Friday, May 25, 2018

The Cheese Grates It Long And Hard: Self-Analysis: Why Did I Apply For A Job I Don't Want?

I created this post on my blog for discussion of mental health related issues yesterday. It is rawer and contains saltier language than I usually use on this blog. I am reposting it here because it contains an honest assessment of being a contract worker/self-employed and of being a disabled worker in the United States. 
I hope that if anyone reading this is having difficulty making a decision regarding employment, it will encourage you to assess your situation honestly and do what is right for you. I spent a lot of years working in a profession and a way that wasn't really suited to me. However, it paid a lot better than what I am doing now pays. 
When assessing your own choices, put all the cards on the table and don't hold back. If you take nothing else away from this post, let that be the thing you take away.
Apparently the original post has too many f-bombs for Google Adwords, so I have edited it to be less spicy.

Dean Winchester is right as rain. 
My definition of crazy is repeatedly doing the same thing that never worked before and hoping it will work this time.
So, considering that I do not want to work in healthcare again, that I hate being a slave to the time clock, and that I have multiple health issues which mean that not losing Medicaid is critical, what the fuck did I go and apply for a job as an overnight caregiver for the elderly for?
I'm not sure what order to do this analysis in, so I guess I'll start by reviewing the pros and cons of my current job.

Pros: I never HAVE to go to work. 
I am solely responsible for whether or not I work. 
I will not be penalized by a boss or company for not working. I don't have a set hour when I need to show up. I sign in when I get there. Nobody will be shaking their finger at me and telling me I should have been there at X time or that I need to work X number of days and hours. 
Sometimes the payout is really good. 
It's easy to monitor when I'm reaching the cutoff limit to be able to keep Medicaid.
I don't have to request time off. If I want to go to an event, I just go. If I'm sick, I don't have to call in. I just don't go to work that day.
I can easily change my schedule.
Other than not driving like a moron and getting in an accident or hitting a pedestrian, I am not responsible for anyone's well-being. I am responsible for dropping the customer's order off in a timely manner and being polite. That's all. 

Cons: I never HAVE to go to work. 
I am solely responsible for whether or not I work. I don't have a set time when I need to show up. 
I work for a fee of $4.50 per delivery plus tips. So if the customer is a cheapskate and business is slow, I might be making less than minimum wage.
I don't get benefits or paid time off.
Wear and tear on my car is significant.
My job is not socially significant. I am not "giving back to the community" when I do this job. It is not a "helping" profession. It is not a credentialed position. Other than a driver's license and basic common sense, one does not need to possess a specific skill set to do this job. It does not take "a special kind of person" to do this job.

Now, let's look a little deeper into some of this.
I worked as a caregiver of one variety or another for a cumulative of approximately 25 years between 1988 and 2017.
I suffered major health reversals in 2017. Where I used to be able to work long hours at very physically demanding jobs, I am no longer able to do so. 
I lost my job as a homecare nurse for pediatric patients in mid-March of 2017. I fell into a deep sleep while working an overnight shift and woke up to see the patient's father sitting on the bed glaring at me. Judging by the last time I had looked at the clock, I had been very soundly asleep for about 20 minutes. I did not recall falling asleep. I came to from a deep, dark, dreamless state. 
In analyzing some of the symptoms I have presented with following this moment, I believe I had a small stroke (CVA) as opposed to a TIA. A TIA, or transient ischemic attack, does not leave lasting symptoms. A TIA is an indicator that a patient is at higher risk for a future stroke than a person who has never had a TIA. However, in and of itself, a TIA does not leave lasting damage.
I do not have memory problems and even people close to me would not see anything different in my presentation. However, my cognition was altered after this event in subtle ways. I have more trouble multitasking. The way I write has changed to a degree. Not stylistically, but in the method I use to approach writing. I used to pride myself on being able to take multiple writing prompts and use them to create flash fiction. It is more difficult for me to do that at this point.
This issue became markedly apparent when I tried to go back to work in a long-term care setting last summer and was compounded by the problems created by my diabetes. Although I understood each of the factors in the patient care equation, I could not put these factors into action. 
This is the equation:
Patient X needs medication Y at Hour Z, while Patient B needs medication C at Hour Z. Multiply the number of patients by 30. They all need medications at around the same time.
This sort of thing was not a problem for me in the past. However, I stood there staring at the screen, knowing who the patient was, what the drug was, what the drug was used for, which patient should be tended to first, given the particulars of their medications. I knew all these things, and I was unable to act. It was a subtle but critical problem.
The confusion was compounded by the fact that it was impossible to take a break, and my blood sugar tanked.
I could no longer do the kind of work that I had always been so proud of being able to do: hard work with long hours helping extremely impaired people. No time for breaks: you're on the go from the time you hit the floor and often have to stay after the shift has ended to finish charting. The demands on nurses and aides in a long-term care setting are completely unrealistic if I'm to be honest. The profession has a high rate of burnout and injury.
The job I'm applying for would involve working one-on-one with a single patient.
I will examine the pros and cons of this job.

