Tag Archives: career

Taylor Swift’s Evermore as Amalgamation: Marjorie Analysis

17 Dec

There’s a sadness to Taylor’s voice.  Her Grandmother Marjorie is not dead to Taylor, because her advice can still be heard.  She sings, “I still feel you all around.”  This song means a lot to me personally, because I had/have a very close relationship with my grandma.  And I believe the sentiment that someone can live in your heart, and mind.  “What died didn’t stay dead, you’re alive in my mind” is the primary purpose of the song. 

But it’s still an amalgamation like the rest of the songs on Evermore.  The same sentiment of keeping a person within yourself, after they’ve passed away, applies to career endings (and break ups too).  I think a teeny work sentiment is in the lyrics, a little bit of Taylor needing to remember her grandmothers advice, b/c she’s taking advantage of Joe too much, and the secondary subject of the song is Karlie.

 

[Verse 1]

Never be so kind

You forget to be clever

Never be so clever

You forget to be kind

These lyrics could address Taylor’s music career.  She needs to balance being nice with being business savvy.

 

What does Marjorie mean?  Greek, Persian, Hebrew, Irish, Latin: [one of the meanings is] Child of light.

Light = sun = Karlie.  What a konvenient and apt koincidence!

[Verse 3]

The autumn chill that wakes me up

You loved the amber skies so much

Amber is a yellow, even golden color.  And you know who that represents.  Karlie.

Long limbs and frozen swims

Long, tall limbs like Karlie might have?  Frozen like the ground in Hoax.

You’d always go past where our feet could touch 

Symbolic for risk-taking?

“I’d hold you as the water rushes in” [Dancing with our Hands Tied, aka the Kissgate song]

And I complained the whole way there 

Taylor is always afraid and hanging back.  Maybe she’s refusing to come out of the closet.

The car ride back and up the stairs

I should’ve asked you questions

I should’ve asked you how to be

Asked you to write it down for me

Should’ve kept every grocery store receipt

‘Cause every scrap of you would be taken from me

I get that this is a little story of a memory Taylor has with her grandmother.  But the verse does double-duty here, invoking some Kaylor symbolism.  

Tall, sunshiny Karlie and Taylor were in love.  Karlie had dated women more publicly before Taylor.  And Taylor was reluctant to come out or seem gay.  Car rides are a feature of many songs about Karlie, and going up to their secret place with boarded up windows for privacy.  And now that it’s over, Taylor wishes she had been a bit more skeptical, and cynically kept some receipts of their relationship transgressions.  But this is in the song, because she can hold the good Kaylor times in her heart too.

 

The song quickly addresses her boyfriend/beard as well.

[Verse 2]

Never be so politе

You forget your power

Nevеr wield such power

You forget to be polite

Well He is English and they’re known for their manners.  She may be walking over him and stepping on his feelings by using him for publicity when she needs to, but neglecting to mention him in any real way otherwise.  So both Joe and Taylor need to balance their power dynamic with agreeability.  Nobody should be a tyrant, nobody should be a doormat.

[Outro]

And if I didn’t know better

I’d think you were singing to me now

If I didn’t know better

I’d think you were still around

I know better

But I still feel you all around

I know better

But you’re still around

The outro applies to everyone in the song.  Taylor’s grandmother is the primary subject of the song, whos voice is literally in the song.  Taylor still remembers her advice, and holds her in her heart.  But she also holds her memories of BMR good-times, and Kaylor-love in her heart.  Those good memories will always be with her.  Even though she knows better.

Working Interview (Part Deuce)

14 Apr

I feel very strongly about this subject.  See my first post [I think it’s titled:  The Working Interview:  A Concerning New Trend in Veterinary Medicine or something like that just type key words in the search on my blog] about it to get one (of at least 4) examples of my personal experiences with going through working interviews.  And it’s become totally commonplace in veterinary field.  And I’d like to comment how it’s unethical, and suggest different ways to forge that trust with potential employees–rather than exploiting them.

-Firstly, I’m not talking about your veterinary observation hours to beef up your application, nor am I talking about shelter volunteer hours for community service.  Finally, this is not a story about an internship for grades, school credit, or required experience where you know the expectations and are guaranteed to get something (NOT money, but letters, hours, recommendation, etc. . ., etc. . .) back.  I am referring to an additional interview where you perform duties and give your time to a for-profit business with the HOPE of receiving employment.

-Secondly, I feel like veterinary hopefuls want to feel righteous in giving their time away.  Like they have more passion if they are willing to work longer, crummier hours, for no benefits, and little/no money.  This is untrue–giving away your time and services doesn’t make you a better vet school candidate, show that you have more passion, or prove that you are a genuine, and better person–it only makes you more naive  AND helps the conditions at veterinary medicine stagnate.  By allowing these practices to continue by participating in them, remaining silent about them, or stigmatizing others for speaking out–YOU are contributing to unfair, unethical, and unsafe practices in a field that we all love.  Stop it!  Read some history about the industrial revolution and see how the workers who went on strike (against conditions appalling to today’s standard, and just well, standard practice back then) were emotionally, psychologically, and sometimes physically beaten down by big corporate, middle management, and peers–to see how the working interview is a repetition of by-gone times.

Job-hungry, interviewee, what to do If the WORKING INTERVIEW comes up:

-Most importantly, be aware what you are giving up if you agree to an interview.  Maybe you don’t care, in which case refer to #2 above.  Maybe you’re desperate for a job, in which case, I’m sorry.  I’ve been there too.

-Ask what to wear.  Chances are, if the potential employer requests you wear scrubs, they are expecting you to perform hands-on work, not just observe.

-Ask exactly how many hours and days will be required.  If they are non-committal or shady, I would think twice about working there.  Because, if they’re already trying to get work out of you before you’re even hired, what will it be like when you are totally dependent on that employment once hired?

-I never feel comfortable bringing up compensation, especially before you are hired, but if you have the guts (and are willing to gamble the job position) ask if you will be compensated for the time.

-DO ask what will occur if you happen to get injured during the working interview.  And don’t let them slide past the question without a firm answer.  Veterinary medicine is fraught with potential risks and harms, and you need to know how this will be handled.

-Ask what tasks you can expect to perform.  If you are uncomfortable doing any of those things as a non-employee, DO bring up why you are concerned, ie–I’m not certain I feel comfortable accepting the risk of monitoring antithetic when I am not familiar with your particular equipment or procedures.

