11 December 2013
10 December 2013
There is so much to take in here, I know that I cannot do it justice in words until I have time to process it all. But, as a tease, I've decided to put an abbreviated version of a picture a day project for the rest of December. That is, as long as I can recharge the lappy, which remains to be seen. So, Day 1, flying over UAE.
09 December 2013
05 December 2013
For the first time ever, I was coerced/forced/dragged to a post Thanksgiving shopping event. There is a clear cast of black Friday shopping characters. "The Planner" is strategic, cunning, and comes clutching competitors ads. They probably have a wing woman or two to grab and growl on their behalf.
"The Bloodthirsty One" will do whatever it takes, including throw themselves on a pile of crock pots while shouting "I'm buying all of these, nobody touch them!" at the top of their voice. They'll enter the store with three carts, not just to fill them, but also as personal crowd control.
"The Ninja" took something out of your hands and checked out before you knew it. Cart-less, ruthless, and back in the car within five minutes.
Those unfortunate enough to find themselves as "The Newbie" can't find a parking place, a cart, what they came for, and is at the end of every line. They skipped Thanksgiving dessert for this crap.
I went as "The Casual Observer." An annoyance to the other shoppers. The one who doesn't want or need anything, but will take in all this humanity with a glassy stare and slacked jaw.
We entered the 24 hour store quite calmly, no chance of stampeding or general craziness. My friend became so excited, giddy even. In fact, more excited than I've ever seen her, and I was there for the birth of her child.
There is a visceral, psychological force at work at these sales. The thrill of the hunt is a real, a primal instinct. Instead of hunting nutrition and sustenance, we are hunting the cheapest television or new laptop. In that sense, I can forgive the excitement as it's in our blood and even I can appreciate a deal.
There I was, standing in the middle of the snake pit feeling smugly above it all. Hanging in a nearby tree with binoculars and a notepad to observe the predators and their prey. Acting like the foreign reporter watching the bizarre coming of age ritual of a native people, when suddenly a panic washed over me. The panic of 'I need something'. I didn't know what I needed, but I was surrounded by 'deals' and surrounded by other seemingly reasonable people who were willingly waiting in line for these deals. Certainly, my subconscious said, I too, should be acquiring things. Think of the savings! Throw your perfectly good TV away! GPS, yes! Game console, blu-ray player, power wheels? Things! I raced toward the stack of uniformly stacked boxes, violently shoving an old lady to the ground. I strong-armed a kid and took their Elmo doll for no reason whatsoever. I began to climb and was truly on the mountaintop as I perched myself on my claim, high above the rabble. I taunted the uninitiated as I shook my reward above my head. "I don't even need this!"
But then I slapped myself. Somebody had to do it.
I went in wanting nothing but to witness a fist fight over something stupid, but after learning that in other stores people were actually killed, I mean KILLED, I was happy to have witnessed such a civilized bunch of shoppers. At the end of the day, I guess I'm glad I now have this uniquely American experience under my belt. I feel less blood thirsty and somewhat understanding of the whole thing. Though, it is ruining one of the top two American holidays, and for that, I am sorry.
pic stolen from http://www.websitegeographer.com (Not an endorsement, I just liked the carts)
12 November 2013
As I said in my last post, I am still employed, thank goodness. In the time that I learned about these lay-offs and now, I decided to put double sided tape on my resume and throw it in all directions, just to see if it sticks anywhere.
Short story is that it hasn't. But I have only heard back officially from one place. I applied to a job I was mostly qualified for for the local government of my town. I guess they're in a rush because I was asked to interview within a week of applying. I caught the closing date just in time, which was one of those silly things that made me think "It's meant to be!" despite that I don't believe in that.
But anyway. I put on my absolute best and absolute only business-type outfit and drove the five minutes to the interview. A job that's five minutes from my door again reiterated "It's meant to be!". Silly me.
I was nervous. Really nervous. All of my previous job interviews were laughably easy and informal.
