Tag Archives: schedule

Starting a new habit–and keeping it up

12 Jan

I swear to you–I am lazy. I hate logistics. I don’t want to do things. BUT I do cardio 7 days a week and do strength training at least 4 days a week, and recently, every single day. I want to give you the tips that worked for me, because trainers are too crazy, people that love to exercise are the exception to the rule, and it’s hard to sustain it if done the wrong way (too much, too hard, too soon).

Go to bed earlier!

People need adequate sleep. Stop screening, and go to bed early enough to get 7-9 hours of sleep. Every night.

Lack of time” is actually a priorities problem.

There are 24 hours – lets give us a very good rest of 9 hours = 15 waking hours.

OK, you have a job, and have to drive to that job, shower, take care of the kids, all your logistics: 9 hours of work 3 hours (?) of logistics = 12 hours of time you HAVE to do stuff.

15-12 = 3 free hours

The Mayo clinic wants adults to get 30 min of exercise every day.

That 30 min of exercise is less than 17% of your FREE time. It’s 7% of your waking hours outside of work. I suggesst you do your own personalized math, and write down what percent of your day it is. My personal percent is 1% of my day is 10 min. So like, nothing at all! And when I’m feeling tired, lazy, or defeated–I remind myself it would be 2% of my day.

Write your goals down.

Be reasonable. Be specific. Have a realistic timeline and write that end date. You can have a big dream. But it’s better to write a goal or 2 with the big dream in mind. Have a plan of what smaller steps you need to take to reach the ultimate goal.

OK, now that you know it’s not that much time, think about WHEN a workout could fit in your schedule. Since you went to bed earlier and you’re rested–you could do it first thing in the morning!

Which I do recommend. Because:

-it starts your day in a productive way

-you don’t have to worry about dressing out & everything, or sweating at work/in public

-starting before your brain is awake gets the exercise done before you can think of excuses NOT to do it

-working out 1st thing wakes you up, and also sweats out in toxins. Get rid of that salt from dinner, that after dinner alcohol, and any sugar from dessert. SWEAT. it. out. It’s true, you’ll automatically feel better, endorphins aside even.

-do it before you’re tired or fatigued or have a bad day

So you have the time, you carved out a spot in your schedule to always do your workout, now TAKE IT EASY!

I don’t want you to go hard. Overdoing it is a sure way to have an unpleasant experience, get tired, be sore, and dread the next workout. Don’t burn yourself out! It’s difficult enough just to put on a sports bra and sneakers. Just do enough. You want to stair step your progress over time. And when you’re beginning a new goal-remember you’re just on the very first stair step. Don’t pole vault up to the top–because remember what happens after you clear the bar? You fall, fall, fall all the way down and land on your back. Instead, we’re looking to stand at the top of those stairs. Progress slowly!

The big, big thing to starting a habit is to do that habit every. single. day.

All days. As you know, I’m big on not breaking the chain. And I’m really gung-ho on it because it has worked for me. I have run every single day in a row for the last SEVEN years. I did it with flossing my teeth, because I was lazy-ing out half the time, and I’ve now accumulated 203 days in a row. It works because not doing the habit on one day isn’t just messing up that day, it’s fucking up a string of days, a record. And who wants to throw away a week for a moment of weakness? Or longer? This also works because people say a new habit is ingrained after 26 days of practicing it. So it’s science too.

In the past, it has helped me to attach my goal, let’s say doing ab work, to something I absolutely have to or want to do. I cannot shower until I do my crunches. That way, you’re putting your new goal on something that’s already a habit, so it’s likelier to stick.

Remember, it’s better to do a light or short workout rather than skipping. Just. do. something.

That means if you’re sore–don’t skip! Go lighter. Or shorter. Or easy.

One last thing–plan ahead. If you have a big presentation early in the morning, plan to do the workout after work that day. If you’re going on vacation–remember to pack your running clothes. Part of starting and maintaining a habit is planning ahead for those irregularities.

Starting a habit is more about training your brain than it is about training your body (at first).

And seriously. Just keep your appointment with you and if you do only 8 min of biceps–that is A-OK–congratulate yourself for accomplishing another day. Don’t get all down on yourself and quit. Just keep swimming.

in-a-row anniversary!

2 Jan

I started January 2, 2014 and ran my mile today. ZERO skipped days!!!

