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posted by [personal profile] harmoney at 08:10am on 24/02/2011 under , , ,
I have been unemployed for more than 6 months now. Only a few weeks of that was ... relaxed. The truth is, the state of employment in the US, and Oregon specifically, is bad. An example of a response I received from one of the few places I was called in to interview:

Thank you for your time for the interview. You were one of the top 4 candidates out of 325
candidates for the position. However, we have selected a candidate that did have the most
skills that matched our needs.

Good luck to you on your job search.

That position was for a receptionist at a music corporation who would double in some website maintenance and customer service needs. It was ~ 40 minute commute /without/ an option for public transportation (in a very industrial part of NE Portland/Gresham) and the offering pay was $10/hr. To give you an idea, Oregon's minimum wage is currently $8.50/hr. One of the requirements of the position was a college degree.

I had applied to a veterinary rehabilitation clinic, who was offering $12/hr for an experienced CVT (which is actually the starting wage for a CVT right out of school). The hiring manager was interested in the rehabilitation experience I had at Kirkwood (our class was involved in a surgery rehabilitation for a 6-month-old Great Pyranese puppy). She was impressed because she told me most candidates have no experience with rehabilitation at *all*. Attempts to negotiate a higher (you know, fair) salary lost me any possible consideration by the hiring manager. When I called to ask on the status of my application (she said she was going to call me 2 weeks prior for a working interview), I was told, and I quote: "We haven't decided yet if we want you or not." I saw the same position posted no less than 3 times over the course of the next month. I informed them I was still interested (despite misgivings by how uncommunicative and unreliable the hiring manager was starting to seem), and was told (aka: insulted AGAIN):

While you are a very qualified vet tech, I have had and continue to receive
resumes from candidates with more extensive experience in working with animals
in need of rehabilitation. I still have your resume and will consider your
application should an opening occur that is more appropriate to your skills.
Thank you for contacting us again.

I applied, and was subsequently rejected, for so many positions that I began dreading opening any unread emails in Evolution, just *knowing* it was going to be another "You're not qualified enough to answer phones." response. And, invariably, it was.

Meanwhile, my hearing issues were causing direct difficulties in interviewing (I was having difficulties hearing some of the interviewers) and any appointments with an audiologist to discuss hearing aids were at *least* a month out, with another at *least* 2 week waiting period for hearing aids to arrive. Acupuncture and chinese herbs failed me. I tortured myself with a dairy elimination diet and showed no improvement with the tinnitus/hearing loss, though I found when I *reduced* dairy intake, I felt *better* physically. (As a side note, I've decided to reduce my dairy intake because that's apparently what my body requests.) Western medicine can't explain what's going on (other than it's an abnormal hearing loss pattern). I'm running out of options to figure out how to resolve the tinnitus and hearing loss, so now, I am trying to reconcile myself with compensating.

Then, I received a call to interview for a position with VetSource as an inside sales person. The position requires customer service skills, technical skills, and technical support skills all within a web environment (and on the phone). The position isn't to necessarily *sell* products, but to support the outside sales people when customers/clients need assistance, training, information and follow-up. Having a good background in veterinary medicine was a requirement. I adored the two people I interviewed with. While Kim was bouncy, high-energy, enthusiastic, honest and open, Essa was laid back, calm and inviting. Having experience in open source (I kid you not) *impressed* both of them to no end and is what made my resume stand out (aside from being a CVT). It felt like they were going to offer me the job before I left the building.

The next morning, I received a call from Kim asking for references. I provided them, but she had difficulty reaching 2 of them, so everything was put on hold until earlier this week. She provisionally offered me the position *very near* my asking wage (which was near the wage I was making at my last general hospital, which is MUCH higher than $12/hr) pending background check and drug screen. That makes sense. It's more or less a pharmaceutical company. If they *didn't* do background check and drug screen, I likely would've recommended it for any other incoming personnel. I also came to find out that the first reference she got ahold of didn't give me the glowing review the contact suggested to me that she gave me. So, lesson learned in that is to ensure you know *exactly* what your references are saying about you before having a potential employer call them.

As of yesterday, I have hearing aids. They're... weird. And with my itchy/irritable ears, sometimes weird isn't good. The nice thing is, I can hear pretty much everything. The bad thing is, everything is amplified sound. Most voices sound like they're being piped through a microphone/speaker (or, as I explained yesterday, like they are being heard through a stethoscope). Noises that didn't seem that bad before are now overwhelming (the garbage disposal, the toilet flushing, Steve yelling at other drivers). I was told that as a new user with an abnormal hearing loss pattern and a musician to boot, it's going to be very difficult to adjust the programming to fit my needs and make me feel... comfortable. I found that listening to conversations in a pub is *still* difficult, and I couldn't determine if I could hear people better or not with them in last night while at pub quiz.

