Bible says No Prophet is accepted in his hometown. A person, no matter how wise he is will face criticism in his hometown and finally has to decide to leave if he wants to grow. I wonder why that is. Why some countries have the best amenities in the world while at the same time, the other counties lack of even basic amenities like Life saving medicines. People like me, who suffer from a chronic illness had no scope for survival in India, and my father realized it pretty early. He decided to send me to Australia, to be able to go through my life while dealing with diabetes.
Although, Australia has been better than India in terms of medical facilities and education, the basic understanding of people towards a chronically ill person is no different here.
In China, there is a proverb, that before God sends someone to Earth, he stands by the person and whispers in his ear, " You're the wisest person, I have created on Earth."
As a result of which, a lot of people we see around suffer from the "Wisest Person" phenomenon.
The extent of ignorance towards diabetes and the lack of empathy from people sometimes leave me startled. I used to feel bad in the early days. I tried to correct people when they're wrong but it changed overtime. These days, I just prefer to listen and nod my head because instead of trying to understand, everyone think they know it all already, and put out their comments about what they think about me. Afterall, wisdom seems foolish to a fool.
After all these years I've spent here, I couldn't help but notice the workplace discrimination I have gone through just because I am a Type 1 Diabetic.
When I first move to Australia, I got a job as a Quality Assurance chemist in a big company while I was studying for my diploma in Lab Tech. I worked there for around 3 weeks. Everything was going well and then one day my boss found out that I was diabetic. The very next day, I received an email stating that I should look for another job as factory's environment is detrimental to my health and I should not be working there. It felt sheer atrocity to me but I couldn't do much being a student, so I left.
I moved to Newcastle and then got a job as a restaurant manager. I was already doing around 50 hours a week, but some months later my boss decided that I should be doing 70 hours like every other restaurant managers working for him which is unlawful as we only are suppose to work 38 hours and get paid for those hours.
Anyways, my branch was already doing the best among all the other branches but they were still not content. It got to a point where I was getting verbally abused regularly like other managers. I tried ignoring it, thinking that the excess work might be taking a toll on the boss, but I was so wrong.
Verbal harassment became a regular practice, until I couldn't take it anymore. Finally, one day I decided I've had enough, and I won't take any more of their verbatim. I left the work one day, and never showed back. It was the first time, I got a feeling of standing up for myself but it put me in a lot of trouble with my work visa but I didn't care much, thinking that I will find a way.
I learnt the basics of the hospitality business from that job. I could have managed to work enough hours, despite it adversely affecting my health but more than the hours, it was the toxicity of the work environment that made me leave there.
Afterwards, the decision of moving to Port was really hard, Port being such a small town hence finding a job here is like finding a needle in the haystack. I was unemployed for about 4 months, hardly making the ends meet while managing my medical expenses. The unemployment period for an immigrant is different than that for a resident, where you find support from almost every direction you head to. After being patient for so long, I found a food attendant job at a resort. Most of my colleagues there were very understanding but there were a few who used to be ignorant, guess it's always going to be that way. I made peace with myself and decided to ignore them and kept working.
There were days when my shift extended for more than 10 hours. It takes a lot out of you, running around the whole work place, clearing and cleaning the tables, running the orders while carrying the dishes, greeting the customers with a smile on your face, making sure the service is flawless till everyone leaves and then making sure the whole restaurant is cleaned up for the next day, before you leave for home. It would not be an understatement, if I say to be so tired by the end of it all.
I used to get home and crash on my bed with all the body pains. I kind of got used to that. I never complained about it until my boss started acting like she holds something against me. It created a completely tensed environment for me at work. We were not fighting or never had any arguments, its just around her I felt a sort of friction where anything I did would have been pointed out with a critique. I was okay with it until the points the critique lost its reason, and the only thing left was a negative energy looming the whole place. There was no particular reason for it. I think of it as just us being different people with different mindset, so I do not blame it on her.
We were just two very different people not just culturally but mentally as well as ethically, so I found a way out of there just when things started to get a bit too sour.
I found a new job as a Barista and to my surprise, it is far tough than I thought it to be. This job has tested the extents of me and my patience. I think just because I have a chronic illness, I am looked upon as a liability rather than an asset to a business which is wrong in so many ways.
Me, even with so many health issues have the strength to push through a sick day and be at work.
I rarely take sick leaves. I work hard, and I push through my limits just to make sure I am not looked upon as weak. Some days are harder than the others with my issues, but what choice do I have?
This is the world where everyone is ready to take your place, a company merely looks at you like a subject, and if you do not meet the bar, you'll be substituted before you even get a wind of it. Greed has taken over compassion and ignorance has taken over understanding.
I like to stay kind because you never know what one must be going through in their personal lives so instead of making it hard for them I like to be kind and helpful and it gives me a sense of satisfaction for having this life. I do not think of myself as the wisest person in the world, so there's always a lot of space empty in my head to occupy someone else's perspective, to understand their problems and to live every moment in its truest sense.
I do the same. I hope you do too!