I’ll probably go forever at this point, b/c why stop? Running at least 1 mile every single day is probably the biggest accomplishment of my life.

It’s now been so long it’s ranked: Over getting my B.S. degree (with chem minor! can’t forget that), over any work promotions/raises (PAML, I’m looking at you), over being selected to be a paid university tutor for the Speech & Hearing Sciences, over getting voted Student Body President in 8th grade, over winning the walk-a-thon art contest and having my drawing made into the school-community event logo/button when I was a 4th-grader. I guess those would be my top accomplishments in life :-/

I highly recommend starting a ‘don’t break the chain’ goal. You choose a goal, and be specific. Then DO NOT SKIP A DAY no matter what, no excuses. MAKE time. Make it a priority. I did it with running, and now with flossing. And it’s a good thing for me, b/c once you get going, you don’t want to throw a string of days away for just a moment of weakness.

I hardly ever WANT to run a mile (I’m not insane), but I get it done early in the day in order to get it done. You too, can get it done. Just start. You won’t be sorry when you’ve accumulated a long string of days in a row.

2021 Goals

1 Jan

See maintain for all the stuff we have been doing and need to just keep up or amp up now that the holidays are over.

  1. I need to quickly acknowledge and say just enough to move along at work. Not saying anything, and trying to ignore things made me have pent up frustration. Then I exploded inappropriately. But also, what is the point of getting upset every time? it’s only making me look worse and worse. I already know my manager is dumb and belligerent. And I already know my supervisor is arrogant, condescending, misogynistic, and sometimes dinky. I don’t need to be enraged anew each time I deal with them. And it’s not changing anything.

strategies for this:

rather than jumping right in, I need to take 5-10 min before I respond at all. Give my rational brain the chance to do the talking.

I need to process it with Cool prior to engaging with them

forget trying to make them see my point (neither listen anyway) I need to just keep it light and say OK! just to end it.

2. Play with the kitten more/better.

Time. Make it a priority. Put it in our routine. Make it an in-a-row. Do it early before it’s dark and before we’re tired.

Sometimes he won’t engage. try different color ball, or 2 at once. Try wand. Try the tunnels. Use catnip. Leash-train him so if nothing else we can walk him.

I can always add more later, but aside from keeping up all the stuff we’re already doing, these are the main 2.

Reflection: Best Moments of 2020 (good to very, very best)

31 Dec

*Covid-19 note: We haven’t been into public since March 14, when we were sent home to work. Other than contact-free vet appointments, walks around the neighborhood (crossing the street if there were other people), and one curb-side pick up of Bountiful Baskets in March. Other than that, we have not had contact with people or gone anywhere. So a few of these items (marked with *) happened before America took Covid-19 seriously, so don’t worry about us being covidiots. Pics on items w/o * are from prior years. About when the sports-world went dark, I realized it was an emergency. Then, after we no longer had to go to the work building we didn’t go anywhere.

-Instead of being in an old stadium very far from where it’s feasible to see games, Covid-19 allowed us to see way more televised WNBA games then ever before. And our favorite team, Seattle Storm, won! And our favorite player, Sue Bird did AWESOME!!!

-My awful/lazy/inept supervisor got transferred to a different department. What a relief.

-Labor Dave Weekend (drive in YouTube streaming). This sounds kinda sad, but it was actually better than having to miss it year after year when we moved away from WAshington. We always went when we lived in Seattle and Spokane, but it was too difficult and expensive from Utah and Arizona. But it would happen without us, and people would talk and post pics, so it was a hurt for missing out year after year. But not this year! We saw exactly what everyone else saw. For free! From the cleanliness and comfort of our own home. No expense. No long drive. No parking craziness. No $13 shitty nachos. No terrible and overpriced shasta beer. No wind or dust. It was an introvert’s dream!

-Christmas was spread out: online shopping before Halloween, decorating in November, cooking in December. I’m usually disgruntled about the holiday season b/c I’m completely overwhelmed and there are all these expectations and societal pressures. But spread over 3 months is more festive, and less stressful! I’m doing it this way from now on.

This isn’t it, but similar

*Mardi Gras: went out to eat, had the cake, watched YouTube videos, listened to podcasts, had a gold/green/purple outfit. Just got really into it!

