Tag Archives: work

Tough Anthem Song

20 Jul

I was naive, just wanted to please

I had that big dream, [softer, in the background] You embodied it

I didn’t have that opportun-ity,

kept get-ting dragged down

My fault, grades weren’t my only prior-ity

I was left hanging, my-life rearranging

Needed fam-iliar-ity

I came with baggage, you had it too

I realized too late your un-cer-tain-ty.

I was a buffer, no a-type-ah replace-ment

You left me absolutely nobody.

 

When I look in the mirror it

reflects my innermost spirit

spit the word “no” I won’t hear it

my motivations don’t fear it

 

Your harsh words made my skin thicker

Your head games made my mind quicker

Moved away from you– made my heart richer

Your cold shoulder showed I’m the vic-tor

You’re working that much harder, [softer, in the background] who’s the loser now?

 

You bruise me, you’ll never bust me

my mindset is such a tough one

Ignore the hate I’m so scrappy

Eat shit, I’m gonna be happy

 

all that sacrifice

and several rolls of the dice

Got me livin’ my best life

not exactly no more strife

but most of the days are mostly nice

 

 

 

We Are Getting Called Back into Physical Work :(

21 May

Even though we can do 100% of the job from home.  And we have been working from home just fine since March 15.  And we made production records.

Nothing has changed with the Covid pandemic since they had us work from home.  In fact, cases in Arizona are going up.

They are still adamant we must return to the building June 1st.

And our building is not conducive to reducing the risk of getting sick.  I am absolutely certain people will spread the virus.

We work in one open room.  157 on the claims side, then however many on the opposite side of the fairly open building in Customer Service.  Our cubicles are short, and management already said it would be too expensive to raise the walls.  As I complained here many times, I could already feel the cough/sneeze air of the gal in the cube behind me (because she doesn’t cover her shit).

The long hallways are open, kitchenettes with the water, microwaves, and refrigerators, are part of the big, open room and shared by most.  We all have to enter and leave by badging in and out of one central bottleneck.  There are 2 women’s bathrooms only with 5 stalls and 3 sinks.  They are crowded routinely.  We share them with the CSRs.  The janitor cleans the bathrooms twice daily, and when he does, he closes 1 of the bathrooms so the entire female claims and CSRs share 1 bathroom of 5 stalls and 3 sinks.

I am very concerned.  We already got many messages through the emergency system that someone in our building had been diagnosed with Covid-19 (this was toward the beginning of work from home).

Work says our health is the number 1 priority.  But I find that hypocritical since they’re dragging us back in with no justification in the middle of a global pandemic.

Leadership sent out a handout of the guidelines:

Do a self-survey and self temp check before entering the building (people are not careful, people lie, some carriers are asymptomatic)

Wear masks in common areas (except common areas got perverted to ‘not our big, open room where we all work and breathe for the majority of the day and there is recirculated AC.  Oh, and my supervisor diluted the manual’s instruction more by telling us that the masks are a recommendation, not a requirement)

Social distance and stay 6 feet apart (except the said our short cubicles are 6×6 so we’ll be the same distance as always.  And the bathrooms are going to be a bottleneck.  And the kitchenettes because so many of us have to share them.  And I’m worried leadership will come right to my desk to tell me things or help me with work.)

They said they’ll increase the air flow rate in the buildings they own.  (They don’t own our building.  Even if there is increased rate, it’s still a closed building, and the AC is still recirculated all day long as everyone breathes–without masks).

Work said they’re following federal, state, and CDC guidelines.  (Trump hasn’t really implemented any plan whatsoever, and he has ulterior motives to prioritize the economy over everything else so he can get reelected.  Our governor also prioritizes buisiness because the state ran out of money probably and he’s bought and paid for by corporations.  Our governor has already opened stores, malls, dine in restaurants, bars, gyms, pools, and casinos if that tells you where his priorities are.  And when people broke his recommendations by opening earlier, or having enormous groups with no health measures–he did nothing.  It was not enforced at all.  No fines, no orders to close down.  Nothing happened.  So we can’t depend on that douche to implement public health measures that are reasonable.  And the CDC has been politicized and muzzled, so their recommendations are weak and diluted.

So the federal isn’t doing anything for public health–they’re actively working against science and health measures.  Our red state is tired and inconvenienced and money over lives so no one is helping prevent the spread.  We are in a right to work state, so I have no protections if my work demands I go back–even if I feel unsafe doing so.  And I know even if I fight, they will say we’re essential health care workers so they really don’t have to make any accommodations at all to require us back in the building.  And obviously we HAVE to keep the job.  That’s not even close to an option.

But I don’t like it.

But I get so tired of capitalism and corporate interests jerking the little people around.  I want to have rights and a voice, and wish unions were mainstream.  We needed Elizabeth Warren to take care of some of this corruption and money over lives ideals that Americans just have to live by.  I want to feel safe at work.

I’m legit worried as soon as we step into work we will get the Covid-19.  So what was the point of us working from home at all, if we go back before the peak even hits the state?  I never thought moving to a red state might literally kill me…

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!

 

Bad Yelp Review

15 Apr

Yelp and other reviewing sites are nice because they give customers a voice.  Before social media, it was a lot harder to have a voice, and often even if you went through all the effort of snail mail letters, making phone calls, or asking to speak to a manager–your opinion didn’t go anywhere or count for much.  That public component, makes any comments more relevant, and allows other people to jump on and agree also.  It just might lead to change…

But also, it’s a double-edged sword:

-It’s bad statistics, because not everyone goes on those sites, so it catches a certain demographic that isn’t a representative sample.  And like polls, most people with middle of the road opinions do not take the time to comment.  So you get the very bad and very good at either end of the spectrum.

