Just another day in a strange situation

Just Another Day

This life is normal to me, I know what I have to do to survive, but that doesn’t mean that I like it.  In starting a new job you have to think about not about your situation but also about the feelings and ideas of others.  I have debated telling my employer that I am homeless but I don’t know how it will be taken and I also have to think about my reputation as a new employee.  If you start out by showing your problems, people are not going to want to deal with you after a while because they think that you come with too much baggage, I say this from experience.  It does not mean that I will never tell my employers about my situation, I just have to get to know them a little better.

What I have learned from the past is that people come with preconceived notions, I come with them too.  The images of the homeless are everywhere and they are all usually negative, that guy lying on the street with a bottle in his hand.  How do you overcome that stereotype?  I know from experience that people judge the homeless harshly, I was in that boat. I decided that I would rather say sorry later than have to explain now.  I’m not saying that lying is an easy thing to do, I wonder on a daily basis – who will find out and what will they say if they do.  All of us like to believe that we are good-hearted individuals and if we saw someone in a really bad place we would help them, but that’s pie-in-the-sky thinking.  Most of us when we see homeless individuals we feel that they should be doing something more with their time and that they should try harder to get off the streets, even though we have no idea about how they got on the streets to begin with.  We also have no idea what they are currently doing to get themselves off of the streets, they may be on a million waiting lists for housing that are taking forever.  In my case, it took me 7 months to get into the shelter were I am staying.  We are so quick to assume though that the person has never tried and their life is just one of wasted opportunities.

I feel guilt everyday because I don’t discuss my situation but in the end I am learning to re-think my situation in a way that states that I have a right to keep certain things in my life private, if it does not effect my employer.  I’m sure that there are things in my employers past that they have not told me and do not want to tell me and I am ok with that, they have a right to their privacy as well.  In this day and age we encourage people to be an open book and to share with others, we say that if a person is honest and open we will be able to accept what they tell us about themselves.  That’s just not how life works and I’m living proof.

So I will go to work and I will discuss the weather, movies, books and work, but when asked where I live, I will simply say Denver.  It’s just another day in the real world, the one I live and now work in.

3 Replies to “Just another day in a strange situation”

  1. As long as you told the truth on your application where it says address, then where exactly is the “lie”? I have been homeless..and it was before anyone ever thought about creating shelters for us. I told one prospective employer and failed to get a job because of it. he outright TOLD me he didn’t want a bum working for him. I got a job, and wrote down the street address of the barn where I stayed…was that a lie? no. Hang in there. You are doing great. You are on your way back to where you wish to be. No one needs to know your address is a shelter and not an apartment or house.

  2. Howdy!

    I want to second Suze. You are not lying. You have a right to privacy.

    What I hear from the post, in addition to that, is a struggle to maintain appropriate boundaries. When you move into a new place, you’ll be happy and want to celebrate. IF you are close to someone at work, you’ll want to tell them. But, before you do, ask yourself if that person is kind, generous, understanding. Look for evidence of that type of empathy. If it is there, you may be able to confide in them. If not, then don’t.

    Use your blogging friends for that sense of being understood and accepted for who we are that we all need.


  3. I agree with Suze, it’s not your employer’s business. And if they were to find out it’s a shelter after the fact they cannot discriminate based upon it. As awful as it sounds, you’re right and have your thumb on the pulse of the human condition, no need to share your current (and I say current because it is not forever, you will find a home soon) living situation with co-workers. Even those you grow close to early. Don’t allow judgement and preconceived notions of others tarnish your presence in the company. You want them to see you and what you bring to the table at work. Do not allow homelessness to walk in the door before you do every day. You’re not lying, you are being private – there’s a difference. Thinking of you! Hugs!!

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