-My former Supervisor only did one 1:1 with me in the year (the company mandates a monthly one on one for each employee) and that one didn’t include my numbers, so I always thought I was doing shitty.  Because I only ever heard when I was fucking up.  BUT my new Supervisor had a 1:1 with me and shared my production info (1st time I’d ever seen it).  

Feb 212.45% of goal

Mar 173.86% of goal

April 149.10% of goal

May 158.03% of goal

June-July I was in training

Aug 143.61% of goal

Sept 144.99% of goal

Oct 148.42% of goal

Nov 156.53% of goal

Dec 159.88% of goal

Avg 156.39% of goal

So I had been so nervous all of the times, having the perception I wasn’t doing well. And people kept telling me all these things I wasn’t doing right, but nobody ever told me what I had been doing right. So it was nice to see I was kicking ass on my production!

*Phoenix Lights of the World. We were smart and went in January. So we totally missed the crowds–which made it so much more fun! There were all kinds of giant animals and stuff related to each of the continents. So it was good pictures, and a non-crowded, non-stressful time. After we’re vaccinated and things are happening again, we’ll make sure to hit this in January after the holiday crowds have dispersed.

-lots of time saved with delivery groceries. This is a luxury that we usually don’t never have indulged.

-Good music. 2020 had a lot of albums that I liked, and special mention for Taylor Swift putting out not one but two surprise albums. And both inspired me to analyze, which I like, and stretches my brain.

-sitting outside in the yard w/the kitties. Because we were home all the time, we had a lot more time with each other and the kitties–which I loved. And because it’s AZ, the weather allowed us to work outside, and sit outside, and play games like ladders and jumbo jenga outside. And without all the showering, commuting/traffic, errands, and all that we gained lots of hours in our week. It was beautiful, and I want to keep it this way forever!

*Innings Festival. The last event in Feb before we knew Covid-19 was upon us. We love music. We love food. We love drinking in a park. And this year the headliner was Dave Matthews Band! Also, the venue is in very close proximity to our house, so it’s very convenient. It was a good, good time, as Dave would say.

-less guilt about ordering delivery restaurant food. We love restaurant food, but know it’s full of fat and salt, and really hurts the wallet. But with grocery stores getting striped, and delivery difficult sometimes, this became nearer to a necessity item. Which has been such a treat! I’ll be sad when we’re able to go back inside a grocery store and this is over. We’ve eaten really well this quarantine 🙂

*got a treadmill! My used Craigslist treadmill finally died before we moved to AZ. And we lived in a teeny, tiny 3rd floor apartment for nearly 2 years, so we didn’t replace it. But this year in Feb, I used my bonus money to get a really nice (new to us) used one. It is SO much easier to run my daily mile. And I don’t know what I would have done without it during this pandemic. We use it every. single. day. And I love it.

-(contact-free) getting a kitten–Bison. We had been discussing a kitten for some time now, and had even named a future kitten. When we found out we got to work from home, we thought it would be the perfect time to situate a new kitten. So we got Bison. He is very ginormous framed, so he doesn’t look like a kitten, but he’s only one, so he’s a true baby. And he is hyper. But also he’s a really good kitten.

-working from home. My favorite movie for the longest time was Copycat. I thought the premise was clever, and it was suspenseful and historical. And I thought the actors did a good job. But I was truly enamored with the agorophbic lifestyle. She had 3 computers, a mansion-apartment, an online chess game, delivery food–everything you’d want. Like, I’m not afraid to leave my house, but that movie made being a shut-in look really classy and cozy. And I’m not kidding when I say it’s been my dream to live that way ever since I saw it. What a relief it would be! But I thought I’d either have to win the lottery or retire in order to achieve it. But 2020 has been a lot like that.

Our CEO is old-school and said nobody, never, ever would work from home for any length of time ever. And when the pandemic began, all 200 of us worked at low cubes in that same room, sharing 2 bathrooms. Then, when the hospitals were getting overwhelmed, work said we would be split into an A group and a B group and every other week one or the other would work from home so the people remaining in the office could socially distance. They still didn’t really want to let us work from home. But pretty soon, Covid-19 was real bad, and we were all allowed to work from home all the time.

Other than Covid-19, it really has been a dream come true for me. I never realized how tired just going to the office had been making me. I felt rested during the day for the first time in like a decade! And my stress and anxiety went waaaaay down. And we never skipped another workout. Everything good is happening since we’ve been able to work from home. I love it so much, and hope we get to keep doing it forever.

