Saturday, April 21, 2007

My little ordeal... I nearly lost my flat!!

I've just come back for work from my 2.5 weeks break, first day at work on Wednesday and everything was fine, not too busy... just right to help me picked up my pace again. That evening after dinner, Erica knocked on my door to give me all my accumulated mails. One of them was a letter from the hospital management telling me "due to a change in circumstances, it is necessary for you to move out from your current flat." My reaction? Of course I was appalled! They gave me a six weeks notice from the date of the letter and since I was on holiday, I only had 3 weeks left. That letter also told me that they're relocating me to another flat along with my furniture.

The thing that upset me the most was that I have settled down in my current flat... I love this flat so much... it is so comfortable and the flat they're about to relocate me to is sub-standard to this. That flat is very old and bound to be extremely cold in winter no matter how much heating you use. Furthermore it is a hassle to move in the middle of the year, to unpack and move, and to adapt to a new environment again. I remember how stressful it was to move from Dunedin to Timaru in November last year and now that I've settled down here, it's a big thing for me emotionally, physically, and psychologically to move to a new flat again.

After receiving that letter, I tried to calm myself down and reasoned with it. My plan was to see the management and asked for consideration for me to stay in this flat until end of this year as stated in the contract/lease signed previously. If that can't be done then I told myself to accept ' dengan redha', maybe this is a test from Allah for me. I called my special one and my dad for advice and both of them told me to talk to management and ask for consideration. Babah said he would pray for me.

The next day, I went to the accommodation department and the person in-charge was on leave so I called HR (human resources) instead. HR told me I should talk to the Head of Facilities, the person who probably had made this decision. I rang him and he told me they would want to turn my flat into an office space!! That was so selfish and unreasonable of him especially when someone is still staying in the flat. I was really upset! I asked him if the change could be delayed until end of this year and he said no! He told me since I had been on leave he would extend the date until end of May and no later. He also said that I could bring all the furniture in the flat I want and they would assist me in the moving process and this is not to put me into any disadvantage. How dare him say that when he perfectly knew well that the flat they were about to move me into was very much sub-standard to the current flat... And to move me when my 12 months period is not over, of course I am at a disadvantage no matter how much assistance they give.

My friends heard of this and they too thought this was ridiculous and one of them 'Mark' (Mark, I owe you one), told me to review the contract again and he insisted to see the Head of Facilities with me and gave management 'a piece of his mind'. He came in very strong I thought with his point and the Head of Facilities was rather 'pissed off' ;). The Head of Facilities then told us he would ask for a legal opinion on my contract and told me not to do anything before he contacted me again. Mark told me to contact NZ Resident Doctors' Association of which I am a member of. Members of this association are able to get free legal advice if they encounter any problems related to our employment. I think since this flat is hospital accommodation and hence is part of the District Health Board, they are able to help me. I talked to the representative of this assc. and faxed him all the details/documents. He then asked my contract to be read by their lawyers perhaps and that afternoon itself he rang to tell me that he would contact the Head of Facilities. The representative said the hospital management couldn't force me to move out until after the 12 months period is over or they have to pay the previous 5 months worth of rent back to me if they insisted as this was against the contract. He called me again that same afternoon telling me the good news that I could stay in the flat until the contract period is over. I was so happy. I fought for it and I won. Alhamdulillah!!!!

What I learned from this ordeal is that with prayers and effort, it can be done! When initially I told myself to accept and be 'redha', I don't think it was giving up. I think of it as 'menerima segala dugaan' and maybe 'ada hikmah di sebaliknya'. Cannot 'putus asa jua', keep on praying 'supaya Allah memudahkan segala urusan' plus put in a good effort, and for me in this case Allah has answered my prayers, He opened the way for me Alhamdulillah.

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