-Don’t sign anything you are not comfortable with–and this might mean walking away from the job opportunity.  I signed stuff, and totally regret it.  It’s not right, and they know it.

-Lastly, get it in writing!  Make sure the above answers to your questions are in written form and both you and the business has a copy.  This is for everyone’s protection–and imperative.

-And the very worst part about the working interview:  Saying no to it is saying no to the job opportunity.  And that’s not ethical or right on the part of the hiring entity.

Of the employer/head vet/office manager requesting the working interview, I say:

-Would you feel comfortable defending your hiring practiced to the Department of Labor?  If not, than you need to adjust things, because you realize what you are doing now is NOT legit.  If so, proceed to my next question.

-Would you, and DO you tell your best, most particular client–this person does not work here, b/c we can’t trust the resume alone, and is going to practice technical skills on your pet?  If not–that’s not OK.  If you would–first, I give you props for having big kahonies, and 2nd continue to my third question.

-What are you going to do if this working interviewee gets injured while performing the duties of this “interview?”  This is a big question, and huge liability.

-And finally, what are you going to do if this working interviewee hurts/damages/kills a patient?

Ways for Employers to Circumvent the Working Interview:

-Look at your trusty volunteers or observers and hire the worthy.  I know the flakes are more common than not, and you should be hiring those that prove they are dependable over time.  You already know and trust them, AND they’re giving their time on their own accord.  Win-win.

-For added emphasis, I make this it’s own point.  Check out all references.  Actually talk to the people that worked closely with the candidate and listen carefully for subtitles/discrepancies.

-Make a test.  Time them filing a series of files (include business names starting with “the” and difficult ones like O’Hara, deWitt, etc…).  Have them write an essay.  Have them fill and label a prescription.  Have some math on there.  A whole thing, not just basic typing, but things they will actually need to know at your specific practice.

-Hire the good interview candidate based on resume, interview, and CHECKED references.  But do it on a fully-disclosed and discussed, paid, probationary period.  Have that person work, with highly-supervised guidance, and after a certain pre-determined, pre-discussed (PAID) time-period do a full evaluation/review where both parties talk about the good, the bad, and whether to continue the working relationship.  Honestly, this is good policy anyway.  I always had questions at jobs that I hadn’t anticipated at the interview, but there never seemed enough time to address them once I was already working.

-Hire the person, and if they don’t fit, do a shitty job, or mess up hugely–terminate their employment.  Yeah, it’s more trouble, but such is owning a business.

I would like to see the end of exploitation of all workers.  Even in the health care and service industries.  I don’t think that money is a good excuse to keep these kinds of things going–just ask Jeff Bezios or the Waltons/Lowrys how popular it is for them to keep it up.  Let’s stop making excuses and start finding solutions to change these things for the better.

LVT vs. Assistant

9 Apr

I wrote this at least 5 years ago, so things may have changed since my experiences (I doubt it) so remember that as you read.  I still stand by my assessment of LVTs.

In the modern schools, veterinarians are being taught to only do tasks that require their license.  Staff should do EVERY thing else, in order to be most efficient and practice at the top of the profession.  This philosophy is fine in theory.  In practice (they call it that for good reason) most vet hospitals do not PAY well enough to entice skilled employees to work for them.  With skills and licensing comes demand for better pay–and most vet hospitals are small, privately-owned operations that just can’t make that scenario work.  So what you get is what you pay for a lot of the time.  And that can be very scary if your vet sticks with the same mentality they were instructed to have in school.  Most of the vets I worked for did way, way, way more then just what was required by their license.  Because it’s ultimately their business, and because they cared about the animals and their clients.  They wanted things done right (and sometimes quickly).  When I worked for vets that didn’t do things that their license wasn’t specifically required to do, I thought they didn’t really give an eff.  And I looked down on them.  And I’m sure their clients wouldn’t have loved what they saw many of the times.

Back in the late 90s when I started volunteering in vet hospitals, most of the help were just on-the-job trained.  That’s who vets could find, and that’s who most vets could afford to pay.  As things have slowly tried to go the same way as the human side (and for-profit technical schools started popping up), there were more and more LVTs on the scene.

-Licensed Veterinary Technician (LVT).  It’s veterinary medicine’s effort to standardize care. Which in theory is a good thing. In practice, I’m not sure how great those 2 year tech programs ARE. For example, teaching how to calculate anesthetic doses seems to be a primary portion of programs, but is certainly NOT a primary duty for the majority of teching jobs. If the vet trusts the tech to do it at all (many don’t) it’s like 5 minutes out of an entire day.  There is a big discrepancy between what the technical programs are teaching and what veterinary employers want in a tech (and are able to pay that tech).

I think mostly vets want someone who:

1)  they don’t have to train (there’s no time, they’re probably already short-staffed by the time they get to the hiring process)

2)  someone will will show up.  Availability during peak times (weekends, +/- holidays, +/- nights, and mostly full time (or more) hours.  Willingness to come early, miss breaks, skip lunch, and stay late is a bonus, and sometimes necessity.

3).  Someone self-motivated that they can trust and don’t have to baby-sit.

And the daily skills commonly required on the job are things like:  Restraint times a billion, autoclaving packs, vitals, blood draws, ie simple, repetitive tasks that have to be done with competence, but don’t require any sort of genius.  And CLEANING *pet-peeve alert*.  Always the cleaning.  And everybody in the building needs to help with cleaning–don’t you dare tell me any position in a vet hospital is above cleaning.  It’s one of the most necessary and frequent parts of any of the jobs.

-I think the technical schools have their ideals in the right place, but they also need a substantial program.  If people are PAYING to attend, they have to teach something that requires skill and support it with theory.  And so to make a more legit course-load and take up a decent 2 years, they teach unnecessary things.  Things that aren’t all that useful in the real world.  Unfortunately, the schools also (either directly or indirectly, I’m not sure) teach that LVTs are PROFESSIONALS.  And as such they are 1) superior to “unskilled” assistants 2) anything that doesn’t require their license is beneath them.  Both very, very untrue sentiments.  And detrimental.

