Thursday, September 13, 2012

Follow-Up On Work Anxieties

After the concerns I wrote about before starting work, you might be surprised at the outcome.  Although I’d contemplated trying to make my covering less obtrusive, rather unsurprisingly I went into work in my usual sort of head-coverings, and have had no trouble or discomfort about them.   Neither supervisor seems at all taken aback or discomfited. 

It seems that I pinned my anxieties on an item of dress, when their concerns seem to have rested somewhere else entirely- in some aspect of scheduling or behavior that my dress indicated, rather than in the outfit itself.  I was even aware of that at the time of my interview. 

I don’t know why I fixated on my tichel as the source of their concern- in retrospect, it seems a little bit silly.  I suppose that I grasped onto the physical item that seemed the most Other, in comparison to secular American expectations, and tied all my worries about othering onto it.  A logical connection, but one that might have caused me more anxieties than I might have had otherwise, although there’s no way to know that for certain. 

We’ll see how patients react- I’ve only been really working seriously for a short time (translation: about a day), and so it’s hard to tell, thus far.  But I imagine that, given that chaplains, as religious professionals, are often expected to be marked in their dress in some way, stemming, I imagine, from Christian clergical collars, that a head covering won’t be such a concern.  In many ways, I’m more curious/concerned about how Jewish patients will react, especially the Hasidic population who, it seems, makes up a sizable percentage of the hospital’s Jewish population.  

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