Tuesday, April 7, 2015

I just quit my job.

I just sent in my two-weeks notice at the Memory Care residence.
The worst thing was not the low pay, it was the near impossibility of implementing Best Practices in Dementia Care, despite the marketing department's much trumpeted advertisement that they provide them.

I took this job thinking of it an an internship. But as  the thirty-first (31st!) resident moves into Memory Care, I find myself mostly doing crowd control without time to learn and explore much else.

This on top of being paid like a high schooler but expected to do the job a director, from training-in my coworkers to designing programs for people aged two to one hundred.

The final straw was learning that my boss, the full-time activities director, is going on leave all summer long, and management is replacing her at only 20-hours/week with a young person "not yet ready to be a director".

I found this out yesterday at the meeting where management spent one minute giving me the Employee of the Month award (I'd come in on my day off for this) and ten minutes talking about the pet policy, because a dog had "left a present" outside the administrator's window.

I am sad to leave the residents, but at least I won't feel guilty thinking of them missing me, because they won't notice I'm gone. They won't remember me today when I appear on the floor, which I am just about to do. But I'll miss them––I expect they'll appear in my dreams for years, as do residents from previous nursing homes where I've worked.
I trust I have done well by them, so I am proud of that.

I think maybe I'll give up on the idea of working in health care, though, after two failed tries now.
For the next couple months, I'm going to focus, focus, focus on writing the book I just signed on for--I can't afford to spend as much time on this book as I have on my previous books, so I really want to get cracking---and hopefully I'll get more short-term publishing work too.
We shall see.

Right now, mostly I just feel relieved.


Michael Leddy said...

Their loss. Fare forward, Fresca.

The Crow said...

Their great loss, Fresca. I think there is a match out there for you and your skills, your compassion and your understanding. People like you are a rarity, and perhaps the last hope for people who may end up just being cash cows for the greedy warehouse owners.

Bravo, though, for having the courage and wisdom to move on before the situation wore you down. Bravo! (Or should that be "Brava"?)

gz said...

agreed, their loss. So it seems to be in social care in many countries....and through society...box ticking rules.
If you are actually good at something, that doesn't fit in the box and it scares people.

Zhoen said...

I wish I could say I was surprized. Condolences, you will miss your people I expect.

Lady Chardonnay said...

WOW. I felt shocked when I read the title of your post ... and then again, the handwriting has been on the wall for a while. What a journey this has been! As others have said, it is truly their loss (and maybe more will be revealed) -- and I'm so glad you have a cool-sounding project to engage you. Good for you for knowing when and where to draw a line, something so many of us never master. Cheers, dear Fresca! I'm toasting you with my coffee mug.

Fresca said...

I'm just dashing off to work in 2 minutes, but wanted to say THANK YOU, all!

I know if I were on Facebook I'd get dozens of "likes", but I truly prefer a few thoughtful comments from people I actually converse with, such as you all.

Clowncar said...

I'm truly sorry to hear this. You are caring and empathetic and informed and engaged, and your brand of help is hard to come by in these facilities. Workers as dedicated as you are rare, and so very important to the quality of life of the individuals you care for, as well as the quality of life of the family. You'll be missed, F, even if you think you will be forgotten. Goodness such as yours does not disappear from the world. I don't know where it goes. But I am certain it remains.

Julia said...

I agree with Michael. Their loss, and society's loss. I admire your ability to know when to stay and when to leave.

Fresca said...

Thank you for that reminder that I will be missed, even if not remembered in the frontal lobes of the people I've worked with.

You know, I do believe that too, that "goodness remains" somehow--
--and I trust that the many, many moments of true happiness and meaning that I've shared with the folks on 2nd floor are ... like quarks---real, real, real, even if passing in a flash.

The business of health care for is so screwed up...
I actually think they're crazy to let me go---I mean,if I was management, I would immediately sit down with a worker like me and say, "What do you need to do your work well? How can we support you?"

In fact, my boss has asked me that, but didn't have any power to give me the things I requested:
more help, and/or
fewer people
(and more money, though that wasn't even top of the list, it would help ease the burden)

She's done what she could:
she did arrange for Activities budget to pay for me to go to a conference on dementia (which management didn't want to pay for).

It's weird to me that they just let good workers go (I'm not the only one) because we are/I am worth money to them:
The families have even gone to management to say they love what I'm doing with their people.
The marketing director has told me I'm a selling point!

Sigh. It's so fucked up, and of course the people who really pay the price are the residents and their families... AS YOU KNOW.

Anyway, I am going to look into volunteering at a senior day place nearby that is nonprofit and does a lot of community work, because this work is, or can be, a lot of fun, honestly---in Activities, I met people at their best... and me at my best too.