Mandatory Overtime

17 Sep

I hate O.T.–I’d MUCH rather have the time. I’ve done all the extra working (see every “veterinary” or “work” tagged post in my blog) and it didn’t get me ahead in my career or enough money to pay anything important. So why bother?

I start to think about Corporate making billions, off the backs of under-paid (relatively) worker-bees, and it doesn’t set right with me. We need unions to reign in capitalism.

At any rate, at work we are being mandated to work our regular 40 hour weeks, and then an additional 24 hours. It has to be within our regular work window (we have somewhat flexible schedules between 6AM and 5:30PM). Plus they opened up Saturday only from 6AM to noon.

So I am trying to spread it out in a way that will impact us the very least. We will still be doing our daily run and strength workout, and also maintaining our sleep schedules.

9/21-10/16 24HR = 1440 min

In every scenario:

*work 2 sat (every other) for 6 hr = 12 hr [24tot-12sat=12left]

*work 6am-3:30pm (1hr ot) all 4 Mon = 4 hr ot [12left tot-4mon=8hr left]

*fri short as possible

3 options to work the remaining 8 hr ot:

plan A] work 2 additional sat:

plan A1] (2hr = 4hr –>20hr tot & 4 hr spread over 12d)

20 min extra on t,w,r (3d) for 4 wk = 240 min = 4hr

exp:  6:10A-3P or 6:20A-3:10P

plan A2] (1hr only = 2hr –> 22hr tot & 2 hrs spread over 12d)

10 min extra on ,w,r (3d) for 4 wk = 120 min = 2 hr

exp:  6:20A-3P or 6:25A-3:05P

Plan B (no short sat)] spread it over t,w,r for 4 wk:

t,w,r*4wk=12 more days to get 8 hr

8 hr per 12 d (.667hr *60min/hr = 40 min

40min x-tra every t, w, r

exp:  6A-3:10P or 6:20A-3:30P

Work From Home

11 May

My company is adamantly against letting any of us work from home–ever.  But this pandemic forced them to have to allow it.  Because we work in an open room with recirculated AC and the 157 claims people share 2 bathrooms (and they shut down 1 for cleaning twice daily making the whole building share 1 bathroom) with the call center people on the opposite side of the building.

So we’ve been working from home since March 15.

And I love everything about it:

-I sleep better because I don’t have that anticipatory wakefulness trying to make the schedule.

-I use less utilities because I shower every other day since no one will see my 2nd day greasy, slept-on hair.

-Getting ready for work is low maintenance, because I don’t have to adhere to dress code, put on makeup, fix my hair, or prepare the house and cats for being gone all day.

-I can open all the windows in the cool mornings to use less utilities later in the day on cooling, because I have more time to open them, then I’m home to close them up only when the temp = inside.

-I can work outside on the patio and get some fresh air.

-I don’t have to think about the public bathroom:

*do people think I’m going too frequently?

*are they shutting one or the other down for cleaning so they’re more crowded?

*It’s my rule to pee only in the bathroom–but sometimes that makes for an uncomfortable day.

*What if I have to make embarrassing sounds or smells?

*other people are disgusting and shameless in the bathroom.

*the bathroom is an unpleasant mess!

*Touching anything in there is gross

*it’s a rule of mine to get in and out of the bathroom as quick as possible!

*I don’t like to talk in the bathroom, because of what molecules are floating around–but coworkers and leadership find it socially unacceptable not to say anything…

*I spend a huge amount of my work day worrying about the public bathroom…

-I drink more water because it’s easier to get and see above.

-I save tons of time just eating from the fridge.  I don’t have to spend bunches of time on weekends meal prepping lunches to just grab and go.

-I can pet the kitties any old time I want to.  And fill their water, or top off their food during the day, instead of rushing around in the morning trying to remember, or forcing myself to do it when I’m tired at night.

-Between claims, I can just, say empty the dish drainer, and do little chores.  Instead of having to do it after work, after our workout, when I’m very tired.  Or on the weekends.

-I can have things delivered during the day.

-I don’t have to worry about interactions with my coworkers.

-I don’t have to worry about my coworkers spreading germs (this was a concern of mine even prior to covid, b/c the gal behind me does not cover her coughs or sneezes and I can feel the air on the back of my hair and neck).  Also, we have that recirculated air.

