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There is so much unknown during a pregnancy. What will the labor/birth/baby/nursing/sleeping/routine/marriage, etc. be like? One unknown that I’ve been thinking about a lot is being a working mom. I’m pretty sure I’ll want to work part-time once our baby comes, and financially, I’ll need to work. But my questions have more to do with when I will be ready to go back and how much I will want (and need) to work. Gregg will most likely be the one to be taking care of our baby on the days that I’m working, so I’m comforted that he will at home with our boy. I’m also thankful that they’ll have this time just the two of them, but I think I’m also a little jealous. He’ll be there and I won’t. What if something amazing happens and I miss it?
Sometimes when I have questions like these, I’ll google what other bloggers have to say. I went on a search yesterday, and came across a Norwegian mom who was ranting about the difference between American maternity leave and Norwegian maternity leave. In Norway, moms get a year’s worth of paid maternity leave. Shut up. Not what I want to hear. Their taxes are exponentially higher than ours, right? I’ll tell myself that they are. I need to ask my friends about going back to work, but I know that every mom, baby, and situation is so different. The question is what’s right for us, and I don’t know. And I won’t know until we’re there and he’s here. That’s it. But I want to know now, please.
I feel God being really stern with me on this questions. Trust me, child. Weird and cool that I’m still His child even as I’m learning/preparing to be/becoming a mom.
I went into work for training one day last week. I love my new boss. He’s one of those people that compliments everybody all the time, even his patients. He’s very genuine about it (not creepy), and, I must admit, when the compliments turn to me, I soak it up.
I sat in on a meeting during lunch that included the entire office staff: medical, front desk, and therapists. Something happened to me that has not happened in a long time. I was hyper-aware of my height. I’m five-foot-one; the therapists all seemed to be slender, fashionable, and at least six feet tall. Some were wearing heels, some flats, and I was just walking around the room with a craned neck getting introduced to everyone. I had flats on, as always, but I was seriously contemplating making a beeline from the meeting to the nearest shoe store to purchase some heels, or at least some wedges.
I’m never the tallest in the room, unless I’m in a fifth grade class room, which I never am. Gregg is six-foot-three, so I’m used to the neck-craning. Maybe my awareness was due to the fact that they were all women. Maybe it was because I was meeting them all for the first time. It would be one thing if they were tall, ugly, and poorly dress, but, not so. I have a couple of tall friends, and I’m not thinking about how tall they are the whole time we are together. But, seriously, it was like I was in a women’s basketball locker room or the first day of high school, as a freshman, gazing up, intimidated by the seniors thinking, I’ll never be that tall. And, its true, in this case, I will never be as tall as these women.
Thankfully, after the meeting, the one other shortie in the bunch introduced herself to me. She said that she’d love for me to stop by her office some time, blah, blah, blah. Very nice. I said that we shorties need to stick together. I didn’t really say that, but I felt it.
To top off the day, I went to dinner with my parents who had been in town for the week. We went to a nice restaurant on a pier in Norfolk. I went to the bathroom to wash my hands before the meal. After washing up, I looked up to the mirror (you know, to check myself out real quick), all I could see was the top of my head. Really? Seriously? After a day with giants, I’m not even tall enough to look myself over in the mirror. I surrender. I’ll pick up some cheap wedges from Target next week. My mom said that she found some cute ones on sale.
I think I’m changing, or maybe just getting older. Or both. Maybe its just that I finally have a job where I have to dress up and where professional clothes. I was talking to a lady that’s about 25 years older than me. She says that she keeps threatening to give up. As in, stop caring about what she looks like and just wear sweatpants and sweatshirts every day. When she said this, my response was that I have been wanting to take it up a notch. As in, I want to start dressing nice and caring about my appearance. Not in an obsessive way, but in an I feel good about myself way.
In college, I wore a t-shirt and denim skirt pretty much every day of the summer. I loved it. Then, after graduation and in Europe, I would layer tank tops and cotton tees on top of each other. This made for a different look without having to buy new clothes. (I’m going somewhere with this, I promise.) I’m getting to the point where I want to wear clothes that I didn’t find on the street (yep, in San Francisco people unload their stuff on the street, and I loved rummaging through what they tossed out) or receive from a friend after they decided they didn’t like it any more. Seriously about 75% of my clothes were acquired in one of these two ways.
I’ve been reading this book off and on about living as royalty. The book explains that God is the king and we are His children and, therefore part of his kingdom. According to the author, we should live confidently, with the knowledge that we are royalty. There’s a quiz at the end of the book that evaluates how you live. Do you live like a princess or do you live like a pauper? One of the questions is “do you shop a discount stores and do you always look for bargains?” Answering “always” or “very often” put you in the pauper category. Hmm. What about being “a good steward” of God’s money? I guess from the author’s perspective, not shopping for expensive clothing and other nice items means that you view yourself as unworthy to have these types of things.
