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We have a thing in my house where every so often my husband gets a confused look on his face and wonders aloud how it is I have not traded him in for a new model. Because we both know, the new model criterion is low: it just has to be, well, new.
You see, he thinks I have the grass is always greener thing.
And I think he is … slightly visionless.
Sounds harsher than it is because here’s the deal: The man is content and it wouldn’t be wrong to say I’m a little envious of the green space in his head.
Vision can be a burden …
- I’m acutely aware that we are all just one speck in one town in one state in one country in one continent … you get the idea.
- Most of the world is not actually in my world, meaning, most of the world is out there. If you see this as a gift, which I do, then it follows you must accept the responsibility to make an effort to experience as much of the gift as you can.
- In addition to that burdensome vision/greener grass thing, I have a new sense of security that’s been honed by decades of responsible adulting, the steady march of time, and a sturdy circle of support. I’m not afraid of making a mistake. I’m afraid of looking back and seeing someone who was afraid to make a mistake.
The fact that I worked at Olathe Medical Center (OMC) for over 15 years is proof that I knew the grass was green. There was a time, back in the day, when Johnson County Anesthesia (JCA) let me create a temporary summer mom-schedule that would be unheard of today; I am still grateful for that.
However, it was inevitable that brown spots would pop up.
As America grapples with health insurance reform, we seem unable to stop corporatizing health care. It’s the bedside foot soldiers (me, you, any clinician) who earns the money that pays everybody – including the ever-expanding army of “corporatizers.” (10 administrators for every doctor?!! And their goal, mind you, is to find a way to pay the foot soldiers less. I mean to find a way to continue to give great care to more and more patients at a reduced cost while ensuring certain salaries.) The point is, this inescapable, squeezing phase of health care coincides with what my good friend, Cindy Leahy RN says, is the “winter of my career.” Again, both a gift and a responsibility … I’m curious about how other people deal with the squeeze.
One day last Spring, I got an email and in a moment of what-the-hell-recklessness, I did something new.
I clicked “easily apply for this job.”
It was not my first acknowledgment of a quietly simmering restlessness/frustration/curiosity of what-else-is-out-there, but it was the first time I did more than search for a way to keep up with the watering.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I feel the need to offer a little unasked for counsel: Do not click the “easily apply button” unless you are:
- Interested in being stalked.
- Interested in beefing up your assertiveness skills.
- Curious about just how many ways “no” can be interpreted as “When can I start?”
Stalking situation aside, the next thing I knew, I was making a pros and cons list for the current job and a different new job – one that I sought out. Not surprisingly, OMC/JCA came out ahead.
And then I realized the very fact I was making the list was, in fact, the dealbreaker. Damn.
It was time to get a new job.
Or was it Yay! It’s time to get a new job!?
The jury’s still out.
My last day was brutal. Like the song says: “Love Hurts.” The lunch, the hugs, the cards, the gifts, the secret whisperings of advice, and offers to be there for me even in the middle of the night … what had I done? Was Jim right? Was I Dorothy? Was it really in my backyard all along?
And to be clear: taking call as the last day might have been a questionable plan. Perhaps I had made a series of bad decisions after all …
Somewhere after 10 PM the board was momentarily cleared – exhausted, and slightly afraid to go in, I headed to the locker room. Was it really going to end this way – with me alone in that dreary, perpetually stinky, cramped locker room? Shouldn’t there be a witness to the evidence of my “speckdom” here? Bob Newhart popped into my head and I briefly thought “Oh Shit! What if it’s been a dream and I was never even here? What if when I open the door it’s some alternate universe and we really are just crabs in a bucket scratching to get out?”
Steeling myself for what would be a spacious, empty, and lonely space, I pushed the door open.
There on the bench sat Dawn. Lovely, smiling, Dawn. She looked up, grinned widely, and gently said, “I knew I was just 10 minutes ahead of you so I thought I’d wait and we could walk out together.” I have never been so happy to have company in the locker room. It still kind of makes me happy cry.
The day had been much harder than I anticipated – and here was Dawn somehow managing to be both the last straw and the first stitch. She encapsulated all the goodness of OMC/JCA while simultaneously blessing the rightness of my departure.
It. Was. Perfect.
To all my OMC/JCA peeps: From the bottom of my heart, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. You are well loved and you will be greatly missed.
May we both “Go in Peace.”
- All pictures in this post were purchased from Shutterstock
What a beautiful, thought provoking essay you leave OMC with!! You know you will be missed by all, but it sounds like you are ready for the march ahead of you, and I just want to wish you the very best in your new adventure! I am so glad Dawn waited for you at the end of your last day. That final walk to the parking lot on ” the very last day” is not fun……I remember it well. Best of everything to you Josie Bell….
Thanks, Sharon! I hope you had company on your walk as well!
So I was amazed at how similar changing job after a long tenure is like retiring. Loved the job but couldn’t hack call or the addition of layers of non-value added beauracracy but reiterated I did. For awhike it was like living in a vacuum and the the green grass appeared.
I do feel a little like it’s a retirement just because I’ve been there so long and my “time in grade” gives me a perspective that now includes an endpoint. I anticipate having more control over my time at the new place – and time becomes the new currency the older and wiser you become. 😀
Well, congrats, Josie! I see we need to catch up!
Thank you! Way past time! We were talking about you last night with some tennis girls … planning a Groupon wall climbing thing – you’ll do it with me! 😀
J- I know you will be missed beyond measure at OMC !!! I miss all my peeps from my almost 7 year tenure there and think of the staff often. The laughter and camaraderie mostly is what I miss!!!! I have many a fond memory of the gracious and warm hearted staff I had the pleasure of working with and the friendships that blossomed from my time there. Hope you enjoy many more adventures!!! Love reading your blog:)
Hope you are well, Glittery J! OMC is indeed special. It was a very hard thing I did! ????
I am living in the PNW up on puget sound with my 2 polar bears( great pyrs) and I too have taken on quite a different job????
Josie—not sure if now was the best time for me to read this?.
Per usual, your writing skills are very thought provoking. Peace to you….ALWAYS!