So, apparently, I'm going into March and the promises of spring with changes of my own.

  1. Amplified hearing adjustment.

  2. New job, in the veterinary community, but not in a hospital, and still using my license.

  3. Slight diet changes that make my body feel better, including more vegetables in my diet, less dairy in my diet and reduced sweets intake (this one is hard).

And I need to make decisions on trips to Europe. I think a friend's wedding in Cambridge is the highest priority, and from there, we'll see if I can swing any others.
Mood:: 'hopeful' hopeful
harmoney: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] harmoney at 02:18pm on 21/01/2011 under
I've been gainfully unemployed since July. Well, not so much gainful. More like painfully unemployed since July. The lengthy unemployment came due to a departure from my previous employer (to say simply, I was fired) over disagreements on "acceptable" staffing and duties. I shouldn't have been nearly as upset over the dismissal as I was. Honestly, there were a few issues that if we hadn't found an appropriate compromise, I was preparing myself to resign. But, a dismissal, no matter how flowerly given or no matter what benefits succeed the dismissal, a dismissal is painful. It's a clear declaration that your employer did not feel you were worth the effort of fixing perceived issues. If you resign, you take that decision into your own hands, but when an employer makes that decision for you, especially when you consider yourself loyal and dedicated, the pain is immense.

The dismissal I experienced was painful. I had protected my subordinates quietly in the shadows, and even took responsibility for one of the doctors who was going to be dismissed a year prior in an effort to save her job, clients who would be upset at her departure, and chaos that would have erupted as a result. Naturally, because of the politics behind those protections and responsibilities, nobody could know, but a very small number of people (namely myself and one or two others). Not the people who I was protecting, and certainly nobody else in the company. I regularly cut my hours to ensure those reporting to me had enough wages to pay for rent/groceries/whatever bills they had. I would schedule around little things they had going on in their lives without requiring time-off requests. When I was told to choose one of my subordinates to lay off during a business crisis, I found a way to keep her employed by the hospital - EVEN THOUGH she would no longer be in my department. She didn't know about that. She only saw a demotion without a pay cut (yes, I managed to keep her wage the same, too). When I finally built up the courage to lay out concerns and complaints I had, to call upon promises made by upper management months prior, and with a couple of plans on how to make things work, I was fired. I was simply not worth the effort of fixing perceived issues. And more than that, there was nobody - NOBODY - to protect me when I needed it.

It seems to me this is a common crisis in veterinary medicine. Technicians are difficult to hold on to and in constant demand (except when the economy tanks, apparently). Why can't veterinary hospitals hang on to their technicians? The job is emotionally, mentally and physically draining. Pay scales are above minimum wage, but comparable to much, much easier fields. Overtime is regularly frowned upon, but any one technician must be able to balance the workload of at least 2 people while being able to do the job of nearly anyone (except the veterinarian, of course) and never let anyone know you're drained or tapped. You are expected to give your all to every client who walks in the door (or calls on the phone or emails), but make sure you only do it within a certain time period, because you have other clients and duties to see to. You are expected to give your all to every patient, but make sure you do it in a timely manner so you can still answer phones, check in appointments, monitor/induce anesthesia, or prepare radiology. It's not the multi-tasking that wears on people, it's the constant barrage of high-priority duties while never taking a break, while always being mentally attuned to the environment, and not even flinching when you have more work than you can possibly do by yourself.

I was taught in school by MULTIPLE instructors that a well-run veterinary hospital has 2 technicians and 2 assistants per doctor. Apparently practice managers, the people making the human resources decisions, are taught that for every one doctor SHIFT, you need to ensure you have enough people to cover TWO SHIFTS. So, when you count it out, if you have 8 doctor shifts per week, that means you have 16 technician/assistant shifts available. If you have 4 people on 4-10 hour days, you're golden! Except, when you put it to paper and realize that 2 of those 4 people will NEVER have 2 days off in a row in any given week based on doctor availability, or 1 of those 4 people works 2 shifts as a kennel attendant, leaving you with 3 people to cover 2 doctors (1 in surgery and any technician appointments that come in), you're suddenly short-staffed. Only, it's not so sudden, and it's not short-term. This is one of many factors that can contribute to burn-out. And, in my case, has.