Steady paycheck
Overnight shift. I know that most people think this would be a con, but I don't do well working day shifts, so, for me, it's a pro.
Benefits including PTO.
Being able to feel "good" about myself for working in a "helper" profession.
I am experienced in doing this sort of work.
Not feeling like I need to lie to my relatives about what I do.
My mother and brother think I work as a medical courier. If they knew I delivered food, they'd be browbeating me to look for another job.
I wouldn't have to quit my current job.

Slave to the time clock
Having to beg for time off
I don't know if I can physically do this kind of work at this point with the reversals I've suffered in my own health.
I really don't want to be responsible for someone else's well-being.

Now, a look at what's going on inside my skull.

I used to be able to work a lot. I used to work 60 hour weeks. I used to work two jobs. I was proud of my ability to do those things. I was making $40,000 a year.
I was working in a helper profession. My family could be proud of me. I was doing good for society.

Truth be told, I was miserable a lot of the time. 

I am the kind of person who prefers soft deadlines. I like being able to be someplace at "around three o' clock" as opposed to having to be there at three, but, really, you'd better be there 15 minutes early, and if you aren't, you're a horrible person who is inconveniencing others.

It's stressful being responsible for someone else's well-being. Yes, there's a sense of satisfaction with doing jobs where one is responsible for others' well-being. I experienced that satisfaction many times. However, if I'm honest, I also often experienced the feeling that I really wished I never had to do it again.

I am the sort of person who tends to put other people's needs before mine. There are situations where I don't mind this. If it comes down to my son or me, my son will always come first. However, this tendency can become pathological, particularly if you are someone who has difficulty saying "no."
At the point when I was fired from my homecare nursing job in 2017, I was working between 48-60 hours per week. I had two patients through my main job and one that I worked with every other week through a second job. 
I was extremely physically ill as well as having my usual health problems at the point when the sleeping incident occurred. My coordinator reasoned that since I had contracted the illness from the patient I worked with three nights a week, I could continue working with him since I couldn't re-infect him as he was already infected. This illness was respiratory in nature, either flu or bronchitis. 
I had been having more and more trouble staying awake for a full twelve hours prior to the incident that cost me my job. 
I didn't feel that I could be honest about my health problems with my coordinator. He would often talk about how they were going to get rid of the nurse who worked the four-day week with my main patient and have me take over her shifts. This woman had lupus and so tended to have to take time off. I would often end up covering some of her shifts. Given the way the coordinator talked about replacing her, I didn't feel like I could be honest about my own health problems.
My coordinator had a very demanding personality and working for that company came to feel like I was in an abusive marriage. When I applied for work with a company where I would be doing a different kind of nursing, my coordinator called me outside of business hours while I was with a patient to cuss me out and tell me that I needed to commit to the company because they only gave regular cases to nurses they could "depend on."
I pointed out that I wasn't looking to change jobs, just to diversify and to have a fallback for the down-times that are inevitable with homecare. He reiterated that they needed to be able to rely on me to be faithful to the company or they couldn't offer me full-time work. 
I said "fine, put me on PRN then."
He didn't expect that answer. 
I ended up with three different coordinators begging me to commit to the company. They offered me a raise. I ended up doing what they wanted, but part of me knew that it was a mistake. I don't like controlling partners, and this company had become a controlling partner.
I'm monogamous in romantic partnerships. An employment situation is an open marriage, as far as I'm concerned. I have no shame in admitting that I'm going to go with the employer that offers me the best deal and that I'm always on the lookout for a better deal. If employers want to keep employees, they need to treat them right. 

