This week brought the news that my workload has now developed a third method of getting larger. I am actually quite impressed that this thing just keeps growing! Apart from the extra work coming over from the Rival hospital, and the nurse clinics getting dumped back in my lap, Dr Hurricane has now decided she does not trust the Rival hospital to get her work done on time, since there isn’t a dedicated point of call (and it is very rapid turnaround cancer work, I can see her point) and is firing all that over to me as well. We are now so far beyond the workload that cracked me up last year that I can barely see it.
Since my options appear to be 1) crack up, or 2) get the hell out of dodge, somehow, anyhow, into something I actually enjoy, (or at least, which involves realistic levels of work and less of the being shouted at), it might be time to put the pedal to the metal and do some fecking work on this one already. For instance, there is a rumour of a nice little job hosing out industrial waste tanks in the back of beyond up the Cromarty Firth. For Beginners, even. Sounds perfect! As long as the pay drop is not too great, for I am a materialistic cow at heart, and would prefer not to get into vast amounts of debt while pursuing the skills needed for a Dream Job. Well, certainly not twice. The ad does not specify the salary, however, so I suspect the pay is somewhere in the scale of ‘measley’ to laughable’.
Note: This tells me nothing about how it compares to what I am making now.
Unfortunately, the decision to kick it up a notch was immediately followed by a hiatus, as I had to go out for dinner with my colleagues on Tuesday. Dammit, even if I didn’t need the time to work on my CV, or this art commission for which the deadline is sidling up sharpish – which I did – in truth, I coulda used the time to go down and check the storm damage at the Allittlement, since it was a beautiful sunny evening. Also: brassic, here, and I had to fork out for a four-pound hammer only yesterday. (Four pounds in weight; the pricetag was considerably larger, sadly.)
On the other hand, if I don’t make the time to keep up with folks, the day will come when I have no folks and I suspect I will regret being all alone. Despite it shining as a golden time of peace I crave more than anything, at the moment.
So I had an enchilada and a glass of red with good grace and then ruined it all by squirming around shouting, Ick! because the conversation was all about Hideous Eye Operations Of Our Time. For an hour. Blee.
I walked most of the way home afterwards, before bottling it and getting a taxi (at vast expense) so that I could get in before it got dark, have a nice early night and get up and study before work. Which I utterly failed to do. Sigh.
Still, Wednesday was quiet, even if it was the quiet that comes before a growing storm and gives you a headache. I swear, the hairs stood up on the back of my neck all day and my stomach felt odd.
I discovered why this was happening when I was nearly all the way home and suddenly started feeling incredibly grim. So grim that I barely made it to the bathroom, where I threw up spectacularly all over the bath, the floor, my suit, my bag and in fact everything else in the vicinity. (I missed my suede-y walking boots by the barest miracle). All of this then had to be disinfected and the bathroom had to be hosed down. And then put to the torch. And then some guys in hazmat suits evacuated everyone in a two-hundred-metre radius and I am now queen of all I survey, if only by default. Bwahahaha.
Okay, some of that stuff didn’t happen, but the spewing did.Alas.
Did I risk going down the Allittlement to water the greenhouse plants, after that? Did I feck, so they will all die and I will only have myself to blame that I cannot make chillipepper wine this year. I spent a quiet night in, doing the Taj Mahal of dirty dishes my lodger has left me (if this turns out to be a highly infectious stomach bug, well, so be it! He shoulda done the dishes!) and failing to make GIMP obey me (even software named after something that lives for being told what to do will not obey me, I must be the most ineffectual tosser ever). I have now decided on a different plan of attack, namely Doing The Entire Thing Again, By Hand, but at least it will be nice and personal. It will also involve A2 paper, of which I have none. Bah.
I suspect that the Meal Out With Colleagues has thus thwarted my plans two nights running. It is not the first time I have been mysteriously, (if impressively), ill after eating at that particular establishment, and one of my colleague says many other people concur; sadly, the other colleague loves the place and will not hear a word against it. I think it would be politic just not to even mention having been ill.
You know, where she can see it.
(No really; she is not a fan of the internet. The odds against are huge – and thus the chances of her finding this rise skyhigh!)
Maybe I could throw a sickie at our next scheduled Meal Out, it will save time on actually being sick afterwards. For it is at the end of August, when my InstaDisciplinary For Sick Time runs out!
