Where shall I start?
Well, first, I’ve just arrived home after throwing my hands in the air and leaving work 30 minutes early after a terribly unproductive meeting with one boss who couldn’t get out of the room fast enough, after having spent an entire day in meetings for them (FOR them, not with them) and then got back to a smiley bitchy boss who, oh so kindly, told me that everything in last fiscal year’s info on workload measurement was fucked. This is a point of contention between me and my bosses. I am tasked with ensuring the staff are accurately capturing their workload which is reported to the Ministry of Health (who allocates our funding in this socialized healthcare system we hold so dear in Canada – and SHOULD, mind you, in my humble opinion). I accept this willingly and I’m very, very careful when I audit to ensure we’re accurately reflecting the right numbers so that we don’t suddenly get our funding decreased. I happen to like a great deal of my coworkers and really have no desire to eliminate their job because of an entry error. Now, one would think it would be their accountability to ensure they are entering their numbers correctly but that’s an argument with one boss and a bitter point with the other. They like ME being the accountable one. Okay….I’m alright with that. I really am. It’s a part of my role and it has to be done by someone so I really, honestly, truly don’t mind spending three days slaving over the numbers to make sure we’re not missing anyone or counting things twice thanks to some student or new staff member….it’s all good. But here’s the catch: I have way too much to do in the rest of my job to get even half of it done on time and I have to drop everything to audit once a month. Logically, the bitchy boss tells me this has a simple solution…..just don’t do so much work for the second boss and audit twice a month. It sounds great in theory, until applied to boss number two (who actually does a lot of her own stuff, knowing the venom of number one).
Stopping. Breathing. Focusing.
The point here, is that it’s a shit-ton of auditing and I can barely squeak out a freaking bathroom break in my day, let alone a full half month audit. I go in early, I sit down at my desk, I work like a fiend, occasionally eating or drinking something one of my awesome coworkers brings me out of fear that I’ll die of starvation in my glass cage of an office (okay, a bit dramatic. I do bring food and have the ability to make tea so I’m not totally their prisoner) and then I look up and I’ve missed my lunch and it’s suddenly time to go home. Actually, it’s almost always 30 minutes after it’s time to go home. I only leave because I have to pick up Colt….seriously. If I didn’t have that to do, I’d likely be there until the next day….every day.
I’ve had so many meetings about this in my three years there it’s sickening. They KNOW i’m overloaded. They admit it. They tell the staff not to talk to me because I’m too busy to even say hello (yes, seriously, that is a standing agenda item on one of the staff meetings). The two bosses HATE everything I do for the other so it’s a bit of a game between who I tell what and Heaven help me if I happen to get dragged into a project for one and then don’t have the time to listen to the other one complain about their day while I’m trying like mad to get payroll in, audits done and my ten page to do list started. I have 300 unopened email in my inbox. Of those, I have something to do with about 90% of them (add this to that list or move this to that folder or change this to that schedule or budget this to that cost centre etc etc etc). Every day at least ten people say to me:
“Did you get that email I sent you?”
I smile. I answer. “Probably, yes, I’m sure it’s somewhere in there.” and just hope they go away.
Everyone understands. The staff are amazing….they constantly rally behind me and try to make a difference but the end issue is that my bosses aren’t really just assholes who want to take advantage of me, they have no funding allocation to help me. I know this because I do the fucking books too.
So back to today – The one boss came to me and informed me, smiling but not really, that ALL of her *particular stat I shouldn’t mention for confidentially* are WRONG for the last fiscal year. Funny thing that. The stat she’s talking about is audited monthly by my predecessor who only came back as a casual after retiring to help me out because she felt so bad about leaving me with that mess of a job. I don’t know what the hell is happening, but I know it’s not her. This puts me in a bad spot because I have to tell the bosses that she is the one doing the audits. I don’t want them blaming her because ultimately it’s my responsibility to ensure it’s all done correctly. So….I get to have a meeting with them so we can sit down, go over the audits (for the tenth time) and identify (for the tenth time) which ones absolutely must be done before the month closes so it doesn’t affect our budget. I’ll do it (for the tenth time) and tell them (for the tenth time) that the reason I can’t get them done along with the other 11 general and 200 staff audits along with the rest of my role for the two of them. And, we hit deadlock again…no funding. No help. No solution. I know it’s not them, but there is definitely an element in there that is me not fixing this problem. I don’t know what else to do but tell them, again, that I can’t do what they are asking of me and show them again the number of free hours I put in, trying hard to do what I can.