Finding a job in this economy has been painful. The unemployment rate in Oregon has been tragically high for the last few years, and has been gradually dipping. Is it because people are getting jobs? Possibly. Another possibility is the one I face in the next couple of weeks. Unemployment benefits are running out and I will no longer be able to claim. I've done everything that has been asked of me. Despite not wanting to return to veterinary medicine, I have applied for veterinary positions KNOWING FULL WELL I would take a pay cut and likely burn-out further and find a steeper decline into depression.

I managed to get an interview at one of the places I looked into, and they plan to pay what's considered a starting wage right out of school (with no experience and just having passed the boards, that is) despite being a specialty hospital, and couldn't give me clear answers on benefits or hours (other than I may be scheduled until 8, but expected to stay until well past 9, or may be expected to come in on the weekends on short notice, etc.). Still, I smiled, and remained engaged in the interview to the very end. I thought I had done well, even if they didn't. I was supposed to be called back within 3 days for a working interview. Since this time period fell over Christmas (and thus, New Year's), I gave them the benefit of the doubt and waited until after the new year to give them a call. I was told, and I quote, "We haven't decided yet if we want you or not." A quick glance at Craigslist confirmed that they had reposted the position. And an IM from a tech friend of mine let me know she was interviewing there that day.

This delivered a lesson to me with the force of a run-away freight train. Veterinary medicine, despite its cries and woes of being unable to attract and retain good technicians, does what it can to grind the people they get into the ground, then toss them aside when they're burned out or experiencing compassion fatigue to start over. Why? Because in this economy, where else are you going to go? You could be like me and spend 6 months looking for a job in or out of the veterinary community, and find NOTHING. I received a message that there were many qualified applicants, but only the most experienced would be interviewed FOR ANSWERING PHONES. No, I didn't get called to interview.

What do I want to do? Well, that's tricky. I'm not entirely sure at this point. I *want* to work in a field that either fully supports music, or is somehow involved in music. I *want* to use my customer service abilities that I've honed pretty well. I *want* to work somewhere where I'm encouraged to be creative, to grow and expand, to learn and somewhere that encourages me to give back to the company I'm working for. However, my technical skills are all over the board. I can type well, I have a pretty good attention to detail. I research very well, I write very well. I can handle customer disputes with ease, and I can keep conversations productive and moving forward. I LOVE to learn new skills and new trades, and I like doing things that are intellectually stimulating/challenging. I'm a problem solver, and if given a crisis or problem, I will work on it UNTIL IT'S SOLVED. If I'm given a task, that task WILL BE DONE. But, I can't market myself. I don't know what computer programs I know, because I simply sit down at the computer and DO IT. I don't know specifically what skillset I have because I just do what needs to be done, and research what I don't know how to do because it needs to be done, too.

I guess, I just want to work for someone who believes in me, and someone I believe in, with goals and philosophies I can stand behind. I want someone who will be flexible to allow me to attend things like DebConf and UDS, but also still be flexible for being involved in an orchestra or community musical. I want someone who will see me, see my skills, put them to good use, and help me build more skills. I want to work for a company that I'll feel happy working for for DECADES, not just a couple of years. I want to smile because I feel like smiling, not because it's expected that I smile at that customer/client. But, most of all, I want an employer whose goal isn't to grind me into the ground and toss me aside when I'm no longer needed or relevant. Where's my boss in shining armor?
Mood:: 'hopeful' hopeful
harmoney: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] harmoney at 10:41pm on 25/10/2008 under , , , , ,
I have an interest in anesthesia in veterinary medicine. There is a specialty where one can become a VTS (Anesthesiology) - basically, a Veterinary Technician Specialist in this field. I have, up until tonight, seriously considered pursuing that career. Now, I'm reconsidering.

I work in a general hospital. The requirements to attain a specialty in anesthesiology are... amazingly difficult. I know of people in surgery practices who have difficulty fulfilling the requirements to just sit for the board exam. I have no intention of leaving my hospital any time soon (especially after this coming weekend - I'll be locked in a contract for at least another year because my employer is sending me to CVC - on one hand, hurray! job security! on the other, ugh.), and even if I did, I'm not quite ready, I don't feel, to jump into specialty again. I loved it, and someday I want to be there again, but, I do like seeing the puppies and kittens, and I do enjoy actually KNOWING my clients. Getting treats. Having those select few that you'd do anything for and you'll hand out your cell number? Yeah. I kinda enjoy that.

Now, with that said, it's not IMPOSSIBLE to get those requirements. I just have to find a few specialty hospitals or diplomates who are willing to teach/foster me through. And that's not hard. I have full faith that I'll find many willing surgeons and other specialty veterinarians to help me through it. The problem is, the goals have to be completed IN ONE YEAR. I'd have to take the prior year to build my cases and get my CE in. Then prepare for the board exam, which would probably take a few more months. we're talking possibly 3 years of doing nothing but eating, sleeping and thinking anesthesiology. Especially since I'm in a general practice and won't have many of the same benefits others enjoy at specialty hospitals.

