Monthly Archives: July 2008

Whatcha Doin?

 
No, I haven’t fallen off the face of the Earth.  It’s just that I’ve been enjoying myself a lot these days.  Not something I did much of over the past year.  I never realized just how unhappy and stressed out I was at the Large Insurance Agency until I left that job and went to the Fabulous New Job.  For the last year or so, I had been having some trouble sleeping at night.  I thought it was one of those menopause things and even talked to Dr. D about it.  Imagine my surprise when I discovered that it wasn’t a menopause thing but a Terrible Work Situation thing. 
 
I love the new job.  I’ve been there almost a month and I can’t hardly believe it.  I actually feel like I fit in.  I come home for lunch every day and I leave promptly at 5 p.m. every night.  My desk is clean when I leave at night and I don’t worry about what didn’t get done and what’s going to bite me in the tush tomorrow.  I’m getting lots of positive feedback and there’s always somebody to help if I have a question or I need a second set of hands to get something finished.  The difference between the Fabulous New Job and the Large Insurance Agency is the difference between night and day.  I could go on forever, but I won’t.  I’ll just say that it was certainly a good move for me. 
 
Yes, I’m still sad about Little Sister’s job situation and I’ve been helping her with her resume and helping her fine tune the computer skills.  Her skills aren’t bad, but tactless former boss (TFB) did a real hatchet job on Little Sister’s self-confidence.  Little Sister’s got over 20 years experience in her field and TFB has made her feel like a newbie.  And I’m feeling a little guilty about taking the Fabulous New Job because it’s in the medical field and right up Little Sister’s alley.  I feel guilty that I’m so happy with my new job when Little Sister just lost hers.  What can I say, I’m a Catholic and the guilt department is something we excel in. 
 
I’m spending lots of time with Blacky and Luci.  When the weather isn’t too warm, I’ll take Luci for a walk.  I have tried taking Blacky for walks with us, but he’s more skittish and nervous these days and it’s best to leave him at home.  I talked to the vet about it last week when he went for his yearly check-up and she told me that anxious dogs get more anxious as they get older.  Since Blacky’s now 9 years old, that’s to be expected.  When we aren’t walking, we’re playing with the sprinklers and the baby pool in the back yard.  
 
By the way, Blacky got a clean bill of health at the vet.  His liver function all seems normal and there doesn’t seem to be any problems with the arthritis meds affecting him.  For an old guy, he’s in good shape.  Just the normal things you have to worry about with an older dog. 
 
Then there’s all my other hobbies that got pushed aside over the last year.  I hadn’t done any cross stitch in a really long time, I haven’t read a good book since I was in the hospital for my hysterectomy, and the knitting I started after my class finished is still waiting for me.  In the last month, I’ve worked on all of them.  It’s been wonderful.  
 
Even Hubby has commented on the fact that I’m smiling a lot more these days. 
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Raw Deal

 
My little sister lost her job today.  Not because of the economy or down sizing.  Because of greed and insensitivity.  Little Sister has worked for a fancy schmancy OB doc (OB #1) in The Big City where I used to work off and on for about 14 years. Before that, Little Sister worked for OB #1’s (GP #1) husband for several years.  As a matter of fact, GP #1 recommended Little Sister to OB #1. 
 
I need to share a little bit of background info before I start the story.  Little Sister is a Medical Secretary with a little over 20 years of experience working in a medical office setting. When she first got out of college, she worked as a billing clerk for a pathology dept. of a Big Hospital.  Then she heard about a job as a billing clerk for GP #1.  I don’t exactly remember how it came to be that Little Sister left GP #1 and went to work for OB #1, but I think it had something to do with Little Sister wanting to scale back her hours a bit when she was pregnant with Duckie (my niece).  I do know that Little Sister had been working for OB #1 off and on for about 14 years.  When Little Sister was pregnant with Little Man she decided that she wanted to do the stay at home mom thing for a while and gave up her job with OB #1.  Little Sister had always planned to go back to work when Little Man started kindergarten and was very surprised that OB #1 called her out of the blue to ask her to come back to work when Little Man was about 4 years old.  Little Sister told OB #1 that she wasn’t sure she was ready to come back to work yet, but OB #1 offered Little Sister a nice salary and promised she could work whatever hours she wanted.  Little Sister mentioned an outrageous amount of money and a 6 hours a day, 4 days a week work week to OB #1 . . . and OB #1 agreed to it!  And things were fine at the OB office . . . or so Little Sister thought. 
 
Now OB #1 has an office sharing arrangement with OB #2.  Two totally separate practices with two totally separate office staffs, computer systems, office furniture, etc.  About 6 or 8 months ago, there were rumors and whispers around the two offices that the docs were thinking about merging the two practices into one.  When the girls asked the docs, the docs denied anything like that was being discussed.  Even though the docs denied a merger, the girls could tell that something was up and there were some changes going to be coming down the pike. 
 
