Friday, December 27, 2013

To work or not work, that is the question.

Don't read this if your not interested in what goes on in my crazy head about work.
Most of you (since I do not appear to have any followers, this does seem odd to say)..know I quit my job in May of this year. Why I did this has so many reason's and there is possibly so many more underlying issues intertwined with me leaving that to begin analyzing this would take Freud himself to achieve an ultimate answer.
 It was after all,  the ideal position for my life. I worked four days a week T-F from 9am-1pm. I was paid significantly considering, although the pay and the crazy amount of work was perhaps one of the factors in me leaving. Truth is I began to HATE what I was doing. I hated feeling rushed, I hated spending my days looking at a computer and not at my clients, I hated supervision, I hated team meetings, I hated this, hated that, hated that I was always just under the wired with deadlines, hated that I NO LONGER LIKED WHO I WAS and the job seemed to be the one thing that made me like that. So I quit.
This was not with some serious consideration, and yet knowing that the place I so hated and was killing the person I am, I stayed on per diem, which I have been doing since May. It has been for the most part accommodating. It has taken care of some of the extras, helped with the bills a little and kept me in the loop. I have often complained about going after I have said I would. (like today I am scheduled to work and don't want to), and I have even complained once I was done.
The thing is I complained about my job before this last one, and I complained about the few I had before. I even complained about the private practice job I had that in retrospect I loved the most and it paid the best.
When I do my groups I often have my group members do what I call a relationship autopsy. Now I know were not talking about relationships here, but it is something similar. In the relationship autopsy you look at your relationship history and see if there is any common themes, any red flags. Things that you did or have done, things that attracted you etc. Once your done, the premise is that you will start to see your patterns and perhaps start to  take responsibility for your roles in the relationship. If every guy I dated was a jerk then I need to take a look at myself and see exactly why I attract jerks and if I do attract them why do I stay with them?
I have been doing the per diem thing now for nearly seven months, so why now am I getting so concerned. Well, the thing is, is I was suppose to spend these last seven months figuring out what I want to do with the rest of my life. What does Wendy want to do when she grows up? I know what positions I have enjoyed in the past. So I thought that I might like doing some case management type job, or even working in a day hab or something similar. The thing is, and I know it shouldn't be about this, but the pay is so low and I am so over qualified that it seems like a waste of my time to seek such a position out. On the other spectrum, I know I love counseling, but I am just a bit (its almost funny since I have been doing it most of my adult life) underqualified per the state of NY and most insurance agency to deem me appropriate for such a position.( I need that stupid L in my letters, yep I need a License) Strange isn't it. So I am left with what I have been doing which has primarily been addiction counseling. I am more then qualified for these positions, and most pay above what the case-management positions would pay. I just know it is not what I want to do any more. For 15+ years I have been teaching, mentoring, coaching, supporting, managing and assisting addicts with recovery. Ideally it sounds great. I have had some wonderful rewards with this profession. On the other hand, I am bitter and resentful about the profession. What was once about helping people became about the rules, and the notes, the numbers and overheads, the bottom line, the BIG OLD BUCK!!! Increased demands, more units (yes people are called units in the world of billing) more expectations, less focus on the individual (although no one would ever admit that). I felt like just another cog in that conveyor belt of addiction treatment. Next...please were in a hurry here, I only have time to meet with you for 45 minutes and what is important to you has absolutely nothing to do with your OASAS appropriate treatment plan, so stick to what we tell you to talk about while I have my face buried in this here computer. Just keeping you clean and sober, for now, and making sure you have the insurance to pay for it, yep that is what is important here.....I began to feel like I was no good to myself, my family and surly the people I was suppose to be serving.
I also have seen a switch in the population of addicts. That makes sense; things have changed over the years, new drugs have plagued the world, new laws have been established, budgets have been cut, programs eliminated, insurances have dictated lengths of service, I too, am older and farther removed from what "addictive" lifestyle I once knew. The thing is we as professional's have NOT changed in our approach. I can only speak for myself, but what we are teaching is the same education that was presented to the alcoholics many many years ago. The people I see in treatment are not the run of the mill alcoholics. The people I see in treatment today are far more complex. They are addicted to opiates, using club drugs that most counselors in the field have never heard of and few have the awareness of the long term effects. Most of the people I have been treating are young practically kids who are now slaves to other medications then their Heroin and pills, but now are subject to the "legal" and monitored use of Suboxone or Methadone. These "kids" need a new approach to treatment....the way we have been treating addiction is no longer appropriate. Even the alcoholics, and other addicts should have a new approach to treatment. I personally don't believe all the rules stand true. As much as we preach individualism in treatment, we sure do not act in that fashion.
 I miss the days when I could keep my focus on the person sitting right there in front of me getting 100% of my attention. That is where the "magic" happened, that was where people got good treatment and more then likely long term recovery. It didn't matter what they were addicted to, I was working with the person and where they were at. That person could have been addicted to moon dust and the probability of obtaining and using was near impossible or they could be addicted to water with an abundant supply free at any tap...in those moments it didn't matter. I knew that treatment and insight was happening. There was moment positive movement in those moments. Those days are gone. 