The mental health part of me that malfunctions here is that I feel like a failure when they are pissed off….and they are always pissed off. I can’t seem to get them to communicate and when I do manage to get them on the same page, they just start fighting against each other. I went from one, simple payroll system to two terribly divided systems with multiple issues and access points that is confusing everyone and they both insist that it is intended to HELP me somehow and get the timekeeping off my over full plate. Now, not only do I have a bunch of payroll to enter, I also have a half dozen timekeepers messing up everyone’s pay, asking me questions ten times a day (by email, which I can’t get to) and a whole bunch of irritated staff who feel like they’re being micro-managed. It’s chaos betwen those two. They don’t even have anything to do with each other aside from having to share me as an assistant so it comes as no surprise….just a lot more work for yours truly. I’m not even sure how I’m managing to get anything done, at this point.
And…..that’s just work. The rest of my life is still ongoing and I can’t quite find any solace there either. (to be continued next post…..)
This cutie sang his song all through the rain showers today. I could hear him from inside the house (the windows are open because it’s lovely out, despite the rain, and we want to smell that turkey cooking outside on Dayne’s smoker. The entire neighbourhood smells like my dinner and it’s such a kick to hear them walk by saying “Oh that smells sooooo good!” 🙂
I feel a little weird, smelling a delicious turkey cooking while enjoying another of it’s species singing away in the trees, but….life right?
I’m so glad I don’t have to go to work tomorrow. Another day will be spent around the house, relaxing and maybe a run out somewhere pretty for more photos. The camera is taking away the stress from work…..I become absolutely present in that moment before the shutter snaps; nothing matters but the beauty in front of me for a few seconds. It’s important to me and was badly needed. I spent one day in tears in my office last week but it was more a matter of one boss taking a swipe at the other one, where upon the weaker of the two sprinted to my office to take it out on me. She had me sobbing by the end. She’s the type who will say stupid things that she already knows the answer to so that you feel like you’ve done something wrong. She told me she had NO IDEA what was keeping me so busy at work since she was not giving me much in the way of additional tasks while spoiled/snotty number two was on vacation for a couple of weeks.
“You can’t honestly stand here and look me in the eye and pretend you have no idea how much work comes through this office?” I tried her a bit. Pushed back.
Her arguments were crap and were easily dispelled by the dozens of meetings we’ve had on the topic of my job (just the running of the two departments, without the ‘additional tasks on top’) being far, far more than what can be accomplished in a 40 hour work week. But, even though I stood my ground and allowed her to vent her frustrations all over my office, she eventually got to me and broke down, sobbing. In the end, which didn’t take long to come after I easily showed her exactly what work I had accomplished in the previous 10 days (more than seems possible, I assure you) and then she apologized, told me that was not the way she had intended to handle the situation and started backing out of my office.
“If it’s any consolation, she comes at me like that at least once a week.” I said, making damn sure she knew I knew what was going on.
“No, actually, that only makes me feel worse.” was her reply as she closed my door.
I collected myself and returned to my endless list of tasks after completely covering the little window in my door that people peek through to see my face. They could all see me from the floor to ceiling windows behind me, but it’s the door window that gets the most peek ins. I locked my door and plastered pink paper requesting privacy as I was very busy. She came by, knocked, then went to get her keys after I didn’t answer. She came in to apologize again, several times; now in tears herself. I barely looked at her aside to say “Okay, thank you.” and kept working.
I know the other boss is hell on wheels when she’s pissed about something, but the fact that boss number one can’t even stand up to her and had to come ruin my day over getting her ass whipped by the taskmaster just shows bad leadership, judgement and emotional intelligence. Mind you, my bawling episode wasn’t exactly professional but the shit she was accusing me of! It was ridiculous.
