Tuesday, July 16, 2013

I've Got An Itch...

... For change.

When I think about my job, I feel tired.

I've been there six and a half years now, far, far longer than any previous job. In fact, before this, the longest I was at a job was seventeen months. Of course, this is only my second job in my profession as a nurse practitioner. It's hardly fair to compare these jobs to non-career jobs.

Still. I feel kind of bored with it.

But then, due to my social anxiety, I've been questioning my attitude towards patients.

I've checked out since I got pregnant, and subsequently gave birth to Calliope. I'm simply not that engaged with my patients any more. Probably partly because of my new role -- mother -- and partly because the thrill of the new career is gone. I feel like I'm not very nice sometimes. I think that probably I am nice -- except when I am enforcing the rules about not coming to the infirmary during scheduled activities -- but seem detached. Which is the reality. But maybe I would find work more engaging if I found a way to care more?

Like, for example, when I do physicals. These typically take close to an hour. Not because they should take that long, but because of all the ridiculously detailed forms I am forced to complete. And since I'm being paid hourly, and not by patient visit, and because I don't really have much of a choice, perhaps, I spend an hour. I try very hard to give a physical my full attention, to make the patient feel like she's my priority for that hour.

So then I feel like an ass when that patient comes back a month or three later and I don't even recognize her. I mean, how is that even possible? Was I just pretending to give her my attention? What is wrong with me?

And also... I saw a community board listing for two rooms available for rent with a family in a neighborhood Victorian home. And I know that I'm thrilled with my new apartment, but at the same time, the idea of communal living was oddly appealing... the idea of spending half as much each month on housing costs, and having a lot less space (just two bedrooms, plus communal living areas)... it sounded cool. I really love my alone time, so I'm not sure it's the right solution for me, but something about simplifying my life sounds great. And then, too, I responded to a recruiter email about a job in Seattle. I never heard back, and I'm pretty positive I don't have the right background for the job, but still, it surprised me to see how I am feeling ready for change.

On the other hand, as long as I have my current job, the odds are extremely high that Calliope can attend the only-by-lottery-excellent-public-school where I work. I would be nuts to give that up, right?

So can I just work on my attitude, to somehow get myself more psyched up for next year? To get invested in the students again? Not for their benefit, but for mine?


  1. I hear you, Abby! I have been far less productive and focused at my job since kids. And I often daydream about moving, or a complete change in career, or at least a job change. Two thoughts for you: Re: the not remembering a patients name, etc. I think mama brains are on overload. There's only so much a person can remember, and when we're balancing FT work and parenting a very young and demanding child, and all the mental stress of all that responsibility, I think it's normal to be forgetful or simply not too sharp. I mean, there is only so much one person can do. I tell myself I just have to survive these few years professionally, and then it will get better. I really do believe that is true. Second - about he itch for change - I tell myself that I don't have a decision to make until I have a decision to make. Meaning, go ahead and apply for jobs and look into other changes like housing changes. When you get an offer is when you have a decision, and until then just try to open up doors and choices for yourself. Surprising to me, when I HAVE had a choice to make (2 job offers in other states since Fiona was born), I have decided that our current situation is best and have declined the opportunity. But I continue to look.
    Hang in there, friend!

  2. Don't be too hard on yourself for not remembering patients. I spend 8+ hours with my patients and I still don't remember them several weeks later. I think it's just the nature of the business, I think we can only hold so much information. That doesn't mean we don't give them the attention they deserve when we're with them.

    Since having Annelise I've often thought of changing jobs or careers. I have a very hard time focusing and most days I feel like I'm going through the motions. But when I look at what's out there jobwise there's nothing that really gets me excited. I have a feeling at least for now I'd have the same apathy for any job I do. I hope that eventually the mommy brain and focus on caring for a small child will ease a bit and there will be room and energy for something else.