It’s kind of funny what one falls into – career wise, as one gets older. I started out 30 years ago providing direct care to folks over 22 with mental health issues and developmental disabilities. For those that don’t know – that’s kind of like nurses aide work without the blood pressure checks. I worked in residential when I started out – awake overnight shifts and relief shifts while I was in college. The stories….. and I can attest that the full moon “theory” is a fact – just so you know. Those full moon weekend shifts were off the hook!
I steadily moved my way onward and forward moving into day programs and working with the elderly; becoming an activities director at a local nursing home part time for a short time. I moved back to residential programs and became a House Manager for another short period of time. I can honestly say that those folks are paid nowhere NEAR enough for everything they have to do – and on salary. I averaged 70 to 80 hours a week but got paid for 40 and was on call one weekend a month. My longest week was 115 hours. I passed out from exhaustion at the end of it. OK yeah, I was only 27 years old at the time – but a girls got her limits. After several months of me unplugging my phone when I was not on call (in order to avoid the late night ” there’s no milk in the fridge – what should I do?” calls) and yes, I got those regularly – as well as the sick calls where I ended up having to cover the shift myself – hence the long work weeks – sigh. I realized this was not my cup of tea. I moved into working in Day Programs at another agency in 1991 and haven’t looked back. I discovered how nice it is to work M-F and not dread the sound of the telephone ringing when I was home. I started in direct support again and moved up to case and program management, then into QA case management and administrative – where I currently “reside.” Years of lugging and tugging clients and the occasional aggressive episode left me with a bad hip and shoulder so I don’t do direct support with the clients anymore – can’t. I prefer that term to the current “consumer” as “client” infers that I provided a service -which I did. “Consumer” infers no reciprocity, and I gained so much from working with my folks – they didn’t just take from me. Anyway, that’s my meandering career path to now. What a long strange trip its been.
The last three months of my life at work have literally been taken up by a massive annual project – recontracting with the state for Fiscal 14. My background is not accounting, business, or finance, as I’m sure you noted when you read the beginning of this post -. so this was a real challenge to me to fly “solo” this year. The process was self taught and I am so thankful for the great mentors I have who were available to answer my questions and “point me in the direction of Albuquerque” when I got stuck. But I have to admit I’m fried and in dire need of this time off. So today, I’m not dreading the inevitable return to the Monday grind. In fact, I’m planning a little road trip with my youngest daughter for a couple of days.
And, this coming Friday is our 28th wedding anniversary. June 21, 1985 – which was also a Friday. I will have to do a “Tales from the Northland” post to commemorate the event. So you all can look forward to my wedding recollections when we get back from our road trip. (heehee) So now, I must take us all back to yesteryear…. Glam Rock and Girl Power!