Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Real Thing

One interesting bit of apocrypha, is that the way they teach (or used to teach) bank tellers to distinguish counterfeit bills is by giving them the real bills to handle. After handling actual currency, the failings of counterfeit bills are immediately evident. Why this is germane may become evident as you read on.

For a wee decade or so, I took my prior job at Callous Bastard Hospital for granted. I was staff, I aced the interview, and I was senior in time served to most of the people there except the doctors I worked with. I also knew my job, both generally, and specifically with regard to that facility, and I was damned good at it.

But as my shifts were pre-ordained by scheduling fiat, I could guarantee several weeks in advance when and how much I'd work, and by dint of seniority had carved out a schedule that was about as sacred as it's possible to get. I could pick up extra days, but Uncle's confiscatory withholding made that option a fool's errand.

I also didn't notice, being the frog in the frying pan, how The Powers That Be had consciously and unconsciously (mostly the former) made the place progressively more of a hellhole to work in, by short-staffing, under-equipping, micromanaging, nannying, neutering, hamstringing, and generally undercutting everyone trying to do excellent work, mainly because Managerial Head Up The Ass Syndrome On Crack (times) Who Gives A Fuck About Actual Results As Long As We Meet Our Overlords' Asinine Goals.

The end result was that when I was set adrift with about as much concern as scraping mushrooms off the lawn, I was both depressed, because I felt like I'd failed to do something, and unaccountably relieved at not having to go to work there.

Flash forward to working a registry gig: I can't tell you how many days' work I'll get next week, next month or next year. I've been in quite a number of local E.D.s, all new to me before. I've been universally asked to return/stay/apply for a permanent position at most of them. I know I can work 9 days a week forever if I choose to. As it is, I've been pulling 5- and 6-day weeks with 12 hour shifts, pretty much non-stop since I started this in January. And I've noticed a few things.

1. You can tell a bad hospital in about one shift, after you've worked in a couple of good ones.*
2. I look forward to going to work now pretty much every day.
3. I've been told more times by patients and their families in the last 10 weeks (something like 50x) that "You really love your job, don't you?", than the total number of times I heard that in the prior 10+ years.
4. I'm smiling at work, even when it sucks whale turds, most of the time.
5. Measuring myself against the yardstick at a dozen other hospitals, I'm damned good at what I do, and I always was.
6. I really do like my job. A lot. And it isn't about the paycheck.
7. And oh, by the way, my paychecks have doubled.

So thanks for canning me, Callous Bastard Hospital. I got rid of everything I didn't like, I've maxxed out my income, and I've increased my personal job satisfaction tenfold, simply by not working for you. And now your staff is leaving in droves, and you're begging for people to replace them. Funny old world, i'n'it?

Among the few things you can change frequently in your life are your underwear, your location, and your attitude. If something in life isn't right, it's probably because you've skipped one or more of those three for too long.

And when life give you lemons, freeze them.
Because when you throw them back, they'll hurt more.

* I learned this lesson with film and television productions. But I expected most of them to suck. Realizing the principle applies universally To Everything was a real "Doh!" moment.