Posts Tagged ‘anxiety’

I wanted to make sure my first few experiences weren’t too heavy and as bad as the title sounds; this one isn’t the worst one I’ve had. This was during my first job when I worked at Disneyland; I worked in retail, I’m choosing to omit locations and names since there’s a chance this person still works there.

Some backstory incase you’ve never worked in the parks or known someone who has. The attendance system is very different, according to them, from other businesses; they want to focus on you being at work so they call it ‘presenteeism’ instead of the more common ‘absenteeism’. Depending on whether you were full time or part time, you had a certain number of points you can receive before disciplinary action is taken. Now here’s the kicker that no one tells anyone, as a full time cast member you can get 36 points (this was the case in 2018 when I left, no idea if it’s the same) but if you actually hit 36 you get that disciplinary action. If you were what they call a lead, a manager by any other standards, then you shouldn’t have those actions against you but the position was almost like an ‘at will’; they could say you weren’t living up to expectations and take it away.

Now that the background is out of the way, I can move up to my story. I was having a ‘talk’ with one of my ‘developmental’ managers, we were all assigned managers to help us develop…some where better suited for the task than others; not everyone is a people person. We were talking about random shop things and what we needed to do to make it better, the norm. Then she asked about my call outs, *side note- in my 13 years there, I NEVER received one of those warnings for points, or for anything else EVER* she noted that even though I hadn’t hit the 36, I had called out like 8 times in the past year; oh yeah each call out was 3 points, so 24 points. I said, ‘yeah, and?’ which then prompted the normal ‘if you’re struggling with something you need to let us know so we can help, if you need time for something you need to let us know. Here’s the thing, I didn’t hit that cap, far from it. At no time was I there, I taunted it sure, but never hit it.

*More backstory – I suffer from severe depression, anxiety and agoraphobia, which I knew but to be honest they (mangers) had no need to know my MEDICAL information*

I foolishly felt safe with her and admitted that I was seeing a therapist for my depression and I was getting help, but some days were harder. The therapist wanted to put me on a 2-week program but I couldn’t afford it at the time and I wanted to be there for work. She said that was awesome that I was getting help and (I can’t stress this enough; THIS IS A DIRECT QUOTE) ‘at least now (that I’m getting help) the other leads won’t laugh at you for being all bipolar!” (that was burned into my brain and heart)

I was crushed; had I thought of it I would have reported it and done something more than clam up and become so quiet that the silence was deafening and I made up a lie to leave the room and meeting. She NEVER sensed that what she said was wrong, or that if affected me so much. I never trusted the managers with my private information after that point and I just let them believe that I called out so frequently because I didn’t want to come in. Did it hurt me? In the long run, kinda – I went through a slump and was able to pull myself out so I became this poster child for self-improvement but that moment still lives with me, and just makes me aware of how much people just still don’t get it.

When I left Disney for another job it much later, the managers moved around so often that this manager moved a few months after this and I didn’t have to see them again. It really left a poor taste in my mouth though and still makes me nervous to tell higher-ups about my different mental illnesses.

**please note; I am not saying anything is wrong with being bipolar, my managers comment illustrates how much ignorance is out there and how strong the stigma really is**

Take care and stay safe ♥


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