This Too Shall Pass

How or where do I even star?. I’m thankful this week is over because it’s been a very rough week with my college courses and work. Sometimes I just want to cry. I feel like I’m falling apart about to fail at everything. There is so much going on it’s overwhelming.

First, work is a struggle each and every day – mentally, physically and spiritually. In January, I thought I was going to enjoy it. It was something entirely different than an office environment. What was required of me wasn’t demanding, so I thought. What I’ve come to find out is exactly the opposite.

Honestly, it is a complete shit show at work right now. I’m almost on the edge of just walking away. But I know doing so it a stupid decision and won’t solve anything. It doesn’t help Walmart has decided to change the management structure right before the holidays and during a pandemic. The overall feeling I get is no one cares about anything. People have become extremely lazy, unhelpful and are only looking out for themselves. Sometimes I feel like I work with the most unintelligent, lazy, disorganized, stupid morons on the planet. This is where I need to stop thinking such things. It doesn’t have anything to do with them – it’s all about me.

Looking at myself can be scary sometimes. But it needs to be done to see what and how I can change things. I’m full of doubt and fear.

Did I make the right decision to start school or even return? I don’t want to be working where I am all my life. It’s not a career; it’s a job I endure to pay the bills. After work each day I’m physically and mentally exhausted. I have no motivation nor can I concentrate on anything. I just want to go to bed. Then I wake up the next day and do it all over again.

This doesn’t leave much time to what’s required for my college courses. I barely had enough time this week to get all readings, discussions and assignments turned in. Then the doubt and fear creeps in I’m going to fail because I’m not doing the quality of work needed at this level in college.

With all my heart I want to succeed. I have to succeed. Obviously, I’m not happy working where I am and it’s not the time to find other employment. Besides, I should be grateful my employer is paying for me to go to college.

I called off work because I needed a break. It just so happens I have the next three days off because I have Monday and Tuesdays off. But why do I feel so guilty about calling in? My employer gives us ‘protected time off’ for whatever we choose to use it. It’s meant to be used on such occasions. Again, I should be grateful my employer offers such benefits.

Here comes the tears dammit…

Change of subject because all I’m doing is getting myself in what I call a ‘tizzy’. We’re having out first snow fall of the season. It’s a small accumulation. Just looking at it brings me joy. A change in the air.

Then I go back inside and I get depressed all over again.

I despise days like this but they happen. Since it’s Monday I might as well use this time productively and get a head start of my coursework for this week. Perhaps if I accomplish something it will brings my spirits up.

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Tired Mentally, Physically, Spiritually

The last week has been mentally, physically and spiritually draining. It’s not my home life, it all has to do with my job. I attempt my best to report to work with a clear mind and positive thoughts. No matter how hard I try to keep my head clear halfway through my shift I become angry, annoyed and frustrated. There are some things I just can’t ignore. At the end of the day, I feel like I’m the only one that cares.

 

I can’t count on my fingers how many times this week I’ve said, “I’m just going to walk away after this shift is over.” Seriously, I’ve thought about handing in my badge, not caring about my license as a CNA and just giving up. Unfortunately, anywhere else I go for employment, the same thing is going to rear its ugly head. So, I know it’s not the solution.

In addition, there would be a significant pay cut. But my own employer has just sent a notice out stating our pay rates are about to change, “Your supervisor will inform you of the changes beginning October 1st.” Another person implied we would be getting raises to accommodate the loss of differential pay. So, for now, we’re left in the dark.

As much as management applauds the work that I do, I take their words with a grain of salt. I do what I do because I’m required to do so by the State of New York. But the expectations of the other employees is not the same. People do whatever they wish to do without any consequences because they know management won’t do anything about it. They can come in late, leave halfway through a double shift, call off or even do a no call no show.  When they report back to work they still have their job. One employee who complained recently was told, “Right now we have other priorities to take care of…” For me, such a statement implies management does not care about the employees.

I’m back in this revolving wheel of work, eat, sleep then do the same thing the next day. I’m too tired physically, mentally and spiritually to do anything else. My days off consist of moping around the house like a chicken with no head because I can’t concentrate on one thing.

I’ve been at my job a whole year, as of today. I’m not sure if I can survive yet another. Perhaps it’s time I look at other alternatives.