Tonight, however, I nurtured my other love. I feel like I'm leading a double life. I went to an Oregon Symphonic Band concert tonight and... I remembered everything I was missing in music in my life. I have the quintet, and I'm happy (more or less) in it, but... there's just something else missing. And I found it tonight. It's that amazing meld of many instruments - the challenging, but moving music, the magic that just... surrounds... an ensemble like that. I realized tonight, when thinking about rehearsal schedules and such that I cannot do both. I have to choose.

Do I want to further nurture the returning music in my heart and soul, or do I want to pursue my brain's delight in my career? That's where I'm at.

Tonight, that decision was easy. Next Saturday when I'm sitting in anesthesiology lectures in San Diego, it's probably going to be more difficult again. I want to do both, but I can't devote my entire being to both all the time, and I'd essentially need to.

I am a veterinary technician, but that's not *who* I am. I'm also a musician. I'm a cat lover. I'm a gamer. I'm a geek. I'm a friend. I'm a wife. I am a combination of a lot of things, and I'm not going to let my career overshadow where my heart and soul are trying to lead me.

I *need* music in my life. Music is so much a part of me that it *hurt* when I wasn't playing for years on end - I was *empty* without it. I can't return to that.

Later this week, I'll likely be joining the Hillsboro Symphony.
Mood:: 'contemplative' contemplative
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posted by [personal profile] harmoney at 12:43pm on 24/02/2008 under , ,
So much has happened in the last couple of months - although it doesn't really seem like a lot. Work saw our 7-year AHAA inspection, which was a pain in the ass, but we passed with flying colors (much like we knew we would). There are a few changes yet to be implemented, but for the most part, all is well. I know I'm going to get chastised at my review this coming week for being late as often as I have been, but I have also been told that my bosses know I work hard and go well and above what's always expected of me (even though we've had a couple of issues with cases falling through the cracks lately. Quite the mess.). I'm confident everything will be fine, and if it isn't, well, I'll worry about that if and when it happens.

And then there was the problem with the kitchen fire last week. Yes, I set our stove on fire. First thing in the morning. It was great. There are still dark spots everywhere and soot settled in various places. But, after the stove fire, I have learned 3 things. 1) Electric kettles are really worthwhile instruments when you're not *watching* the stove and your water for tea heats. 2) A fire extinguisher is really a necessary kitchen accessory (despite Steve's snorting and ranting about not needing one since we're not 6 years old anymore). 3) Air purifiers are expensive. I got a "cheap" one for $100, that thankfully works pretty well.

To keep myself calm after seeing the damage from the fireball on the stove, I keep reminding myself that everything that was damaged (the stove hood, and the cabinets and a little of the countertops) we were planning to replace anyway. And the stains on the walls - well, we were planning to paint anyway. So, there really is no loss other than a few stains on the stove (we can't afford to replace the stove) and figuring out how to repaint the ceiling. Ah well. But, the project to fix up the condo and sell it is moving along now, if for no other reason than my little kitchen fire episode is pushing us to clean and fix much faster than anticipated.

We've been looking at houses. The current plan is to buy a house and close in time to move everything out of the kitchen and into the new house. Move, fix the condo and have it on the market within 2-3 weeks of closing on our house. Our realtor is confident of the condo market in our area and thinks this will make it easier and faster to sell (especially since we have 3 cats and, well, there's not a single thing you can do to make litter boxes look asthetically pleasing).

There is a house we're interested in. I'm not going to jynx anything by posting much about it. But, suffice to say if we get it, all offers for people to come and visit will always be in effect. We will always have room and a pleasant place to stay. Of course, regardless of where we move, that will always be true, but I'm especially excited about this particular house. We shall see, though.