Vet hospitals need to rely on EVERYone.  And at the same time everyone is just a body and easily replaceable.  Also, everyone from the vet to the techs to the receptionists need to be able to step up (or down) to do what is needed at that moment.  That means–(again) everyone cleans.  My personal joke:  What is the difference between an LVT and an assistant?  An assistant is willing to clean.  And that comes from direct and varied experiences in multiple types of vet setting and in multiple states.

-Another problem with distinguishing licensed and assistant techs (and the resultant pay-discrepancy) is:  1)  You can’t account for on-the-job experience, nor can you teach all on-the-job skills in a 2 year span.  2)  You can’t TEACH motivation or work ethic.  I would say I was easily the hardest working employee at (at least) half of my jobs–and the ones where I wasn’t the hardest working person, it certainly wasn’t tied with any LVT.  This isn’t a brag, it’s the truth.

Do I think assistants are as good as LVTs?  Mostly.  Sure, missing a formal education taught by accredited instructors may leave gaps in knowledge.  Assistants may not know the whys behind a task.  But I would argue, the LVT often has a shaky idea of what goes on in real vet hospitals.  Often, they have an idealized view of what should happen, verses what actually happens because of realities, and also because of limitations to client money and willingness.  I think vets themselves probably go through this as well, studying what should happen then seeing what really happens.  And I do think assistants come out on top as better employees than LVTs overall because they are trained on the job so you don’t have to un-train any bad habits/expectations, they are more willing to commit longer hours and forgo breaks and come in early, etc… which is a very desirable trait to vets.  And assistants are more willing to jump in wherever necessary (phones, lugging dog food, cleaning) because they don’t have allusions that their license somehow makes certain tasks beneath them.

But it’s beginning to be a new time in the field and the LVTs have saturated the market (and set a precedent for accepting lower wages) so it’s beginning to be easier and easier for vets to require this license for hire.  I would just say–don’t forget the assistants.

My Job Description in 2018 was Much the Same as 1995

6 Apr

I wrote the majority of this post in 2014, after getting out of my assisting job (for what I thought would be) the final time.  The point:  It’s a dead-end job.  Sure people love it and do it because it’s their calling and for the fun of it.  But also, a dead-end job (I think) leads to inevitable burn out and dissatisfaction.  I stand by it, and had some fun, learned some skills, met some good people and animals both.  But in general, I’m relieved to be out of it.  All of that very hard work, for little pay, and low appreciation.

I have been thinking about my 19 year (meaning volunteer + employment) stretch in veterinary medicine. I’m sentimental and relieved, happy and sad to be leaving the field. One of the problems in the animal industry is that without more education there’s not much upward mobility.

I started volunteering for Dr. Hulme the summer of 1995, when I was 11. I worked under the supervision of Claire, who gave me my first scrub top, a purple reversible number that I still have. I cleaned kennels, filed charts and x-rays, cleaned tables after they worked on animals, restocked drawers and filled supplies, counted pills, restrained animals, set out and cleaned up supplies, groomed and did many nail trims, wrapped and autoclaved surgery packs, organized drawers, walked dogs, helped make confirmation calls, and cleaned the building. This was also my first introduction to veterinarian behavior. I was frightened of the volatile doctor, and he kicked a hole in the surgery room wall out of anger.  Still, I loved the job and was determined to be a vet one day.

By 2000, Dr. Hulme sold his practice to a different vet and my responsibilities increased to include developing x-rays, painting, changing the x-ray dip tank out monthly, deep-cleaning inside and outside the premises, lab work on IDEXX equipment, organizing the whole place, filling prescriptions, cleaning instruments, giving SQ fluids, and scouring the surgery room. At the time, the vet was a new former resident in town, 5 years out of school, and full of potential. It was like a breath of fresh air.  I worked closely with Kim, though everybody was friendly, informative, and took an interest in my life inside and outside of work.  I wanted to spend all my free time at the hospital, and I became a fixture there.

After a year of volunteer work, I was officially paid to do much the same work in June 2000. When I became legit-employed my duties included taking vitals prior to exams and monitoring anesthetic.  I was occasionally allowed to try my hand at drawing blood, but was only 17 at the time so the vet worried about liability and her clients (she needant have, b/c that’s commonplace throughout the field, but whatever).  I also got to do fun chores like traveling to the next town for Starbucks, picking up lunch, washing personal vehicles, and going outside to clean/organize the hospital’s storage unit.  I loved my job, and the people I worked with!

When I found a veterinary job in Missouri in 2004, there were more dogs to walk.  It was a larger enterprise, more clients, pets, coworkers, and vets.  More to do on a daily basis.  Boarding was a central aspect to my job.  I walked, cleaned kennels, bathed dogs, carried out a board-full of treatments, and wrote up files for most of the hours in the days, with heartworm batch tests in between (in addition to the aforementioned duties of my home-town), covered reception overload by answering phones (bane of my assisting existence from this time forward), checking appointments in and out, and helping customers, and I very rarely collected blood.  The vets did their own vitals, prepped for their own procedures, and even cleaned up after themselves!  Noah’s Ark became my home, and the Chapmans who owned it, my family.  I not only spent most my time there, including every other weekend, and all holidays, but they once paid to have my car fixed, and the frequently bought staff lunch and treats.  This is also the only time I was paid what I am worth (given the midwest’s low cost of living).  I made more then employees at the other vet hospitals in town (as heard from pre-vet school-mates, and Lori and her friends who worked at a vet hospital).  and I also got scrubs 2-3 times yearly and large bonuses at least twice a year.  I could tolerate (but still hated!) the shenanigans of my coworkers, the politics within, and the massive boarding load for those incentives and that camaraderie.  I may have never left if I wasn’t accepted to vet school at Saint George.

In 2007, I had a brief stint back in my hometown (Cabin-Mansion) and worked solely reception for the first time.  I prepped charts, faxed and did office work, worked with the schedule, and counted money at the end of the night.  The vet was going through her mid-life crises, Kim through alcoholism, and their marriage was all but disintegrated so they were not pleasant to work with anymore.  The staff had changed and grown too, and the techs were gossipy, but my fellow receptionist was sweet and big-hearted.  Work itself was manageable (and might have even been enjoyable), but our personal lives became intertwined and sloppy, making the experience more bad than good.  I wanted out of there, out of their lives, and away from that situation forever.  What a disappointment.  I thought after 7 years, you would know people, but it’s either not the case, or I had overlooked some major personality flaws the first time around.

