Monday, October 29, 2012

Work Woes

I feel like I'm one big complaint factory these days!

Last night and this morning I had such a high level of anxiety over going to the new/old job that I ended up calling in this morning.  I was unable to sleep, was hyperventilating, etc.  I just couldn't go in.

I'm glad I didn't!  When I spoke with the office manager to let her know I wasn't feeling well (which I obviously was not!), she started whining and literally crying about her personal life.  I just can NOT work in that environment!  She and the doctor obviously have some kind of understanding because he knows of her behavior and does nothing, even though he's received complaints from both employees and patients.  I just can't deal with being in such a mentally unhealthy environment all day.  I'm too sensitive for it.

Gee.  That makes me sound like some kind of fragile weakling!  I think it's simply that we each have our own unique emotional make up and I'm super sensitive to the feelings of others who are around me.  I'm sure that's what helps me empathize so well with patients, and also what makes it so hard for to remain detached and not worry so about the patient's!

I've come to a decision.  I think I need to remove myself from the Western medical field.  It just isn't "me".  Thanks to a good education the knowledge base is there, but the necessary emotional make up just isn't.

I have an interview on Wednesday for a chiropractic assistant.  I wouldn't mind that at all since it is considered natural and holistic medicine.  The only thing the doctor would have me do that is potentially unsafe is take x-rays, but as long as I'm wearing a dosimeter and the machine is properly serviced and we make sure patients haven't had too much radiation exposure in the current year, I've no problems with it.

Otherwise, I'm now restricting my job search to non-medical positions.  I also have an interview this week for an electronic company that produces and monitors security systems.  I think I'd enjoy that. :)

In the meantime, I spoke with the owner of the little health food hippy store I had worked at, and she will be calling me either tonight or tomorrow to let me know if she is able to work me back into the schedule.  She did replace me, but with the holidays coming, and with me needing no training, she thinks she may be able to use me.

To be honest, if I were good enough at writing and art I would love to work in the hippy store part time and spend the rest of my time working on my artsy/crafty things.  I don't know if we can afford for me to do that though, but at least I need a job that doesn't set me off into panic attacks just thinking about going into the office.

I've decided that it's time for me to stop trying to fit the square peg that I am into a round hole.

And I'm still not a doormat. ;-)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

"New" Job Angst

So my new job really isn't so new.  I've gone back to work for a pulmonary critical care doctor that I worked for last year.  I'm not wild about being there because it ended so badly (for me) the last time, but they needed help, wanted me, and we REALLY need the money.

The last time I worked for them it was a super high stress environment, to the point that I started having crying jags nights and weekends, panic attacks, etc.

This time around I was promised that there were many changes in the office that would make it better, and there are some changes that improve things.  For example, there is now additional clerical help that comes in at 3:00 PM.  It allows me to turn all my paperwork over to her to complete after I leave.  The transition time from when she arrives until the time when I leave is supposed to be 1/2 to 1 hour.  It's been more like 1 1/2 hours because she is unable to refill prescriptions or do any clinical work, but it does help.  This time I get out after having put in an 8 1/2 hour day instead of 10-12 hours like last time. Of course I don't get a lunch break (or any sort of break at all), but it's more tolerable when working 8 - 8 1/2 hours straight than 12 hours.  (And no, my state does not have any law requiring any breaks at all no matter how long an employee works.  There are Federal laws, but in this instance, State law supersedes Federal, and my State says a worker over 18 years of age is not required to be given any breaks at all no matter how long the work day.)

On the negative side, after working one week there, I can see that the general state of dysfunction still exists in the office.  The office manager is the main source of the problem. She's utterly unstable, will sit at the front desk and just sob and pull on her hair right in the middle of seeing patients.  I mean she cries for an hour or so!  She was doing this type of thing when I worked there before.

She also has an incredible temper and an apparent need to surround herself with chaos.  If everything is going smoothly, she seems to be unable to stop herself from yelling at employees about fictional wrongdoing that occurred only in her mind.

The doctor is aware of all of this; he's been aware since last year.

The difference is that I'm going into this job with my eyes wide open.  If I get pushed too far I am OUTTA THERE!  I won't let it go as far as it did the last time.  I am going to speak up for myself and not be such a pushover.  And I need to remember that I'm only there for as long as I choose to be.  I move on whenever I'm ready.   To keep my own sanity, I am viewing this as a temporary position until I land something better (even though if it works out I intend to stay).