Letting Go

I’m proud of myself, yet there is much I am still learning about the principle “Letting Go” specifically in the workplace. Workplace stress affects us all in different ways. Some people have the ability to handle it. While others, like myself, have difficult times. In recent days, I’m taking new measures (or steps) to not let work relationships bother me.

Many times in this blog I have written about my frustrations at work. Working as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) I’m responsible for the lives of those I care for, all the while dealing with different personalities of my co-workers, and attempting to manage my own life in sobriety. At times this can be a monumental task.

For instance, we have 30 residents on a floor. We are divided into three teams to handle the workload. With a particular group of individuals, we work as a team to accomplish our tasks. We set a plan in motion at the beginning of our shift of how things should flow to ensure we are successful in our responsibilities. But at the end of the night, I’m frustrated because a majority of the work is done by one individual. My fear is I will be accused of not doing my own workload.

But at the end of the night, I’m frustrated because a majority of the work is done by one individual. My fear is I will be accused of not doing my own workload. I have talked to this individual to “slow down” allowing the other two of us to “pull our own weight”. Yet, I feel my concerns fall on deaf ears. What bothers me the most is when this individual turns around to complain she is doing all the work.

In addition, this individual takes it upon herself to work with an active injury. Knowing this, I’ve suggested the individual takes measures to ensure their own welfare. Again, my concerns and suggestions fall on deaf ears. Yet, the individual will begin to loudly complain, “I just can’t do this anymore . . .” It gets annoying after a while.

What does this have to do with me? Absolutely nothing – that is the point. This individual is responsible for their own choices. No matter how annoying or frustrated I get, this individual is causing her own chaos. I have to remind myself of the simple principle of “Letting it Go”.

My fear of being accused of not doing my own workload will subside. It is my understanding this individual has already taken measures to change responsibilities in the coming weeks. In the meantime, I’m trying the best of my ability not to let my frustrations and annoyance get the better of me. That in itself is the challenge I face.

 

 

 

 

 

Moral Inventory

Recovery is a life long process. I am not perfect. There are times in my life where I can fall flat on my face. But those are times when I need to look at my defects of character, taking a moral inventory, to learn from my mistakes. After reading some other recovery blogs, I responded to another that perhaps such would help them in their situation. I came to realize I was the one that needed a hard look at my moral inventory.

I strive to work with others at work.  Sometimes it is very difficult if the other party is unwilling to do the same. I simply try to do my best at avoiding any situations that raise my temper. I admit I can be a hot head knowing it will get very ugly if I let my temper get the best of me. My anger is my number one defect of character I try to work on daily.

There is one person who knows how to push my buttons. She knows she is in complete control and grinds me to the ground every time we work together.  The other day I didn’t walk away. Instead I chose to stand my ground. When someone accuses me and such accusations may jeopardize my career – we have problems! I blew up at her. Unfortunately, the event took place  in front of other employees, residents and the supervisor on the floor.  It was a terrible incident.  After it was all said and done, I accepted my part and any consequences of my actions.

Thankfully yesterday was my day off. I tried not the think of the incident, letting it go. But it kept creeping back to the forefront of my thinking. There is definitely a resentment building. With that resentment is anger. Usually anger is triggered by fear.

Today all I can think of is this quote from Yoda, in Star Wars:

yoda_fear

At this point, I’m not sure what I should do, if anything. If I’m approached regarding the situation, I will be honest and accept any consequences. However, there is a greater chance this may not even go any further.

Par of me is not worried about the accusation at all. My supervisor piped in during the argument, “…that is false, to my knowledge.” She also gave me accolades on my job performance. I also learned she was displeased with this same individual while working with her on the floor (third party information). This individual also had another incident with another employee the previous day, then simply left the job an hour early after it was over. Therefore, she might be digging her own hole.

Yet, part of me worries if it does come back to haunt me. Recently, there have been a string of employees who have left or been terminated for various reasons. Again, part of me says, “If it happens, so be it.” But the other part of me fears the termination of my employment.

For now, I’m not going to do anything until approached.  I believe, for now, it’s the best solution. If I were to add more to the incident, I could be adding more fuel to the fire. Instead I’ll trust in my Higher Power – everything is okay. In time, she will have to deal with her own karma.

