Risky Business

She moves cautiously when it comes to matters of the heart

and

leaps with wild abandon while in pursuit of life’s significance.

Growing up the way I did, with the family I did, in the house I did my growing up in, I was anything but a risk taker.

I was the quiet child, the well-behaved child, and the family peace-maker.

I was the kid who didn’t step on the cracks or lines, for fear of breaking backs or spines.

Always did what was expected of me and followed the path that was laid out by my parents for me to follow.

Most of my risk taking has involved my career or financial well-being.

Following my accident, I went back to work for a brief period of time, and then when my ex husband sold the house we owned and I got my half of the proceeds, I chose to go back to school, which was pretty risky.

Incredibly risky, in fact.

I was the sole financial provider for my sons, and would be cutting our finances in half. If we could live on half of what we were accustomed to living on, I could pay my tuition, and cover our living expenses for the time it would take me to complete my studies.

I had a budget and would have to stick to it absolutely in order for us to get through it. Knowing not a thing about budgets and how to prepare them, I didn’t know to make sure I had contingency plans in place if there was anything that arose, such as blown transmissions, or increases in the price of gasoline. I don’t think I even had anything set aside for clothing or medications. I just made the decision, after worrying it around and around in my brain, and I jumped.

It was never easy but I still cannot believe how fast it all went by and then I was finished!

We had a few bumps in the road – once they cut my electricity 2 days before I got my monthly student funding, and we used the barbecue and showered during the daylight hours. We all went to the library during the evenings to do our homework and use computers, and I surely didn’t have enough extra food in the fridge those days to worry much about spoiling! Coolers full of ice kept what we had safe.

When I think back to those few days, it almost makes me feel sick, but both my sons have joked about how we are survivors and how I can cook anything on a barbecue, so I am hoping the trauma is at a minimum for them.

Once my schooling was over, I took the first position I found, even though I was far from qualified for it. It meant I had to get up at 3:30 every morning and take a train (of all things!!) to a hospital far, far away from my home, in order to start by 6. I worked in that position and also took another position that I would go to afterward from 4-10 at night.

I did that for 3 months until I felt “safe” again financially. The second position eventually offered me full time work and that led me to yet another position, on the recommendation of nurses I worked with.

I hopped about in that fashion for the next 3 years, steadily increasing my salary and being recommended by doctors and nurses I worked with for better and better positions.

Positions I had no business applying for. Positions meant for folks far, far more intelligent and experienced than I was at that point in time.

I have always been a quick learner, and I watch people and how they do things. It’s how I learn best, and I used that to my full advantage during those years. I took positions that I knew I was capable of doing at some point, but would have to fake it till I made it.

Being risky and taking chances without the fear of failure has allowed me to grow my personal network and to achieve the things that I have during my career.

It was also a great example to show my sons, as they have both taken some gnarly risks career-wise, but have landed well!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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An Old Man and his Story

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http:// https://promptlings.wordpress.com/2016/04/26/the-sandbox-writing-challenge-37-something-important/

He was admitted to the hospice on a spring day.
He came in on a stretcher grumbling and cursing at every jiggle the stretcher made on its journey to his final home.

Once the transfer team had him in the bed, I went into meet him with his chart and the reams of paperwork necessary in order to admit him.
After confirming his name and his birth date and asking about allergies, the question about his next-of-kin came up.
In a wheezy voice he muttered that there was no one. He had three daughters he hadn’t spoken to in years so I could leave those “ungrateful bitches” out of his affairs.
He hadn’t seen them in years since their mother’s death.  He informed me that he was a ward of the province and the Public Trustee would be in charge of his estate.

I thanked him for the information and welcomed him,  showing him his call bell and giving him the names of the care staff on duty.

He had end stage lung cancer that had metastasized to his brain. He wasn’t expected to last more than a week with us.

When I arrived at work for my next shift, the pastoral care worker was in his room, sitting by his bed, holding his hand.
She motioned me in with her hand and whispered to me that he had become bewildered and combative, striking out at the care aids. He had sworn at them,  swinging his fists and bony arms, catching one by the hair, and screaming that she would do as she was told or pay dearly.
After he settled, pastoral care came and sat with him,  holding his hand with the lights low for hours.
Listening to him tell her his story, his successes, his failures and his pain.

