Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Pinball Wizard

Remember pinball machines? Glass-lidded wooden boxes in which a silver ball bounces maniacally from side to side before eventually making its way to the hole in the front, dropping forever out of sight? I am that ball. And nursing is my glass-lidded box. And the hole, I suppose then, is death or retirement. Or as I'd like to think, being finally able to quit nursing to pursue a career in writing.

I don't relish my role as the silver ball and wouldn't outwardly admit it to people who know me, personally, not wanting anyone to recognize it for what it is, "it" being my behavior. But I know it's the truth.

I'm what I refer to as "rapid cycling" right now. There are nurses who stay in the same job for 35 years and then there are those of us who feel the need to move from job to job, "cycling" if you will, in an attempt to avoid inevitable and rapidly-approaching burnout. Fortunately, this particular profession accommodates this method of self-preservation, by virtue of the ever-present nursing shortage, ensuring there will always be another nursing position to which to run. As burnout increases in a nurse not unlike myself, she tends to make the rounds of available nursing positions in ever increasingly rapid succession. Hence the term "rapid cycling". The fact that the term is also used in the categorization of bipolar disorder is not lost on me, I might add.

I applied for a job today. It's kind of a biggie. Probably the biggest I ever had, making the most money and with the most responsibility. But it's management, not field nursing or acute care. It's home health. There are no emergencies in home health. None. If there is an emergency, it gets diverted to the Emergency room at the hospital. Where I will no longer be working. That is, if they hire me.

A job interview is decidedly different when you're applying for a management position, I noticed.

Can you tell us about a time when you had a bad run in with a supervisor and how you resolved it?

There was this one time, in that exact office (I worked there in the past, a long time ago) when I was pretty angry and tossed around a lot of the "F"-word when addressing my supervisor on particularly hot summer day when I was getting a divorce and some major appliances went out and then I had a flat tire on the way back to the office that I wasn't sure wasn't somehow done intentionally by my soon-to-be-ex-husband. When I got to the office I got some bad news about not being able to do some work I'd been counting on for extra money (now to use to buy tires) and I lost my shit. So today I told the interviewer...

I've never really had a bad run in with a supervisor.

And all of this being said, I really would do a hell of a job in that position, I think. I think I could retire from that job. As I said, I worked there before and it was the best job I ever had in my whole career. I quit after 5 1/2 years to go back to the ER because I was dating an emotionally unavailable predator I met on the internet and it took 10 hours driving time to see him in Texas and I thought that would be easier to do if I worked 3 days a week and not 5. In six months, the bloom now off the rose, I tried to come back and by that time, they were downsizing and, eventually, everybody there got fired or quit. The office is a fraction of the size it was then. And the benefits are not nearly as good, as in most places right now. But it's still good money and it's a desk job and, damn me, I think I'm ready.

I don't have to tell you that I came out the hero in every one of those scenarios the interviewer asked me to place myself in and then tell him and the other supervisor about. I can be very creative when when the need arises. And I do have some really good points that are gonna make me a damn good supervisor if they offer me the job but I didn't get the opportunity to tell them about them because I was too busy making up stories to go with the questions they asked me. They were all based in non-fiction but had to be embellished upon in order to make me look competent and effective.

I may not get the offer but I think I've made my mind up that I'm going to make a change. Again. I'll probably wait for an opening in the other home health (the one that's putting my old one out of business). I just have such a need to root for the underdog. Give me a good old bleeding lost cause, any old day. I'll go down with the ship. By then I'm sure I'll be ready for another job change, anyway, and that'll keep me from looking so much like that silver ball.

I really can't wait to fall through that hole in the front.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Shades of Garbo

Freddy says he's going to the store in a little while. I've been waiting with bated breath since then for the few minutes he's gone.

When I get off my three 12-hour weekend shifts, I got nothing left for the world. I need to be quiet and self-absorbed for at least the next day, or so. I already prostituted myself out by agreeing to do two massages tonight, which I knew was a bad idea when I did it. I knew I'd regret it, wishing instead to just be able to veg out on the bed with my laptop. But okay, just two hours and I get paid for it, they're not gift certificates, so I'll make a little extra money. And not till late in the afternoon. So then my daughter calls this morning and her babysitter is MIA and she needs us to watch the kids tonight. I love my grandsons but those little boys kick my ass. But I said, okay. That's not till 3.

So he finally comes and kisses me good-bye, Freddy does, and leaves. I swear to God, it's not 5 minutes later and even though I know it's impossible, I distinctly hear footsteps in the livingroom headed toward the bedroom where I sit, blogging, on the bed with my laptop.

Who could that be?
I ask myself, incredulously. He just left and I didn't hear the door reopen. When in walks my 25-year-old daughter.

"In a week I'm gonna be ghetto rich!" she says.

"What? Where did you come from?"

"I've been here, you psycho. I'm getting $3400 back on my income tax,"


"I'm getting....."

"No. How'd you get in here? I didn't hear the door."

"I've been here. I've been in the computer room doing my tax return. I got here about an hour and a half ago."

Jesus H. Christ.

Is it just me? Out of an entire day, I have maybe 20 minutes of time to be alone without anybody asking me questions or turning on a television or walking through the bedroom to take a pee in the toilet directly in front of me when there's a perfectly good one down the hall, out of my earshot, and my adult daughter shows up, seemingly out of the frigging air doing her tax return. Fuck.

And while we're on the subject, does anybody else pretend to be asleep when their spouse is in the room in an attempt to discourage interaction? I mean, just keep their eyes shut, like I do, for just a little longer after they wake up, just until he goes out of the room and shuts the door and then breathe a sigh of relief because they don't have to answer any questions or express any affection?

I just want to be alone, sometimes. I don't wanna talk for a few hours after I get up. Is that too much to ask? And maybe 20 minutes alone while my husband goes to the store? I mean, I love the guy, I'm nuts about him and he's older than me and I know he's gonna die before I do and I'm gonna wish to hell he was here up my ass as usual but right now I just wish I could have about 48 hours alone.