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  • Writer's pictureA.S. Morris

Upright / Reversed Strength

A big part of who I am and what makes me tick is my career. I have had the same career since I was 21. Fast forward 14 years and I am still here. I have had a few changes during the time; different companies, different states, same mission. Save and enhance lives. For me this career enmeshment happened overnight. A May-December romance if you will. An enigmatic and charismatic affair that offered such a delicious taste of the real world. My paycheck had a comma, my parking was free (I worked in a major city), and I was dumb enough to think I belonged. I knew I was in trouble the first time I heard .."arterial stenosis at the anastomosis." Vascular complications post liver transplant were five words that were not on my resume, anywhere.

I started undergrad pre-med and graduated Mass Comm and Strategic Integrated Public Relations. My masters degrees are in Healthcare Administration and Healthcare Ethics. I also recently picked up a couple healthcare finance certifications. I think I know what I want my end game to be. However, I am currently not sure how I want to get there. I am still deliciously in love with my career. Its the type of career that once you've made that commitment you don't stray. There is no divorce. Your eyes will wander but your heart will never leave. 14 years later, I am clearly a lifer. Orange jumpsuit and all. Yet, I am currently wondering is it time for that prison break. Is orange still my color?

I know what I want to be when I grow up. I am just in this rut at the moment of how do I want to get there. Is it time to branch off into complimentary career paths to gain knowledge and exposure? I feel like I am at the point in my career where I need to home in on a certain specialty within my field. Am I over thinking the whole thing. My career comes with a high percentage of all hands on deck. You don't say no and you get it done. Sometimes regardless of the personal costs. The enmeshment. My job title is other duties as assigned. Almost anyone who has ever held a job can relate to that statement. All job descriptions have that little gem as the last bullet point. Perhaps they are saving the best for last? More than likely they are putting it last in hopes that people have stopped reading. I simply turn on my phone or outlook for what my job of the day will be. It isn't until after the kids go to bed do I get to focus on my projects, the things that really make my soul happy. Its almost as though my career has become a side hustle. I clearly need to work on finding a fun side hustle.

I'm not naïve enough to hope for a crystal ball to provide clarity. Perhaps I will embrace the season and ask the Sanderson sisters for advice. Perhaps I will also ask on how to successfully do it all while being a mom and a wife. There also used to be some level of friendships tossed in there however apparently COVID decided again that .

My oldest has special needs. Some days are great. Some weeks are fight club. We are presently in the fight club stage of things. Bloody lips, pulled hair, bite marks....its like an afternoon in an Irish pub. Mixing bar brawls with lack of professional engagement is a dangerous cocktail. I have been struggling at work. Lately it seems I am drowning with work and projects and email. So. Many. Emails. I realize I am equally as guilty for sending emails but I am starting to think I could wallpaper the Taj Mahal will the amount of emails I receive in day. Outlook is not why I got into my career. It was to save and enhance lives. As I am an expert wordsmith I could take any profession and tell you how it "saves and enhances lives." I need to actually believe those words. Find the tangible. Spreadsheets only enhance aggravation. Working in healthcare I actually loath spreadsheets, I personally feel it is the quickest way for a patient to become a number. I like knowing Mrs. Smith makes her grandmothers apple butter for Thanksgiving every year. We were chosen to make a difference in her life, we can chose to build that rapport to make a difference in our lives.

At the end of the day I am not sure I am making a difference anymore. I am not sure what I am doing on a daily basis. I'm simply keeping the plates spinning, I think. Not as fast as I wish I was. Feel like I could. Perhaps these are unrealistic expectations. Perhaps I am washed up at 35. I am not in a position where I can afford to be drowned in work. Timely responses are expected, always. Cell phone and email are always on. Service is always with a smile. Inboxes are always out of control but running smoothly. Taking seriously the responsibility that my actions or lack their of are a direct reflection on others.

My career chose me. When I started work that first day my senior year of undergrad I never could have imagined that ride that would follow. The memories I have made along the way. The special place in my heart that hundreds of patients, families, and colleagues have taken hold of. The tough reality from remembering the sobering moments of holding a mother on the floor of an ICU to threating to throw a lap top out the window. This juxtaposition of professional realities.

This year and navigating COVID and healthcare. Financial mitigation. Furloughs. Workforce reduction. Zoom. Webex. FaceTime. Has been a hot mess. I also am working through all of this while making my was through my first year. Year one of depression, suicide, substance abuse recovery, and anxiety. 15 days till the big anniversary. Perhaps all of this is leading to professional cold feet. Perhaps the concerns with my son and a big personal milestone ahead has me aching for control. Perhaps I am aggravated that I didn't become a professional knitter or bee keeper.

I tried to take today off, like legitimately off. No emails or text messages. it lasted 90 minutes. I also tried to take tomorrow off, that ship has also sailed. Work needs to get done. I do realize there will always be work. Always. Whether I am in my role or not; the work will never cease. Would I have these thoughts and feelings if this truly was the right job for me? In my head I know what I need from my role to check all the boxes. What I don't know is are those check boxes feasible? I am fairly confident that my honeymoon was the only vacation I have taken that I complete disconnected. This was primarily due my new husband however we were also in a foreign country....roaming is expensive. This was also over a decade ago, international service was not what it is now.

Maybe I'll join a nomadic community and live in a yurt. I would imagine wi-fi isn't feasible in authentic yurt living. I am also fairly confident that a hand full of readers are quietly thinking to themselves that "she would never live in a yurt." Challenge accepted.

So is it time for a new job? A yurt? A tarot card reading that will provide me with all the answers? I'm fairly confidant even if Miss Cleo was still around that $2.99 a minute wouldn't provide me with guidance.

Maybe this has just been a hell of week; 37 days crammed in to 5 and we still have two days to go. I'm envious of our 12 week old puppy whose biggest decision of the day is how many people can I get to snuggle with me. Who at the moment is sleeping on my feet out on our deck. Puppy living is right up there with yurt living. Maybe I'll become a sherpa; that would combine the best of both worlds.

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