Today, I started my new job. As a matter of fact, I have this post scheduled to publish right as I should be beginning my first day. I’m writing this a couple days in advance, but I thought that it would be more meaningful if it actually posts one day one.
I’m not a career goal orientated guy. I’ve never really had a career nor a career path. I graduated high school early, took a few months off to work full-time, and decided to go back to school under the thought of possibly being a teacher. However, my passion was in film making, so secretly that is all I ever wanted to do.
I learned early on that life is not like the movies. There aren’t always happy endings, nor is there real closure. Sometimes something happens in the first act that throws the entire movie of your life off course, and that sort of thing usually happens out of the blue on some random day when you least expect it. At least, that’s how it happened to me.
The details themselves are not important. What is important is that my entire life got off track one random day thanks to some family drama. The path I had in my head was suddenly disrupted and despite my attempts, I was never able to truly get back to the place that I was at in my late teens/early twenties. Too much had happened, too many things had been broken, and I got a harsh dose of reality and that changed me. While, I feel like I will always be a storyteller at heart, and I hope one day to finally finish some sort of book or creative endeavor, I had to let that dream go.
I worked a year at GameStop after moving to North Carolina. Then I spent a few months looking for a new job and found one a movie theater. I spent seven years in that movie theater, surviving the recession, making a couple good friends, and just hanging on. That job was cut short for me and that coincided with me losing my apartment and a major disruption in my life. It took me several months to get back on track, and I found myself back in school and delivering produce boxes to people’s doors part-time. It was a miserable existence and thanks to North Carolina refusing some federal money, I made too little to qualify for the Affordable Healthcare Act, but not enough to actually pay for health insurance. That’s a problem when you are dealing with depression and just trying to survive.
It took a few months, but one day I got a call for two job interviews. I had recently gotten my Nursing Assistant Certification, and a nursing home called first basically wanting a male to move bodies. I’ll never forget the interview. It lasted maybe two minutes and a woman walked in and said, “Is this this guy?” She looked me up and down and said, “Yeah, he’ll do.” And that was it.
Thankfully, the second job interview was with a hospital. It was a part-time gig transporting for the radiology department and working weekends in the reading room. The reading room is where the radiologists sit in the dark and read x-rays, cat scans, MRIs, and the like. The training was full-time, and the job never let up. It quickly became a full-time job because one I started people starting quitting. We joked about rats leaving a sinking ship, but the turnover was massive. Even I got sick of the job within a few months and spent two days working at a butcher’s shop, before quitting that miserable place. It’s the only job where the job, duties, responsibilities, and pay was all fabricated beforehand. Absolutely the most unethical place I ever walked into.
When I put in my notice at the hospital, one of the supervisors who had recently left for a rival hospital called me and let me know if I ever wanted a job to give her a shout. So, I did and I had an interview with rival hospital. It went well and the job was mine, but while they were getting all the paperwork together, I got a call from the hospital I had just quit asking me to come back. They begged, promised to make some changes, and I decided to go back. My paperwork was never processed and the records don’t even show that I ever left.
I was at this hospital for almost six years. It was six of the most life changing years of my adult life. I went through a bad relationship and got into a good one. I moved multiple times, I lost a lot of weight and gained a lot back. I managed to find myself worth and fought through several bouts of depression. While all of this real life stuff was going on, I showed up forty hours a week and worked my job which had also gone through several changes.
Within a couple of months, they cut out the transporting patients. I found myself working the front desk of the radiology department most week days along with stints in the reading room. I helped with the mammo file room and watched everything completely go digital. I saw the influx of digital imaging sharing and the use of online portals. In those six short years, so much changed, and honestly, it wasn’t for the better. The hospital I worked at decided that payroll was the best way to keep costs down and jobs were eliminated and more work stacked up. Benefits were cut so bad, the health insurance provided this year isn’t accepted by anyone other than people within my hospital network. Promises were made and never kept and like so many other people, I watched a company that I once had faith in turn into the greedy, faceless, corporation that it truly was. The sweet commercials and fancy marketing were just that. The patients didn’t come first and they were far from family, and that wore on me.
I had hope going into the healthcare industry that I would be able to help people. I can think of no great service than of that to others. I thought I would be able to come home and feel good about myself knowing that everyday I was making a positive impact on this planet instead of worrying about upselling. But I got a reality check quickly by working in the hospital. I found out that doctors are far from nice and money truly does rule everything. The doctor who walks in and greets you and tells you they are on your side is the not the same person we see behind the scenes and its almost soul crushing to watch. In my experience, almost all of the doctors come from families of doctors. They are all well off and have never struggled for anything. They can’t relate to patients because they don’t live like most of the patients. I never met a doctor who didn’t have a nanny, maid, or gardener. I’m sure they exist, but I never met one.
The disappointment I felt working with healthcare was only made worse by the pathetic paycheck I received and horrible benefits. About a year and a half ago, I had a decent opportunity come up paying me around $12,000 more than what I made at the hospital. I asked the hospital to match it or do something. They talked to HR and within an hour agreed to a $0.32 raise pending approval by the radiology supervisor. I agreed to say, despite the money not coming even close for a few reasons, but I never got that $0.32. They strung me out and pushed me off every month when I asked about it for a year until finally I just stopped asking. That is why I felt absolutely nothing when leaving that job. They were far from honorable.
I met some good people while working at the hospital. I don’t know if I made in super long term friends, but I met people who seemed to care about my well-being and always offered a smile. For those people I’m grateful. It felt good feeling like I belonged in a place. I knew the job well and was respected in my role and I’m sure I’ll miss that some.
But enough about the past, let’s talk about today.
Today, I begin a government job. A job with great benefits, about $10,000 more than I made at the hospital, and a much different environment. I can’t say for sure what the future holds, but I have a good feeling about it. I’m hoping I can come home and say today was the best first day I’ve ever had a job.
Usually, the first two weeks of a job are terrifying for me. I don’t like not knowing what or how to do things, and I’ve never enjoyed being the new kid. I spent my childhood being the new kid, and trust me, it grows old. I see this opportunity as something I can sort of make a career out of or least get into the government system and move around some in the future. I’m not trying to put my cart before the horse, but it is nice knowing that there may be options. Those did not exist in my last role.
I think the most confusing thing for me is the emotional rollercoaster I’m on. I go from being ecstatic to being terrified within minutes. Change scares me and I guess I really don’t know what the future holds and I’m struggling to stay grounded. I think that is what led me to stay up late typing all this up. I hope by writing it all out, I’ll find a little balance, and can rest a bit easier.
So, I’m gonna end this here. Today, is the first day of my new job. A job that is probably closest to a career that I’ve ever had. I’m hoping this is the start of a fantastic new beginning and more stability in my life. Wish me luck!