My mom and I both suffer from guilt (she calls it buyer’s remorse) after going shopping, so all of this over-thinking is part of the preparation for the big shop I’m about to have. I’m about to get my first paycheck since December. I’m going to spend it in on nice clothes for work. I’m not going to spend all of it. I’m going to buy these clothes and wear them, so that I don’t feel frumpy every day that I go to work. I’m growing up. Maybe I’ll eventually, I’ll actually feel like a professional princess. But, for now, I’ll just dress like one.
You know that scene in the movie Speed when the bus’s gas tank starts leaking? The camera films the gas gauge on the driver’s panel, and the lever is plummeting towards the E. I think my car has a gas leak like the Speed bus. The Eastern Shore is 10 miles across and 70 miles long, so everything is spread out. It takes anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour to get anywhere. I think I’m getting used to it, everything except the frequent gas fill-ups.
My commute to Chesapeake for my almost-job (still shadowing) is one hour. In San Francisco, I could walk to work. The hospital was just over a mile from our apartment. In Knoxville, I think I drove about three miles to get to work. I don’t even want to know how many miles it is from our house in the country into suburbia. But, call me crazy, I’m not minding it so much. Driving down the Eastern Shore and over the bridge is really quite peaceful, and as soon as I get over the bridge, the culture shock of civilization distracts me for at least fifteen minutes. Gregg drove me to work yesterday, and when we got over the bridge, he kept saying things like: “Krispie Kreme.” “Starbucks.” “Waffle House.” The only chain stores that we have on the Shore are Wal-Mart (of course), Ace Hardware, some fast-food restaurants, and then there are some old-school department stores from the ’50s. Peebles and Roses. Funny, huh? (Have I wrote about this before?) The other day on my commute, I listened to the entire hour of NPR’s Morning Edition. Now I’m completely up to date on the presidential primary race as well as every other important news story. (Please don’t quiz me.) And, I have a book on tape set in London. Its chick lit in which all of the characters speak in a British accent. Love it.
I don’t know. I’m writing about this because the commute was the thing that I was worried about when I was contemplating the possibility of working across the bridge, and, I’m happy to say, its turning out okay.
Going to an almost-job has already changed my experience of living here. I still don’t like that drained feeling that comes after a day’s work, but I’ll take it, since it means that my brain was working hard all day along with my legs and feet and heart. I’m looking forward to the independence of sitting down and talking with patients on my own. I remember student teachers during their last semester of college saying, “I’m just ready for my own classroom.” I’m ready, too. I’ve had my hand held long enough. I am very aware that I don’t know everything about women’s health, but I’m ready to share what I do know with patients and ask questions when I need don’t know the answers.
When I first started working as a nurse in the hospital I was so terrified of making a mistake or looking stupid at work. I’m still scared of that, but it seems lighter than it did back then. After working with a particular charge nurse in California, I’m surprised I didn’t run and get a retail job as fast as I could. There’s an expression that nurses eat their young. Well she not only ate me, but she chewed me up and spit me out so she could do it all again. That’s gross, sorry. Seriously though, she almost destroyed my confidence, and I still think about her sometimes. She was demeaning, condescending, rude. And I was her special project. I’m not thankful for that experience, but I think it is helpful for me to look back and see that I don’t react to criticism in the same way any more. I still don’t like being corrected, but it doesn’t destroy me like it did back then. It doesn’t ruin my day any more. Yesterday, the doctor I’m working with corrected me, and I’m happy to say that it hurt my feelings for a little bit, but then I got over it. I think this is what growing up feels like.
P.S. I had this post already to go when I turned on the radio and heard various radio hosts talking about The Hunger Games. I feel like I have to mention it just because not only are people talking about the craze of the movie itself and about how millions(?) of fans are rushing out to see the premier, they’re also talking, at least on the radio, about how it represents the destructive times that we are in and the kind of world that we are leaving for our children. Yikes. I honestly hadn’t thought about the books or the movie(s) like that. I enjoyed reading the books and was thinking about seeing the movie, but I hadn’t thought about what The Hunger Games mean for us here and now. Food for thought.
So, I realize that I’ve been completely silent on this issue. I bragged about Fun-employment for a month, and now its been almost two. The deal is, I’ve had a series of disappointing interviews. “We like you, but you’re not qualified.” Great.
BUT! I start shadowing on Monday. Nothing is definite, but I’m very hopeful. They gave me one of those W-4 tax forms. Its an NP position at a private practice across the Bay. This means that I will have an hour commute, BUT I’ll get to work in Women’s Health. I may have gotten a less specialized degree if I knew we were moving to such a rural place, but I can’t go back now. AND, I’ve been studying over the past couple of weeks. Basically I’ve been re-learning what I already know, and I’ve been reassured. I like what I’m re-learning. HOORAY! I don’t think I’d enjoy studying the more generalized stuff as much.
Not really sure how much to talk about work on here yet, but I wanted to give a mini-update on what was happening.
Happy St. Patty’s Day & Happy B-day to my Nini!