The worst part was what the entire thing was over: a meeting I didn’t book. A fucking meeting. No word about the hundreds of things I DID get done….just one meeting that didn’t get booked. The other boss ended up doing it (taking all of 60 seconds from her day) and was mad about it. Enough so to attack the other one who MUST be who is keeping me so busy. ??? We’ve been over this ground so many times. I wish I could retire. Only what? 15 years to go? *Sigh*
Anyway. Back to the present and the delicious smells of turkey, stuffing, gravy, baked potatoes, steamed brussle sprouts and roasted rosemary carrots. It’s a heck of a lot nicer in here than rolling those thoughts around my brain.
Here’s another few lovely photos from one of my recent photo excursions:
Today is the day and I’m so nervous I barely slept last night. I’m so tired…. I dreamed of very stressful things all night and kept waking, heart pounding in my chest, ready to run.
Dayne is going to come with me, hopefully. I’m not counting on it though because he often says he’ll be able to attend one of these appointments and is then called out on an emergency and doesn’t make it. I try to assume he won’t be there so when he does show up it’s a good surprise.
I can feel every blood vessel in my body right now. Pounding….I don’t usually get like this but something about this appointment is setting me off. I think it is the connection to the last time I had one of these studies as a child. They take video along with all the other info while you sleep and I had a series of very graphic and clearly articulated sexual dreams in the test. Articulate in a way that a little girl should not be able to express. The doctors were concerned, of course, and connected with Children’s Aid (I was a foster kid and had social workers follow me all through my childhood anyway). I was asked about my home life and I denied everything vehemently and repeatedly, until they made me actually watch portions of the video with my parents and social workers in the room. It was humiliating beyond words….I would have rather watched a full-on, raunchy porno movie with my entire family then have to sit through those few minutes of me doing things I had no memory of doing. I hated the feeling of being so unable to control my body, words, actions….it was paralyzing. Of course, my father was in a mad rush to get out of there and they both started telling the case workers about how a young foster sibling had tried to force me to have sex with him several times during visits when I was very young and how it must have scarred me. Another family friend had a young teenaged son who lured me to the bathroom when I was 5 or 6 and promised me chocolate bars and candy if I would put his junk in my mouth and hold it there for 30 seconds. They said these things were what had caused the sexual dreams and acting out. It took me years to realize that they never took me back to that specialist and stopped investigating my sleep issues entirely after that day because they didn’t want have to keep explaining that behaviour. I would not tell….would not get my father or mother in trouble if I had a choice, but my body wasn’t mine while I slept and having that sort of thing on camera was not a safe thing for my foster family. My mother was pregnant with her first natural child at the time and I can just imagine her fear.
So yeah, maybe that is the connection that’s making me feel like I’m going to faint every time I think of my appointment this afternoon. I’m hopeful that I’ll get some kind of result that will help me treat this thing that follows me around, making me need to sleep endlessly, but I’m not banking on anything. Medical appointments rarely turn out the way I think they will, for some reason. Still….fingers crossed there is some sort of path to follow to beat this, or at least cope better without having to take Dexedrine every day just to make it through work.
Whew. That was stressful. Back to work……how disorienting.
Ahhhh now that was a nice morning. You know when sometimes things just all come together and you end up feeling rather supported and whole again? This week has been wearing me down to the bones. Well, hah, month/year, really. Work is impossible and continues to get more impossible as the days go by. I’ve adopted a new stance after going’s on over the last week where one boss hammered me into building an entire website while the other left me pretty much alone, thinking she was helping me resolve the overflow of workload to let me catch up. I don’t like to play one against the other but by the end of it all I had an entire website created and populated with dozens of policies, procedures, guidelines, medical directives, staff resources, order sets, directories and pager listings galore. I had all the teams split and reporting payroll and vacation time weekly….there were some excel formulas so complicated I’m not sure I could even repeat them, but fuck it, there it is….you can now enter your shift and my spread sheet will auto-calculate your hours, unpaid breaks, flex time, benefit hours, patient workload, attendance ratio, treatment ratio, service and non-service time percentage and will even tell you the time frame you have left to take your accumulated stat holiday banked hours, paid and non-paid vacation, and accumulated flex time. There’s a nice rolling total too which will help when I have to pick through the finances at the end of each month.