 

Getting Off the Rollercoaster

“Please stay seated as the cars enter the terminal. Once the train comes to a complete stop you may depart. Please enjoy your day.” The last week feels like I just got off another rollercoaster. My Sponsor and I, despite what he believes right now, aren’t exactly on good terms. I’ve turned into a workaholic lately, partially because of my own selfishness and other times its beyond my control. An ongoing relationship with an incarcerated individual finally came full circle; karma kicks his arse – again. Yet, through all the ups and down this week, I truly believe my future will bring new beginnings.

A post this week, A Short Fuse, I wrote about my relationship with my Sponsor. Despite what he believes, I don’t think that this relationship is salvageable. Here we are full circle again, a rough time in the relationship and I feel I just need to get off. It’s just not healthy for either of us.

I’m become a workaholic. Monday I worked 3 p.m. to 7 a.m. because a third shift employee called in unable to work. In that case, I was mandated having no other choice but to work a full shift. However, once you are mandated for the week, typically you are free to choose otherwise if it happens again. Last night, two employees called unable to work on third shift. I had already started working at 12 p.m. at the request of my Director of Nursing (DON) and another employee left at 9 p.m. to return at 4 a.m. to relive me. Only she didn’t show up at 4 a.m. nor did she show up at 7 a.m., as scheduled. Thus, I worked a 19 hour day (12 p.m. to 7 a.m., if I’m doing the math right?) However, I told them I would NOT be working this evening, which was granted with no questions asked. I need rest before I get as sick as some of our residents recently.

I ate my McDonalds (breakfast, lunch and dinner) on the couch, I passed out at some point only to wake up to the loud, pounding of drums from the downstairs neighbor. It’s not his fault; he can only assume that I work a normal 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. shift. So I’ve been up a couple of hours doing little things before I head back to work.

Not surprisingly, I received a letter from my friend who is incarcerated in an Upstate prison. I haven’t heard from him in two weeks, yet the last time we spoke I knew that bad things were brewing in his corner. As he wrote me, “It was a matter of time before I got sent to the box. Now I’m here until May 15th.” Apparently, he was involved in an altercation. Again, a good thing for both of us. I knew he was reverting back to his old ways which would eventually lead him to this situation but he ignored my warnings. It’s nothing I can control. It provides me a breather from the exhausting communications via phone that were beginning to get out of hand.

I asked for this. I prayed for a period of peace for myself to take care of myself. Now I can. Though I have worked long hours, the funds are helping to secure a new home closer to work in the near future. For those of us working during Storm Stella, we received an unexpected bonus last week. I was also reimbursed for my hotel expenses. There is the overtime pay too.

The 30 inches of snow laid down last week by Stella is almost non-existent due to warmer temperatures and recent rains. Spring is beginning to bring about change. A change I’m looking forward to in my life. The rollercoaster has come to an end.

A Recap – Where I Am Now?

A week ago I was in a dark place.  For the first time in nine years of sobriety I was afraid I was going to drink.  My job, as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), is always stressful when taking care of the elderly. Many have dementia compounded with other mental illnesses and health issues. However, I have come to “walk in their shoes”. The issue was my employer:  staffing issues, miserable employees, management problems and the fact I’m the only male CNA in the facility. I felt alone, was verbally warned by my employer “to pick up your [my] pace” and I almost just threw in the towel with the job, as well as sobriety. However, the last week, I reflected my part in the whole situation and thank my Higher Power for getting involved.  There is no other explanation.

After calling my Sponsor and talking to unexpected ally at work, I went to bed sober Wednesday night.  Friday, I knew something was stirring at work.  There was something in the wind that just didn’t feel right.  I was given a warning by my employer for my job performance. Despite the lack of cooperation from my co-workers, I knew I had to do something quickly.  I kept to myself and got my job done.

Sunday night rolled around.  A rumor was going around the Director of Nursing (DON) was stepping down.  The supervisor on my shift was accepting the position.  A co-worker, who is now an ally and a recovering addict, and I talked about his possibility just the night before.  Right before our eyes it was becoming a reality.  Monday, it was officially announced. Suddenly there is a change with my fellow co-workers.  There were suddenly nervous, as I have never seen them.