Until then, I continue to dream of it and look around ready to pack up. 4 years is a long time to be in any one place. This is true. And there are a lot of memories and good things from this place in Beaverton, but I'll be happy to get away from the traffic and noise this area has. I'll be happy to have my own yard and a larger kitchen and not have to fight with Steve over the toilet. Yeah. This is... definitely... starting to get exciting.
harmoney: (Default)
A day off! Hurray! Though, it almost wasn't, even though the clinic is closed today, because it was brought to my attention yesterday while I was in surgery (on my day off, mind you), that our kennel manager doesn't know how to give insulin injections, and we have a diabetic boarder. I was... non-too-happy about this. And kinda blew up. I then asked if he could come in to be shown how to do insulin injections, and was told, "No... that ain't gonna happen." And I responded, "So... I'm expected to drive 1/2 hour to get here, to give *ONE* injection, then go home on *MY* day off, and he can't be expected the same? So, in your mind that travel time is worth *1 minute* of work? That's his *JOB*. If he didn't know how to do it, he should've been more proactive about *learning* before it was suddenly his responsibility on a day that technicians weren't in the clinic. If the hospital manager (who lives across the street) can't come in to do it, I will, but I guarantee, nobody will be happy with that arrangement." Turns out they found someone else to go in to give the insulin injection. Grumblemutter. This is the problem with not *allowing* kennel staff to do boarder medications while technicians are on duty. Suddenly, when a technician isn't on duty, and there is a boarder that requires medications that the kennel staff doesn't know how to do, we have to scramble to figure it out. And that's a bit ridiculous. Such is life, I suppose.

We also met with our realtor yesterday. The house-buying and condo-selling is in process. The condo isn't on the market yet, we need to remodel the kitchen first, and paint everything. But, once we get a cabinet contractor in place, we'll probably buy a house, close and move everything over and start remodeling the kitchen here. It'll make cleaning and remodeling and showing so much easier for us to be out. I'm pretty excited about that!

Today was nice and quiet. Well, has been so far. I made the traditional Thanksgiving paella, fresh bread and apple pie. (No, I don't eat turkey - it has nothing to do with not wanting to eat meat, as evidenced by the paella - it has everything to do with the fact that turkey HURTS me.) I was going to make a thin apple tart, but decided, "Hey. I want apple pie." and with a little coaxing from [livejournal.com profile] dave256, chose apple pie over healthier apple tart. It was yum. A good tradition to have, if I may say so myself. This is year 3 of Paella Thanksgiving, and every year I step back and nod after the meal and declare, "This is so much better than turkey!". Perhaps one year I'll decide to do a roast duck or something, but for now, that's reserved for Christmases that can't be spent with our families.

Speaking of which, we're going to Kathy's for Christmas. Tickets are bought. So, we'll freeze our asses off in Iowa, come back to Portland and declare "Oh thank god. It's only raining here." like we used to. For my grandparents' sake, I emailed my mom, asking her to join us for Christmas, and haven't received a response back. Typical, I guess. She'll complain that we never contact her or do anything, and when we do, we don't even exist. Nice.

Tomorrow is black Friday. I have the day off, well, except for the couple of hours that I'm going into work to help with a work interview, do a couple of callbacks, and finish the tech schedule for December. I was thinking about holing up all day tomorrow and forgetting the rest of the world exists, which would be much easier if I have craft stuff here to work on for Christmas gifts. So, I believe I will make a quick trek to Joanne's or Michael's and pick up stuff to make Christmas gifts with, come home, have lunch, and then run away to work. That'll leave my evening nice and safe at home. Hurray for safe and away from crazy shoppers! I really wish I would've had time yesterday to pick up the craft stuff, or thought about it earlier this week. Oh well.
Mood:: 'thankful' thankful
harmoney: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] harmoney at 09:34pm on 11/11/2007 under , , ,
So, last weekend I went to Boston/Cambridge/Plymouth, and returned on Monday. I'll go over my trip some other time and maybe upload pictures, too. But, summary: Boston is pretty. The East Coast looks WAY DIFFERENT than the Pacific Northwest. And Boston has the fattest and tamest squirrels I've ever seen in my life. Since then it seems all shit hit the fan. I went to get dinner Monday night, got to the car to find out the keyless entry wasn't working. Fortunately I could still unlock the car! Unfortunately, the car wouldn't start. It would seem the dome light switch was partially on, though the dome light wasn't lit, and I didn't catch it before I left on Friday morning, and thus, the car thought the dome light was on until Monday evening when I went to drive the car. 2 hours later, the battery was recharged and I finally got some food. Unfortunately, I found that after having traveled 13+ hours that day, then waited a couple of hours for food, and having been up at 3:30am EST and it was at that point 7pm PST, I was way too tired to eat. SO, I went to bed instead.

Tuesday was busy at work. Which is nice. Tried to talk to Steve on the phone that evening, only to find that his roommate was hanging on every word he was saying to me in the room, and when he left the room, he had to greet several people in the hallways while talking to me. I gave up having a conversation with him and just got depressedly quiet.

Wednesday was Emo Day from Hell. I didn't want to see people. I didn't want to talk to people. I didn't want to be around people. So, I decided I would make popcorn, play video games and read all day. When I went to make the popcorn, I ended up burning the last bag in the house. So, I had to trek out to get more. It wasn't *that* bad, all things considered, though it was annoying to be greeted by chipper people. Got some clarinet practice in.

