Wednesday, July 11, 2012

32 and starting anew

I have always been told I could do whatever I wanted in life. I have always been taught to follow my dreams and go for it. So that is what I have always done. In my childhood I always said I wanted to be a doctor. As I got older I even narrowed the field down and was thinking I would be a Pediatrician or go into Family Practice so that I could spend time working with kids. I loved the idea of helping people and especially to make them feel better. … Then after high school I was going to Moorpark and taking my general education courses. I was working at Albertsons and was looking into medical schools and their programs. (I was really interested in a program in Irvine)

As I continued to look into it I also began to think of other “goals” I had for my life. I began to think about someday becoming a wife and a mother. Wanting to have a family and be able to travel. I wanted to be able to go places with my family and to have good experiences. … So I started to wonder if I was really ready to go into medical school, to know that with school and internship and residency the next several years I would be surrounded by school and all that becoming a physician would require. I knew it would make the family goals a little tougher to accomplish. I also thought about the cost. I was barely making more than minimum wage, my parents did a lot for us as kids and helped us with what they could, but I didn’t have a “college fund” so although they would support me I knew I would have large loan amounts to re-pay someday.

While I was contemplating all of this I had a co-worker who had just become an EMT. I started talking to him about that.  It seemed really exciting. I never really thought about becoming a Paramedic before and EMT was the first step (and was relatively easy too) so I looked into it. I took an EMT course. After that I was looking to work as an EMT. I was learning it was going to be difficult to get a job in Ventura County as a new EMT, and at the time I didn’t have adequate/reliable car to drive to LA County for work. So I was certified but still at Albertsons. After a couple years (and my first re-certification for my EMT) I went to AMR in LA. I was going to be working in Glendale. I was in a medical profession! Things were going well and during my time there we had even moved and were now in North Hollywood so even my commute had become easier. Then unfortunately thanks to not slamming on the brakes and red-light cameras after 8 months I lost that job L It was hard but a few months later I got picked up at Gold Coast Ambulance in Oxnard and within a few months was already trained as an EMT-D! I was now able to work 1-1 with a Paramedic and respond to 911 calls! It was amazing! I loved it! I was gaining such great experience and everyday was rewarding!

I was in my 5th year at Gold Coast and although I wasn’t sure when or how I was going to do it I was wanting to go to Paramedic school and increase my certification and be able to do more. Then I messed up my knee… 3 surgeries (and several years) later I have never been able to return to the EMS field! It was/has been really hard on me! I still sometimes want to cry when I see an ambulance rolling code. I feel like a hunting dog sometimes, I will hear the sirens and my ears perk up and I am looking around to see where they are and where they may be heading. Knowing that I needed to get into a less physical job and being completely unemployed with no income I was searching for all kinds of jobs!

A friend of mine called me one day and asked me if I would be interested in working at CMH hospital doing admitting work on-call. I said definitely and the next day I had an interview. Within about 2 weeks I was starting that job! It was going great. Within a short amount of time I was working full time hours (even though I was still “on-call”) and I was hoping that a spot would open up so I could be picked up as a permanent employee. I got lucky too that I was working in the ER admitting for the majority of my shifts. So I felt right at home a bit. (Although it was hard to not jump in and help when it came to patient care) During that time I got a call back from the County of Ventura on a dispatching job I had applied for. I went in for the interview and was offered the position. After about a year of being on-call I now had a permanent full time job again with benefits. (I might have stayed at CMH had I been getting benefits) So I began another new job.

Working for the county was nice. I was working regular business type hours. I was getting my weekends off and I was working at another hospital. But I was in the maintenance department. Not exactly the most desirable position but I had great co-workers and we all got along really well. I was doing dispatch and I knew I was appreciated. It wasn’t always an easy job but I was successful at it. Just over a year later I got a letter from the CHP and was being offered another chance at an interview for employment. (2 years prior I had tested and interviewed but not hired) At first I was somewhat hesitant to respond because I was so happy where I was, but I knew in the long run it would be better pay and opportunities for me. I also knew it meant 911 work again (via phones) and working with officers not maintenance guys on the radio. That seemed much more exciting than clogged toilets and burned out light bulbs etc. that I was dealing with in the maintenance dept! So I went ahead and returned the letter of interest. Then things quickly started changing. At work they started making some changes and suddenly my job was becoming less secure and shakier. Things were changing in the County of Ventura Healthcare agency especially in regards to the maintenance dept. The timing couldn’t have been better. It looked promising for the CHP job and at the same time all my good friends at the county job got transferred out and I was left with a staff that didn’t like everyone I had been working with! It was really hard for me. I was miserable and couldn’t wait to get out and start with CHP.

