Saturday, October 19, 2013

Slow Down

Yesterday I failed.  At life.  The day started off with a bang, with a huge debate over whether I should drop the extra class that is due to start on Monday.  Do I have too much on my plate?  Am I doing enough? It was pretty intense and I felt myself getting frustrated by the fact that I'm in these classes in the first place.  Because they are stupid and expensive and a huge time suck.  The kids were scheduled to get their pictures taken so there was a fair amount of rushing involved.  Then I get pulled over on the way out of town--going 74 in a 70.  The officer let me off with a warning, but I was irritated that he had pulled me over in the first place and then proceeded to take 15 minutes to do his paperwork.  I was irritated with myself for not paying closer attention to the speedometer.  When we arrived at the studio, Roo's hair had come undone in the car.  And Tanner didn't want to be put down.  Roo kept asking if she was done.  Neither child wanted to cooperate.  We left and got halfway home before I remembered that I needed to stop at the grocery store.  By the time I got home I was so frazzled I thought I was going to explode.

Roo had extra days off school this week, and I had wanted to go back home.  It has been over a year since I've been back, but I decided I was better off staying home and getting things in order (we still haven't unpacked the boxes in the garage).  Yesterday I was so frustrated and stressed and just worked up in general that it wasn't until bedtime that I remembered that a year ago there was only ONE child to photograph.  A year ago, we did Roo's holiday portraits and I was just praying I'd have a baby to get pictures of this year.  And guess what?  My wish came true.  And I couldn't even find a moment in my day to pause and acknowledge that.

Things have been so frazzled lately.  My job frustrations and trying to adjust to having moved twice in 10 months have taken their toll.  Have I mentioned that Roo is having a bit of trouble in Kindergarten?  Or that Tanner has decided to NEVER sleep for the last 6 weeks or so?

Today I decided not to suck at life.  Jerry had to work this weekend, so the kiddos and I packed our bags and took off for parts unknown.  There's a museum about 4 hours from home that I've wanted to take Roo to for a few years now.  We drove down, grabbed a hotel, and did the museum.  Now I'm stretched out in a King-sized bed with both of them tucked in beside me.  They swam their little fins off and passed out the second we laid down to watch a movie.

I don't know how to describe how trapped I've felt by our relocation.  I never wanted to live in a small town, and although I wouldn't consider myself a super outdoorsy person, I miss the mountains much more than I would have thought.  Tonight I sat on my hotel balcony and watched the sun set behind the mountains for the first time in a year.  I thought about how Tanner's never been this close to the place Jerry and I come from.  I never imagined my children would grow up in a different location than I did.

I feel sane again tonight.  I know I'll pay in the upcoming week for the things I didn't get done this weekend, but I think a deliberate slow-down was worth it.

Friday, October 4, 2013

In Which I Complain About My Abysmal Career Prospects

Before I begin this post that is likely to end up being a really hot mess, I should probably mention that the lump is back.  I am not writing this in the most optimistic state of mind.  I'm here right now to dump my emotional baggage all over this blog in the hopes that I can either A) magically come up with a previously unimagined solution or B) magically feel better about my current lot in life.  We'll see.

My career, or rather lack thereof, is pushing the limits of my sanity.  Back in June, I was hired (Waaaay too easy of a process now that I reflect on it--I should have known) at a small (freaking tiny) rural hospital with an attached long term care unit.  I signed up to work 36 hours per biweekly pay period, equaling 3 twelve hour shifts.  The idea was to work weekends so that my schedule wouldn't interfere with Jerry's and we would not need outside child care.  I was to float somewhat between long-term care and hospital/emergency room training.

A week after I started the job Jerry got the call to interview for his now current job.  Of course he gets offered the position, and suddenly we are moving 2.5 hours away.  I was thrilled to leave that crappy, horrible, sorry excuse for a town we had lived in for the last year.  I really really was.  But suddenly, I have a job that is 2.5 hours away from where I live.

If it weren't for the fact that pregnancy kept me on the career bench for a year after nursing school, I honestly would have just quit the job and started a leisurely job search at this time.  Since I need the experience badly, I kept the job and am now searching desperately for a new one. 

The job itself sucks.  I spend too much time stagnating in long term care for my liking.  I know everyone has to start somewhere but I spent years in long term care prior to and during nursing school.  I know my stuff down there, but it's not where I want to be.  The hospital is flooded with several new grad nurses that I now have to jostle a bit with to get ER shifts.  It's hard to jostle when you work part time and your heart just isn't in it.  Even the hospital can be excruciatingly slow, and the ER sometimes sees just 1 or 2 patients in a 12 hour shift (rural, people.  rural.). 