Now, I want to examine a factor which comes to me courtesy of the absolutely corrupt, massively screwed up, batsh*t insane healthcare system in the United States.
When I only had hypothyroidism to deal with, I could roll with whatever crap-ass insurance an employer offered. I only had to get lab draws once a year. I now have a myriad of other health problems, including diabetes and glaucoma. I have to get labs done quarterly. I have to have two specialized eye exams every year.
There are a lot of (terrible) insurance plans out there. Most employers offer full-time employees some sort of worthless insurance.
Most doctors take one variety of lousy insurance but not others.
I don't know what sort of insurance this employer offers. I will ask them today and see if it's a plan that my current provider takes.
If not, I either can't work full time so as not to lose Medicaid, or I have to work full time and then buy worthless insurance from the healthcare marketplace. If I suffer further reversals in my health and have to apply for Medicaid again, there will be a waiting period. Anything not covered by the lousy, high-cost insurance will have to be paid for out of pocket. 
The cutoff I can earn on a monthly basis and keep Medicaid is $1000 a month.
Put that in your pipe and smoke it.
Thing is, once I get through paying the $250 per month on the low-end premium for the bad health insurance, plus paying for doctor visits and medications, I might be just as well off continuing to work part-time so I can keep Medicaid. 
So, tell me again how we don't need universal healthcare and how everyone who receives Medicaid and/or SNAP is "lazy." Everything costs so effing much that sometimes people don't have a choice.
I don't qualify for SNAP because I refuse to liquidate my 401K from the job that I had for close to 11 years. If I don't touch it until retirement age, it will be worth $50,000. I want to leave that to my son when I go belly up. If I liquidate it now, I lose about $18,000 of it. That doesn't sound like a very good deal to me. Consequently, I'm hungry a lot.
So, yeah, we folks who have to make use of the welfare programs are really riding high on the hog. 
The welfare queen is a myth.
It is unconscionable to punish people for being sick or disabled. In fact, I think it's downright evil.
You know what's hard to do when you're hungry?
Be motivated.
Be hopeful.
Work hard.
You know what else is shitty?
Looking down on people who choose to work in service professions such as non-high-end food-related jobs, i.e. bartenders, waitstaff, counter help, and delivery personnel. Believing that people in such jobs don't deserve to make a living wage. Thinking it's okay to insist that people in service jobs and other humble professions should work their asses off and come away with nothing. 
Thinking that it's fine to have a servitor class that gets treated like garbage is a hallmark of a failed society.
Which gets back to my problem.

I don't really want to go back into caregiving.
I really don't want to go back into caregiving.
Really, I don't want to go back into caregiving.

There may be some benefits from doing so. The question is, do the negative factors outweigh the positive ones?
I kind of think they do.
I like the freedoms that my current job provides.
You know what I would be cool with doing overnight?
House-sitting. Pet sitting. Like, for cats. Or cute little dogs. Or friendly big dogs.

I might be interested in doing pediatric homecare again, but with the black mark on my license following the incident which led to my firing, I don't think I'll ever get another job in that area.
I honestly don't want to do elder care anymore. I did it for more than twenty years. I kind of think that should buy me some kind of reprieve. 

I'm going to go ahead and interview for this job today. It may offer me something that I feel is a worthwhile tradeoff.
I may not get hired at all. 
Part of me would be relieved if that were the case because I think I'm doing this for reasons that aren't exactly pure. 
I'm interested in a steady paycheck.
It isn't that I don't care about the elderly or about helping people. 
It's simply that my own health has deteriorated to the point where I have to look out for Number One, regardless of how ignoble society may perceive doing so to be.
Ain't like I ever got anything but punished for putting everyone else first anyway.

~The Cheese Hath Grated The Living F**k Out Of It~

Monday, May 21, 2018

Worth the Investment: A Freezer

A freezer is a worthwhile investment regardless of the size of your family. The above freezer is the exact one that I bought a few years ago. It's just my son and me, so this size of freezer is appropriate. If you have a big family or there is a hunter in your family so you need to store large amounts of meat, a larger freezer would be the way to go.
This little freezer only cost around $150. I got it from Wal Mart, and they delivered it for free. It has been very reliable and has helped save money by allowing me to purchase frozen items when they are on sale and stockpile them.
I am also able to save money by making casseroles and freezing the leftovers.
This freezer has paid for itself many times over.
A freezer is a sound investment which will make life easier in the long run.


