is a good idea, both for your sake and for the clients' sakes.

I've worked in the non-profit world and had lots of friends in that world (though not with this particular line of work), so I'm well aware of the budget constraints these sort of organizations face.

At the same time, I maintain that the women you would be serving deserve qualified, fairly compensated people advocating and helping them. It does them little good if you or whoever takes this job is resentful about low pay, high transportation costs, and a heavy workload that burns you out too quickly.

I know you don't need/want to get rich from this job, but you do want to be able to take care of yourself adequately so that you can do your job well and care for others.


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