I took a job at an emergency hospital in 2009–and felt thoroughly out of my league.  With little to no supervision or guidance, I had to collect blood, place IV catheters (for the first time in 9 years of veterinary work), run all kids of lab work including blood-gases and manual CBCs (which I had not done prior to that point), and carry out diagnostics such as hyperbaric chamber and blood pressures that I had never done before.  With zero training.  And on a time-table.  My co-workers collected urine by cystocentesis and intubated, but I was scared and uncertain so I never jumped in on those–even though I easily could have.  I didn’t feel like it was ethical for me to practice skills I had never formally been taught or shown.  I was afraid I would do more harm than good, so I usually jumped into the restrain role.  I also had to do a daily inventory of supplies and prep items so they were ready to grab quickly.  My co-workers were friendly but dysfunctional and the turn-over was rapid.  I saw little of the vets, but when I did see them they were gruff and I never got to know them.  I truly was just a body there, and I was constantly worried about liability and quality of care the entire time I worked there.  It was not a good situation.

My vet school loan fell through at the literal last minute (a week is last minute when you’re going to a foreign country) so I was not going to vet school.  But I had quit, and moved, and packed, and prepared for vet school so I had to regroup on short notice.  Put my finger on a map and just jump.  I was watching Fraiser a lot, so I decided to give the Pacific Northwest a try.  In Seattle, I worked as a receptionist for the second time.  Then, transitioned back to assistant once the real receptionist was recovered from surgery.  I think all the tech/assistant duties were the same, except I always got stuck with changing processor chem before we got digital x-ray.  I also got to do dentals by myself for the first time.  The real difference was more tech support since we were in a big city, clients who expected a lot more (and were a lot more fussy), and technology was better (digital x-ray, brand new IDEXX equipment) and the mentality was more serious and pretentious.  I heard “gold standard” more then ever before.  The vets were superficially friendly, but I hardly had a rapport with them.  My coworkers were chilly right from my first introduction during my working interview, and never warmed up (who knows why-Seattle freeze?).  I never felt part of the team, and never felt camaraderie from the rest of the staff, and soon felt overworked, underappreciated, fatigued, and burnt out.  I thought it was just big city stuff, and wanted to move somewhere a little smaller and more down-to-Earth.

In 2010, I was relieved to find Cat’s Meow.  It was perfect!  Cute name, remodeled building, small staff, less clientele.  It was all the same tasks, except no more blood draws or placing catheters, because of my inconsistency in both, and my superior restraint skills.  I had a stint managing inventory.  I feel like by this time I was super-proficient at radiology (because that’s one thing vets can’t really put their own stamp on, it’s consistent everywhere).  I also restrained for the I131 buddies, which is like all other restraint, but your docimeter gets read more frequently.  I consistently roomed patients by taking histories and collecting vitals. And I think I was the best at restraint, and best at “reading the room” a.k.a. ascertaining a client’s and pet’s demeanor quickly, and adjusting my routine to accommodate that.  In other words, my soft skills had come to fruition, which are really just me trying to do my job-job more efficiently by preventing problems before they occurred.  Except at that job, I also never felt part of the team.  When I first got there everyone was substantially older, so I figured that was it.  But as an equal number of younger people started getting hired and seemed more a part of the group then me, I realized I just wasn’t part of their club.  That made me resent my job and hate the constant bitchy-drama. I wanted out of a life-or-death job, that was so demanding, yet so underpaid.  I was going to try to get an adult job.

But it’s not easy getting a job when your resume is full of only one type of work, but that’s not the type of work you want…  So I segued into the human side and did accessioning (entry level laboratory science stuff).  But it can only start after all the doctor’s offices and hospitals and everyone closes for the day, and after the couriers get the samples to the lab.  So my shift was evening to midnight, or one, or once even three AM!  And I am a morning person.  After my ‘retirement’ I had to get out of my specimen processing (on the human side) job.  I could not handle swing shift.  My body would pop up in the early morning hours no matter how late I got home from work.  And I could never nap.  So I just kept getting more and more sleep-deprived.  I think I aged a decade in those 2 years!  And my coworkers were crap.  Lazy and bitchy, so I had to go back to veterinary hospitals just to get out.  Back to square zero.  Again.

I worked at the most high-end hospital in a ritzy suburb of Salt Lake City.  Owned my daddy’s little princess who had about a (literal) 2 million dollar hospital, but was already getting burned out by the profession only a couple years out of vet school.  She was not open on weekends and didn’t board or hospitalize.  So for the first time ever, I didn’t work weekends or holidays either.  She wanted to play after work, so she left at 4 and we were nearly always finished with tech appointments, treatments, and cleaning by 5 PM.  Unheard of.  It felt weird, but also still demanding too much, still stressful.  The vet didn’t really want to do all that much so her ‘head tech’ pretty much carried the place.  On top of all the afore-mentioned duties, I got more practice with digital radiology and dentals (including extractions) and dental x-rays.  I practiced my blood draws, but was never even offered to place an IV there.  And I watched some emergency cases (suffer) while the vet went out of town.  Which I think is deplorable, and not good for the pet, owner, or an ethical position to put me in.  My major duty was selling things.  Which I didn’t see as problematic, because animals should be getting heartworm prevention, etc…  But there was a definite emphasis on sales at that job.  Which was different.

The point is, my job duties didn’t change very much after all the time.  And you have got to not just get along with every vet, but your coworkers to really enjoy going to work day after day.  At this kind of job you have to think of them or friends and family or the long hours, low pay, nonexistent upward mobility, physical work, angry clients, etc, etc…  just isn’t worth it.  My favorite jobs were the ones where the people made it awesome.  But assisting just could never satisfy me long term, because I need goals and something to aspire to throughout my career.  So that’s that.

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Fall-Back LVT [Part 4]

26 Mar

This post was written 6 years ago now, and I still agree with the sentiment.  I had to close the book on veterinary work entirely in order to move forward.  And it would have been too easy to fall back on that job had I tested into my (licensed veterinary technician) LVT.  Which I may have done because it took me pretty much 5 of the last 6 years to get into a new field.  There were entry-level jobs, bad hours, nonsense social situations that I had to go through to start over.  But finally, finally I got through it and into something else that works for me.