Thursday was work and HELL. We had way too much going on for the staff we had, but we managed. Everything worked out. Got home and practically passed out.

Friday was work and CONFUSING Doctor on duty was sick. Another doctor covered. It was ... almost chaotic, but we prevailed and managed to get a few things accomplished as well. Steve sent me flowers with a ... rather dorky card,and very much sweet. My coworkers think he's a sweetheart (he has them snowed), and one stormed off declaring her boyfriend is a butthead. I just laughed. Quintet rehearsal was good, though. We're sounding /really/ good. I have a few... concerns, but I'd rather just let them ruminate in my head rather than worry about everything getting back to whoever and having Drama over what should be a very relaxing and fun activity.

Saturday was work and HELL. Again, way too many appointments for the staff we had, but ... we barely managed. I'm exhausted. But, at least Steve came home last night, which made matters a bit better. I had hoped to get the place cleaned and such before he got home, but all I had time for was a lightening run. We grabbed a quick meal out (Ruby Tuesdays) because I simply didn't have the energy to cook - especially since all I'd had to eat all day long was 2.5 donuts. He does genuinely seem happy to be home. We haven't bickered at all, and he seems a lot happier. Well, kinda grumpy today, but that's his own fault. He played video games instead of getting lunch, then was dragged out for a walk. His fault, I say. And I said. And he agreed, while grumbling. ;)

Today has just been relaxation, which has been beyond nice. Steve and I went for a walk (we'll just ignore the waking up at 4:30 this morning remembering something I forgot at work, and rushing in at 8am to fix it because I couldn't get my mind off it) in the afternoon and played video games practically all day. I made a very yummy dinner, and all seems to be getting back to normal.

Tomorrow is work. My foot hurts so... so very badly. I may just stay for surgery and beg forgiveness and go home after surgery. The pain is almost unbearable and after 3 days in a row of being on my feet without breaks, I really would like a day with my feet up and maybe iced. My acupuncturist thinks it might be plantar fasciitis, and I have an appointment with a doctor on Tuesday afternoon to get it checked out. We'll see. But, I'm barely weight bearing right now, so I think something needs to be done before something bad happens. But, we'll see. I'll talk to the hospital manager tomorrow. I doubt it'll be an issue, and I'm positive someone will help cover for me if need be.

I'm glad things are finally getting back to normal. Steve's home. We're making plans for our trip to Iowa for Christmas, and I think things are settling down.

I have goals!

This week, my goal is to only eat out twice. I'll get this eating out problem nipped in the bud, I swear it! I made a lovely dinner tonight with a low-fat, light parmesean chicken breast (parmesean cheese, bread crumbs, oregano, lemon juice and garlic), green beans and a RiceARoni box (yes, I know, but it's better than eating out, and it's easy. Right now, easy wins over eating out). We've both been packing on a few pounds from eating out so much and not getting much exercise. Unfortunately, going on walks means right now we're limited to the neighborhood because parks close before I get off work (and before his workday is finished). So, weekends we'll get some nice long walks in. I have Taekwondo on Wednesdays, and we'll just have to figure something else out for the rest of the week. Small goals, though. Babysteps. We'll make it. I know we will.

I haven't disappeared. I've just been crazy busy and tired (and a bit emo). Sleep is calling me, I fear. And I think I should answer.
Mood:: 'tired, but thankful' tired, but thankful
harmoney: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] harmoney at 03:27pm on 17/10/2007 under , , , , , , ,
This year, despite a few bouts of depression, a few *really* bad spats with the husband and Yet Another Changing in Job, I think has, overall been good.

My weight has been up, which isn't a good thing, but I've finally decided to handle it - to work on it. Not wishing I would, or simply wanting to, but I've been making motions to actually *do* something. I joined a Taekwondo class. I adore the instructor. She teaches well, and she teaches to *me* - she doesn't shout for me to get my knee up if it's not comfortable to do that. She makes me want to work on things to better my techniques, to better MYSELF, not simply to do it because she's shouting at me to do it. It makes all the difference in the world. I'm feeling a little better. My balance is coming back to center again. I'm able to focus myself and my energy a lot better again. And, strange of all, I'm applying theories and techniques learned in Aikido to what I'm doing in Taekwondo. It's... kinda cool. (When you know how to focus your ki, and you have the mindset of not colliding, but redirecting energies, it's amazing how much *stronger* your kicks become. You're still colliding, but, your control over the ki is much... more precise. It's ... amazing.) I'm now at the point that I *want* to work on things outside of class. I bought a book from her to actually be able to work on forms out of class since to learn them, I need more practice than one lesson a week. It's... exciting. Seriously.

