Author Topic: The bells! The bells!  (Read 278 times)

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Offline Schizoid

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The bells! The bells!
« on: September 27, 2013, 09:31:13 PM »
OK, I am Schizoid and I am a schizoid.  That is, I have SPD--schizoid personality disorder.  Granted, I am a high functioning schizoid, a covert schizoid--most people are not aware of it.  Otherwise I am basic schizoid material:  very much a loner who can really do without people altogether.  I am not unfriendly, but nonfriendly--I can fake it well.  I am not antisocial (barely), but nonsocial--I really, really would rather not have to do it.  I can deal with and tolerate people well under my own terms, like on my own turf where I have control or if leaving them is under my control.  Otherwise I feel trapped and uncomfortable.  Like a mandatory meeting at work in a large room--I have to sit in the very back in a corner where everyone else is in front of me (like an Old West gunfighter), otherwise I am not comfortable.  I am introverted, but not shy and really have next to no friends (why would I have friends?) and I like it that way--I find people to be annoying.

Here is my dilemma and irony.  The irony is that I'm an atheist and I work for Sally, you know, the religious outfit that runs the homeless shelters and has the red kettles.  I've gotten along well there because there really is not much religious in my day to day job other than having to vacuum the chapel, but it's just a room.  I accepted on job there 2 years ago to work as a custodian, to clean, that's it.  So my first Christmas there, and Christmas is a very big deal at Sallys, I am just part time.  By my second Christmas I was full time and to my great surprise I was informed that as a full time employee I was required to work (I would be paid) two 2 hour bell ringing shifts which I did at a Walgreens near my home.

Nothing to do with religion, but as a schizoid I found this to be very uncomfortable, unpleasant--not only was I trapped in one spot and could not leave, I was on display and forced to interact with people who came through the doors and those who put money in the kettle.  Clearly I was uncomfortable and was obviously not happy to be there.  I thanked everyone who put money in the kettle, but did not say "Merry Christmas" to anyone.  Yeah, it didn't kill me, but at my interview and when I was hired, nothing was said about a requirement to ring bells at Christmas--nothing.  I have no problem with doing anything that is remotely connected to custodial work, but that doesn't include bell ringing.  If I was told before being hired I would have to bell ring, or help to serve meals at noon, I would have said "no thanks".

So this year my intention is to do nothing.  I'm not going to talk about it but I intend to simply not sign up for any shifts and see what happens.  Fortunately I am pretty well liked and respected (I am one of the oldest employees and I think they mistake my general quietness for somehow being "deep") and the Major who is also my age (61) is also an introvert.  But I feel my stance is not unreasonable since I was never given an opportunity to give prior consent to bell ringing before I was hired.  (I don't think I will be fired, but I won't get the employee of the week award which as a schizoid I would naturally refuse).

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Re: The bells! The bells!
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2013, 10:23:38 PM »
Schizoid

Here is my suggestion. I hope others have some as well so that you'll have a variety of ideas to choose from.


Talk to Sally, using whatever standard protocol they have set up for such things. Explain to her that your strengths as a human being are many. You get along well with others at work, you do your job in a dedicated manner, and mention any other pluses you have. Then explain that you have one major personal problem, and that is being in public and interacting with strangers. And that this has been a problem a long, long time (I don't want to assume it has been for your whole life, but if it has, mention it.) And explain how your felt last year when you rang the bell. Tell her you tried, it was frightening, and you are hoping not to have to do it again. Tell her that you have been dreading this Christmas all year long, and that the problem you have revealing yourself to others has contributed to your delay in bringing up the issue with her. But that you are now trying your best to face the problem directly.

Call the idea of bell ringing again distressing, traumatic, or anything else that seems to fit. And tell her that you certainly have no money to get any sort of professional treatment about these feelings. And as an organization dedicated to helping others without discrimination, ask her if she might not also be willing to help an otherwise good employee without discrimination.

Again, I do hope others have some ideas too, and that you can gleen some ideas from them as well. I would have no trouble self-diagnosing myself as being at least semi-schizoid. I just didn't know what it actually meant until I looked it up this evening. I too would have a hell of a time ringing a bell for a fundraiser. I'd probably do it if I were in your shoes, but again, I'm probably only semi-messed up about such things.

And I wouldn't bring up the job description thing except as a last resort. Technically speaking, technicalities suck as reasons, and such tactics will not win your friends or influence people positively. I am hoping that most people, including Sally, in Salvation Army management are inherently sympathetic, and I hope that you can tell your story in such a way as to make it apparent that sympathy is appropriate in your case.