It wouldn’t be a big deal time-wise to keep Saturday and do the cleaning. And I almost agreed to this right when I was resigning.

BUT–part of the reason I had to resign in the first place was to stop living by fear and just pull the trigger. You can’t reach for new goals in life, if you’re still grasping onto the past. I need to fully let go of the veterinary part of my life. It’s sad because it has been a huge part of my whole being. For 14 paid years, and longer then that it’s all I’ve known. But I’ll always be that person (a little bit) and I can hold onto the memories without holding on to the job.

I relate my LVT story to my boss: Washington lets people with such & such experience test-in to their LVT credential. You have to jump through a few hoops, but it’s easier then paying for 2 years of technical school. And I would have to study for their standardized test, but I know if I tried for it, I would be successful. And if I got those letters behind my name it would be beneficial. I could get any job because of the LVT + my experience. I would command a higher paycheck automatically. I would be seen as “legit” to anyone.

I ultimately decided not to do it. Not for lack of time or fear of failure. I did not want to be able to fall back on tech work. I didn’t want to even have the option of turning back on this new career path and settling for my current job. I didn’t want to feel fear or experience failure and have the ability to regress back to what I know best–veterinary assistant/tech work. I want to grow and move forward, and the LVT could potentially stall me and hold me back.

And so it goes with my current job. Even though I could get it done. And it would alleviate some financial stress–it would be too easy to fall back into veterinary assisting. If I got scared or failed in my new field, I could so easily crawl back to Cats Meow and beg my job back. And I don’t want that to even be an option. Despite my great fear of the unknown, financial instability, and failure–I want to make a clean break from veterinary medicine and move on.

I will be scared. Scared about money and scared about being able to break into a new arena where I have no experience. But that fear will be what compels me to whole-heartedly, without reservation sprint to my goal of being an audiologist.

Goodbye veterinary medicine (hopefully forever). It’s been good, it’s been stressful. It’s been rewarding and thankless. I’ve had fun and I’ve also been burned out. But it had comprised the center of my life, and I’m closing the book so I can start reading a new one. Hello, audiology–I’m ready to embrace you with every fiber of my being!

Loyalty and Fear [part 2-ish]

6 Mar

Also a post from years ago that I never posted.  I reaffirms I didn’t get out of the field lightly.  I agonized.  But I ultimately did it because I was giving my everything and people still treated me–just politely.  They acknowledged how much they needed me and how much I was doing, but I still wasn’t part of things.  It just wasn’t worth it.

I didn’t know what to do–I felt uneasy.  Worried.  The longer I have the 4.0 GPA, the more I fear losing it.  At this point, I would do just about anything to maintain it–those grades weren’t easy to get.

So I called my parents.  My mom would be at school until 6:45PM, so I talked to Dad.  I told him of my latest work saga, how I was stressed and worried, and confused.  And he reminded me of where I got my work ethic and sense of commitment from–he told me to buck up.  Not in a mean way, just in a this sucks, but you can do it, and that’s what needs to be done.  I told me to do the extra work, study, and sleep less.  Bathe less if I had to.  He talked of 4 on-4 off shifts in the Navy and how rigerous it was and how painful the lack of sleep had been.  He didn’t like it, but he put his head down and got it down.  He reminded me of working the potato farm for 2 cents an hour–back-breaking, long work, with prick boss and coworkers giving him constant $hit.  My dad had done thankless, physical work with no thanks and little pay his whole life–I could make it for half a semester.

And I thought-Yes!  THAT’S who I am as a person.  I’m hard-working and dedicated.  When my team needs me to step up, I will do it for the good of everyone.  And I decided I would just have to buckle down, work required 35% more than I already am, AND maintain my grades.  I had to do it, so I might as well get on board.

And later, I read my mom my glowing work evaluation from 12 days before–all the lovely things written about my productivity, motivation, knowledge, judgement, excellent animal restraint, that my boss prefers the days I work, the A-team comment.  Then, I read the texts between my boss and me from 3 days before (10 days after the eval).  It proved they acknowledge how hard I work, and how I benefit the business, and the way they still treat me.

But then, I still couldn’t sleep.  And I thought–why am I still unsettled about work?  I made my decision.  I’m going to pull this out–what’s left to toss and turn over?  And it kept nagging at me.  So I prayed.  I prayed during my sleepless night for a sense of direction.  Please help me make the right decision so I can feel better and so I can sleep again.  And I tossed and tossed some more.  No sleep–and no answers were had.

Then, a literal 2 minutes before my morning alarm was to go off, and I still had not slept.  I dosed off very briefly and had a dream (I rarely remember dreaming) when I did.  In the dream, I was working at the boarding facility that I had interviewed at this last August, when all the Friday-schedule drama was going on at work.  In the dream, the owners were talking and laughing with me, and my co-workers were friendly and seemed to genuinely like me.  Our employers were taking everyone out for fast food, because we had done such a good job at work.  And I felt like somebody in the dream.  They were treating me like a person!

Then my alarm went off.  I knew the answer, and also know the dream was a result of my prayers.  I had confidence.  Something I had never felt about this decision before.  I had to resign.  And it wasn’t in a mean way or on a whim.  It wasn’t even based on this current situation.  Mostly, because I also woke up with this overwhelming sense that I had been fighting the right decision this whole time.  I had known for a long while that I needed to quit–but I had stayed out of loyalty and because of fear.  But this morning, it all fell into place and I felt at peace with it.

And of course I’ll be scared.  Losing stability and income.  Facing the unknown.  Change.  Complete loss of that part of myself–veterinary employee.  That’s 14.5 years of my life and all I know.  It’s scary.  But not worth staying.  Even if I can’t find a job, and even if I’m worried and scared about money–I’ll know I made the right choice for me.  I won’t regret it.

Like I will tell my boss–I didn’t make this decision lightly, and it wasn’t based on any one factor.  Also, I’m sorry that the right decision for me may negatively affect others–that’s not my intention.  That’s what I will say if when people ask me why, or confront me.  And when they treat me badly in those last 2 weeks:  1)  I won’t like it.  2)  it won’t be so different from the way they always treated me.  I never felt a part of their group.  At first I figured it was because of the age-difference, but now that newer, younger hires are included and treated nicely–I know it’s just me.  Maybe it’s because I’m not all i-phone-centric.  Who knows.  3) if they get nasty and say salty things, I will just tell them if that what they think of me after almost 4 years–it just re-affirms that I’m making the right decision.  Because if they don’t know my work ethic, sense of duty, or moral compass by now–they are never going to.