I make decent money there (but NO benefits at all).  Money good enough that a week at the office is equivalent to 2 1/2 weeks' pay when I worked at the store, so even if she goes off her nut and I need to walk out, I'm WAY ahead financially from where I normally would be.

I'm busy looking for another job.  I've still not heard back from the medical office near my home, but I don't expect to hear for another week.  The decision maker is on vacation until sometime this week and will be making her final decision at that time.  I've sent her a follow up letter and have done all that is acceptable to try to keep myself at the top of the pile of applicants, so now I just wait.  In the meantime, I'm putting in applications for medical assisting jobs, non-medical jobs too such as receptionist, secretarial and administrative assistant positions.

A part of me is hoping for a non-medical position.  Sometimes I think the stress of it is too much for me.  I want to do things so perfectly that I get myself in a lather (internally of course), worrying that I will make a mistake that could harm someone's health.   I think I'd rather be concerned that any errors would potentially cost a company a client or some money as opposed to health/life, etc.

Yes, I know I'm worrying excessively.  I think I may take some Holy Basil tonight in hopes of stemming the anxiety I've been feeling.

I think what I really need to do is to take a deep breath and remember that my husband is behind me in the plan that if the job ever becomes too much, I walk away from it immediately and not try to hang on like I did last time, which was quite detrimental to my emotional health.

This time I refuse to be a doormat.  I will not allow the disturbed office manager to walk all over me.  I will not be swept up in the chaos.  I will make sure I take care of myself in the situation and remember that I'm there for the patients and the money, not the nutzo coworkers.  And I will remember at all times that I am not a doormat. . .

I am not a doormat. . .

I am not a doormat. . .

Friday, October 19, 2012

Kate Crackernuts

As my blog is still in its infancy, I thought it might be a good idea to share the story of Kate Crackernuts.  You see, I am a great lover of fairy stories since my youth, a genre I believe I shall always love.

The older I get the more I love fairy stories.  It puts me in mind of the dedication to Lucy that C.S. Lewis made at the beginning of The Chronicles of Narnia:

"Dedication: To Lucy Barfield
My Dear Lucy,

I wrote this story for you, but when I began it I had not realized that girls grow quicker than books. As a result you are already too old for fairy tales, and by the time it is printed and bound you will be older still. But some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again. You can then take it down from some upper shelf, dust it, and tell me what you think of it. I shall probably be too deaf to hear, and too old to understand, a word you say, but I shall still be
your affectionate Godfather,
C.S. Lewis"

I feel a bit like Kate sometimes; not the prettiest girl at the party, but while not a genius, fairly clever.  And I did get to marry my very handsome prince too. :)

Below is the 1890 version of Kate Crackernuts by Joseph Jacobs.  (I must make myself an apron one of these day. ;)

I hope you enjoy...

English Fairy Tales
By Joseph Jacobs

Kate Crackernuts

Once upon a time there was a king and a queen, as in many lands have been.
 The king had a daughter, Anne, and the queen had one named Kate, but Anne
 was far bonnier than the queen’s daughter, though they loved one another
 like real sisters. The queen was jealous of the king’s daughter being bonnier
 than her own, and cast about to spoil her beauty. So she took counsel of the
 henwife, who told her to send the lassie to her next morning fasting.

So next morning early, the queen said to Anne, “Go, my dear, to the
 henwife in the glen, and ask her for some eggs.” So Anne set out, but as
 she passed through the kitchen she saw a crust, and she took and munched
 it as she went along.

When she came to the henwife’s she asked for eggs, as she had been told
 to do; the henwife said to her, “Lift the lid off that pot there and see.”
The lassie did so, but nothing happened. “Go home to your minnie and tell
 her to keep her larder door better locked,” said the henwife. So she went
 home to the queen and told her what the henwife had said. The queen knew
 from this that the lassie had had something to eat, so watched the next
 morning and sent her away fasting; but the princess saw some country-folk
 picking peas by the roadside, and being very kind she spoke to them and
 took a handful of the peas, which she ate by the way.

When she came to the henwife’s, she said, “Lift the lid off the pot and
you’ll see.” So Anne lifted the lid but nothing happened. Then the henwife
 was rare angry and said to Anne, “Tell your minnie the pot won’t boil if the
 fire’s away.” So Anne went home and told the queen.