Monday, May 14, 2018

Phone app: Make Money 💰

I use the Make Money app almost every day. You get 20 points just for checking in each day and earn more when you complete tasks. I have discovered helpful financial management apps, money saving apps, money making apps, and fun games.
The app is free. It can be found in the iTunes and Google play store.
Enter code zcdicf and earn 20 credits to start.


Friday, May 11, 2018

Be Brave

I am pleased to recommend the Brave browser. Click the handsome Lion above to read more and download Brave for yourself. 
I have used Chrome pretty much exclusively for many years, but Chrome doesn't work on my older laptop computer. It freezes and crashes constantly. Firefox and Sea Monkey (both made by Mozilla) tend to have problems with scripts slowing things down and have had these problems for years. Don't even get me started about Internet Explorer, and Edge isn't that much better.
I'm still keeping Chrome on my desktop computer because sometimes I need to have two browsers open in order to use multiple accounts. However, I have started using Brave as my primary browser.
Brave has many wonderful features such as a built-in ad blocker and blocking of trackers. It loads faster than Chrome and doesn't have the problem of scripts hanging it up like Firefox. It is truly the best thing to come along in browser technology in a long time.
Is it time for you to be Brave?
It costs nothing to find out. Click the Lion and see if Brave is the right browser for you.

Disclaimer: I am not an employee or affiliate of Brave or its parent company, and I have not been compensated for the opinions expressed in this post.


Thursday, May 10, 2018

Money Saving App: Drop

Drop is an app that gives you cash back on your purchases when you link an account. Search for Drop in the iTunes App Store or the Google Play store. Enter this code for 1000 points to start. h5c9u
I have not been using Drop long, but I just signed up to get points for my Amazon purchases, which can’t hurt!


Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Paid Surveys: Product Report Card

Stock photo

Disclaimer: I am not employed by Product Report Card, its parent company, or any associated companies, and am not being compensated in any fashion for the opinion presented in this post.

Product Report Card is a free to join survey site which pays ten cents per survey attempted, even if you are not selected to complete the survey. I don't get a lot of survey opportunities from them. I have earned $8.95 doing surveys for them in the past year.

Pros: The site is legitimate. You earn at least ten cents even if you don't qualify for the survey.

Cons: Not a lot of opportunities.

You should never be charged to join a survey site. If the site asks for money, leave. 
If you find one of those pages claiming that you can make thousands of dollars a month doing surveys, save your money. There are legitimate pages that can direct you to legitimate paid survey opportunities. Check my sidebar. The ones charging for the information will give you the same links as the free sites.


Sunday, May 6, 2018

Easy Baked Eggs

Stock photo

I found this simple recipe for baked eggs at Copykat Recipes via Yummly. This recipe hails from a time before people decided that butter was the Devil's axle grease. It is suitable for vegetarians and omnivores. Not suitable for vegans, people who are allergic to eggs, or people who believe that butter is the Devil's axle grease.

You will need a tablespoon of butter per each egg. As I was cooking for two people (me and my son), I made four eggs. The recipe suggests cooking the eggs at 325 degrees for 15 minutes, but I was making cinnamon rolls also which needed to to be cooked at 375 degrees. I like my eggs on the firm side, so it turned out fine.

Step One: melt butter. I used an 8X8 glass casserole dish for four eggs. If you are making fewer eggs, you could use an individual oven-safe dish. If making more, size up the casserole dish as needed. One could also make individual eggs in muffin cups. As I was making four eggs, I used four tablespoons of butter.

Step two, crack eggs into melted butter. Try not to break the yolks, but it isn't the end of the world if you do. I didn't break any yolks, honest! (Yeah, I broke one.)

Step two, sprinkle with sea salt and ground pepper. You could also add herbs or cheese if you wish.

Step three, bake for 15 minutes. I baked a pan of Pillsbury cinnamon rolls and a pan of center cut bacon at the same time. Center cut bacon is wonderful. It isn't anywhere near as fatty as regular bacon, so there's less mess to clean up. I also think it has a better flavor.

Step four, eat and enjoy!


Saturday, May 5, 2018

Libre Office

Click the above image to go to the official Libre Office download page

Disclosure: I am not an affiliate or employee of Libre Office or The Document Foundation. The following is an independent opinion for which I have not been compensated in any fashion.

