I had a serious disappointment tonight when I got home from work. Not about Lynn but something work related.
Once a week I go to the job site where I touch base with my staff and take care of a few meetings that I feel need to be done with “face time” rather than over the phone. On those days when I get home, I catch up with emails that I can’t really address while on site. As I was reading my emails tonight, I got a denial on a request I had made. It was something that I had expected to get an affirmative response on and the denial came as a shock. Obviously I can’t go into what this was about because it’s confidential but what I want to share is how it brought up all the fears again that what I’m doing–being both a full-time caregiver and a full-time employee–is negatively perceived by others.
The reality is that the rejection I received was not directly about me but it was something that impacts me indirectly–a lot. I can tell myself intellectually that this “no” was not about the value others place on what I do. But emotionally, what I hear myself saying is that what I do is not as important to my organization as I thought it was…and that’s hard to accept. I work SOOOOO hard to do a good job. Thinking that those efforts are not appreciated hurts me to my core.
What has this got to do with caregiving you say? Here’s how I link it in my mind.
…I think that I’m very good at what I do. I believe that my staff and I actually save the company a lot of unwanted pain and suffering through the interventions we do. However, what we do is intangible. We don’t bring in any income. We do “prevention” work so there is no tangible return-on-investment. We “know” that if we did not step in to resolve many of the issues we get involved in that it would likely impact staff turnover and possibly there might be more complaints that have to be addressed both from internal and external sources. However, you can’t prove the cost savings with prevention. So, many people feel what we do is an “extra” and therefore, non-essential.
That’s where my fear comes in. What if the message I’m receiving by this rejection is actually that we are not needed? What if this is the first step to them saying that others could do what we do in time so we are not needed? That thought is too terrifying, so I’m not going there right now.
On the flip side…
My first response when I got the rejection was anger followed by depression and tears. I was really hurt. It also made me feel unappreciated and undervalued. Maybe I’m too sensitive which could certainly be true being that I only slept 5 1/2 hours last night.
Then I start thinking that if that is how they feel about what we do, maybe I should go somewhere else where I might be appreciated. That’s where the brick wall comes in. The reality is that I can’t go anywhere else no matter whether I’m appreciated or not. I’ve worked here over twenty years. I’ve worked my way up in the organization. If I went somewhere else, I would be starting over. I only have a bachelor’s degree. To make what I make now somewhere else, I really would need a master’s degree for my application to even be considered (their loss if they didn’t consider it though). There is absolutely no way I could work on getting my masters degree. I can’t commit the time or the money toward that pursuit. So I’m stuck.
If I was not a caregiver, I would go back to school in a heart beat. I love to learn and though it would be a challenge at my age, I’m sure I would enjoy the experience. But I already fit in 30 hours into a 24 hour day. I can’t get to the store that is five minutes away to buy groceries without major planning and rushing through to get back. How could I sit through a three-hour class, even on-line, and be able to get anything out of it? I couldn’t. I had thought about getting my certification by doing self-study. Then the day after I decided to do that, I had one of those thirty hour days where every twenty minutes I was called to do 15 minutes of caregiving and gave up THAT idea.
My reality is…I’m a caregiver first. Then I’m an employee. I need this job to be able to give us a place to live, insurance to pay the medical bills, and access to all the other things I need in life. I can’t “give” to my job like I once did. Where before I was exceptional and I amazed people at how much I could get done; now I do a good job, even a great job at times, but I can’t do an amazing job any more. I just don’t have that option. Now, I do the very best I can with everything I do and often don’t feel like I do anything well enough. Some days that’s true; everything suffers. Other days, I shine. I just have to accept that I can’t be all things at all times and I’ve lost some of my perceived value by those with whom I work.
That perception by others that I don’t have the value I once did, hurts but not everyone feels that way, thank goodness. Tonight I got a lovely email from someone I work with on occasion. She was thanking me for sharing in my blog because she is just starting down this caregiver journey. That really made me feel good.
So, I’m disappointed tonight…heartbroken for the person who will be affected by the denial even more than me, but trying to face my reality. My priorities in life have changed. This blog is now one of those priorities; its how I try to help others in some small way. I have to believe that maybe what I share helps others so maybe some of the trials have a greater purpose as well. I hope so.
In the meantime, I take life one minute at a time. Have a good cry over the disappointments and move on…It’s just a job now…I have other things much more important to do.