The third day the queen goes along with the girl herself to the henwife. Now
, this time, when Anne lifted the lid off the pot, off falls her own pretty head,
 and on jumps a sheep’s head.

So the queen was now quite satisfied, and went back home.
Her own daughter, Kate, however, took a fine linen cloth and wrapped it
 round her sister’s head and took her by the hand and they both went out
 to seek their fortune. They went on, and they went on, and they went on,
 till they came to a castle. Kate knocked at the door and asked for a night’s
 lodging for herself and a sick sister. They went in and found it was a king’s
castle, who had two sons, and one of them was sickening away to death
 and no one could find out what ailed him. And the curious thing was that
 whoever watched him at night was never seen any more. So the king had
 offered a peck of silver to anyone who would stop up with him. Now Katie
 was a very brave girl, so she offered to sit up with him.

Till midnight all goes well. As twelve o clock rings, however, the sick
 prince rises, dresses himself, and slips downstairs. Kate followed, but
 he didn’t seem to notice her. The prince went to the stable, saddled his
 horse, called his hound, jumped into the saddle, and Kate leapt lightly
 up behind him. Away rode the prince and Kate through the greenwood,
 Kate, as they pass, plucking nuts from the trees and filling her apron with
 them. They rode on and on till they came to a green hill. The prince here
 drew bridle and spoke, “Open, open, green hill, and let the young prince
 in with his horse and his hound,” and Kate added, “and his lady him behind.”

Immediately the green hill opened and they passed in.
The prince entered a magnificent hall, brightly lighted up,
and many beautiful fairies surrounded
 the prince and led him off to the dance. Meanwhile, Kate, without being
 noticed, hid herself behind the door. There she sees the prince dancing,
 and dancing, and dancing, till he could dance no longer and fell upon a
 couch. Then the fairies would fan him till he could rise again and go on

At last the cock crew, and the prince made all haste to get on horseback;
 Kate jumped up behind, and home they rode. When the morning sun rose
 they came in and found Kate sitting down by the fire and cracking her nuts.
 Kate said the prince had a good night; but she would not sit up another
 night unless she was to get a peck of gold.

 The second night passed as the first had done. The prince got up at
 midnight and rode away to the green hill and the fairy ball, and Kate
 went with him, gathering nuts as they rode through the forest.
This time she did not   watch the prince, for she knew
 he would dance and dance, and dance. But she sees a fairy baby playing
with a wand, and overhears one of the fairies say: “Three strokes of that
 wand would make Kate’s sick sister as bonnie as ever she was.”

So Kate rolled nuts to the fairy baby, and rolled nuts till the baby
 toddled after the nuts and let fall the wand, and Kate took it up and
put it in her apron.

And at cockcrow they rode home as before, and the moment Kate got home to
 her room she rushed and touched Anne three times with the wand, and the
 nasty sheep’s head fell off and she was her own pretty self again.

The third night Kate consented to watch, only if she should marry the sick prince.
All went on as on the first two nights. This time the fairy baby was playing
 with a birdie; Kate heard one of the fairies say: “Three bites of that birdie
 would make the sick prince as well as ever he was.” Kate rolled all the nuts
 she had to the fairy baby till the birdie was dropped, and Kate put it in her apron.

At cockcrow they set off again, but instead of cracking her nuts as she used
 to do, this time Kate plucked the feathers off and cooked the birdie. Soon there
 arose a very savoury smell. “Oh!” said the sick prince, “I wish I had
 a bite of that birdie,” so Kate gave him a bite of the birdie, and he rose up on his elbow.

By-and-by he cried out again: “Oh, if I had another bite of that birdie!”
so Kate gave him another bite, and he sat up on his bed.

Then he said again: “Oh! if I only had a third bite of that birdie!” So Kate
gave him a third bite, and he rose quite well, dressed himself, and sat
down by the fire, and when the folk came in next morning they found
Kate and the young prince cracking nuts together.

Meanwhile his brother had seen Annie and had fallen in love with her,
as everybody did who saw her sweet pretty face. So the sick son married
the well sister, and the well son married the sick sister, and they
all lived happy and died happy, and never drank out of a dry cappy.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Gripe Session

I'm still plugging along with one handed typing for now.