-The reviews are not very accurate for the unsavvy.  Some things a business does are technical, and non-experts do not have the background information to appreciate why things are done that way.  In a restaurant setting, for example, someone may complain that the milk was pasteurized.  This reviewer wants only milk that is “natural” (aka they are a fucking idiot that doesn’t understand science and only hears the latest buzz words) so they left a bad review about it.  But they don’t know that milk is very regulated and it has to pass certain tests to even go to market.  So the restaurant couldn’t legally obtain or sell raw milk.  This also goes for medical.  What is good medicine isn’t necessarily popular w/the public.  Some things are done at the doctor’s office, dentist, and vet because they are science-based and ethical and legal.  And many people are going to be inconvenienced or angry about many of those things.  So giving that bad review lowers the ranking of the business, but is nonsense, you see?

-Someone called in sick and I got stuck working reception at a vet (lucky me) and this high-maintenance client came to pick her pet up from a dental.  Before the surgery day, she had gone over the estimate with the vet and techs.  And they each explained what would happen as they did with every client.  We always explained which costs were firm and which might change depending on what was going on in the mouth.  You can only get a cursory exam on the inside of an animal’s mouth when they’re awake, so there may be many surprises when they’re anesthetized and you can get a better look at things.

Anyway, it was guessed that only 2-3 teeth had to be extracted.  But on the big day, more like 7 had to go.  So the cost was more than the owner expected.  I was the lucky one that had to try to convey that to her, but she went hysterical, started making a scene in the lobby and was screaming and crying.  After like an hour of emotions running high (the owner’s) and price negotiations (on the part of the vet) the owner came out to run her card.  I said something offhand (honestly, I can’t remember what at this point, but nothing crazy) and she hated it and went hysterical again, refused to give me her card, and asked my name so she could give me in particular and the whole practice a terrible Yelp review.  I won’t be bullied so with confidence I spelled my name for her.  She looked shocked that I didn’t get upset or grovel to her, and asked to see my boss.

I got the vet, and could hear the owner fussing about how she didn’t like my attitude.  And I am just not going to let that kind of stuff bother me.  Also, none of this was my fault, I was just trying to check her out and feeling awkward with her scene like any person would, so I did not get reprimanded–as I shouldn’t have.  And P.S.  I checked a few times, and I don’t think that owner ever did write that bad review…

-Which brings me to my next point that it’s not all that fair that 1 really bad or really good review can ruin an overall rating.  People can just be angry and go off in a rating, and actually put people out of business over it.  And if it’s a highly specific situation, or a very one-sided story, or a non-technical opinion that’s not right.

What I really don’t care for is when staff becomes fixated on the online review and panders to it.  It’s lame to ASK customers to complete them.  And it skews the accuracy of reviews if the business asks for it.  Oh well.  So reviews are good for entertainment, but also be a conscientious reviewer and take other reviews with a grain of salt.

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.

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.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Work dance breaks

27 Mar

www.youtube.com/watch

“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.

Enhanced by Zemanta

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!

Politicization of Pandemic

23 Mar

I want to catalog everything that’s going on, because it’s not every day you live through a global pandemic.  But the news is coming so fast and it’s just an overwhelming amount, and so much of it is questionable (maybe or maybe not based in fact) so it’s too difficult to say everything.

hope fear

I can tell you I’m scared our work will make us go to the physical location too soon.  And they can do that even with a shelter in place order (which AZ doesn’t have & probably won’t get) because we are in the healthcare industry.  Which along with military, media, etc is exempt from shelter in place.

I’m worried because we work in one big room with 200+ people in it.  Low cubicle walls, no real barriers.  The air is recycled.  We share 2 bathrooms with even more people–the customer service reps inhabit the entire other side of the building and use the same bathrooms.  And I can always hear people coughing and sneezing, all the times.  So I’m worried.

I intuitively knew that even though everyone was touting wash your hands, wash your hands, that it isn’t enough.  Because even for regular colds and flues, if someone coughs or sneezes or breathes on you it’s in the air and you breath the germs.  And sure enough, research is coming out that the virus lives in air for 3 hours!  Not to mention on surfaces for hours and days depending on the type.

So I want to continue to work from home.  And I’m angry at anything that threatens that:

 

America’s capitalism– big business, stocks, and making money always gets prioritized above all else in this country.

Trump–  he has ulterior motives to make the economy look good so he’s trying to downplay the severity of this virus, limit testing so the stats don’t look as bad, lying about mitigating solutions because he wants to sweep this under the rug quickly but prior to this pandemic got rid of all the experts who could do that.

Republicans– because it’s always money with them.  They want to bail out big corporations, and signal to people this isn’t a big deal, just go on with business as usual (aka get back to work to make $$$).

Doug Ducey– who is a Trump lackey so is also trying to downplay the virus to help business.  He wouldn’t order a statewide closure of non-essential businesses like bars and restaurants.  He doesn’t wanna hurt the economy even though it’s inevitable, AZ’s population is old and there are a lot of multi-generational families here, and lives should come before money.

stupid/sheep/republican/ignorant/callous/etc people– the ones who are not changing their behavior at all and are probably directly spreading it by going out sick, or indirectly by going about their regular routines as asymptomatic carriers.  These are the people that are going to spread the virus to everyone, and I hate their inability to use reason and logic and not be in denial and/or selfish.

My work– because wash your hands just won’t cut it, and I suspect they know that but will prioritize productivity over our health.

opposing parties

So far we have 1-2 more weeks of work from home, but I’m dreading that they’ll call us back to the building despite the science…