Sunday night, I pulled a double shift, working 16 hours.  The new coming DON had already filled one shift herself, she couldn’t get anyone to come in early nor come in at all, so I volunteered. Overnight shift is just me, myself and I besides a charge nurse. I have more freedom, can get things done quickly, however there is a lot of downtime I sit twiddling my thumbs.  Monday morning, a co-worker graciously offered to stay until 5 p.m., so that I may get a couple hours of extra sleep.  Now that is teamwork!

I was looking forward to a day off on Wednesday.  As expected, they called to ask me to work, “Michael, you can refuse.”  The Assistant DON, who was calling, then threw in, “I can give you Friday off, so you have a three day weekend.”  Accepted!  Hell YES! When I came into work, the Assistant DON said, “Thank you for coming in.”  For the first time, I felt it was a genuine comment.

In addition, I have started to attend a local ‘nooner’ meeting.  Just a couple of days, thus far, due to my schedule changes.  But I think I’m going to make it my temporary home group (until I move this Summer) and attend it daily.  There is a lot of sobriety and I heard a lot of good messages.

My Sponsor and I are texting, as he is checking in with me.  I apologized for yesterday since it was suppose to be “our day” to get together to discuss recent events in person.  He says, “It’s been smooth sailing because you adjusted your sails.”  I added, “With your help and my Higher Power, yes!”

I’m looking forward to my three day weekend.  Saturday and Sunday, my Sponsor and I are going to visit his brother who lives near NYC.  They have a large recovery community with hundreds of years of sobriety (literally).  The meetings there are a little different from local meetings and it will be a nice change to return since July 2016.  Sunday night is NASCAR night for me too- Daytona 500 !  Dale Jr qualified 2nd, so this might a good start to a new year.

It was rough but I got through it!  Today I am thankful to AA, my Higher Power, my Sponsor, those following this blog, as well those blogging about recovery.  Everyone gave me hope and kept me strong.  Thank you all!

The Foot Dropped

Another work related post.  In reality, a circle of events.  The point here is there is always positive with the negative.

My gut, which I tell people is my Higher Power, was telling me, “Mike, careful, something is just not right.” After the last couple of days events at work, I decided the best alternative was to keep to myself.  During dinner, my supervisor and the Director of Nursing (DON) paid me a visit on the floor.  They wanted to talk. “F**k. What now?”, I was thinking.

In a nutshell, I was given a verbal warning for my time management skills. Apparently my co-workers feel that I’m to slow at doing my job.  The DON also threw out I had mentioned I said, “I have until 11 p.m. to get all care done, so I’m not going to rush.” Oh, it gets better.  Another incident happened the other day which was brought up (which due to confidentiality, I can’t disclose here).  However, it ties into everything.

I completely shut down – mumbling, then not saying anything during the meeting.

Basically my employer is covering their own arse.  While the employer attempted to ask my side, I refused to say anything because I already knew they had made up their mind pointing the blame at me.  I was right.

Later in the evening, I switched floors to do care on some other residents.  There is a another CNA I’ve been talking to which I have connected with.  Her and I are on the same page.  She recognizes my fellow co-workers, “out to get you”.  I had disclosed to her I’m a recovering addict and my frustrations of the other day “driving me to drink”.  She in turn talked to my supervisor, apparently after their meeting with me, about her concerns not only how staff is treating me but the truth of what is really going on in the facility.  As we worked together, she was willing to help me with new time management skills she learned  over her 12 years of experience.  At the end of the day we chatted for about 45 minutes.  It was a great relief to know that she too was a recovering addict knowing exactly what I was going through.

I also had a talk with my supervisor expressing my concerns.  She reached out to me because “I saw that you shut down during the meeting, so I wanted to talk to you.” She is willing to address my concerns and try to change things.  She is beginning to recognize the problems (sexism, lack of communication, no teamwork, etc.).  After our discussion she asked that I don’t put in my letter of resignation (because that was exactly why I was talking to her in the first place).  So I’m giving her a chance.

Despite the bad news at the beginning, I was relieved at the end of the day.  I had felt completely alone.  Now I know that I’m not.  I have to be patient, willing to give it time for the wind to change in a positive direction.