-I don’t have to see my jerk supervisor face to face or have any awkward in-person interactions with him.

-I don’t have to plan my time-table around traffic.  I don’t have the stress of driving with fucking idiots.  I don’t pay as much gas, and the wear and tear on our cars is less.

-Asking questions at work is much less stressful, because everyone has to do everything in writing (my preferred form of communication).  I used to get nervous to ask, nervous when people came to my desk, awkward about what to say when I didn’t have time to plan it or check it, and nervous about people sharing their germs.

-Meetings are better.  I could listen to the meeting while swiffering my floors.

-We can do sit-ups on our breaks, b/c nobody else will see us, and we’re not in our nice work clothes.

-We can dance for a couple min every hour b/c there is no chance for anyone to see us.

-We can dress in our workout clothes last break so we’re ready to start our workout right after we clock out.

-Since we start our workouts so much earlier without driving and changing, we are also finished much earlier.

-I am not nearly as tired or fatigued after working from home, probably because I wasn’t exhausted by all the social interactions and factors of the job.  I’m fretting and preoccupied a lot by other people and the schedule when I’m at physical work.  As a result, we do our cardio, strength, and abs every single day, instead of lazying out a couple times a week!

-I’m less tired and stressed in general.

-Our timeline is more relaxed, and as a result so am I.

-Because we are able to get more done throughout the work day and during the week, there is more leisure time on weekends.  Instead of all our logistics stacking up like usual.

 

Also, I don’t know why we can’t always work from home.  At the quarterly meeting, they said we made production records since we’ve worked from home.  I don’t see why corporations are always so hot on dragging their employees into a physical location when people enjoy having work:life balance.  And the traffic impacts are exponential.  I could see if we were screwing around, not making our numbers, and making tons more mistakes–but it’s the exact opposite.  Yet we are being called back in probably June 1st–which is too soon b/c AZ doesn’t peak until June 7.  I’m sure they’ll pull the “essential worker” card, even though we are fully capable of doing 100% of our work from home.

I wish I could work from home all the time, forever!

 

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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“I cain’t quit you.” [Part 5]

26 Mar

Written 6 years ago, but I read it today and thought, ‘go me!’  It’s funny how things may come to fruition easily when you don’t want it or don’t care.  I was not intentionally playing hard to get or anything like that, I really wasn’t invested.  But it seemed to help.  Also, having a strong background in negotiation skills from my parents making me haggle for spending money or on chores, etc… is really a priceless, valuable skill set to have.

During the dental yesterday, my boss teased me (in a half-serious) way about how she wished I would re-consider and keep cleaning.  It’s a difficult position to fill because it requires trust to let someone come in during off hours.  I told her I had made up my mind and wouldn’t be pressured!  Also jokingly.  And she talked about how it seems like an easy job, but she is having trouble finding someone to work few hours, on off-times, and trusting said person would show up, work, and do a quality job.  Which I told her were all traits I was excellent at, but I didn’t want to have any crutch with this new move of mine.  I had explained how I didn’t test into my LVT (even though it would garner me a job anywhere, be an instant, raise, and “legitamize” me in any setting.  If I had my LVT and failed at any new career endeavor, or couldn’t get a job–it would make sense to use that and work in vet hospitals.  And that’s not what I want for myself.  If I can’t be a vet–I don’t wanna ever be satisfied with a thankless, dead-end, menial job.

And that’s why I couldn’t work for my current job–in any capacity.  It would be just too easy to get scared, and back-slide right back into my comfort zone where I have most experience and where I have an “in.”  Because I know if I wanted it bad enough my work would be happy to have me back.  They know the quality of work I deliver, and vets never want to trust anyone new–and they can always use the help.  So even though I could make the TIME work, I didn’t want to keep even one finger in my past.

But my boss said don’t give a negative answer hastily–just think about it.  And just that little bit of (half-joking) pressure got in my mind.  I thought it would be some income for me.  And I could easily do it.  There would be a flexible schedule and I wouldn’t SEE anyone so nothing could irritate me.

But I really didn’t think about it that much because I didn’t think my boss would press the issue.  And before work I told Cool that IF my boss brought it up, I would just ask how much it was worth to her.  Because I didn’t really think it would come up, and if it did I was almost certain my boss wouldn’t agree on a sum I’d be happy with.