I made good progress over the weekend by resting the arm completely, but yesterday at work my boss made me work on bulk foods (not normally a task I would be assigned), and despite my protests because of my arm, she still insisted.  She had me doing it ALL DAY!  It was not until the end of my 10 hour shift when I literally cried out in pain (it slipped out before I could stop it) that she took me seriously and told me to stop--and sweep the floors!  By the time I got home I was almost in tears from the pain.  My hubby actually begged me to take pain pills during the night because I was apparently moaning in pain while I slept and kept waking him.

Needless to say I then had to call off work this morning since I woke up with a numb hand again and in pain.  I have my hand in a brace today and my arm in a sling to try to keep it immobilized. I must say that it really does help!

My boss called me later this morning and chewed me out for taking the day off.     She said that she realizes I have a legitimate reason but that my kind of injury takes a long time to heal and she "just can't have that".  Then she threatened to cut my hours by at least one day per week as a punishment for calling in today.  I think she then realized how illegal her threats were as she then changed her tone to one that dripped honey as she started suggesting a bunch of natural remedies.

What amazes me is that this woman really thinks I would push it and work lifting heavy items with an injury that causes nerve compression when inflamed, especially when my regular position does not call for that.  My job is to keep track of stock, expirations, sign making, create displays and fill in on register.  For the past 2 weeks - since my arm flared - she's been pulling me off my regular work to do harder more physical work.

Does she think I am really so foolish as to risk permanent nerve damage to earn a mere 75 cents over minimum wage?  I can't imagine intentionally running the risk of losing the ability to paint, play music, write, type, perform medical or clerical functions with any skill for mere crumbs from her table.

Meanwhile, I sent out 9 MA resumes today.  None of the positions seemed like the perfect fit, but it's really impossible to tell simply by a want ad. (I say things like this when I feel insecure and am afraid none of the potential employers will call me,  you see.)

I wish the other MA job had worked out, but the salary vs. the gasoline cost just didn't balance out.  I did speak with a doctor I used to work for in the past and he has a new MA but isn't sure she's going to work out.  He's going to call me for the first opening he gets.  He has a pretty high turn over rate (it's hard to work with terminal patients), so I honestly expect a call from him before the new year.

Well, I'm definitely a bit of a crabby old putz today!  I guess it just floors me that my current employer wants quite a bit from me while offering very little in return.

Crabby old goat signing out.  ;-)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Bits & Pieces

Another short entry today I'm afraid, and my entry will be just little updates and bits of news.

My elbow/arm is still acting up something ferocious.  Just when I think it's on the mend and I'm turning the corner I have to do something at work that aggravates it (like using a pricing gun for hours, etc.).  Ak!  Unfortunately spending much time on the computer seems to be one of the aggravating forces.

I suppose if I want to write (which I do but getting started is soooo hard!), I will need to finally learn to use the Dragon Dictate program my hubby bought me for Christmas a year or two ago.  It should be quite handy to simply be able to talk and have the text type out for me on its own, but it's not quite as simple as that since I need to take the time to train the program to recognize my voice and learn the way I pronounce words.  Gosh!  Guessing by what the program types compared to what I actually said, my voice must sound like I have a mouth full of marbles!

As far as the work situation goes, I was indeed offered the MA position I applied for but I declined the offer.  It was for too few hours and too little money.  I would have made less than I do right now because it was a 40 mile round trip and gas is so pricey these days.  I did talk to the office manager of a doctor's office that I worked for last year and she indicated that they may have an opening very soon and that they would love to have me back.  They paid well and I liked my co-workers, so I am hopeful that this one will pan out.  It would be nice to have a full time income at a decent wage again.

I'm quite excited because I sold my first item on Etsy this week!  The Lord of the Rings bracelet sold (actually I'm awaiting payment to clear before I ship), so I'm pretty encouraged.  I think I will make more things along the same theme, perhaps focusing on The Hobbit since the movie will be coming out soon, Christmas is coming up, so hopefully there will be some Hobbit fans searching for a reasonably priced gift.

Well, I'd better scoot.  This much typing is causing my elbow and forearm to throb.   Time to immobilize it again and apply an ice pack.

Bah!  This getting old stuff is for the birds, but as my dad says, "Getting old sure beats the alternative kid!".