Rambling About Honesty

Since my sobriety I have learned there are times to be honest while there are also times to keep the mouth shut.  But there is also a time when the frustration, anger and other emotions get so bottled up, they tend to spout out.  These times are scary for me because I’m unsure of the consequences of my decisions.  This is a part of me I work on daily – sometimes I’m good at it, others I’m not.

As you may know I am a CNA.  It’s a rough job.  There are staffing issues, personality issues, company policy issues and most of us are just fed up.  No matter where I go, these type of issues are common everywhere.  However, “the company” hired a Supervisor, so I’ve tested the waters.

There is an employee that I work with, young in age and young in experience (like myself) who just pissed me off.  She might as well have gone home because I felt like I was the only one on the floor.  Her laziness and the need to be on her phone every minute is just unprofessional.

I patiently waited for the Sup to talk to her privately.  Our discussion started with the employee rolling to bigger issues at the end.  She insisted that I stay, “Stay and I will be your voice.”  But I’m skeptical because of my last job experience.  I’ve heard that before, backs tabbed, then was unemployed.  So now I wait.

It’s a cruel world. I have a duty to report certain things. But at the same time people can easily turn it around perhaps jeopardizing my own license.  Management attempted to do that already.  I don’t want to get in those situations again.

Unfortunately, while there is an alternative to seek other employment it’s just not that easy.  The standard of living is much higher in the County I work, therefore if I choose to work closer to home I would take a HUGE pay cut.  I also know facilities around here already have very bad reputations.  Yes, my drive would be cut by three hours a day.

But as I was reminded, “Why are you here?”  Honestly, its not the pay.  Don’t get me wrong, the pay is wonderful.  It’s the residents I have known for the last four months.  I enjoy them and they enjoy me.  I provide them what they want and haven’t received in a long time.  So it’s just not the Sup that is asking I stay, it’s also the residents that I take care of almost on a daily basis.

It’s a sticky situation.  It grinds at me every day.  Even on my days off like today.  People tell me, “You need to leave.  If you don’t bad things are going to happen.  You’re not happy.  You need to find somewhere there is a balance.  You have enough on your plate (sobriety).”  Yet, with only four months of experience, a brand new license (Nov 2016), I can’t expect much if I choose to leave.

This type of situation is going to follow me anywhere.  I just have to practice patience, self-control and be selfish (only worrying about me, not the others around me).  But many times doing such is easier said than done!

Entitlement of Guilty Pleasures

Right now I’m feeling guilty, as I always do, because work called to ask if I could fill in a shift because someone called off.  Typically I would but this weekend is different.  I haven’t had a weekend, a two-day weekend, since Oct 2016.  Like everyone else, I’ve worked my six days straight last week and the week before, so I’m entitled to my own guilty pleasures.

There is a Polish proverb, “Not my circus, not my monkeys.” Few words but a strong message. In the past I would jump at the chance to work for various reasons.  One, the overtime pay. Two, a hope that in the eyes of others I’m appreciated.  However, from past experiences, as well as current, I know the later is never the case. People always make promises but never keep them.

Honestly, I’m not guilty for saying, “No, I can’t work for you.”  I’m guilty because I threw in a lie.  I said that I was having dinner with a friend who has Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer.  She is a college friend who I haven’t seen since her diagnosis years ago.  We’ve tried to make arrangements to see each other but things always come up. This was the truth – I do have a friend with Stage 4 PC and again she cancelled due to her daughter’s recent illness.  So here’s my excuse, it’s not a full fledge lie, just a fib or sorts.  Does it really matter?  I shouldn’t have given details anyway.  A firm, “No” would have sufficed.

Selfishness comes to mind, not only for myself but for those that called in and those that are asking me to work.  We all have our own selfish reasons.  We’re all tired of working extra hours because we know our c0-workers just don’t want to work, as they rarely have a valid reason for not coming to work.  Facebook proves it (which amazes me everytime).  Don’t call in work, then post on FB, “It’s party time!”  Idiots.

Many co-workers have families with young children.  I’m sorry but that excuse is getting old too.  I understand it feels like children grow up quickly and you want to spend every waking minute in their lives.  But you have to work to support your children.  You also know damn well that there are times, like now, that you have to work.  You are working in the medical field.  This is typical anywhere you work. Just accept it.