But at work, my boss made a quip about it, then quickly said she was kidding–so as not to be terribly obnoxious.  But I said I had taken her seriously and thought about it.  And she practically scampered across the room asking if I would really be willing to do it.  But I wanted to know the expectations.  And she started saying every day (which is MORE then I currently do). . .  to which I was like–no, no never-mind that won’t work.  But I could see she was desperate because she asked what I was thinking.  And I told her 2, 3 times a week max, on a flexible schedule.  At this point I showed her my checklists that I date as I accomplish things.  I pointed out the frequency in which I currently do things is not as often as she thought (proving vets really don’t know who does what or when just as long as it doesn’t directly affect them).  She said she’d have to think about it–and I figured she wouldn’t go for it and oh well–no loss to me.  But 2 minutes later she came up to me and said that would work.

But I persisted that I needed to know expectations–just to make sure the cleaning I’m doing now is what they want.  Because my work isn’t the greatest at communication, and I didn’t want anyone disgruntled in the future.  So all these talks were loud and in front of everyone.  Which I am normally not a fan of–but I wasn’t all that invested in this.   I had already planned to quit all-together and if I could help without too much headache on my part, great, but if not, great.  But once the ball got rolling, and it looked like I WAS going to keep cleaning, I got a little worried I had not mentioned the financials.  That was the thing that this decision would be about.  Because it did go against what I had decided, was because I bent to pressure, and would hold me back from my future field just a little).  So I wanted to feel like I wasn’t totally being a push-over.  I needed to get MORE out of the deal–and I apparently had leverage.  That is not a very familiar place for me to be.

I tried to deviate from my normal ultra-serious talk and keep it light.  I told my boss we would have time after the dental to talk 1:1.  And she was like, more?  And I was like of course.  So we get up there, and I told her I broke the cardinal rule and told her what she wanted to hear FIRST so she stopped listening.

I said any monkey off the street can clean–you are not paying me to clean.  You are paying for the trust, my dedication, my work ethic, and the fact I already know her expectations.  But of course I was getting nervous–despite having nothing to lose and coming from a position of leverage.  And she was like, calm down you’re just talking to me. Why are you getting worked up?  And I was like, I don’t know, I’m just putting myself out there I guess.  You make me nervous.  And she said, I’m that way too–I wonder why it’s so hard to ask for what you think you’re worth?  And I was like yeah it’s a funny thing because I KNOW what I’m worth, but the asking is awkward.  So I still felt like I had to put out the disclaimers, and included that she wouldn’t be paying a new person what she had paid me so it would save money.  I also said I would be working less hours, but still had to account for the gas, the time, and going back on my plan.  She asked how much I made now.  $12.00.  I think it’s $12.25 she says.  No, $12–and believe me, I know–b/c it’s been more then a year (even after my stellar evaluation) since I got a raise.  Then she put the ball in my court and asked how much I wanted.

Fail!  I hadn’t really thought that far ahead, because I honestly didn’t think the negotiations would get this far.  Always have a number in mind ahead of time!  But I didn’t. . .  And I was nervous, and too flustered to do any math in my head.  So I said I needed a calculator.  Maybe I could clear my head and walk away from the table for a second to gather my thoughts.  She handed me her phone.  With shaking hands (remember I’m nervous and completely unprepared) I plugged in my anticipated monthly fuel cost and my highest utility bill.  Then divided that into an hourly amount for the cleaning hours.  I know–totally random!  It came to $12.66.  But even in my nervous state, I know you aim high in negotiations so you have somewhere to go.  But for whatever reason $13 seemed scary.  I didn’t want to see some sort of horrible expression on my boss’ face or hear that my work wasn’t worth THAT much.  So I went for a nice round quarter-amount:  $12.75, with the expectation we’d go down a little.

Without batting an eye my boss said they could make that work.  And immediately I was regretful I didn’t go higher.  Both people should feel just a little uncomfortable if you arrive at a good number, and my boss had answered all too readily–apparently I had underestimated how much the cleaning position meant to her.  Damn–it was a 6.3% raise!

But I will just consider the extra 25 cents I should have asked for as the benefit of a flexible schedule.  They did try several times to get me to commit to certain days.  But I resisted for study/school/future commitments/vacation purposes.  So I will consider that my “benefits-package.”  Which I guess for janitorial is pretty good, and better then I would have done had I readily agreed to keep on cleaning.  And better then no income at all.  So everyone IS a winner?!  Maybe.

