I’ve got a few book reviews to cover, and a project or two to write about, but I’ve been too stressed to focus on writing. I told you a little while ago that I’m going to be moving on to a new job and leaving the hospital behind. That was a hard decision, and one that I wavered on. My coworkers were very sad to hear I was leaving them, and I don’t think it was all selfish sentiment from knowing they’d have to fill in all the gaps in the schedule. From the day I gave my notice, they’ve been trying to talk me out of my decision. They didn’t use any arguments I hadn’t already wrestled with, but hearing them from other people made me very nervous that maybe I was making the wrong decision.
Manufacturing? Really? Sitting in a quiet lab all day with almost nobody else around, running the same few tests over and over and over? I’m so used to doing four things at once and having to keep on top of everything; will this be too much of a change for me? Will I be bored? Lonely? The group of people I work with in the evenings now is really fabulous and I know I’ll miss the goofy fun we have between crises. And I’ll miss the high I get from zipping around and managing a situation as it tries to spiral out of control, and knowing at the end of the shift that my work contributed to a patient living another day.
But I’m so stressed out right now. And the stress from the actual work, while it will never go away because of its nature, isn’t the problem. It’s the little things. The doctors calling us liars when we say it’ll take half an hour to thaw plasma. The all-caps emails CC’d to my supervisor threatening to “write me up” if I forget to staple paperwork one more time. The resistance to change and growth I encounter from so many people who tend to react reflexively by putting band-aids on problems instead of thinking about the causes and trying to eliminate them at the source.
I guess I take it too seriously. If I was able to disconnect a little more and just go to work and put in my hours and go home, maybe I’d be happier there. But I can’t do that. Everyone who works part-time says it’s a lot easier to care less when you’re not there every single day, and maybe they’re right but I can’t afford to drop to part-time right now. So I spend more time at the hospital than I do with my husband all week, and I’m invested in that lab and I am so frustrated that it’s not as great a lab as it has the potential to be.
I love my coworkers and they’re all good techs. The hospital is growing and changing and it’s exciting to be a part of all that. My supervisor is great. But somehow, we find ourselves griping and sniping and sabotaging each other out of stress when we should all be patting each other on the back and busting with pride at how awesome we all are for keeping the place running with fewer people and resources than we should have to. There are no fingers to point – everyone is guilty and everyone is a victim. I suspect it’s a similar story in every hospital lab in the country, because we’re all underrecognized and understaffed and the work is so draining.
So I need to step back. I feel like this job is like a boyfriend with potential – if only he’d apply himself a little more! But the relationship is toxic in its current state and it’s time for some space. I’m not happy, and I need a break.
Making the decision was hard. There was no counter-offer from the current job (HR policy), but it’s not even about the money. I made list after list of good things and bad things and there were so many unknowns, and every five minutes I’d talk myself into or out of staying, over and over. I might get bored. I might come crawling back in a few months. But in the end, I need to try something new so I can preserve a little sanity. I can’t go to part-time work, so I need this new job. And maybe I will fall completely in love with it and never want to leave.