Now that I had my own little insightful bitch session. It appears that unless I can re-create an entirely new program for addictions, which if I had my L, and the money for a start up fee, the staff, the State approval, the time and persistence it would take, the building space to make it happen and the actual motivation to start my own business, I might be able to do that. Interestingly enough since my husband is himself a Dr. and if he was willing to do this with me, I wouldn't need my L and we could start up our own private practice just fine. He's not interested and honestly I'm not either. I've seen to many good programs and private practices fail. I also know that at this point in my life I don't want the responsibility. I honestly plan to be off in my own little RV or traveling the world in some other format within the next ten years. That being said, now what?

For awhile after I quit I thought, as I have in the past, I'll stay home for the summer, spend time with my kids, travel, take care of myself, my home and all those things that don't get the attention when someone is working. Some of those things happened, but I have never been one of those SAHM's like you see in the picture above. Absolutely any time I was home, I never felt like June Cleaver and she'll never reside in this house. I played a lot this summer. I spent lots of time doing what I wanted to do. It WAS GREAT!!! It has been so great in fact, I have become accustom to this lifestyle. I even have come to a point within myself, where I have secretly thought, maybe I will just stay home from now on, and forget about ever going back to work.
 I suppose I could continue to do this for the rest of my life. Thing is I can't do that to my Husband, he works to hard and we have BIG bills. We played too much in the past and have continued to pay for it.  I personally don't have BIG material demands, but I, as my family, enjoy taking trips, having the basic luxuries at home, eating a good meal and do not always make the best choices with our money. Additionally, I have become LAZY!!! There is something about having NO DEMANDS on  your life that if you do not set your own rules and stick with them, those things that you originally set out to accomplish, you know that stuff that isn't all that fun, are over looked. For example, I have found myself spending days viewing blogs, playing games, being a facebook stalker, and wasting my time doing a whole lot of nothing. It is days like that when suddenly, realizing that it is almost 5pm  "quitting time" for the rest of the world, that I am still in my pajama, no bra, hair a mess, no make-up, and NO DINNER even started, rushing to do  load of laundry and wiping down the kitchen cabinets and placing a frozen pizza in the oven, just so it looks like I did something.....anything productive.

Not all days are like that, but now that Gavin's back to school, there seem to be more and more of them. This picture looks more like me during the week then the women in the picture above that.
Lets use this week as an example of where my NO DEMAND lifestyle has lead me. Monday, Gavin had his appointment, we went to The Erie Canal Museum and had a late lunch at Wendy's. Tuesday, I took Gavin to school, we got Burger King for Breakfast. I dropped him off and went straight home, let the dogs out and sat in front of this computer where I spent the rest of the day until around 3:30 when I decided to start dinner. I cleaned and pealed some potatoes, washed up the sink, did a load of laundry and plopped myself right back in front of this computer.  Wednesday, after dropping Gavin off at school. I did do some shopping and sent off my YES letter about a potential employment opportunity (I will get to that later). I shopped so hard (yeah right)....by the time I was done I was starving. I had a Burger King coupon and got myself some lunch. Once home I wrapped gifts while watching some stupid day time TV show because my on demand show American Horror Story is still not caught up. Did some blogging (that was when I actually started this entry). I worked from 4:30-8pm came home and ate cold take out Chinese that hubby had ordered as I was not home to make dinner. (I could have easily put something in the crock pot or had something ready for the oven.) Thursday was a little bit more productive; after spending most of the morning finding more travel blogs to add to my followings, I finally decided to get up off my butt and do something. I cleaned around the house and attacked my back craft room to begin organizing for a move to a now empty bed room on the second floor. Now my back room has shit everywhere. In between I looked up fab. floors and how to install them, because clearly I can spend my FREE time putting in a new floor. Dinner was frozen French fries cooked of course, and pre-made pulled pork (just heat and eat) sandwiches. I slaved over that stove for all of  about 30 seconds. We did have some productive activities in the evening. We went to the YMCA after I went on a tie raid about the membership cost going up next year. Every few months I complain that no one is using it, so what do we have it. Did I mention that I have had NO time during the last seven months to get my monthly membership fee's worth of YMCA activities? Could have gone at least one other time this week...maybe. I felt great about going to the Y, Gavin did several of the machines, we worked hard and even hit the pool after. I always feel good about going once I get there. Today has been better then most. I got the boy off to school, went on my very last Christmas shopping run. (I am glad to say that I am officially DONE). Had McDonalds for lunch. Took the dogs for a walk and to the Good Dog Park, watched a new series while wrapping every last gift...(I'm done with that too). I got two new release movies from Family Video for after the gym tonight, we have committed to going. I guess we will see about that, and I am now working on this blog.
See the patterns that are developing here. I'm not even liking myself after reading that. What a DISGUSTING SLOB!!!! I sound like some 20 year old unemployed kid living in her parents basement. I'm surprised my husband hasn't left me. This has been me for the last 7 months. It sure is an easy life, but its a pretty pathetic life too.