It took overtime hours to get that up, for which I will not be paid as I have maxed out my flex time bank again. Whatever though, it was worth it to get her off my back about it…..or so I thought. The very day it went live (after she fucking deleted all my fucking files that were originally linked to redirects on the website effectively making half the shit up there not work) she sat down in my office to nitpick over the font I had chosen for the staff directory. Haha…soooo whatever. It was up, it was current and all documents were up to date, reformatted into better shape and it looked good too. After that, she wrote out her announcement to the staff about how we were finally able to launch (she actually wrote “finally” in her announcement…(sigh)) and then called me to ask me to do something specific when, after the mention of a meeting came up, she decided to take the opportunity to remind me of the other meetings she’d asked for that I hadn’t yet booked, like her meeting with a small set of staff over at the other campus that she has quarterly. ??? Seriously? There’s a secretary over there who knows the staff’s schedules and does NOTHING all day but, after taking up my entire weekend and week with her stupid, redundant website (all the info I put up there is already out there available to staff on our shared drive. It’s just that most of the staff don’t know how to click on the fucking S in the drive list to find what they need. Yes, I’m serious. I had to gather all that info to make it ‘easier’ for the staff to find) she wants to start picking at me about a staff meeting she’s been waiting a month for me to book???? I’ve SEEN her make her own meetings many times….why she’s just left this one floating so she can bother me about it is beyond comprehension.
So, the other boss, now realizing that my free time that she’s given me by taking on more work herself has been eaten up by the first boss, is now on me to get all of her stuff done. As I was struggling yesterday to get that done, plus stats audits and the rest of my too-goddamn-busy job, the first one comes in and asks me about what we will do over this period of time where the part time secretary role at the other campus is being covered. You see, part-time-do-nothing secretary has found herself a new job out of sheer boredom, I’m sure, and now there’s a vacancy. The boss decided to take my casual, who is the only reason I get payroll and stats audits done each month, and have her fill in there, making her totally unavailable to come help me. This will go on until May because the boss is taking two weeks’ vacation at the end of April and can’t interview people. (I’m tempted to apply. Seriously. If I can find another part time job and keep my benefits and pension I’m doing it.) So, not only will the girls here and I not get vacation this summer unless I am willing to cover them at registration (cries…no one covers me..), I can’t get any help while the casual sits across town doing nothing. THEN….oh then….the boss comes to me yesterday.
“Uh Grainne? Oh…hahaha…look at this. You’ve closed and locked your office door like we told you to and here I am walking right in anyway. Sorry. I’m sorry.”
(I had closed my door in the morning but the two of them just kept coming in so I locked it in the afternoon. They started bringing their keys after that.)
“So..Grainne. I’m sorry…I know you’re really busy but with *secretary* gone and *casual* covering, I have some access requests I need to get done before the next set of students start. Can you do those for me? Today? I did one but now I can’t find the form anymore.”
The online form. She can’t find the online form she found only moments before to do the first one and….okay. Whatever. I contemplated getting the casual access to the management side of the network but the hassle involved would take longer than doing the fucking thing myself, so, I did all the necessary paperwork to get the students cleared to work in the hospital.
“*Boss?” I tried to ask in a friendly tone. “Do you think it a good idea to get *casual* ordering access for the other site – just so she can take care of equipment and supplies without having to go through me while she’s covering?”
“Oh, well. We’re pretty lucky that she’s agreed to cover the hours. I don’t want to take advantage of her.”
My jaw literally dropped. WHAT? THE? FUCK?!! You don’t want to take advantage of HER? What the hell makes that your go-to when all you do is take advantage of me??? So you’ll put all that additional work on my over-full plate just so the casual doesn’t feel taken advantage of? Holy hannah…. I nearly hit her.
