I try to be reliable at work. I show up on time, I rarely call out–sometimes even coming in when I’m probably too sick to work–and if I have to request off for something, I try to make sure it’s not on a busy day or a surgery day. On the rare occasions when I can’t accommodate the latter, such as SCA events whose schedules are beyond my control, I make sure to give plenty of advance notice to my employer. One extremely rare exception was the week I took off for my birthday this year, and if I hadn’t taken that week off I would have eventually ended up with much more time off–possibly physician-mandated–for mental health reasons. My job is high-paced and stressful, even on the best of days, and I was nearing breakdown levels of stress in the past few months.
Enter a former coworker, R., who was the only other COA trained to work in the pre/post-op department as a tech. R. was a pretty good worker, reliable, and he was able to cover for me if I needed a surgery day off. Then, for reasons unknown to me (because my coworkers just don’t talk to me, really), R. up and moved to another town. No more extra body to help with pre/post-op coverage, and no one else trained or willing to train.
Suddenly, I find my time off for Great Western War in California/Caid at risk. No other tech trained for the position, so despite the recent addition of a nurse who is almost off training, I learned that our director of nursing was threatening to revoke my time off. GWW is paid for. Plans are made for the travel/camping/return trip. But because someone else left and no one else is trained, my vacation time was up in the air. That’s right, I did nothing wrong, yet I was about to be punished. Thankfully, one of the nurses pointed out that they had enough nurses to cover me being gone that one surgery day.
Since Estrella War is a longer time span–I’ll need two surgery days off–I made sure to request off now, a little over five months early, in order to give the DON plenty of time to prepare/plan for me being gone.
Yesterday, she told me that I might not get that time off, despite the rapid addition of an experienced tech to the staff. Her reasoning? This new tech might not have her certification reinstated (it had lapsed) by then. She might not be trained by then. Five months. The certification test is a few hours long. She knows the material. She’s smart and hard-working and picks up quickly. But no, she might not be trained and ready by freaking FEBRUARY. (Never mind that, once again, we have enough nurses/RNs to cover if need be.)
This knee-jerk reaction to R.’s sudden departure is extremely offensive to me. I feel like I’m being punished for being reliable. I show up for my shifts, so I can’t be allowed to take time off.
It’s shit like this that has me on high doses of mood stabilizers. It’s shit like this that had me ready to quit and risk losing the house and the car and everything just for some sanity. It’s shit like this that made a week-long hiatus not only desirable but necessary.
Should I stop trying so hard to be a good employee? Should I call out at the last minute or show up late? No, that wouldn’t be fair to my coworkers. I’m needed, yes, but also not so needed that they can’t survive a couple of surgery days without me.
I wish I understood marketing better when it comes to my books. I wish I had pushed harder for bookstores to carry Abnormal and have me for book signings. I wish sales would pick up, and the next book would be released, and I wasn’t stuck on Book 3. In this small town where I live, good jobs are scarce. If I leave the place I’m at now, I might not find anything for months and months.
At this rate, I fear for my ability to have time off for doctor’s appointments. I don’t generally schedule them on surgery days (and I can usually find at least a few hours in clinic where I can be spared), but now that I have to work both surgery days in a week I already have to shift something around. I have to adapt.
Too bad not everyone seems to be able to adapt.