Monday 19th May 2014

Over the past week or so, I have been struggling more with my job as a commercial gardener.
I really like everyone I work with, they’re great people. Friendly, outdoorsy types who have a great sense of humour. I love gardening and working outdoors. That’s not the problem. I’m tired. Really, really tired. I know that’s normal for someone who is new to a very physically demanding job, but I don’t think I can keep this up. I’m not sure that I want to either.

With my energy draining, my hearing has been a problem recently. Some days at work I’ve felt so exhausted, I’ve only heard about half of what my supervisor and colleagues say. In my life before Johansen therapy, a bad hearing day like this would have seemed like a good hearing day. Nowadays I’m used to hearing clearly, and I need consistently good hearing and processing for my work. Not least the social aspect of getting along with the people I spend hours with in the van.
This could be a real problem.

My imaginary worst-case scenario:
Supervisor (up ladder with chainsaw): “Jenny, my ladder is slipping!”
Me (hearing something completely different): “Ok, Cool!” (Leaves him to go do some lavender clipping)

Apart from the hearing issues, I’m tired and aching all the time. When I’m not at work, I barely do anything, trying to recover my energy.

Perhaps you are reading this thinking, “Welcome to my/adult life!” Fair enough. I really admire people who can work every day doing a manual labor job.
So far, working for the company has been a positive experience. I’ve made friends, gained a lot of experience, and am a faster, more competent gardener. I want to leave on a good note, not after my own injury, or someone else’s from a mistake I could make when I’m tired.
I could do without the heavy lifting and racing around a garden to a timescale. So far, I haven’t done as much of the more demanding machinery tasks as others, the staff have gone fairly easy on me compared to the bigger, stronger gardeners. I’m reasonably strong for a female of my size, but my size isn’t that big.

I thought hard about what to do.

I like earning wages, but I don’t have to keep working to support or pay rent. My only dependants are my stick insects and houseplants. I could leave and find a different way to make money.

In the end, I decided to talk to my boss about it.
When I talk to people in person, I can feel flustered and not have enough time to process and think things through. I make poor decisions to please others because I don’t like to disappoint people. Also, my hearing hasn’t been so good recently, affecting my speech slightly. The other day, on the way home in the van, my supervisor had to ask me to repeat what I said a few times because my voice was slurring slightly, like it used to before Johansen therapy. I struggle to state my case clearly when I’m tired and my APD comes to surface a bit.
So I wrote him an email.
I wrote to him about how I really liked everyone there. I like gardening, and working for him, but I was struggling too much with the physical side of the work, and wanted to leave. I also mentioned my concerns about my Auditory Processing Difficulties. My APD is noted in my employment application, so my boss already knew about it.

Ok, so I asked to quit. Give up. Wimp out. But without the help from MLC Scotland and Johansen IAS, I wouldn’t have been able to get a job in the first place. During my last years at school, my parents were concerned about how I would cope with adult life. I had barely any energy. I had poor health, poor hearing and almost non-existent social skills. Please bear in mind that although having a job and keeping it hasn’t gone as smoothly as I hoped, I have come a long way.

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