Posted on January 22, 2013 · Posted in TBI Voices
This entry is part 21 of 34 in the series Craig

Working Post TBI: Craig Part Twenty One

Craig talk about what it was like working post TBI and dealing with work compromises.  He describes his understanding boss and how that made things easier.


I’d like to focus on two main areas where we’ve talked about – what happened at work, how your vocational pursuits have matured and then about the relationships that you have, particularly your children.


So, you went back to work, six weeks, two months after your accident.    Tell me about working post TBI. 

My boss, she was a pretty great lady.  She had her own, unfortunately, she had issues happen in her life that happened with mine and, and she’s still a nice lady.  But I no longer believed in my job and I no longer believed that taking people out of the institution and pretty much putting in a community institution is what we’ve done.

I didn’t believe in what I was doing anymore.   I used to think that they needed more drugs, you know.  Oh, their behaviors (are out of whack), their dose is out of whack.  Now when I looked at that point when I started looking at why they were having issues, you would have issues if you were being controlled the way that they are.  And this is the residential supported living which is the best.

You have four roommates that you don’t get to choose.  So you’re forced to move in with somebody you don’t like and you have a staff that I wouldn’t let take care of my dog.  To be honest with you, I really wouldn’t let them watch my dog. Here we’re asking  them  to comply and so, my whole concept around what I was doing (was troubling.)

It was the staff issues which wasn’t going over real good with the state when I’m doing behavior support plans for state managers. But that truly was where the issues were coming (from) was the power control of some of the program manager, managers that were in the field.

I started taking a different approach at it.  That’s where People First came in, because I was part of them before and during my transition they were the only organization that stuck by me.  We’ve created a, a network of succeeders, rather than conformers.  It’s been an interesting 10, 11 years with People First.

Craig’s Difficulties Working Post TBI

What happened at your day job working post TBI so to speak?

Okay.  So, I was also in charge of hiring.  I had a real time, a real hard time hiring people that I wouldn’t let take care of my dog, and so it’s really tough picking people. Before I wanted to get the best person out of the applications if we needed somebody, but then it got to the point where I wouldn’t.  I didn’t want to hire these people because they weren’t capable, they shouldn’t be taking care of people.  And that created some problems within the mid-management because  they needed people to work because if they didn’t have people they had to work.

So, a little bit of pressure came on me to hire.  I hired some people and it was the nature of the business that 75 percent of  them  wouldn’t be there a year anyway.  So the bad people I guess you would say, the nonqualified people, I really started, I started taking it personal.  When they would steal something from somebody,  just how wrong that was.  I mean, the things that I could live with in the past, I couldn’t live with anymore, um.

Having difficulty with compromising with working post TBI?

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I couldn’t have people being taking care of somebody that shouldn’t, that couldn’t take care of their own kids, um.

The world becomes very much a black and white place working post TBI, not grays anymore?

It did and what I believed, wow, we’ve provided this beautiful home with staff 24 hours a day.  What great thing this is for them.  And it was no longer so great because I started seeing what the people were seeing rather than what we were seeing.  I can  say we have good business.  And I don’t think I did anything wrong before because they need staff, they need to served with dignity.  So at that point is when my real change came.  Rather than working with the management, I now work with the people and I actually do it from high school up and I’m teaching them how to force the dignity.

Now did you lose the job or did you quit your job working post TBI?

I had quit.  They wouldn’t fire me.  I tried to get fired, but they wouldn’t fire me.

How long after your accident working post TBI did that happen?

Oh, I made it a year and a half, for almost a year and a half and, they got to the point it was, I felt that’s when the guilt started coming in. I knew that I was putting people in harm’s way by allowing this to continue.

Next in Part Twenty Two – Perception Changed as a Caregiver after Severe Brain Injury

About the Author

Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.
Past Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice :: 800-992-9447