In summary:  Working at veterinary hospitals falls under the heading “I can’t quit you.”  Also, everybody needs to have some negotiation skills at the ready, because you could need to use them at any time.

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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.

Work Woes. Again and still. [Part 1]

6 Mar

This is from years ago, but reading it reminds me of the mentality of high stress, low pay, just be part of the team and suck it up–which I always  had (to my own detriment).  This was the beginning of me wondering if it was worth it.  I was looking at the costs and benefits, and the costs were quickly exceeding any benefits.

It’s not wise to post this on here–because you just never know who might read it.  But I don’t know where else to turn to think things through.  I am unable to concentrate on my studies (which I desperately need to do) and I need to talk myself though this stress.

Juuuuust when I think everything at work is OK, and maybe even good–they turn it upside down.  Last week, I had my evaluation where I was called “A-team,” productive, good knowledge, and told how valuable my morning clean/prep schedule was.  Today, we were pulled into an impromptu meeting declaring everyone would have to turn in times they can’t work, because our full-time gal would be gone for 6-8 weeks and we all had to pull extra.  My boss has a mind to just hand us all a revised schedule, without our input.  Also the specific dates aren’t available, the specific number of hours extra weren’t specified other then “lots and lots,” and no hint of discussion/collaboration was given.

So Fridays are back in-play.  And Thursdays too.  Forget about my part-time hours, because I have the most “extra” to give–they don’t give a fu(k about my class/study time.  No one cares that I’m only getting part-time benefits, and as such I want and need part-time hours.  Even for “just 6-8 weeks.”  We all know what that turns into (spoiler:  longer, maybe forever).  I have to study outside of class and have time to do the required assignments to do WELL in the classes.  With just 4 courses left, I’m not giving up my 4.0 GPA.  Not for work, not for anybody.  And when I ask for specifics, and say I’m stressed out–the mentality is the same ‘ol same ‘ol:  just deal with it; we’re all in the same boat and all stressed; this is veterinary medicine so this sort of thing is expected.

But maybe it’s too much for me.  I really CANNOT deal with 6-8 full Fridays, I probably can’t even deal with one  full Friday!  And I certainly can’t do 12 Thursday/Friday combos.  But at work, my psychological state comes last–it’s after the bookkeeper’s, after the LVT, and certainly after the appointment-load.  I come last.  I am willing to compromise, but with my school schedule I already feel stretched as tightly as I can manage–I don’t think I have MORE to give work.

So I’m thinking I might finally just do it.  Maybe the finger has been giving me so much constant, continuous strife at a place where I work HARD and am dedicated, honest, productive, diligent, and loyal–because I’m meant to leave.  Why else would work constantly treat me like a punching-bag?  How much more can they take out of me?  I really feel like I have nothing more to give.

Even though there are very few job prospects HERE.  Especially with a school-schedule that has to be worked around, and one that changes by the semester at that.  Even though I have no marketable skills.  Even though the only skills I do have would be more of the same–and maybe worse.  I just can’t deal.  I’m trying to be a better person, but this job keeps dragging me down.  I just think I’m settled into a compromise both work and I can live with–and they change the rules on me.  Then act like I’m a $hit-head because I don’t like it and it makes me worry.  I don’t think I can keep on like this anymore.  I deserve better, and I want more stability then that.

And I’m finally in a financial position where maybe I could afford to quit.  I could use my surplus school loan money (that I’ve been saving for Colorado-moving purposes) to live on until I can find another job.  And until I find another job, I can tutor at school, and maybe even kids.  And there was a possibility my independent study could become a paid position.  So I could afford to live AND work on my resume’ in the field I’m trying to get into.

But that might make me worry too.  Because it would be difficult trying to find a job AND study appropriately.  And no one likes to worry that their money is dwindling.  And what if I couldn’t ever find a job?  What would I do?  And if I used all my loan money to live on HERE how will we ever afford to move away?  Would this just make me more crazy than just sticking out the possible 12 full days, committing to a work-load that might jeopardize my grades, and the stress of whatever the NEXT work-demand will be?

I just don’t know what to do.  And I have to decide fast, because my two weeks notice would already be close to the 6-8 week span of time, and the point is to try to AVOID that scene.  So I really have to submit a resignation no later then Monday if it’s going to benefit me.