Nah, far too obvious. Damn.
Still, for once, I was up bright and early at five on Thursday and doing sums before work. Okay, I was more ‘staring in petrified horror at the Maclaurin series and watching my plans to stop being a secretary going down the crapper’, but hey, it’s a start, right? Only, there is a fine line between dogged determination and Arnold Rimmer Attempts To Master Esperanto (god, that sounds porny, I’ve been reading too much fanwank), and I am starting to suspect that my whole life is on the wrong side of it.
Well and wasn’t it nice to see all the familiar clinic faces, after their absence last Thursday? No it wasn’t. Dr Hurricane sidled up and gave me lots of extra work from the Rival hospital, and within five minutes the boss did likewise. And someone had forked forty patients onto Dr Anonymous’s clinic register for the day; mainly because he asked them to – but then, his routine consists of, ‘tell everyone and their cousin to come back in a fortnight’, followed by, ‘freak the fuck out a fortnight later when the place is mobbed and dictate angry letters to the clinic manager, asking why this happened.’
Anyway, while it is indisputably my job to pass on his wishes to whoever must be contacted to Make It So, it isn’t me who’s in charge of the clinic numbers, and it isn’t me who even has any software allowing me to make appointments. It was me who got a bollocking from Dr Anonymous, however, and he even got someone to lead him to my office to do so in person. (Two years, I have been in this office, he still has no idea where it is. Well, he does now.)
This was followed by another bollocking from the clinic manager, who is absolutely nothing to do with my chain of command, but who had just had him on the phone, giving her grief. Although I had thought maybe she would know I have nothing to do with… oh screw it. It’s like part of my job is to be a lightning conductor for whoever’s in a bad mood on any given day. I can’t say I like it one bit, but I will cry uncle and remember my new plan is to keep my head down and work patiently and hopefully towards the day when my job consists of hosing down an industrial waste tank, in a hazmat suit. ALL BY MYSELF.
So, and because I have nobody I could give a bollocking to except myself, I took my surprise stack of extra work and went to sit quietly and work through it. This alarmed my colleagues, I assume because I am known for jackbooting around giving it, THIS IS AN OUTRAGE at the drop of a hat, and they got the emergency flares out and summoned our boss. Unlike Batman, our boss does not come to the crime, the crime comes to her. Which is how I came to waste half the morning sat in her office getting a further bollocking for the following: being upset enough to worry my colleagues, talking to my colleagues about my enormous workload, not having talked to her about my enormous workload, not looking upset enough to warrant this waste of time.
All this put me in something of a quandary, because the last time I heard from the boss, it was because she was telling me she has forty other staff to supervise and not to bother her with Every Little Thing (in that case, the scans department and their unfeasibly optimistic PR, which leads to lots of angry phonecalls cluttering up my day). It seems there is a fine line between ‘every little thing’ and ‘stuff that is affecting my performance’, and I suspect which side of it I am on depends on whether I have opened my mouth or not. (Hint: whatever I do, I suspect I will not end up on the correct side of the line).
I was also in a quandary because I was quite upset, but I would sooner bleed in front of a piranha than show weakness in front of management; while both will be driven into a kill-crazed frenzy, only one lives on land, where I live.
I couldn’t think of a diplomatic way of putting that, especially if I made the mistake of actually using the word ‘piranha’, so I said I was just quite upset about all the shouting about something that had nothing to do with me. So the boss told me off for being upset that people shout at me, because I have to understand that ‘the consultants have difficult jobs and are under a lot of stress and they need someone to shout at and this is the secretary’s job and it is all the secretaries who get it, not just you’ (with the strong implication that what am I, some sort of special snowflake who wants special treatment?)
Although she did add that my consultants are particularly difficult people and I probably get shouted at a lot more than other people do on account of I am New*. This was followed by what may well have been some veiled speculation about how I get shouted at by everyone because I don’t do enough to counteract it (like, say, by going to management?) but it was so… delicately put, as they might say, that I really wasn’t sure where it was going, let alone what in the world my response should be. And I got the feeling that, ‘are you saying I deserve this?’ wasn’t really going to prove Helpful In The Long Run.
*(Four years = new; actually, I can believe that, many of the letters I get dictated refer to ‘this young girl’ – and when you look at the age, they have fully-grown children of their own).