Switch Career Paths

4 Mar

Less like paths and more like swimming across an ocean and climbing a mountain, maybe two mountains.

I was always wanting to be a vet from the time I was little, all through grade school, and even in college and beyond.  And that didn’t work out. And I have many things to say about how I would have been great, should have gotten in to vet school, should have been able to get a loan or cosigner to attend vet school when I did finally get in…  How people got in that shouldn’t have.  How coworkers of mine gamed the system or just had more money/opportunity so they got in over me.  But this post is not about that (though the sentiments still stand).

It works out now.  I never thought I would feel that way.  But now work-life balance, my relationship, my home, fun activities–those are all really important to me.  My life is a lot better now than it would be if I was consumed by my work.  And I don’t see any other way to be a good, caring vet then to be invested in your work, patients, and clients most of the times.  I wouldn’t be able to just put it out of my mind.  I’d be preoccupied with cases, the stresses of what to prepare for daily, and what to finish.  And if I was a vet I would be mostly working, or tired from work.    It would be never-ending, all work, work, work.  I’m glad that’s not my life.  Now.

At the time, and when it was all falling apart, that’s all I wanted.  And understand, I would have made it work!

But after going after one thing for so long, everything pointed toward that thing:  My degree, my experience, all my jobs, the things I knew, the skills I had–pretty much all geared toward that failed dream.  You can’t just jump right into something else.  Or anything else.

It was difficult to decide what to do–I wasn’t really interested in anything else.  And it was hard to sell a resume full of vet-preparation to ANY other job.  I had a big challenge getting out of that field.  I worked at the YMCA, a lab, then had to go back to a vet hospital for lack of anything else at the time.  It sucked.  Then I did healthcare call center.  And I was really good at that.  But I didn’t like that much structure and micromanagement.  And now I really like my Insurance Analyst job:  Not client-facing, no phones either, autonomy, detail-oriented, helps people still.

But it took from 2012 to 2020 to get into anything (stable) aside from vet hospitals or animal-related stuff.  That’s 8 years!  Of actively trying to get into any other job.  That’s crazy.  It’s so weird to think about.  Anyway, that is all, just everything in my life had to change.  And I was upset at everything being thrown away, no dream/goal accomplished, so much time wasted, so many things I should have been doing instead…  But I’m happy now, not burned out like I might be.

I’ve Been In Utah a Year!

4 May

Hey, hey hey!

U district

Once I stopped being a student, I pretty much stopped writing.  Though I like blogging, my daily run is more important to me, and aside from working full-time, sometimes that’s the only thing I do all day.

It’s weird to think how different I am as a person now.  I don’t have long-term career goals at the moment.  Not in a depressed, sad way–and (hopefully) not in a loser way.  My priorities are not really my career, and only my career any more.  I’ve come to the realization I must work to live, but it’s not EVERYTHING.  Also, the barriers into my career were crazy.  And that drags me down.  For instance, I’m pretty down on big-university and I’m not sure I’ll ever attend one again.  All I got was a huge amount of insurmountable debt–and nothing really to show for it.

The vet thing–didn’t work out.  And it’s too bad it kept working out that way, because I would have been the most wonderful, dedicated veterinarian.  But they didn’t want me–time and time again.  So I eventually (after literally 10 attempts) I had to learn when to say when.

Audiology:  Unlike veterinary medicine, which I know a plethra of (unfair) politics, issues, and reasons why I wasn’t accepted, I have no idea why Audiology didn’t want me.  I had a 4.0 GPA and I forgot my GRE scores (they are in this blog somewhere) but they were good.  Here is what the university published,

UU AuD class stats

The minimum GPA requirement for admission is a 3.0. Our average admission profile for an incoming Au.D. student for Fall 2015 was a 3.74 GPA and a GRE score of 311. These are only averages, and we admit candidates above and below these values.

So I met that, did extra-curriculars, worked during school, and tutored students in my program–what else could they want?  Maybe they give preferance to Utah residents–and I didn’t become one until too late.  I really don’t know.  But I certainly didn’t try nearly as hard as I did vet school, once they wait-listed me.  I only applied the once, then kinda felt thankful that I didn’t have 4 more years of school I couldn’t pay for.

So those things changed my perspective, and now I may SEEM lazy.  But it’s not the case.  I’m just sort of on hold for now.  We are living in Utah to save money.  Because Cool and I want our lives to be in Colorado.  It’s just too expensive for now.  So I’m working at a company (we both are) that we can make direct transfers to when we move.  And I don’t trust the management, or love my coworkers, but I’m hanging in there.  Because the peace of mind of having a job before you move, and moving and starting work when money is tight–is totally worth hassle now.

And I figure, I can’t make concrete plans because we are leaving, so I’ll just have to start over anyway.  This is a 3-4 year period of saving money and focusing on things besides my career.  My health for one.  Relationships.  Enjoying nature.  More easy-going types of things, for sure–but not less important than career stuff.

I was singularly focused on my career my whole life.  And what did that get me?  Thus, I’m changing my outlook slowly, and I’ll refocus on the career once we’ve settled in Colorado (last move ever!).

CO 169

So I’m alive, I’m well.  I just don’t make the time to write like I used to.  And maybe another post won’t happen for awhile–but I’m not stressing out over it.

Moments of 2015-Bad

31 Dec

I see today (New Years Eve) as a day for reflection.  And I can’t say I’m sorry 2015 is over.  It wasn’t terrible, I’ve had much worse years.  But it wasn’t what I wanted either.  I like to know where I’m going, and in 2015 I never did.  I didn’t know if I would continue with school, and I didn’t know where my career would take me.  In the past, I’ve been severely disappointed when career objectives didn’t pan out, but this time I felt a calmness and grace about the situation.  Still, there is a dissatisfaction.  And now I’m left to really contemplate what I want in life.  But that’s a story for tomorrow, New Years Day, a day for goals and new beginnings.  Today I’ll post a few blogs about worst moments in 2015.  Which isn’t just picking the scabs of wounds, it’s thinking and it’s learning.  Seeing the worst times allows me to rearrange the circumstances to make next year better.

