Thursday, May 1, 2014

A post about work that I'll try to turn into one about running ~

Honestly, I've really been debating whether or not I should write this post.  Because it's more about work than it is about running.  But maybe I could find some way to make it about running, too... so I'll try.

I've been at my current job for about 5 years.  At the onset, I only worked a day or two a week, pretty sporadically, and didn't expect any benefits.  I was kind of going through a mid-life crisis where I had quit a 7-days on, 7-days off nurse practitioner job managing inpatients at a hospital (which was my first job after getting licensed) which was an absolutely awful job.  I was happy to have a lot of free time where I could just run lots of miles, work once in a while, and build up my credit card debt.

Over the past 5 years, I've worked more and more at my current job, typically averaging somewhere between 20 and 30 hours a week, which I think is plenty of work if you have the part-time (unpaid) job of running around in the mountains 10-20 hours per week.  Some might say that I should work more, but after watching my parents work so hard for so many years then only to have major illness affect them from enjoying the things they wanted to do (but never got to do) in their retirement, I've decided to live my life a little differently.  I get the bills paid, anyway.  I have a couple of part-time jobs to fill in some of the financial gaps, too (also un-benefitted).

So imagine my frustration when every Summer Semester (because my job is dependent upon the college population) my hours get cut back to once a week for various reasons, but then whenever someone goes on vacation they want me to cover their hours.  I end up working the hours.  I end up covering people and feeling a little bit used.

The thing that really hits me in the gut is the amount of benefits that I'm missing out on.  I'm actually really OK with paying for my own health insurance out of pocket (because it's high-deductible and probably works out to be cheaper per month).  But my colleagues get to enjoy:  health insurance, paid education hours (many of which are required to retain a license.  Providers typically turn this into a vacation and go to places like Hawaii for a medical conference), half-price classes at the University (to further their education, or just to learn something new), paid vacation hours, paid sick time.  It starts to really add up.  I figure I am missing out on at least $8,000 per year in benefits.  There are a lot of people in the same boat as me.

Why doesn't this change?  Because organizations who are "required" to pay benefits to employees after a certain amount of hours per week (20+, in this case), hold employees below that limit.  When my medical director went to the administrator to ask on my behalf if anything could be changed to offer me benefits, the administrator replied that he should cut my hours to below 18 per week.  Nice, huh?  This from an administrator who earns upwards of $300k per year (I looked it up).

I don't really need more money.  My life is good the way it is.  But I can't help but feel a little bit under-appreciated.  I'm happy to have the free time to go and run when I want (see?  I was able to bring this post back to running after all) but to do a really good great job and have patients appreciate you and know that their good outcomes are in part because of something you did or said to them and to get repaid with lack of benefits and a lower-than-average wage for your job type (I forgot to mention that, too) just hits me really hard.  I start to think that maybe I really am not worth more.  Maybe I made a mistake choosing the job path that I did.  Maybe I should have done something else with my life (Mid-life crisis, anyone?  Nah, I already went through that.  I'm really ok with the majority of my choices.  I have a pretty darn good life).

Maybe I'll go for a run to make myself feel better...  that typically seems to work.  Can't hurt, right?

I've also got a new job prospect lining up that will hopefully work itself out here in the next couple of months...  I'll keep you updated.

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