A couple of weeks ago, OB #1 and OB #2 told the girls in the office that there was going to be a joint office staff meeting on Wednesday, July 16.  No prior details.  No agenda.  Nothing.  Just an announcement of an office staff meeting.  The first one the two docs had held together.  So now the rumors and questions were flying around the office.  That’s why no one was really surprised when the announcement of a merger was made.  What surprised everyone is that there were going to be major changes to the office staff.  Some hours were going to be cut.  Some positions were going to be changed.  New policys and procedures would be put in to place.  And one job was going to be eliminated.  Imagine Little Sister’s surprise to find out that the position being eliminated was hers.  No warning, no offer of an altered work schedule or work duties.  Nothing.  Just a "we’re eliminating your job and replacing it with a position that you aren’t qualified to do."  The person coming to fill the new job is the person who left OB #1’s office quite suddenly years ago and that’s when OB#1 called Little Sister to come back to work for her.  Even though Little Sister had been doing the same kinds of work for years without the fancy title.  OB #1 would give Little Sister 4 weeks of severance pay and wanted Little Sister to be out of the office by the end of the day today.  So, Little Sister was told at 2:30 on Wednesday that her job was being eliminated, she was going to be unemployed, and she had only one day to get caught up and get her desk cleaned out.  Did I mention that happened two days after Little Sister returned back to the office from a week’s vacation?  Yea, some nice welcome back.
 
When Little Sister told me this story, I was so mad I could spit nails.  How could you do this to someone who had been a good and loyal employee for over 10 years?  How can you do this and expect the girls that are staying not to have some hard feelings about OB1 and OB2?   If this is how she treats her employees, how does she treat her patients?  And what’s to stop them from doing the same thing to one of the other girls in the office.  About a zillion thoughts have been zipping through my head since last night when Little Sister called to tell me the news.  Talk about cursing up a blue streak.  I would have made a sailor blush last night. 
 
Little Sister went in to the office today and cleaned out her desk and tied up as many loose ends as she could.  She was pleasant and graceful and handled herself with a lot of class and dignity.  She kept a positive attitude that this job change might be a good thing.  OB#1 mentioned that she was impressed with Little Sister’s grace and Little Sister replied, "I’m doing it because I need the severance package and I need a good reference." I wish I could have seen the look on OB#1’s face!  OB#2 never said one word to Little Sister today. 
 
Little Sister has 4 weeks of severance coming, so she’s not stressed to find a job right now, but she’s going to have to find one fairly quickly.  So I’m going to help her with her resume and hopefully she’ll find a new (better) job quickly.  I’m hoping that she can find a job as easily as I found my new job . . . and she finds one that she likes as much as I like mine. 
 
I’m ticked that someone could treat a long term employee so poorly, but I’m also happy that Little Sister will get to spend some time with her kids before school starts in the fall. 
 
 

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Things I’ve Missed

 
I’ll admit that I neglected Blacky and Luci a little bit (a lot?) when I was working at the old job.  With the overtime and the long commute home, sometimes I didn’t have the energy or desire to walk them like I should have.  We would go for our excursions every few days but I felt pretty guilty that they would wait all day for me to get home and then I was too tired to spend any real time with them.  I tried to make it up to them by playing fetch with them in the back yard, but it just wasn’t the same.  The great thing about dogs is they love you unconditionally 100% of the time.  They always gave me a second, third, fourth chance. 
 
One of the things I promised myself (and them) when I got the new job was that I would be able to spend more time with them.  I get to spend more time with them in the morning before I leave for work, I spend time with them when I’m home at lunch, and we are taking more walks at night.  It’s been wonderful and I can’t believe how much I missed this part of being a Big Dog Mom.  
 
That being said . . . here’s a glimpse of some of the joys I experienced this week . . .  
 

Tonight I took both Blacky and Luci on a walk around the block.  Blacky doesn’t normally go with me and Luci, but for some reason tonight he wanted to go.  Luci loves when Blacky walks with us and bounces around like a crazy dog.  Blacky, however, is a dog on a mission and just walks the route without paying much attention to what Luci is doing.  Imagine me with one dog behaving nicely walking ahead of me and the other dog wandering around all over the place.  Luckily, this doesn’t very long since Blacky only walks with us for one block.  I drop Blacky off at home and Luci and I continue on our way.  We’re gone for an another 30 minutes after we drop Blacky at home.  The really funny (strange) thing is that Luci is totally different when it’s just the two of us.  She actually remembers her obedience training and behaves herself. 

 

There was still a lot of daylight left when we got home, so I decided to let Blacky and Luci play in the pool.  Okay, Luci played in the pool and Blacky went back in the house to enjoy the air conditioning.  When I went inside to let Blacky in the house, Luci knocked the hose out of the pool and made a nice mud hole at the base of the pine tree.  Then she tried to put it back in the pool and sprayed the side of the house.  I still haven’t decided if it was on purpose or an accident. 
 