Good luck.
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Offline Schizoid

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Re: The bells! The bells!
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2013, 10:50:00 PM »
Schizoid

Here is my suggestion. I hope others have some as well so that you'll have a variety of ideas to choose from.


Talk to Sally, using whatever standard protocol they have set up for such things. Explain to her that your strengths as a human being are many. You get along well with others at work, you do your job in a dedicated manner, and mention any other pluses you have. Then explain that you have one major personal problem, and that is being in public and interacting with strangers. And that this has been a problem a long, long time (I don't want to assume it has been for your whole life, but if it has, mention it.) And explain how your felt last year when you rang the bell. Tell her you tried, it was frightening, and you are hoping not to have to do it again. Tell her that you have been dreading this Christmas all year long, and that the problem you have revealing yourself to others has contributed to your delay in bringing up the issue with her. But that you are now trying your best to face the problem directly.

Call the idea of bell ringing again distressing, traumatic, or anything else that seems to fit. And tell her that you certainly have no money to get any sort of professional treatment about these feelings. And as an organization dedicated to helping others without discrimination, ask her if she might not also be willing to help an otherwise good employee without discrimination.

Again, I do hope others have some ideas too, and that you can gleen some ideas from them as well. I would have no trouble self-diagnosing myself as being at least semi-schizoid. I just didn't know what it actually meant until I looked it up this evening. I too would have a hell of a time ringing a bell for a fundraiser. I'd probably do it if I were in your shoes, but again, I'm probably only semi-messed up about such things.

And I wouldn't bring up the job description thing except as a last resort. Technically speaking, technicalities suck as reasons, and such tactics will not win your friends or influence people positively. I am hoping that most people, including Sally, in Salvation Army management are inherently sympathetic, and I hope that you can tell your story in such a way as to make it apparent that sympathy is appropriate in your case.

Good luck.

Thank you for your reply.  Oh, and "Sally" is just the slang term here and I'm guessing other places as well that is used for the Salvation Army.  Actually I'm really hoping that if I say nothing I might just get lost in the hecticness of the season, but it doesn't hurt to have an explanation prepared.  I am fortunate inasmuch as my immediate supervisor and coworker completely understands.

As far as being schizoid, I've only found out about it just a few years ago so it was pretty late in my life.  I was grateful for the diagnosis because it explained so much about my entire life and choices I have made right back to when I was just a little boy.

Offline Nick

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Re: The bells! The bells!
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2013, 07:02:24 AM »
I think I might have a little bit of that in me from the way you described things.  Having to ring that bell would drive me nuts.  I hate asking people for money for anything.
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Offline Schizoid

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Re: The bells! The bells!
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2013, 09:16:41 AM »
I think I might have a little bit of that in me from the way you described things.  Having to ring that bell would drive me nuts.  I hate asking people for money for anything.

There is a spectrum of schizoidism that can range from mild to paralyzing with anhedonia--not finding joy or pleasure in anything.  There is a tendency on schizoid forums for those whose symptoms are the most severe to glory how they are the true schizoids, it is a lot like the religious where some are fanatical fundamentalists while others just quietly believe--neither represents the entire group.

I function quite nicely and most of the things which bother me are either over soon or I can simply leave.  The older I get the more set in my ways I become.  I am very much the homebody and I'm content with that, being in my comfortable inner sanctum.  Even these past few days which have been gorgeous early autumn days I'd rather just stay inside with the door and windows open.  If there is somewhere I need to go I can go--I don't have panic attacks and I'm not under any medication for SPD.  I do take meds for hypertension and one of them, Atenolol, slows my heart rate so after being on my feet all day at work all I want to do is nothing, which is my favorite thing to do.

I did feel trapped ringing the bells in the entryway to Walgreens.  I had 2 bands with the small, round bells on them that I developed a Native American rhythm to my ringing--definitely not Christmas-like.  I did feel like my presence there with the bells and the red kettle was guilt tripping people to give, an added thing to make me uncomfortable since I don't like people doing that to me.  I definitely was not the smiling, seasonly cheerful Christmas bell ringer poster boy who would inspire one and all to put money in the red kettle.  Humbug!

Offline Nick

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Re: The bells! The bells!
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2013, 03:05:07 PM »
Well, look on the bright side.  They could have made you wear antlers and a big red nose. ;)
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Offline Jonny-UK

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Re: The bells! The bells!
« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2013, 04:39:00 AM »
Thank you for posting what you have.
My only suggestion is to be both honest and polite.
I would like to think that by the very nature of what the salvation army does, they would look after their employees in the same manner as all the disadvantaged that they help.
I too feel uneasy in social groups, I bite my nails and this gets worse when in those type of situations.I also try to avoid using telephones as this I find really stressful.
I also find (as you have done here) that writing things down helps me to remember any key points I want to make.
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Offline Schizoid

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Re: The bells! The bells!
« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2013, 11:26:11 AM »

I would like to think that by the very nature of what the salvation army does, they would look after their employees in the same manner as all the disadvantaged that they help.

