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There aren't just 2 options. So start there.

Dear Prudence,

I do front-line work in the criminal justice system. About a year and a half ago I was sexually assaulted. What followed was severe PTSD, nightmares, and a lot of drinking to cope. My job had a lot to do with the severity of my symptoms. I had already scheduled a year’s leave to travel, so I stuck around until it came up. Unsurprisingly, it didn’t magically fix everything. I made a lot of bad financial decisions and ended up incurring about $10,000 in debt, but I eventually settled overseas, stabilized, and started to heal. My finances are still very tight. Now my leave is coming to an end and I don’t know what to do. My job back home provides great income and benefits (including mental health treatment) but will be horrifically triggering, and I will need to stay for at least six months to make the cost of returning worth it. My lifestyle here is amazing, but there are not a lot of opportunities to get back on my feet financially. I feel like I have to choose between being ruined financially and being ruined psychologically. Do I go? Do I stay?


Re: There aren't just 2 options. So start there.

  • What a horrible and sad tragedy.  I hope this person has a good bit more time left to look for other options.  Typically government jobs...be they federal, state, city, etc...will let you move around within the system without losing any benefits/time worked.  They'll also usually give substantial preferential treatment to internal applicants. 

    Even moving from different types of government agencies, including former military, they'll usually include the years a person has already spent working for the government of any kind when calculating years to retirement/vacation/etc.

    If LW gets a job in the private sector and there is a "break" in her government roles, they will typically still go back and count the years she worked in the criminal justice system.

    Bottom line, I don't think LW should go back to the same job if it is going to set them back emotionally.  This person should start pulling all strings and turning over all rocks to find another position, hopefully with all the same government benefit perks.  Possibly in a new city!  That might be even better.

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  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey member
    Eighth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers

    LW needs to find a trauma counselor and start working through their problems ASAP.  This is so sad for LW.

    I wonder if LW's employer knows of what happened.  If LW feels empowered to tell them what happened, s/he should.  They may be able to move LW to a different position that is not front-line work.  It may be less triggering and LW could financially right themselves. 

    Even if LW doesn't want to discuss the assault with the employer, if s/he starts working with a counselor, they may be able to assist with getting accommodations made for LW based on the PTSD alone, without having to provide details of what happened.  The accommodations would be requested by a doctor who does not need to divulge all of the details.

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