Still, I am getting a smidge of experience under my belt, and in a few days I'll be doing ACLS classes so that's something.  The facility maintains overnight accommodations in the form of mini-apartments where traveling staff (about 85% of the staff does not live locally) can stay while they are working.  It's cheap, clean, and convenient to stay there while you are working.

The thing that's pushing me over the edge?  I am having to leave my children, my 6 year old and 6 month old baby, for 3 days at a time every other weekend to get my hours in.  This is the worst thing ever.  It's just me, my breast pump, and my tears at night.  For 3 nights.  The kids are with Jerry or their grandparents while I am gone.  They are fine.  They are loved.  I know this.  But I can't stand being away.  Last weekend I was sure the T-Bug was going to crawl while I was gone.  I just miss them so much, and I feel so far away.  It makes me resent the job and hate myself for being away.  It is terrible.  It is awful.  I worry about the weekend for days leading up to it.  Days. 

So I should find a different job right?  Well folks, aside from my general inexperience in the nursing field and the fact that there are tons of newly licensed nursing grads out there looking for jobs right now, my options are SEVERELY limited in this area.  Allow me to elaborate.

Option A.  This is the ideal option for me.  It's a government-run clinic and ER (no overnight hospital stays) in a minority community.  Government-run=really nice benefits and student loan repayment programs.  Minority population has a huge need for healthcare and has issues that are unique to the area and the population.  Working there would be challenging and interesting.  Facility is 20 minutes from the house.  The golden chalice of nursing jobs, if you will.  This place will likely take me YEARS to score a job at.  So...I've schmoozed with the director of nursing.  And I'm working on a spiffy little cover letter catered to the job I desire.  But there aren't any positions open in the clinic or the ER.  And I'm not qualified for an ER position with them yet (they want 2 years of ER experience).  

On to Option B.  This is by far the largest hospital and is the most likely option for acquiring ER experience that will get me to Option A.  It's an hour away from my home, which is a significant disadvantage, especially with winter approaching.  I applied for a per diem position there and immediately got a phone interview.  I was passed "onto the hiring manager's desk" and have heard nothing in the month since then.  The position I applied for had been listed for over 90 days by the time I applied.  I think they are likely gathering a pool of applications to draw from before they pick their favorites to interview in person.  And I can't really swim yet.  Anyone with more than 4 months of experience will beat me out of a job.

Option C.  Tiny rural hospital much like the one I am working at now except it is 30 minutes from my home.  I did call there and I have an application for this facility that I haven't sent yet (because I'm busy being anxious and super fun to live with and that's taking up all of my time).  When I spoke to the director of this facility, there was a nursing home position available, but nothing in the hospital.  And if I'm going to be forced to do work in long term care, I may be better off staying at my current job where I am at least getting SOME acute care experience.  So...I just don't know.

Option D.  Local clinic where my entire family goes for their medical care.  And they have a position open.  That my entire extended family called and told me about.  Small town.  I can see the helicopter pad from my patio.  I applied and interviewed at this facility.  It doesn't look like a fun place to work and the health insurance sucks.  The job also entails 4 ten hour days a week plus one night (5 pm to 8 am) of call per week and one weekend (Friday at 5 to Monday at 8) per month.  The problem with this?  As a nurse, I really only want to work full-time if I can do it in the form of 3 twelve hour shifts a week.  I don't want to be away from my kiddos every day.  The thought of putting Tanner in daycare right now seriously makes me nauseous.  I just don't want to.  I will pretty much do anything to make sure I don't miss time with my baby.  One of the big things I love about my life right now is that most days I am home with my kiddos.  Most days I take Roo to Kindergarten and pick her up.  I hang with Tanner and do my schoolwork and make dinner.  I love it.  I don't want to give that up.  This is time that I will never get back and I really feel like I missed a lot of Roo's early years when I was working and going to school.  Screw that.  Jerry and I just made another major location change because we were tired of all the time he was spending away from home for work.  We have given up a lot to get our little family and we both feel we should enjoy it as much as we can.  Thanks to student loan debt and the fact that we want to buy a house within the next year, I do need to work, but I would like it to be as compact and easy on my family as possible.

I tried to casually see if the local clinic would let me do 3 days a week, but they didn't seem into it.  And they haven't called to offer me the job yet anyway so it's a moot point at this time.  These are the ONLY facilities in my area.  There is nothing else, folks.  These places sometimes go a year without openings (except for Option B and their "pool").  I could be stuck in this position for a long time and it is really getting to me.  When I went to nursing school I pictured myself working in a large facility in an urban area.  It has already been a huge adjustment for me to understand that I won't be working in a neonatal intensive care unit or an intensive care unit anytime soon.  Now I also have to give up time with my family?  

I have no idea where to go from here.  Needless to say, I'm really hoping that something gives soon.