Unfortunately, my Sally does not look after their employees in the same manner as the disadvantaged.  As a nonprofit they are exempt from having to pay unemployment compensation so if you lose your job, too bad, so sad.  That just happened with one of our cooks--they just eliminated his position and told him he had just another week to work.  Now they would want 2 weeks notice of your quitting, but feel free to cut you loose whenever they please.  I know the same thing could happen to me.

We receive many hundreds of dollars of food donations each week from local stores, some of it so pricey that I couldn't afford it (due to low wages I am on food stamps as well as other employees here).  Our residents here get 3 good meals a day as well as snacks, and they also get food stamps as well.  My coworker and supervisor has 3 daughters who are grade school age as well as a toddler son.  He confided in me recently that his family was running out of money and food and he was making everything in the cupboard.  Yet I see each week hundreds of dollars of good food thrown in the garbage in its commercial wrapping that could have gone to employees like my coworker.  One might think that a religious organization would feel a moral obligation to take care of its own employees like family, but they don't.

At my job interview it was not only left unmentioned that as a custodian I would be required to bell ring at a red kettle at Christmas to raise money, but that I was really coming to work at a quasi mental facility whose residents also have substance abuse problems.  The kicker is, if one of them attacks you are not allowed to strike back in any way, only retreat or restrain them.

So, no--they don't look out for their employees as much as they do the disadvantaged residents.  Even as an atheist I had more respect (naively so) for the Salvation Army before I worked there than I do now.  (I would really like to make it through at least the next 6 months there if possible and find other work using them as a good job reference, but at age 61 jobs aren't exactly dropping off trees.)

Offline Jonny-UK

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Re: The bells! The bells!
« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2013, 06:27:13 AM »
It really saddens me to hear these things.
It is disgusting that the world can make enough food for everyone and yet food is thrown away for being past its best before or sell by date.There are charities over here doing their best to get hold of this type of food rather than it going to waste.
There is also a shop near me that sells just past it's best date food(clearly labelled as) at a massively reduced price.
Even worse is that people miss out on food simply because of financial reasons. Maybe the whole world needs to think about supplying food in a different way (although I have no idea how).
I hate to hear of people suffering and I really wish you all the best.
I'm sorry I can't think of anything else at the moment to suggest for your situation.
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Offline Schizoid

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Re: The bells! The bells!
« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2013, 12:46:53 PM »
It really saddens me to hear these things.
It is disgusting that the world can make enough food for everyone and yet food is thrown away for being past its best before or sell by date.There are charities over here doing their best to get hold of this type of food rather than it going to waste.
There is also a shop near me that sells just past it's best date food(clearly labelled as) at a massively reduced price.
Even worse is that people miss out on food simply because of financial reasons. Maybe the whole world needs to think about supplying food in a different way (although I have no idea how).
I hate to hear of people suffering and I really wish you all the best.
I'm sorry I can't think of anything else at the moment to suggest for your situation.

A good part of the food problem is logistics.  Right now we get all kinds of fresh produce everyday that people bring in from their gardens.  The problem is that there is no way to get it to those who need it because the system depends upon those needing food to stop by and see what there is, and that could be different each day.  So after a couple of days the fresh produce goes bad and has to be thrown out.

Food donated by supermarkets and a place we have that's like a 7/11 tends to be very good and of good quality.  It tends to be entrees and deli items which can range from fruit or veggies in a cup to stuffed chicken breasts, fresh baked salmon, and even prime rib that people buy for their lunches.  These are close, but not past their date yet and are intended for our homeless residents.  The problem is that our residents are already well fed at mealtimes, have their own food stamps, and really have no way to reheat a lot of these items.  Many times I have seen perfectly good food set until it is so old it must be tossed when we have employees who could have used it and are on food stamps themselves.  The homeless would not be deprived of food in any way.

My situation, well I started this thread really about the irony that they would force anyone to ring bells (kind of goes against the volunteer spirit) and particularly that they would have an atheist ring bells (although most of them don't know).  I'm hoping to make it another 6 months at least but if worse comes to worst I could get by somehow, I always do.  Besides, I can retire in August of next year and enjoy the life of poverty I now live without working.