Friday, October 10, 2008

Life as a Personal Aide: Job Training?

During the five years that I've been Ruth's personal aide, I've received increasingly demanding letters to attend job training.

Since I already know how to construct a sandwich that's ADA accessible, I've ignored these invitations. Also, I just wouldn't feel right about collecting my $8.51/hr. for simply sitting around when I have (Ruth's) laundry, food prep, cleaning, paperwork, bill paying, and other stuff to do. Once, I asked a supervisor what would happen if I never went. "You'd be noted in our records as non-compliant," she said, never realizing that I'd flush with pride rather than fear.

I could teach that training. In fact, I should teach that training. More specifically, I'd like to teach about how essential it is for any personal aide to disappear self and let Self emerge. For the Christians (and Buddhists) in attendance, I'd explain that being an aide provides excellent (and abundant) opportunities to practice that "die to self" thing.

I'd explain how we're there to do what the person we're assisting needs. If we're really good at our jobs, we figure out what they need before they do. We should provide assistance seamlessly, without complaining, without making it about us and our needs.

For example, a good aide would never starting weeping on the phone about something that neither she nor the person she's assisting can apparently do anything about -- like getting reliable back-up help if the aide is sick or safe, reliable transportation to something that could, in fact, be handled by teleconferencing.

Mutual positive regard must emerge. Ruth and I have developed this over the years. We respect each other tremendously, which is why I called Ruth to apologize for this morning's mini-meltdown. Imagine my shock and dismay to hear her say, "Well, you're only human."


  1. Which is why I quickly retracted that remark :)

  2. Dear Human,
    Reading your post I could not help thinking what a good soldier you would make. Dying to self to become part of a larger Self is what good soldiers do.


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