And again, I’m posting for the sake of time and forgoing a lot of re-writes.  I’ll edit later (maybe).

12TH WORST TIME OF 2015:  -Bob, at my new job, introducing himself as the janitor.  Trying to be funny, but offending me.  Insinuating of course he was much better than a crummy janitor.  He’s some client services administrator–big deal.  When he didn’t know that janitorial had been my very last job, and my father had been a custodian for 20 or 30 years.  What a D-bag.

11.  -Human drama at the YMCA.  Deb being all weird toward me because ???  and holding a grudge.  The churchy gal acting like a bitch and treating me like a lowly janitor.  Just coldness and unnecessary drama from people with nothing to keep their minds busy.  It was stupid, but even though I wasn’t invested in the drama, I noticed it, and had to DEAL with it.  Lame.

10.  -Rusty’s doors remaining half open in the winter.  Primarily because it rendered my remote start useless.  And obviously I NEED that.  I hate being cold.  So much so, that I had bought my own remote start and fought for them to put it in my manual–which is a liability for them and usually against the rules.  And I had always loved starting the car from inside the warm building.  But now it set off the alarm, because the doors were open just enough. . .

9.  -The unwelcoming, frosty environment at MSCL for my first 7 months working there.  NOBODY acknowledged me, talked to me, or anything.  I felt awkward and alone.  Those duds and douche-bags were the WORST!  Here’s an example:  I walk in as a brand new employee–and nobody (even my boss)  says hello.  Or I sneeze–and nobody says bless you or anything.  It was as if I was invisible.  I guess it’s because they have high turn-over, and they were change-averse.  And because it’s a lab, so people don’t have great any social skills.  But it still made me feel like it was ME.  And that brought back horrible memories of veterinary social problems that plagued my work life previously.  I had wanted new beginnings and to turn a corner in a new field–and this was not the start I’d hoped for.

8.  -Not getting into the UU AuD program, despite getting the 4.0, having extracurriculars, and working very hard on my application.  Was it the gay-themed activities I put on my application?  Bad interview answers?  Being from out-of-state?  I really don’t have any idea, and I feel like I should be in there.  Easily.  But this is toward the bottom of my disappointments (and the top of this list) because I’ve grown as a person, through my veterinary sagas.  I had to future plan, which wasn’t cool.  I still don’t know what I will do career-wise, which is scary and reeks of failure.  But I didn’t totally fall apart this time.  I took it in stride.  I do wonder how in the heck I didn’t get in that class, because I feel like I really deserved it and would have done an excellent job.  But I’m putting it on to them, not beating myself up over it.  And I’m not sure it’s what I want anyway.  I’m very disillusioned by the costs of school.  And I haven’t gotten ANY return on my undergrad investment.  And the forums scared me off of audiology a little, because they said Hearing Instrument Specialists can do almost exactly the same job, with NO school.  And they probably get paid equal or MORE than actual audiologists.  Also people talked about it being kind of a dead-end career, that’s highly redundant.  And I didn’t know if paying for 4 more years would even be worth it in the end.  But I’m still undecided, and haven’t closed the audiology door all the way.  Perhaps being 14th for a class of 12 was actually a favor to me. . .

7.  -When my parents insisted I call Dad’s chiropractor’s son about getting IN at Costco audiology–NOW, at the same time I frantically trying to complete a heavy-duty YWCA-UT job application and get ready for work at my current job.  They get overwrought and crazy and over-emotional, then there’s nothing for me to say or do to stop that crazy-train.  Unless I do what they say, when they say it, things fall apart quickly.  The whole thing just reminded me of every other time my parents tried to control me.  And how they were probably disappointed in me.  And that’s how the big horribleness of 2007 Cabin-Mansion had really kicked off the first time, so I was scared there would be a big blow up and subsequent melt-down of the relationship we had worked so hard to forge.

6.  -The meeting where work reneged on the full-time schedule, hours, and pay we had negotiated 3 days prior.  I had finagled the best schedule for my weekends, sleep, and time with Cool.  Everyone at work had left the meeting satisfied and happy.   They got coverage on a Sunday, which had been difficult to secure, I got Fridays and Saturdays off and a late-start Wednesday.  It was absolutely perfect and I commended myself for taking a chance and asking.  But 2 days later, they called me back in and told me I’d have to take the legit schedule I had applied for.  Because a girl (previously a bitch to me) who had more seniority, and was better at the job wanted to work Sunday.  And trying to please everyone, instead of defending me and the schedule they had promised me, they gave it to her.  So I felt betrayed (again) and like I had a much worse schedule.  But I also felt trapped.  What else would I do?  I needed this job, or it was back to veterinary assisting.  So I had to just accept it and deal with–while being really angry, frustrated, and un-trusting toward management–and that bitch.

5.  -When Cool picked a fight just 2 days after my good knows of getting a full-time job.  Cutting short my celebration.  Depression strikes this time.  Out of nowhere, Cool knocks the figurative wind out of me by acting like a major jerk.  It was awful, because I had just talked to my proud parents and had been super-ecstatic about my new job, and Cool knocked me down to a miserable level.  I was really sad about it, because I’m ALWAYS supporting Cool and she just didn’t have it in her to even pretend to return the favor–her depressive episode made it all about her.  Again.  I wished she could be supportive and celebrate with me, but instead her bipolar and selfishness ruined it all.  The memory of my new job is still tarnished.

4.  -Getting stuck with all the moving logistics, work, and most of the payments, because Cool went manic and in so doing abandoned me in a time of stress and need.  Which was the WORST because moving sucks anyway.  And there is so much to do and plan, and so much heavy physical work.  It wasn’t fair and I felt alone and unsupported.  Mental illness is the WORST sometimes.  It’s hard not to blame Cool, and that’s not really what I signed up for.  Cleaning the Spokompton apartment by myself was awful.  It was messy and there was so, so, so much left to do.  And it wasn’t fun, and I felt resentful that Cool had already started her job and couldn’t come do her share of the work.  Especially when I was cleaning things SHE had messed up.  Driving Rusty, alone, and wanting to come home and relax very badly, after such a tiring trip and no sleep.  Then walking into a messy house full of manic shenanigans, with a Craigslist ill-fitting futon we hadn’t talked about.  And dealing with having to clean and reconfigure everything, while dealing with a belligerent, unreasonable, manic person.  It was BAD.

