Plow Ahead

Friday, November 6, 2009

Oh blogesphere, how I've missed you! I've fallen woefully behind, not just in my writing, but also in reading so many of your blogs that I love so much. I've been trying to leave comments, just to let you know I really am still here, but even that has been spotty.

There are times when I really, really don't like my job.

The pre-dawn mornings, the frequent all-nighters, the constant crises, the eating every meal by myself, the potential for true disaster around every corner, the fatigue, the stress.

All of this is part of my job. I know that. I knew it before I ever decidedto go down this path. And there are days when none of it phases me. And then there are days when it overwhelms and crushes me.

Originially, when I was thinking about this post and trying to decide exactly what to say about my feelings, it was going to be a post about choice and having a say in the direction your life took.

But that is not what this post is going to be about.

There are mornings, when I wake up warm and comfortable. The sky is just turning from black to gray outside my east facing bedroom window. Hubster is sleeping next to me. The house is still. All I want to do is stay in bed next to Hubster, get a few more hours of sleep, wait for the boys to wake up and have breakfast with my family. I think to myself that maybe I'll just quit residency.

And then I think about how much I like our house. And if I quit my job, we'd have to live in an apartment again, and Hubster would have to go back to work, and then he might not be able to go to dental school like he so desperately wants to. I think all these things. Fine! I'll go to work, I yell at myself in my mind.

On one of my call nights, I was feeling particularly sorry for myself. I was missing my family a little more than normal that night. It had been a busy night. Finally, at 1 am, I managed to find time to run down to the cafeteria to grab my first food of the day. The hospital was quiet, most of the lights off, all the doors to the clinics shut. All that made me feel even more sorry for myself.

Then, around the corner, I saw a man cleaning the carpet in the deserted hallway. He does it every night.

It wasn't just me working in the middle of the night. It wasn't just me away from my family. Here was a janitor, working in the dead of night, alone.

The cafeteria was staffed at 1 am by people who are also away from home. Some of these people may be working their second or third job and be away from their loved ones more than I am.

Sometimes, you just have to suck it up and plow on. The majority of us who work don't do it purely because we love our job that much. Or because we get so much personal satisfaction for what we do that we can't live without our job.

Okay, maybe some people do. I'm just saying I don't.

We go to work because we have a house and a car. We work because we need food and clothes. We go to work because people depend on us.

My views on work have completely changed since I know that I have three people back home that depend on me. I can't quit, even if it isn't exactly what I want to do (which would be sitting at home, playing with my children, and having time to read a good book.)

To be honest, my job is a pretty great job. Yes, it is exhausting. It is more demanding than many other jobs out there. Seriously, they had to implement laws to make sure residents didn't work more than 80 hours a week or 30 hours on one shift. People can be seriously injured if I have an "off" day.

But it is also a job that can be amazingly satisfying.

As long as I just have to suck it up and plow ahead, which I plan on doing, I'm glad I get to do what I do. People have it worse.


Karen said...

Over the past few months I have really been trying to look beyond myself and be more aware of other people and their circumstances. As I've been doing that, I have been amazed at how many people don't.

That's what I was thinking about as I read this post. I thought about how many people go into a hospital or to a doctor's office and they are thinking about their own situation, but never think about all of the people that are sacrificing their own time and comfort for the benefit of others.

I'm not saying they shouldn't go into the hospital in the middle of the night, but I would hope that at least some people would be grateful. And maybe I should have been more understanding toward that really rude nurse when my grandmother had to stay overnight and I had to stay with her.

Bonnie said...

I'm glad you noticed the janitor and the cafeteria workers; and keep in mind one very sleep deprived, overworked guardian angel! :) xoxxo