Now to the question of to work or not to work. I have had other times in my life when not working was much more productive then it has been this last run. Past SAHM time was spent working on taking care of my health, doing projects around the house, working my CTMH business, taking care of my kids and my friends kids. I did kid trips and activities. I was active in my son's school. I made home cooked meals and never ate out of a drive through bag unless it was for a treat. I looked for employment, and sought out ways to better myself. I even worked part time when I could. So what has happened this time around. WHY has staying home become such a lifeless boring meaningless nothing?
I don't have an answer.
I do know that although I have not made any recent attempts to find employment. I did take a civil service exam for an entry level position with the State after some coaxing from my friend Kelly who was planning on taking the exam with me and move from Florida to re-start her life. We both signed up and I was the only one who showed up to take the exam.
Ironically, it was basically the same exam and position I had as my very first job somewhere back in 1989. Had I stayed with the position, I would be entering my 25 year. I would have some nice time invested, a big fat paycheck and on the edge of ending a career with a good retirement package including all the state benefits. Funny thing is, I left that job to go back to school to find a better job. Interesting how the world works, as here I am again. I have run that SHOULD OF through my head way to many times to count. But then like most of those would of, could of, should of's. I recognize had I stayed on just how different my life would be. I most certainly would not have met my husband, obtained my Masters degree, had my son, gotten my CASAC, had all those experiences and life as I know it to be now would not be. There are a few other positions that I ponder over with regards to staying as well. I once had an opportunity to sign on with a company that provided travel to adults with disabilities. My job would be to accompany them on these trips all over the world, get paid to TRAVEL!!!!! This was right up my ally. I am friends with the girl who did take the job and I get to see her Face Book pictures of her many trips all the time. Yes envy does rear its head, when I see them, but I had two little kids and me as the only parent when that job was a possibility, there was no way I could travel for days on end at that time. This position too would have changed my life as I know it today. There were other choices I could have made, stayed with places, left other, fought for, stuck it out with, but I know that had I things, would be very different today. So NOW we are her.
 Quite honestly I initially didn't take any of  the State exam seriously when Kelly suggested we take it together. I signed up with Kelly more as a supportive friend and just to get my name in the door should I need it then really looking at it as a job possibility. There are other jobs within the state system that are more appropriate for my experience and degree. In fact there is a very nice CASAC position with the state that pays double my current pay for the exact same job with state benefits, but all of the state agencies are located within an hour's drive if not more from my home. Would I want to drive an hour plus every day just to get more money in my paycheck? add the area winters to that and HELL NO!!! There is not enough money to get me to do that and no there are no plans to move at this time. I take the exam, I even studied for it, got nervous, waited for three plus months for the results, bugged out about the whole thing I even got excited about the opportunity for this position planning out what shift (being the low man would put me at taking whatever shift I was given) I would take and how I would juggle my life around this. I mentally was invested in this job. Then I started thinking I failed the exam, I would never get hired etc, it could be awhile for things to happen anyways, maybe this isn't a good idea, so I sort of decided that perhaps I should simply just keep doing what I am doing.
Finally,  I got my test scores back and scored 100%. . (According to the letter I was ranked 6th in the State. (the rank has to do with credits and numbers, if I'm a veteran etc.) and within a week I was getting letters for open positions located at sites across the state. I should be thrilled. Of course none of them were local, so I began to mentally return to the thoughts of staying home and looking for new lines of employment. Things like working weekends, dealing with the night shift, earing vacation time, and starting over at a position I basically had when I was 18 years old sounded like a REALLY REALLY BAD IDEA. Two days later, I received the letter I had been waiting for. YEP, a position is here for me locally and just where I had hoped, wanted and intended to work.  MY, IT TOOK ME A LONG TIME TO GET TO THIS POINT!!!!!   Again I should be thrilled, but NOW I'm just not so sure.
I've been totally spoiled for the last seven month sleeping in, taking trips, doing what ever I want. I have been pampered with my way to many demanding (note the sarcasm)  day time 20 hour a week job for the two years prior to that.  Even the BS I took from my Supervisory position, the demanding bitch of a boss, the on call duties, the headaches, the tittle without the pull, and demeaning discussions about of all things my perfume; seemed like a luxury. Unemployment and the feelings of worthlessness during that stage of my life even began to sound okay. DO I REALLY WANT TO UNDERTAKE WHAT THIS POSITION MEANS? I asked my husband....he says he's all for it and I hate to say it, but he's usually right. I try a new approach with him....will it embarrass you if your wife is this lowly, direct care, entry level staff member? NO, and I am sure it wouldn't he does not embarrass. Will you be willing to take on things at home if I am working crazy shifts and weird holidays, weekend etc? OF COURSE.  So here I am.....not even had my interview and the position formally presented to me and I have already decided what will not be or what it will be. Bottom line..I am terrified about all of this, and still have no answers for myself. I think I need to just let it all go, and roll with it. Despite all those would of, should of's I noted above. God has always given me a good direction. Somehow it has always worked its self out. I guess I need to just let go and let God.