*Breathes iiiiiiiiiin Breathes ouuuuuuuuut*
It’s now Wednesday and I’ve not started payroll that closes Friday morning. I closed my door upon arrival and posted a sign that said: “If you’d like to get paid, please do not disturb” lolol. It works like a charm for the staff. The bosses….not so much. They’re both in meeting now though so I’m taking the moment to vent my frustrations.
Oh, the good part! Back to the beginning of this post 🙂 I had three staff members stop in to say hello to me this morning and all three came to see how I was doing and to ask how things were going. I don’t complain to many here….I’m not stupid enough to put my job in jeopardy….but these guys can see I’m struggling. Two came in because they were worried aggressive-boss was mad at them for something. One was near tears when she told me about how the boss had yelled at her because she titled a vacation request email “vacation request”. The boss wanted it to be called “Time off request” (only because that’s what she happened to search at the time when she got caught with her pants down and likely told the other managers that the staff member had made no such request and went to prove it by searching her email). There was an email war that waged for a few days, back and forth. I shared my story about how we recently had a 25 minute argument over the name of a file that’s been called the same thing for the last five years and the staff member felt better.
Talking to the three of them, two of whom made me laugh so hard I nearly choked on my coffee several times (I adore these people) and one who had an even worse story about the boss than I have ever heard….she’s so unprofessional, aggressive-boss. She said the most outrageous things to her staff all the time. After they left I felt better…lighter. I’m human I guess; I like knowing I’m not alone in things and that the nasty behaviour isn’t only directed at me. Several insist on calling it ‘abuse’ and I can’t go there. I’ve know the angrier sort in my life and although my ways of coping with this are definitely linked to my past experiences, it’s really just a shitty work environment. The huge department filled with amazing people who all work under this shitty umbrella, like me, make it worth it enough to deal as long as I can. Both of them are nearing 60 anyway. They won’t be here forever and my career will well outlive theirs.
Now that I’ve had the ‘pleasure’ of working for two asshole doctors who screamed profanity at me on the phone, a director who eliminated my job because I was sick, two horrible bully secretaries who made me cry every day (when I first started here nearly 15 years ago) and now, two deranged, miserable women who get a kick out of being in charge, I can take just about anything. I even had a manager who once did nothing but stare directly at my chest every time he spoke to me. Every time. No wavering. I called attention to it and he started avoiding me in every way he could. Happily, I managed to get myself out of there before anything got worse.
Now. Onto to pay a hundred people so they don’t all turn on me when their mortgage payments come due.
Some asshat who was selling clothes outside the cafeteria today told me, flat out, that my ass was too big to fit nicely into his clothes. I mean, he didn’t say it in a cruel way and I know I have a big arse, it’s attached to the back of me for crying out loud, but he didn’t have to say it like that. It’s a freaking hospital, mid-day, outside the cafeteria that is teeming with people and staff and he says in a voice far louder than necessary, the my rear end was TOO BIG to fit into his crappy fashion forward clothes. He even pulled out different style and pointed out the flap of fabric that would cover my generous ass, and suggested it I try it on…just to see what he meant.
I came away feeling lucky that no one asked if I was pregnant. I just lost 20 pounds. I was *just* feeling like I might be able to get away with some slightly more fitted clothes. Sigh. Apparently not so much.
I do have a booty. I’ve always had one but when I was a stick figure it was lovely. Now it’s just big. (A wonderfully kind nurse I used to work with was there looking at clothes and looked up in horror when she heard him announce my proportional issues. She told me people are paying to get implants to make their butt look like mine. I’m going to buy her a coffee tomorrow and take it to her on shift.)
So the battle between accepting my body for what it is and mourning what it was continues. I’m currently drowning the thoughts with wine. Stupid round ass. Ah well at least I have a portable cushion right? (Fml)
When I need to see how far I’ve come, I read back into posts I have left behind me. This was originally posted on July 1, 2013 and is part of the decommissioned part of my blog.
