Friday, July 15, 2011
I wonder if I'm eligible for hazard pay.
In the 19 years I have worked in the child welfare legal system, I've met a whole bunch of interesting people. Some of those people have what we social work types euphemistically refer to as "issues." Often those issues interfere with the individual's ability to care for their children in a prudent, socially acceptable manner. So with the power vested in us by the State of Florida pursuant to Chapter 39 of the Florida Statutes, we remove the children from their custody. Sometimes the removal is temporary and sometimes it is permanent. Nobody is ever happy about this, but the majority of parents do their best to try to correct the issues so their children can come home.
Then there are those who - how shall I put this delicately? - react badly. Very badly. During my first tour of duty with The Agency Formerly Known as HRS, my office windows were shot out - twice. Even earlier, my supervising attorney and I had to be escorted by court deputies through some secret back exit of the courthouse because a disgruntled parent rose up like Charleton Heston in the "Ten Commandments", waving her arms in a manner that can only be called imperious, and declaring my supervisor to be a blasphemer. It was unusual, to say the least.
Today was one of those days when I wonder if I shouldn't have looked just a little bit harder for a job with an insurance defense firm. Having finished a contentious trial very late in the day, and the Court having granted our petition, I left the courtroom expeditiously to avoid contact with the parents because they have made it very clear that they don't like me. As I headed out to my car, I realized they must have hurried to catch up with me. And if I had any doubts about their intentions, a rather kind driver pulled up to warn me that someone was following me. Sure enough, one of the disgruntled parents was hot on my trail.
Now that's all I'm going to say about that, except to assure my fellow travelers at The Agency Formerly Known as HRS that I did not raise my voice, much less my hands. Tomorrow I will make proper reports to the proper authorities.
Governor Voldemort has gleefully gouged big chunks out of the paychecks and benefits of state employees just like me, claiming it is the right thing to do to balance the budget. So I guess I should forget about that hazard pay. And thank you very much, but I'll pass on that office with a window.