For once, I’m going to enjoy two days off.  Ideally, I didn’t want to think of work at all but I knew that the call was coming.  Everyone knew that people were scheduled and wren’t coming in.  So why didn’t they fix it then instead of waiting to the last minute.  At least have a backup.  Oh that’s right, they don’t think OUTSIDE the box, just right past their own nose.

See picture above.  I’m done.  Back to my guilty pleasures.

 

 

 

 

Have Some Cheese with the Whine

Caution:  Rant forthcoming . . .

If you don’t like people that whine – DO NOT read this post.  On the other hand, if you’re a recovering addict, or would like to have a glimpse into my mind, by all means pull up a chair for a LONG READ.  This is ME talking to MYSELF but posted for those that are interested.

I’m bitch, crabby, frustrated, angry and down-right pissed off at the world.  But a DRINK(s) is not going to solve my problems.  I will do my best with the tools of life that I’ve been given.  Hopefully, if you do read this in its entirety, an example of how a recovering addict deals with life.

My previous career, working in the chemical dependency field as a Program Aide in a medically supervised detox center, abruptly came to end in March 2016.  But I saw it coming and didn’t do anything about it.  I was simply burned out and didn’t give a rat’s ass (I let my mouth run amuck), so I was terminated.

It turned out to be the best decision (for both parties), just the wrong way of doing it.

In September, after the recommendation of fellow nurses that I worked with, I was accepted into a Certified Nursing Assistant’s training program.  At the beginning of November 2016, I passed the New York State exam and received my license.  I promised myself no matter what happened I would not repeat the past.  Oh, I try – every day.

Knowing I’m the lowest one on the totem pole I’ve accepted a few things.  There is a terrible staffing problem on my shift (almost, if not all, the 3 – 11pm staff was quit or been terminated). From what I’ve learned, this is the norm.  I worked Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day 2016.  Accepted, I’m new.  The gossip among employees is just extreme as I’ve seen in other employers.  I expected to get treated like crap by fellow co-workers.  Yup, that happens.  Management, umm…, let’s just not go there.  Along with a whole list of other things.

Scheduling is madness.  The last two weeks I’ve worked six days out of seven, each week.  New Years, I volunteered – my bad.  A old habit of feeling guilty for fellow employees.  This week, I wasn’t even asked, just scheduled.  I haven’t had a full weekend to myself since the Stone Age. Lastly, I won’t be able to take a vacation until after a full year of employment.

Lately, my mouth keeps opening instead of staying shut.  But like many, “I just don’t care.”  Honestly, (sorry for the cliché – “I would if I could, but I can’t . . .) leaving should be on my agenda but I’m just four months in a new career with a new employer.  I enjoy my job and the residents.  I am NOT going to let management, fellow employees or certain circumstances ruin it for me.

But I’m also not going to be quiet about it.  I can’t and I won’t.  There is no point to bring up issues to the “higher ups” because, honestly, they don’t care.  Been there, done that, nothing’s been done.  It reminds me of this saying, “doing something different, yet expecting the same results” – the definition of INSANITY.

So, it’s a very difficult time for me.  No, I’m not going to drink.  What is that going to solve?  These issues are going to be there in the morning, the day after, many more moons after that.  I remind myself of various slogans, “Let it Go”, “One Day at a Time”, the Serenity Prayer – 1000 times a day, “Let Go, Let God (or in my case, my Higher Power), as well as a host of others.  But those aren’t the answer.  Then the light bulb goes on . . .

You need a f**king meeting!!  Honestly, I haven’t been to one in a couple of months.  I know – I’m calling the kettle black.  I preach all this sobriety knowledge and don’t follow my own advice.  But here I’m going to throw EXCUSES.  There are not many people that have long term sobriety in this community.  Since working in the recovery community I know a lot of people, so meetings tend to be a waste of time.  Another EXCUSE – the weather sucks.  It’s sleet/rainy, the roads are slick, so I can’t travel out of time. I’ll figure something out even if its local.  I need a meeting.

OK, I’m done.  I guess I needed to get that out.  Feel much better . . .

Now to find something to do (i.e. read a book, clean up clutter, etc.) to get my mind off this crap and get me in a good mood.  Perhaps take a nap, then go to a meeting later tonight.  I don’t know.  I’m being a lazy SOB because I deserve to be today.