I don’t know what it is, yet, but something has my attention. I’m feeling… strange. Something has me on point, on edge; standing on tiptoes straining to see or hear the faintest trace of danger in the air. It whooshed by me sometime earlier and I tried to ignore it.
I woke this morning from cycling dreams of being in a place where I am not wanted, not welcome and belong less than zero. Not stressful really, just hectic in an anxious way. I wasn’t wound up about them on Saturday or Sunday morning but still… I’ve been jumping (out of my chair kind of startle) at every unexpected noise since Saturday morning. Every time D or C touch me my skin starts to crawl and my body shrinks from them against my will. Touch is bad but the smells…I can smell *everything* when I go out in public. We went to the Bulk Barn to get me some cinnamon something (been craving it so much recently – discovered it’s a natural anti inflammatory) and not only was I overwhelmed by the smell of the hundreds of spices, candies and dried fruit and nuts, I could smell every person in the place too.
I counted them, the customers and staff, without using my eyes, and tried to remove their scent from the mix…usually this settles my need to feel in control of my immediate environment but this time? Not much help. I tried very hard not to be in the same aisle as anyone because the scent of their unwashed skin mixed with sugary candies and sweet dried fruits made the bile start to rise in my throat. There was one couple who were wearing sandals that clearly did not react chemically well `with their feet. Everywhere they went, they left a slight acidic trail of foot odour. I carried the taste of that smell in the back of my throat until I hit the coffee aisle when I stayed a while, breathing deeply.
The register would print, I’d jump. The air conditioner would come on, I’d jump. Someone would drop something or slam a plastic lid down or speak too loudly or too close to me….I’d jump. It was sort of ridiculous. D came upon me trying to negotiate a plastic bag, another bag of cinnamon candies, my phone, the plastic lid on the bin, the metal scoop and gave me a hand.
“Here, Grainne, let me…” He started.
I jumped, dropped everything in my hands and jumped again when I felt his hand on my shoulder, trying to settle me.
Once we left the store I felt a little better but I was rigid with anxiety. I couldn’t get any of my muscles to relax and I had turned into a nightmare of a back seat driver. Every time we stopped I would gasp and say something stupid to D like “don’t trust the brakes so much!”. He’s been through this sort of thing with me many times though…he has learned to tune me out when I get jumpy like this. I closed my eyes and willed myself to just relax and trust D who is an excellent driver, to get us safely home.
Last evening I was hearing things every few moments, seeing movement where there actually was none. I was restless; wanting to be outside wandering, or digging through old belongings trying to find..something.
I woke this morning with a start and instantly threw my blanket off, holding my hands in front of my face. I had no idea what I was looking for, but it was definitely an urgent matter. My heart stopped beating for a second as I realized that they were not my hands. Somehow overnight, my hands had been taken and replaced by something I didn’t recognize. I turned them around, palms, backs, palms….they were the wrong colour. The shape of the fingers was wrong, the palms too long, the fingertips too rounded. There were way too few lines in my palms and there was something structurally wrong with the thumbs, I couldn’t quite tell what it was. The nail beds were the wrong colour, the cuticles wrong, the shape of the crescent, even. Nothing looked right. I touched them together and felt somewhat familiar skin with the halves of my hand that isn’t completely numb. That feeling creeped me out even more so I just got up and tried to ignore the crawly feeling in my shoulderblades and the worried lump in my throat.
So yeah. Even inside my home this weekend, I’m hyper-tuned into sound. I can hear the tiniest sound and (eventually) isolate it and identify its source. I’ve been doing this for hours. The worst offenders? Colt and his computer games and yahoo videos. Next is that horrid chicken house my landlord put in my backyard. One of the scraggly things looks like it’s being eaten by the others. She’s got no feathers left on her back..poor thing. They’re weird birds though…I think some of them are psychologically damaged. They’ll be walking along then suddenly, for no apparent reason, flop onto their side and just lay there a while. I thought they might be laying eggs and this was part of the … delivery process? lol…I grew up in the city. I didn’t even know that there were wild turkeys until I moved here.
Anyway. I try to steer clear of the chicken coop.