After she splashed in the pool a little bit, she got out of the pool and flopped on her back and wiggled her way down the hill.  I have no idea what she was trying to do but she did manage to make her way down the hill – on her back.  Yes, it was very funny to watch.  She also managed to wiggle out of her collar.   
 
Blacky was a little jealous when I had to dry Luci off after her pool time.  To make it up to him, I spent some time brushing him.  He loves getting groomed.  He’ll sit very patiently while I brush out his coat . . . and that can sometimes take a long time.  Never complains, never wiggles, never flinches.  Every so often, he’ll have to get up and walk around, but he’ll always sit back in the same spot and let me continue brushing and combing him.  When I’m done, he’ll always prance around the yard to show off how beautiful he is.  Then Luci gets jealous and wants me to brush her out.  That doesn’t last very long as she remembers that she’s not a frilly girlie dog and runs off to roll in the grass some more. 
 
Yes, I’m a lucky girl. 

 

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The Best Week Ever

I can’t remember when I’ve had such a wonderful week.  I started the new job on Tuesday and I love it!!  Because of the 4th of July holiday, it was only a three day work week, I got to wear jeans to work today – the new job doesn’t have Casual Fridays, and we got to leave an hour early.  Whoo hoo.  
 
The new job is wonderful.  The stress level is non-existant at this point.  Yes, I know I’ve only worked three days but at the Large Insurance Agency, I was stressed practically from Day One.  So far everyone has been very nice and helpful.  My new boss is very patient and understanding that all of this is new to me since I’ve never worked in a medical office before.  They’ve explained all the details of the job and what all my responsibilities are and it’s wwwaayyy less than what I was responsible for at the Large Insurance Agency.  I don’t have to answer the switchboard . . . EVER!  I don’t have to order office supplies, or take care of the housekeeping and maintenance issues, or any of the hundreds of little details that I had to deal with on a daily basis.  I have one boss to deal with, one set of responsibilities, one schedule to maintain.  I don’t have any formal medical training, but with all the years of dealing with MIL’s and Hubby’s health issues, I’ve picked up enough to get by.  The Small Regional Hospital is even willing to send me to a medical terminology class to help me.  I go in at 8 a.m., I leave at 5 p.m., and I get to take an hour for lunch.  Somebody pinch me because this must be a dream! 
 
It’s also my birthday today . . . which is always a wonderful thing!  Even if it is a semi-milestone year.  It’s the year that’s halfway between 40 and 50.  Hubby took me out for dinner tonight and we’re having the Big Family Birthday Party tomorrow night.  I got my present from Hubby last week because I picked it out myself . . . but he made sure I had something to open this morning before I left for work.  I even got one of those Musical Cards.  Awww, isn’t he a sweet Hubby?! 
 
The commute has been wonderful.  I started out the week with 3/4 of a tank of gas and I still have a little more than a 1/2 a tank left.  It’s only 2.5 miles one way – so even with coming home for lunch it’s less than 10 miles a day.  When I worked for the Large Insurance Agency it was about 50 miles per day.  So my total miles driven this week totals one day’s mileage at the old job.  Not to mention the fact that my commute has gone from 45 minutes one way to less than 10. 
 
I get an hour for lunch and can come home for lunch every day.  It’s so neat to actually take an hour for lunch and then to be able to come home and see Hubby’s smiling face and get puppy kisses from Blacky and Luci . . . wow.  Yes, I even get to play fetch with them.  No, Beth, I didn’t watch Y&R this week . . . I would only get to watch 15 minutes of it before I have to head back to work.  I still watch it at 7 p.m. on SoapNet.  At the old job, I had an hour for lunch but I was often too busy to take more than a half hour and even that was spent eating at my desk.
 
The absolute best part, though, is coming home at night and not worrying about what didn’t get done during the day.  Yes, I know that this is all probably just the New Job Glow and it might not last.  But right now, I’m loving every minute of it. 
 
I knew that I was unhappy before, but I never realized just how unhappy I was until this week. 
 

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The Best Week Ever

 
I can’t remember when I’ve had such a wonderful week.  I started the new job on Tuesday and I love it!!  Because of the 4th of July holiday, it was only a three day work week, I got to wear jeans to work today – the new job doesn’t have Casual Fridays, and we got to leave an hour early.  Whoo hoo.  
 