Doing the job she was born to do, holding hands and praying for the souls of the almost-dead.
As his breathing grew more laboured, and the end grew near for him, she alone sat with him and prayed over him. 
Asked God forgive him his mortal sins and accept him into his loving arms  when his time came to cross over.

After he passed, she came to my desk with two cups of tea and told me to call the funeral home to pick him up.
She took a chair and told me of the things they discussed.

How he married his wife when she was fourteen.

How he went away to war when she was seventeen with two children and one more on the way.

How he came back angry and how that anger manifested into rage at  the smallest slight or perceived insult.

How his wife was stupid and asked for it.

How his daughters were stupid like their mother and asked for it too.

How his wife refused to submit to him after being beaten, so he turned that lust upon his eldest daughter at ten years of age.

How he threatened everyone with death or starvation if they didn’t do as he said.

How his younger daughters hid from him in the barn and how he would  beat their mother so they would return to the house and take “their damn turn”.

How he was the hardest working man in the whole county and how he was an elder in the little county church he attended his whole life.

How his daughters escaped one by one except for the youngest who never left. The one he assumed couldn’t survive without him, but likely stayed to take her mother’s “turns” once her mother was diagnosed with dementia.

How he was godly man who served his country and didn’t deserve such ungrateful daughters as he had.

And the chaplain held his hand, and prayed for his soul and told him Jesus died for our sins and his sins would surely be forgiven as all our sins are forgiven.

How he cried like a child when told he would be forgiven.

She left my desk and I turned on the little stained glass lamp we used to alert the staff and families that someone had recently passed.

I wrote his name on the little card and placed it in the lovely pewter holder in the base of the lamp so that the glow of the lamp shone on his name.

Then I called the funeral home to see how much longer it would be until they got that rotten son of a bitch’s carcass out of my beautiful hospice.

Overworked & Underpaid

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In response to the prompt here , I have a few doors that I have closed for good, I hope.

Much like another poster indicated, I feel uncomfortable saying I will never open it again, as I don’t know the future and do not have all the information I would need in order to make that decision at this moment in time. I am such a hedger and fence-sitter anyway, that words like never make me squirmy and twitchy.

I have worked since I was 14 years old full time, with only maybe a combined total of 3 years off during my child rearing years. I was raised with a very strong work ethic and the belief that if you work hard, people will notice and respect you and promotions will appear as appropriate due to all your hard work and dedication.

Sitting here now, I know that to not always be the case.

I have worked in health care for the last twenty five years, in every clinical area imaginable. Seniors health, rehab, Critical Care, Palliative care, Hospice, Rural health, Med/Surgery and corporate.

The most rewarding area by far was hospice and I would still be there but for the fact that I had two sons going into secondary schools, and the pay was atrocious as it was a not for profit organization.

So, off I went to the corporate offices, in search of the money I needed to help these sons of mine get their educations, so that they could eventually fly on their own, and my conscience AND bank account was done with them.

I have watched horrible people advance here to senior leadership positions, due to nepotism, blatant fraternization and also political savvy, regardless of their skills or leadership potential.

I have also seen colleagues who stayed until 9:00 at night every night for years get passed over for promotions for reasons that are obscene. (she wore “slutty” shoes to the interview, he has a weight problem so bad optics for a health care management position…)

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I have always worked very hard for my own team and I love to help my colleagues whose time is better spent improving the patient care experiences in their facilities, but I am closing the door on giving more than is healthy for me to anyone else any more.

Moving forward, I will be doing my own job very well, as I always have, and with pride.

But I will not be covering for anyone else that cannot seem to complete their own tasks within the time frames they are given. If there are constant issues like that, then those employees need to be performance managed or mentored. In the organization I work for, the practise is to over work the diligent workers to stress-related time off, rather than ensure everyone has manageable workloads.

Call it slowing down.

Call it tossing that big heavy medicine ball back where it belongs.

Hell- call it lazy old bag syndrome, for all I care.

All I know is I am done covering any asses other than my own in the work place and it feels awesome!

*SLAM* & *LOCK*

( furtively put key in safe hiding place…just…in…case)

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