I found a way to get reinvolved in music, and I love it. I've become part of a woodwind quintet that will hopefully have a performance coming up next month (a short, low-key performance, but! Playing in front of people again!) I remember what I was told by a coworker at the last place I worked - that she didn't believe I'd ever play again, especially like I used to. She knew what she was talking about, too, because she played flute when in high school (/sarcasm). Pooey on her. The people I'm playing with are amazing, and are bringing out the best in me again. I'm practicing a little more regularly and *loving* it. My tone is slowly coming back to what it was, I'm back on a 3 1/2 size reed (Grand Concert Premieres, of course) and my technique is slowly improving (again). I'm only a shade of what I formerly was, but, that's more than I was last year. I'm /playing/ again. My clarinet is becoming an extension of me again. It's great.

My job. I've had multiple talks with one of the vets I work with that I don't want my job to define who I am. I love animals. I really do. I've worked hard to get to where I am, and I know I have a lot further to go before I get to where I want to go. I *will* be a career technician, but likely one that specializes, and possibly teaches. I love what I do, I love who I work with and I love the hospital I'm at. I agree with (most) of our policies, I appreciate almost all of our procedures. I trust all my coworkers. My office manager is appreciative of me, and tells me regularly. I know I'm being molded into a leadership position, and I've finally stopped fighting it. It's... scary, but I've also seen some really scary head techs. I've also seen an *amazing* head tech, and I fear she's too few and far between. So, I almost feel like I *need* to step into the leadership role to ensure they have something more like what I've had rather than what I know they (we) could get. Not that I'm a lesser of two evils, but I can protect them from the evils. So many things that go on there I could blog about, but, I choose not to simply because I don't think it's terribly safe to really let loose about your employer in any online forum despite how "protected" and "locked" it is. Even though I wouldn't have a lot of rants, there would be a few, and it's just not professional - and it endangers my job and my clinic's reputation. Eh. It doesn't need to be saved off for possibly everyone to read in the future.

But, back to my point. I don't want to be "just a vet tech". I have other passions. I have other loves. They don't define me, I know, but they are a part of me, and I'm finally expressing them all and balancing them. Sometimes it feels stressful to balance them, (it really is only work, taekwondo, music, Steve and my cats, but still!) but it's so worth it.

This year has been about finding me. Finding my center. And listening to what my body tells me. I'm pleased to see this now, and not to have to wait until the start of next year to be thankful for it all.

I am Patty. I work as a certified veterinary technician. I play clarinet well. I enjoy practicing taekwondo. I like to read. I can knit. I have 3 cats that I adore. My husband, as stubborn and frustrating as he can be, does love me and I love him even though we fight and bicker. I'm not defined by any one of these things - I'm not even defined by all of them, there's so much more to me. Maybe someday I'll define myself, but for now, I'm content allowing myself to explore and soar. Definitions seem so... final. I'm not ready to be finalized yet.
Mood:: 'contemplative' contemplative
location: Rialto
harmoney: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] harmoney at 08:58pm on 26/07/2007 under , , , , , , ,
This last week I've been somewhat helping my beloved husband with the inherited Debian booth at OSCon in between work days and hours. Despite lacking in sleep at the moment - I've been a little deprived since Sunday, I've had the pleasure of meeting new people in the open source community as well as greeting acquaintances and new friends. It actually... amazes me... how many people I know in this community /around here/, or at least who travel to the area for such things and I 1) remember and 2) am happy to see. (Tom, you'll always be a pleasure to drink with! Jeff, I miss you again already! And Bruno, I'll remember you by your smile and name, I promise - not by the flag you wear around your shoulders - but thank you for doing that, had you not, I would likely not have approached you to ask why you were wearing a Brazilian flag!) Meeting and drinking with Brad Fitzpatrick was interesting. He's a pretty laid back and nice guy. I swore he was taller, though that may have been in part due to the wine consumption - perhaps my impression is a bit foggy. ;) I believe Steve set out with BDale's plan to make the Debian booth about *community* and *people*, and... I think it was very largely successful. While we didn't necessarily have a lot of people at the booth at once yesterday, I hear that today, there were a lot of people there just talking and generally enjoying each other's company (largely in part to, I'm sure, Keith Packard emerging from work duty rounds!) The Sun party last night was a lot of fun, guys. I really enjoyed myself, and don't think I've laughed that much in a long, long time. (And, Mark, I'm still not convinced I have the biggest smile in Debian - perhaps we should have some sort of contest to see who does?)