The new job is wonderful.  The stress level is non-existant at this point.  Yes, I know I’ve only worked three days but at the Large Insurance Agency, I was stressed practically from Day One.  So far everyone has been very nice and helpful.  My new boss is very patient and understanding that all of this is new to me since I’ve never worked in a medical office before.  They’ve explained all the details of the job and what all my responsibilities are and it’s wwwaayyy less than what I was responsible for at the Large Insurance Agency.  I don’t have to answer the switchboard . . . EVER!  I don’t have to order office supplies, or take care of the housekeeping and maintenance issues, or any of the hundreds of little details that I had to deal with on a daily basis.  I have one boss to deal with, one set of responsibilities, one schedule to maintain.  I don’t have any formal medical training, but with all the years of dealing with MIL’s and Hubby’s health issues, I’ve picked up enough to get by.  The Small Regional Hospital is even willing to send me to a medical terminology class to help me.  I go in at 8 a.m., I leave at 5 p.m., and I get to take an hour for lunch.  Somebody pinch me because this must be a dream! 
 
It’s also my birthday today . . . which is always a wonderful thing!  Even if it is a semi-milestone year.  It’s the year that’s halfway between 40 and 50.  Hubby took me out for dinner tonight and we’re having the Big Family Birthday Party tomorrow night.  I got my present from Hubby last week because I picked it out myself . . . but he made sure I had something to open this morning before I left for work.  I even got one of those Musical Cards.  Awww, isn’t he a sweet Hubby?! 
 
The commute has been wonderful.  I started out the week with 3/4 of a tank of gas and I still have a little more than a 1/2 a tank left.  It’s only 2.5 miles one way – so even with coming home for lunch it’s less than 10 miles a day.  When I worked for the Large Insurance Agency it was about 50 miles per day.  So my total miles driven this week totals one day’s mileage at the old job.  Not to mention the fact that my commute has gone from 45 minutes one way to less than 10. 
 
I get an hour for lunch and can come home for lunch every day.  It’s so neat to actually take an hour for lunch and then to be able to come home and see Hubby’s smiling face and get puppy kisses from Blacky and Luci . . . wow.  Yes, I even get to play fetch with them.  No, Beth, I didn’t watch Y&R this week . . . I would only get to watch 15 minutes of it before I have to head back to work.  I still watch it at 7 p.m. on SoapNet.  At the old job, I had an hour for lunch but I was often too busy to take more than a half hour and even that was spent eating at my desk.
 
The absolute best part, though, is coming home at night and not worrying about what didn’t get done during the day.  Yes, I know that this is all probably just the New Job Glow and it might not last.  But right now, I’m loving every minute of it. 
 
I knew that I was unhappy before, but I never realized just how unhappy I was until this week. 
 
 
 
 
 

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The Grand Farewell Tour

 
No, I’m not leaving MSN Spaces . . . this is a description of my last week at the Large Insurance Agency.  From the minute it became public knowledge that I was leaving, it was a virtual Love Fest for Pammie.  From my co-workers . . . not necessarily from my boss.  All of a sudden I was hearing what a wonderful person I was, how great I was at doing my job, how are we ever going to get along without you. Blah.  Blah. Blah.  Yes, it was all nice to hear but, uh, folks, I had only been at that job for a year.  One year, one month, and one day to be exact.  Not that I’m counting.  
 
So I gave my notice to Boss Lady and she accepted it without showing any shock or surprise or any emotion whatsoever.  A true HR professional.  I told her the truth.  I wanted a job closer to home and I found it.  I also told her that the job was too big for one person to handle.  There were too many little details that had to be taken care of.  She said she understood the need to be closer to home with gas being $4.00 a gallon and she was happy for me.  As for the job being too big for one person, well, we’ll talk about that later.  I knew what that meant . . . my comments were going to be swept under the rug and forgotten.  Okay, so I would play along and the official corporate version of "why I’m leaving" became the closer to home story.  
 
The unofficial version was the job is too big for one person to handle.  There are 18 owners, 10 agents, and 100 other employees who potentially need something from me at any given time.  Everything from planning the special events, maintaining the corporate sponsorships, and renewing the memberships and subscriptions.   Not to mention planning the regular monthly meetings, travel arrangements, maintenance and housekeeping issues, and invoice review.  There were a couple of girls that were interested in the job and I gave them my honest opinion.  Yes, it was a bigger paycheck but it was also a lot of hours.  I was averaging 42 to 45 hours a week – and with a 45 minute one way commute it wasn’t worth it. 
 
I had lunch dates every day for a week.  I got some really cool good-bye gifts from some of my favorite people.  I heard the same wonderful speeches several times last week.  It sure did a lot to boost my confidence.  But I still don’t think that the Boss Lady took my comments seriously. 
 
Remember how I volunteered to work through the move?  I said it and I meant it.  Boss Lady had other ideas though. She didn’t need me for the move after all.  She told me that I could leave Friday at 3 p.m.  Okay, fine.  Whatever.  But true to form, I left 45 minutes later than planned. 
 
Yea, I’m glad that chapter of my life is over.   

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