We've been preparing for a once-every-three-years state inspection recently, which has meant long hours and general misery, doing lots of extra paper work and trying to make the clinic look a lot more polished than it actually is. I like to think I provide high quality clinical care but the actual setting is pretty shoddy. Hopefully families don't notice it and see our space as just another room in a very old school building.
Anyway, while speaking with my medical director about our preparations, she let it slip that the hospital is considering laying off our medical assistants! This would mean that in addition to seeing patients and the hundred layers of documentation involved with seeing patients in a school health program (ie without help), I would also be expected to pull charts, greet patients, submit billing forms, take temperatures, treat boo-boos (I see all the serious injuries and every single head injury, no matter how minor, but she handles the bumped shins and minorly scraped elbows), order supplies, make ice packs, handle school forms...
Basically, a single day working solo makes me want to poke my eye out.
So I told my boss -- I think I've found my line in the sand. If she goes, I go.
I should also mention that my medical assistant is amazing, the best I've ever had, and I'm loyal to her. But working solo would be sheer misery and a disservice to my patients.
I was fuming all afternoon about our conversation... but a few hours later I had a change of heart. I started to feel LUCKY that I had found my limit.
I have always been afraid of leaving this job because I wanted my children in this school,
But a week prior, I had dinner with a close friend who is retiring. As he talked about his upcoming travel plans, I felt a wave of envy. I wanted to travel and explore too.... but I didn't want to wait until I retire, and then travel alone. I want to go NOW. With my girls. While they are still young enough to want to travel with me.
And then I started to think about a Waldorf School I had heard about in Mexico. I had thought it was too far outside of town to be a viable option... but I suddenly realized that this was surely a solveable problem. My nephew just switched to a Waldorf school in his town and his whole family is thrilled with their experience. I went to the school's Facebook page and found the contact info for an American parent with a child in the school and started messaging back and forth with her.
I'm now really, really excited about the prospect of moving. I mentioned this school to Calliope (without mentioning anything about my job) and she immediately jumped up and down and squealed "Ooh, I want to go!" (The school is based on a farm and she is enchanted with the idea of farming... she wants to be a farmer and live in a treehouse when she grows up.)
I've committed to contacting the school and arranging a visit. They require a three day visit for the child so the teacher can assess her. I won't make any other plans until we make the visit. But just committing to a trip to Mexico before the summer is a very big step.
If my employer decides not to lay off our medical assistants... then I have an even bigger decision to make.
Our funding is still not assured for next year. We got a one year reprieve this year. We have a lot of political support now and things look promising but there are no guarantees. I'm tired of the uncertainty and feeling like we are constantly operating on a shoestring. I know my boss is tired of the politics and will be hiring her replacement soon, and I don't know what that person will be like. This will be my fourth medical director in eleven years.
And if I could not work at all for a while... why wouldn't I choose that? (I think.)
I don't think I would be happy not working for long -- though perhaps if I stepped off the treadmill of life I would surprise myself! -- but I have an amazing job opportunity down there. My ideal would be to take three months to get us settled and to take Spanish classes and exercise classes and just be very available for the kids... and then gradually get involved with this non profit down there. Of course, I might hate it. I don't know enough yet. I will visit when we go in April to check out the school. But it sounds amazing.
I hate the idea of renting out my brand new apartment (I did mention that I bought an apartment downstairs, right? And that I'm currently renovating it and am in contract to sell my "old" place?) But on the other hand, that's not a reason to stay. And I could live on what I make renting the place. And next year is my last year of having to pay for full time child care for Amelie... one more year of living in the red every single month. Why not not work that year?
Of course... what if I love it there and never want to come back? Or what if I am miserable (or the kids are) and I want to come back after three months and can't? (I guess I can always get a sublet back in Brooklyn, right?)
Many things to think about!