"Hi, I'm Ellie."
"Great to meet you. We reviewed your resume and wondered when you could start."
"See you then."
Or something like that. To say that I am unprepared for a formal job interview would be a woeful understatement. But, after research and cover letter writing and applying and learning the salary, I really wanted this job. I felt prepared. Well, until the HR lady came to collect me and told me I was about to sit for a panel interview. My first.
I entered, infinitely grateful for flats and sat before six potential colleagues for an administrative position. As I settled into the room and was introduced to everyone, I had about 30 seconds of sheer panic. Relentless thoughts of "They will see right through me!" But then my "fake it 'til you make it." philosophy kicked in and I was off. Although, I didn't drink from the water they left from me for fear that my shaking hands would give me away.
Still worried about what to say about what my greatest weakness was, I was almost gleeful to see that the interview was comprised of only scenario based questions to talk my way through. I emerged feeling fairly confident about the interview and even more confident that I could do the actual job.
The problem with these jobs that I am 'mostly qualifed' for is that they allow me to fantasize. Even a little fantasy is dangerous. Fantasy about the commute, the new clothes, how comfortable I would be with this new salary. I convinced myself that I could do the job and give up my beloved current one. All of the bad things about EMS began to shine brightly. How great it would be to never do a 3am emergency call, never drag a poo covered person out of their third floor apartment, never argue with a drunk person again?
It was shockingly easy to talk myself into the 9-5 gig. All of the things I thought I'd hate about it seemed so acceptable. Meetings, pant suits, getting a 'case of the mondays' all of which are completely foreign to me, but suddenly doable.
At the moment, it's a moot point. I didn't get this job, but in a way even getting as far as I did changed the way I look at employment. It certainly changed the way I look at what I could actually do, or would at least be willing to try.
07 November 2013
It is a sobering thought when you realize that everything you have and maintain you have because of your job. Sobering, scary, and very adult.
It is one thing to realize this when gamely and happily employed. At that point, it's something to muse about and help to motivate you to do your best to maintain that job. It is quite another thing to realize this at the same time your job is suddenly hanging in the balance.
Many people avoid making adulthood career changes. It makes sense to stay: retirement plans, steady incomes, climbing that ladder, but what if that ladder is taken away while you're nearing the top?
I've been thinking about this problem a lot recently, as it came to light that my part time and full time jobs would be downsizing at the end of the year.
I want to make enough money and I want to be proud of the patch on my shoulder. I started this post when all this silliness at work was happening. For about a week I convinced myself that I would not survive the lay-offs we were going through. I have never felt so anxious in my life and that's the truth. In the end, I was not laid off and will continue to work where I work for as long as I can. Change is hard at the best of times, but change that is forced upon you is the most difficult.
That said, my ear is as close to the ground as it has ever been concerning jobs. But that's a story for another post.
07 October 2013
I spent much of last week in a refresher class. This year, I've transitioned from a Nationally Registered EMT Paramedic to the new title to Nationally Registered Paramedic (NRP) I know. That's a lof words. But it is kind of important as the NREMT's is trying to make sure every paramedic in the country (more or less) is on the same page. They've added some new things to the national standard curriculum such as end tidal C02 (I know you do that already) and the potential use of ultrasound and bed side lab work in the prehospital arena. This is all very exciting, I guess, especially as I have survived the class. I do love to see services expanding their horizons, questioning the norm, and demanding excellence. Medicine is an evolve or die kind of business and EMS should be the innovators, not the followers. Okay, I'm done.
This is the second time I've taken the week long refresher and it is always odd. It's the only time for one week out of every two years that I have to get up early five days in a row (I know, what a chore) but it is weird if that's not already your schedule as a 30 year old adult.
I admire all of the 9-5ers. It's not very fun. I often wonder how anyone gets anything done in their personal lives. It is a phenomenon to me, and the blessings of my schedule are not lost on me.