Instead, I thought back to the Christmas Day Peptalk by the Bossman’s Best Mate (Who Is In HR) and said I understood and I was more than happy to hear proposals for procedures I could implement to make things run more smoothly. Which was my best shot, and I was pretty damn proud of myself, even if I failed to work in the word ‘synergy’, but it was a no go.
I left feeling like I was about five years old and had been sent up the headmaster’s for painting entirely in yellow paint on yellow paper. (This happened. Authority and I have mistrusted each other ever since, which is a shame because I think it was my last ever act of rebellion too, heh).
Things did not improve on my return to the office, because my colleagues were concerned I had made them look like idiots by sitting in the boss’s office with my game-face on, trying to be diplomatic and professional rather than a blubbering mess of snotters. I sympathise, truly, but I have my pride, dammit. Or I did, till I wrote about the whole sorry fiasco on here, oh nevermind. Anyway, it was awkward and I gained the impression there was nobody left in the entire hospital who didn’t feel I had let them down. Although, and I am just saying, perhaps it would have helped if the one who phoned the boss hadn’t, when I asked her not to; or at least could have told me, when I asked her, what she had actually said to the boss. Because it’s a bit hard to go in cold and be all sang froid about something that then turns out to be the wrong thing.
It seemed high time to go into town and get some A2 paper. There could not have been a worse day, either for this or for going to see the boss, because it was pouring rain and I had on too-long trousers that trailed in the puddles, and a waxed jacket a size too large; essentially, I looked like an elderly flasher who’d shrunk in the wash. But hey, it’s not like I was gonna run into anyone!
I ran into one of the most beautifully-turned-out lassies I know. While it was lovely to see her, I cam away feeling not only like a professional whipping-girl, but a homely one to boot. Pun intended.
On my return, four tapes all marked ‘urgent, do this first’ dropped in my lap at once, there were various alarums and excursions involving casenotes, and I dealt with it all, calmly and competently. And then I walked home, did the housework, went up the Allittlement and checked casualties from storm and drought (none! I have built better than I thought!) and I sketched out the new improved art commission.
And then I got completely and utterly wankered on port and had the least professional meltdown ever all over facebook, when it finally penetrated that yes, the boss did just tell me it is part of my job to be shouted at by whoever feels like it. I did try to keep the tone relatively humorous. Or at least, I was painfully aware of the ‘public meltdown’ nature of the public meltdown, but dammit something has to give!
(So, do I get a wee grade 2 I can yell at when I’m stressed out by all the shouting? Somehow I don’t think so, because that would make me a bully).
You know, if someone told me right now I would have this job until I died, my reaction would be, let’s skip to the end already. This is possibly the worst time ever to have an ethical crisis over whether I actually do deserve better than this, but there you are, my brain is my own worst enemy. And I am my liver’s worst enemy, so I guess we’re even. Or something.
No studying for me come Friday morning; I rolled out of bed and packed a bag and left my lodger and his Taj Mahal of dishes to keep each other company. I have to go see the Bossman tonight – and look! now I don’t have the urge to get totalled and whine about my job because I did that last night in the privacy of my own home [and the entire internet – Ed]. Best! Girlfriend! Ever! Honest. Ha, I so bet I get chucked in the next week. It would just make sense for everything to fall apart under me at once (note to self: move crossbow collection to wardrobe, the bed is threatening to do that also).
It is a good thing my Cellmate has been moved, really, because there isn’t room in here for me, her and all the work which came in this morning. Twice as much is scheduled to come in next week, so I had better get cracking. And I still don’t know whether I am being a total ‘special snowflake’ over all this, or if I am justified in wanting to get out and into a career I enjoy (and which doesn’t involve anyone having to be shouted at for the common good). And I don’t know whether I want to go on living at all if I’m such a crappy person that this is all I deserve (and I suspect, this is the sort of sentiment that Non-crappy People Don’t Have, so, Oh Crap).
On the other hand, I suppose I could just sit back and relax and wait for the inevitable utter and complete mental breakdown, and all will be well.
And yes, I know, I know, I’m completely and utterly taking this all far too much to heart. It’s a fairly candid snapshot of how I feel just now, is all, and in time all will be well and all manner of things will be well and I will look back and cringe at how candid snapshots are so hideously unflattering.
So if you take nothing else away from this rambling, always remember to suck your stomach in, put your shoulders back and look the camera in the eye, peeps.