But, my life hasn't just been about beer and brownies. I've also had work responsibilities - which, nicely, are very few outside of work. I did use some of my time off yesterday (I claimed the hours) to work on the schedule for the tech (nursing) staff. I, personally, think I did a good job with this one, and managed to make everyone happy (I think). But, I was getting ready to return to work after my lunch hour (I just spent in the breakroom with a book as I normally do), when I was hunted down by the hospital manager (think: Elmer Fudd and Bugs Bunny) and presented with a nice card and a box of chocolates to *thank me* and show appreciation for my hard work, dedication and ability to calmly handle everything that's been happening lately. It was.. unexpected. Had I not been sleep deprived and unable to think clearly, I would have likely offered up the chocolates to the rest of the nurses and insisted we all had a hand in keeping order and thanked her, but... well, I thanked her, floored and taken quite aback, and put the chocolates in my bag for personal consumption later.

It was ... /so/ ... the right choice. I haven't had chocolates this good in a long, long, LONG time. And while I've been raised to share with everyone around and to be generous, there's only so much kindness one can show when faced with something this delicious. Sorry, Kathy. I know you'd be disappointed to know I'm being greedy with my chocolate, but /damn/. Bernard Callebaut is... simply amazing. I've never had anything that's melted in my mouth quite like this before, and I fear Steve's now going to be stuck when he needs to purchase chocolates for one reason or another. If you happen to be near one of their locations, check them out - you won't be sorry!

But, general social life plus some amazing chocolates. Now if I could just get some sleep, I'd be one happy girl.

Switched back to Debian. Multiple Desktops, transparent tool bars and Turny Bally Game make life grand. Skadi seems to be much happier now, too. She doesn't seem to freak out as much.
Mood:: 'tired, but content' tired, but content
harmoney: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] harmoney at 09:48pm on 27/02/2007 under , ,
So, upon answering a question in [livejournal.com profile] vet_tech, I started rambling and thought I should probably take the rest here. I don't think people really realize everything a Veterinary Technician (certified or not) *does* for a veterinary hospital. Those of us that aren't there for the paycheck (what little of that there is!), work our ASSES off. We are there for our *patients*, not for the pathetic squabbles in the breakroom, the whispered gossip behind the closed door in the lab or for the after-work socialization which will inevitably lead to one of the other two later.

This is a very high-turn over field with very few rewards in the end. We don't play with cute puppies and kittens every day. We get our hands dirty. We clean cages. We set catheters in animals to deliver euthanasia solution so the vet can put that animal "to sleep". (Here's a hint, the animal's NOT ASLEEP. IT'S DEAD.) We're then the ones that bag that dead animal up (sometimes in a heavy-duty trash bag), tag it, and put it in our dead animal freezer. We get blood all over us during surgery. We're the ones called in to pull maggots out of the cat's mouth after it's been laying injured for about a week without the owner noticing. We're the ones that have to smile at owners telling us how they're going to breed their poorly bred lab with the neighborhood golden retriever because they want puppies from their baby without giving opinions on the matter. We also have to smile at the owners who gawk at costs and declare, "It's only a cat!" without shoving the thermometer up their asses. We have to explain to owners why we charge for proper medical care, even if the animal is an emergency situation. But, above all, we're the ones who have to keep our cool even when the vet loses it.

We're nurses without title because people who "aren't in the know" don't take anyone with a "technician" title seriously, and we can't call ourselves nurses because the Nursing Association shoots fire out of their asses everytime the subject comes up. We burn out. We have back issues. we never get our breaks.

But, why do we do this? Because we can. Because someone has to. Because we care. Because we *are* making a difference in the lives of *every single pet* we come in contact with in some shape or form. And even if those animals can't respect that - even if they don't understand - even if they don't APPRECIATE the trials and hell we go through to be there for them, we know. And, I don't know about the rest of my tech peers, but that means something to me.
Mood:: 'thoughtful' thoughtful
harmoney: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] harmoney at 09:39pm on 19/02/2007 under
Apparently I'm intimidating/scary, according to one of my coworkers. So, I asked the wife of one of the vets there, and she admitted that I "scare/intimidate" her a little. I asked the 2 receptionists there tonight, and both of them laughed about it. The one who could possibly be scared of her own shadow said she's not afraid of me, and will actually come to find *me* if she has something important she needs to relay - because she knows i'll listen. She said that when I'm stressed, I'll snap, but I've always apologized to her later.

So. Apparently I'm scary. I'm intimidating. Double-Eew Tee Eff.
Mood:: 'confused' confused


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