If you are looking for a suite of programs to replace Microsoft Office, look no further than Libre Office.You can read more at the official Libre Office website and on Wikipedia
Libre Office looks and feels like Microsoft Office and supports documents created in Microsoft Office. It is 100% free. 
My son told me about Libre Office a couple of months ago. I admit that I was afraid to try it at first. I have been using Microsoft Office literally since the early 1990's. However, once I finally downloaded the program, I was sold. The greatest part about being sold (aside from how well Libre Office works) is the fact that it cost me nothing. 
If you click the image above, you'll be taken to the official Libre Office download page. Always use the official product page to download any software. If you google the software you want to download, you will find multiple links. Many such links contain malware. Never trust them. Always use the official link.
Try Libre Office for yourself. Like me, you may be pleasantly surprised.


Tuesday, May 1, 2018

When Setbacks Sideline Your Ambitions

Copyright Ayelet Keshet

This is a blog that I generally endeavor to keep my personal problems away from. I have a blog which addresses my ongoing struggle with mental illness, and, for the most part, I do not see the need to discuss my personal problems here. However, on occasion, I feel that disclosure of my own issues may be helpful to someone else who feels that there is no way a person with certain handicaps can achieve success.
There is an unfortunate tendency in modern society to postulate that only those who are hale and hardy and possessed of a certain type of beauty can excel in the world. While I am not yet the picture of success, I would like to work to disprove this, if I may be so bold as to say, ugly and bigoted assertion.
Those of us who are born with physical and/or psychological challenges tend to experience setbacks that people without these challenges find difficult to imagine. These setbacks go beyond the condition itself.
The vast majority of people who are homeless or living in poverty are not "lazy". 
They are people with (often invisible) conditions which render them unable to conform to society's rigid and Draconian standards.
It can be difficult if not impossible to maintain a positive approach to life when one feels as if one is being attacked at every turn, including when seeking help.
Those who are unable to pay for the help they need are decried as shiftless.
Those who fear seeking help because of previous bad experiences are decried as unmotivated to change.
Those who do not wish to take dangerous medications for their conditions are admonished as being uncooperative and deserving of whatever misfortune befalls them.
Those who feel hopeless are admonished to "think positive" and "try harder."
Let us focus for the moment on mental illness.
I am not the sort of person who believes that mental illness can be "cured." In fact, I cringe when people make such assertions.
As someone who has lived with mental illness my entire life, I believe that, while there is no "cure" for conditions such as mine, that useful coping skills can be taught to those living with psychiatric illness, and, such coping skills are more effective when learned at a young age.
Mental illness is not "one size fits all." Most people who have never dealt with mental illness, either in themselves or a person close to them, believe that there are pat answers, mostly involving medications. Some people do not respond well to medications. Such people tend to be admonished as "uncooperative."
Physical illnesses do not always respond well to medications either.
With both mental and physical conditions, the sufferer tends to be seen as broken, damaged, and having failed. People see them as deserving of their misery.
I will turn the focus to my own physical conditions, mostly endocrine issues.
I have always been admonished as being "lazy" and not "trying harder." My diabetes and thyroid issues are severe enough that I struggle with activity intolerance. I have to take frequent breaks or I start to become dizzy and confused. This is not conducive to the type of work I did for many years, caring for elderly and infirm patients. 
Rather than seeing that I had a problem of my own, I was admonished as being lazy, uncooperative, and stupid. I was fired rather than laid off, which would have allowed me to maintain a modicum of dignity.
I can no longer work "normal" jobs. I went from making $40,000 a year to making $12,000 a year. What little savings I had was quickly decimated.
I have two cats, both of whom need veterinary care that I can't afford. I live in a place which, evidently, contains toxins. Most of my cats have died prematurely, either due to cancers or organ failure. I realized this pattern only this year. I myself currently am awaiting screening for suspected endometrial cancer. Whatever is in this place may have contributed to the worsening of my own endocrine problems. I don't know, and I may never know.
"Just move" is not an option.
I'm not going to blow sunshine up anyone's ass. I'm not going to tell you that by having a "positive attitude" or by praying to (fill in the name of chosen deity) you will succeed and find happiness. I don't know if you will or not. I hope you do. 
I am only here to share with you the things I'm trying myself or things that work to help me save a little money here and there. I only share opportunities that are legitimate. No "get rich quick" schemes. No pie-in-the sky. Just things that might help all of us survive in very difficult times.
I'd like to tell you that it gets better, but in all honesty, I don't know if that's true.
I can only wish you luck, and I hope that something I share may help you along the way.