Oh the breadth of information to discuss today :)
I am not working again today - this time it is by choice...
Several days ago I woke up with a couple of red bumps - assuming they were bug bites (though I have yet to see a biting insect in London - apparently the one benefit of smog), I chose to ignore them. Progressively over the next couple of days these bumps increased in number and worsened. Finally last night I decided that I would get them checked out.
Lo and behold, after waiting for over a week to get employment, my recruiting agency would call me with work this morning (we shall return to the topic of my recruiting agency in a few minutes). Not wanting to go into the classroom looking diseased, I declined in order go to the doctor.
In Thunder Bay, going to the doctor is a bit of an ordeal. Basically you need to be 1) bleeding severly (to the point that death is imminent) 2) be in some comatose state from which you cannot be roused 3) experiencing moderate to severe chest pains (nearly dead is preferable, and make sure you show up in an ambulance not in a private vehicle) or 4) 9cm dialated, just about ready to pop a kid (though having it in the car on the way to the hospital would be preferable; pop & discharge). So, needless to say, I generally would not go to the doctor for a case of hives. Case in point, in June I was horribly plagued by the little bastards, and opted to sit it out for 2 weeks.
The only reason I decided to go this time was again, because I could not stand the thought of looking diseased in the classroom...plus the itching is maddening. Unfortunately, after my experiences with healthcare in TBay, I was somewhat skeptical (it was actually my recruitment agency that told me to go to the doctor, I was just going to head to the pharmacy).
Sooo...I went to a walk-in clinic at Victoria Station (yes...right in in the station). There was this tiny elevator that magically transported me to a fully functioning doctors office (highly mysterious and somewhat scandalous). Paperwork...a bit of a wait...and boom! A doctor. Brief examination....prognosis: hives related to stress? Yes..that's right...hives related to stress. I am allergic to stress (does this qualify me for worker's comp or unemployment?) Ok...at the moment that is her guess; I am on 3 different medications to test her theory. Leanne can't remember to feed herself daily - how is she supposed to remember to take 6 tablets?
Filling the prescriptions? Just go to Boots Pharmacy (yes, also located in the train station - we really need these fully functioning stations in Canada) and it will be filled. Magical.
So anyway...that was my first experience with British healthcare - a generally positive experience, which I would be willing to repeat (though not entirely by choice). I am also thinking about living in Victoria Station.
Oh yeah - as I left the station, who did I run in to? None other than the Queen! (Liz not drag) Seriously - her motorcade was passing - and I did see her :) Hello England!
Now let's return to the topic of my recruitment agency. If memory serves me correctly, I am fairly sure I have blogged about recruiters. If I haven't, let me summarize - I don't trust recruiters. Recruiters typically are like salesmen & politicians (who are glorified salesmen) - promises, promises, promises but nothing to show in the end. This is why I have never looked into teaching in SE Asia, and why I was initially highly skeptical about accepting work in England. I have been with two English recruitment agencies, and both use the same buzz words "Fantastic", "Ok Leanne, we'll get back to you soon." "Take Care"...yes I know those are standardized wordings - but its the way in which they are said - I actually can't tell the difference between the people I had recruiting me in Banbury and the agency I have in London. At the end of the day these agencies are in a business - and no matter how much they claim to be concerned about your wellbeing, their responses are standardized (scripted) and their endgame is financial. Fantastic. (I actually hate that word now)
So...bkgrnd information: last December I was contacted by the agency I am presently with. I signed with them, but became increasingly disgruntled by a lack of communication, and a seemingly constant inability to keep track of my information. So I changed agencies. Then came Banbury. On my way out of London in April, the original agency asked me to stop in and "talk". I agreed.
Then came London.
I have spent 6 months evaluating what transpired in Banbury. There are so many reasons I couldn't cope. A large part of it boils down to the fact that I had far too much time on my own to think. Then develop anxiety, self doubt, etc. I could feel my heart double beating, everything swirling...Then I just cracked. (No hives though).
This time was supposed to be different. My handler (as I will refer to her), was aware of my situation, and was going to look out for my best interests. I had assumed that work would start as soon as I got here - it didn't. There was additional paperwork which delayed the process. Things were not in order. I haven't seen my "handler", and instead have been dealing with two other recruiters who are not aware of the situation. I have had to tell the same story over again (I do see them write information down, yet it never seems to make it into my file?? Or maybe I have like 30 files, each with its own information that cannot be opened more than once). The result??? I have been left to myself for 10 days to think. And develop anxiety. And develop hives. And remember that I do not want to go into the classroom. And decide that I want to go home. I think we calls this "coming full circle". Leanne is not a happy camper.
I have developed so much disdain over the idea of teaching, that I actually went to a doctor today - something I haven't done since 2000 because I have an unnatural fear of doctors...
I've had too much time again, and am increasingly skeptical of recruiters. As I sit here trying not to book a flight home, I am also weighing my options. What do I do if I don't teach? Can I afford to stay in England, if I find another job? Is there another job in England (damn the Credit Crisis). What do I do? Where do I go? Can this just be over? Luckily one of the meds that I was prescribed is also an antidepressant (I'm fairly certain anyway) so at least I can be stoned for a couple of days. But seriously...how much education do I have to go through until I get it right?