3.  -Finding out I was just PRN (after they promised me something different in my interview).  I had interviewed over the phone for the job.  They said I was technically applying for a PRN job, but soon, they were posting a job with more regular hours.  That job was the same duties, but it was a year of guaranteed hours.  This PRN job, which had been posted was 25 hours a week for training, but then was substitute only.  Not stable, and not really what I wanted.  So they hired me during my phone interview, but told me they would call me when (slow) HR got around to posting the year-long job.  Then, I was to apply for that to make the paperwork legit, and that job would be mine.  I waited for the call to tell me that year-job had been posted and to complete that application.  And waited.  When I finally got the phone call from MSCL, they were wanting me to pick a start date for the as-needed job.  And pretended not to remember promising me the more stable-year long job.  I had written it down!  And the way my supervisor acted was callous–and I knew she remembered, but had just reneged.  But I had to take the lessor job, because what else was I going to do?  I needed an income after moving to a new state.  And sure enough on my first day of work, I found out they had hired a coworkers daughter for MY year-long job.  Nepotism had been at play, and as usual I got screwed at work.

2.  -The fear-phobia really, of being offered a job at a veterinary specialty hospital.  I had a sense of dread and sick feeling.  I should have never applied to veterinary hospitals, because my resume is just BUILT for them.  But I was feeling a little insecure and desperate about my guarenteed training 25 hours per week becoming true, as-needed.  I HAVE to work a minimum of 25 hours just to meet my bills, and that was soon to end.  And it’s my policy to ALWAYS interview for the practice if one is offered.  And while I know my veterinary experience is a major advantage in that field, I didn’t anticipate them loving me quite so much and being offered a full-time position on the spot.  The trouble was, it did seem like the best case scenario veterinary medicine could offer.  It was ONLY speciality referrals.  It was the BEST veterinarians in the state.  The hospital hirarchy was set up so there was a legitimate office manager and head vet tech to answer to–not the impulses of vets.  There was a true support system and everyone was on the same learning curve and truely didn’t leave you alone to fail.  And they seemed nice.  And said they didn’t yell–and I believed them.  And the technology was AWESOME.  They really had it all, not just the Idexx lab and digital x-ray.  Like ALL the toys, including MRI, and anything else spectacular.  But I had just such bad memories.  And I knew the schedules and the overwork, and the under-pay.  All the pit-falls, that really, I could no longer live with.  And it’s not what I want in life.  And the delimma was feeling like I HAD to take it, because I really had nothing else to fall back on, but feeling STRESS at the prospect of taking it.  In the end, I made the very, very difficult decision on not going backwards.  It was really hard (and brave) leaving veterinary assisting jobs in the first place, and I had done it for good reasons.  I had to keep up that bravery even when times got tough.  So I declined, but left the door open.  And they liked me so well, that they said to call any time I wanted a job.

  1.  VERY WORST 2015 MOMENT:  Thinking Goose might have thrown a clot to the leg, and worrying about his impending death, and worse, knowing there wasn’t a lot I could do to prevent it.  He randomly fell off the couch twice, and didn’t have use of his back leg.  It was too short to be a seizure (maybe) but didn’t have the pain of a thrombosis.  But my reference point was when the screaming cats had been brought to the vet.  Maybe there were precursor incidents at home that hadn’t been painful, and had gone ignored by owners–I didn’t know.  So of course, I thought the worst.  And I remembered the vets at Cats Meow preparing owners if there were any heart abnormalities.  Telling them to just make the decision to euthanize now, before emotions were involved, because once the clot was thrown, prognosis was grave.  And I remember the cats coming in-just screaming in horrible pain.  And owners saying it happened out of nowhere.  One day, the cat was fine, the next down in back and just SCREAMING.  It was awful to imagine that for my Goose.  And it’s still in the back of my mind, because he is a Maine Coon and they are notorious for heart issues.  But I’m hoping he was just being a clumsy dink, since it’s only happened twice, and the episodes were brief.

I Thought This Was It

10 Aug

My whole life I wanted to be a veterinarian.  So when that didn’t pan out, after time and time again of putting fourth my best effort–I was lost.  I didn’t know what to do with my life or what backup career I would chase.

retirement from vet med 012

And it took a lot of soul-searching and research to find an acceptable alternative–I just didn’t WANT to do anything that wasn’t animal related.  But Audiology made the most sense.  Sure, I didn’t love it in the same way and wasn’t excited about it like I was for animal work.  But nothing came close.  And it did spark my interest.  And in Audiology I could help people like my dad.  And there were a lot of great things about the career:  A stable schedule, more 9-5PM healthcare, higher salary so I could fight only my undergrad degree costs.

So I went to Riverpoint for 2 years.  And worked my A$$ off.  I really earned that 4.0 and for once in my life, made working the 2nd priority, which 9 times out of 10, was HARD.  I thought the grades would carry me into the next step of the program this time.  I thought with that 4.0 GPA, no admissions would reject me again.

But grades weren’t all I had.  I still participated in the extra-curriculars, volunteered, did extra for my program, observed professionals on my own time.  I had good letters from people I worked to know.  I even traveled out-of-state for the interview.

health fair 2014

And I was 14th on the list.  For a class of 12.  So 2nd on the waiting list.  Wait-listed AGAIN.  And even though I knew from multiple experiences what that meant, and how much of a long shot the wait list is–there was a teeny bit of hope.

Not a lot, but enough that I didn’t make any non-reversible plans or huge life decisions.  But in 40 minutes with the close of business hours, the wait list is over.  I will not be joining the Audiology doctoral class in 10 days.  I feel sad.  Sad for wasting all that effort at Riverpoint–not to mention incurring even more student loan debt on an education I can’t use.  And I’m relieved.  Because 10 days to get ready for a rigorous program is not a lot.  I didn’t have a loan for tuition, didn’t know how to make rent when students aren’t allowed off campus jobs, didn’t have books or a parking permit, and forgot far too many concepts and details of my hearing courses.

But mainly I feel lost again.

I’m not sure where to start over.  I can’t really pay for more school after the big move, and I’ll probably never go back to a big university, because for me it just hasn’t been worth all the money.  But what about a technical program?  Community college?  A job?  And in what area?

So again I’m left with a lot of questions and no real direction.  All I know is something has to happen soon.