Finally the day came that I could give my 2-week notice, I couldn’t have been happier! I was even able to take 2 ½ weeks off between my last day at county and my first day at CHP. I was ecstatic! Things went well and I got to spend 3 weeks at the CHP academy in training! It wasn’t always easy but I made some great friends and was really feeling comfortable and learning a lot! It was great knowing I was going to be answering 911 calls and helping make a difference again! I came back from training and my first month on phones went fairly well. I was learning and although I had a few struggles I was new and so it was somewhat to be expected. My second month I got a new trainer. This trainer had a completely different approach to things and it became a little more difficult at times to feel I had a “good day”. But I was still chugging along and although I had a few struggles with her I was still mostly on the right path. Then I got my 3rd trainer. He has been there for a long time. I was nervous to be working with him, but in the long run I felt a lot more comfortable with him. It was great. I was really starting to have more confidence in myself and my call-taking capabilities! It was going well and I was improving!

My last shift with him was right before my trip to Washington DC. That last day I struggled a little bit and so my review scores had dropped a tad. But overall I still felt pretty good with how things were going. When I got home from vacation that trainer had in the meantime began his vacation so I was working with another trainer, who also happened to be the training supervisor. Most of that week went somewhat well. I wasn’t getting perfect scores but it wasn’t horrible either. I still felt I was on the right path.

Then on July 1st I came in for my next shift. Before I began my shift they brought me in for a training meeting. They told me that they felt I was not quite where I should be so I was being put into remedial training and that I needed to have more consistent scores during the week. I was also beginning my shifts with another new trainer that day. As it turned out my newest trainer has a different style about things then my previous trainers. At the end of that shift I felt horrible! She had made me feel so stupid and I felt as if she was treating me like I was incompetent! I cried all the way home that night. It was horrible. I knew I was supposed to show them I could do it and that I was going to be consistent and capable of doing the job but it seemed like even the smallest simplest things she was finding fault in with me. She was making me change things in my logs that had been acceptable by my previous trainers. It seemed like her style of doing things was different then the others and it was a really bad shift for me because of it. After the first few times she “went off” on me for doing things differently than she would like them done it started to make me doubt myself. From there I just spiraled downward. The more she got frustrated with the way I was doing things the harder it became for me to be successful in even the simplest calls! … So then I had 3 days off! During those 3 days I was thinking about things and thought maybe I was taking it too hard and I told myself on Thurs when I went back in I wasn’t going to let her get to me negatively. I was going to “kick butt” and really show them who I was and what I could do!

 I went into work feeling nervous but knowing I was capable. Then within a few hours I began to get yelled at again for things that seemed like trivial things to me. Things that although they were mistakes on my part I felt like she was again blowing them out of proportion. Some of them were again style issues that were things that were acceptable to my previous trainers. So again I had a rough day because I felt like everything I did she found fault in and I spiraled down again. I cried that night too! I wondered what was wrong with me and why I couldn’t just get it right so that she wouldn’t find fault in every simple thing. I called one of the supervisors the next morning and told her I knew I was slipping backwards and that I felt it was partially because of my trainer. I knew that ultimately it was MY responsibility to handle the calls and to show them I was capable, but I felt less confident working with her than I had with other trainers. Being honest with my supervisor didn’t really make me feel much better. She basically told me that I had been put on remedial training before I was with my current trainer and so it didn’t really make much sense. I guess she couldn’t see that maybe personality wise it wasn’t working to make me feel very confident and comfortable so that I could be successful. Then she told me “not everyone is cut out for this type of work”

That afternoon before going to work my Bishop (who also happens to be my home teacher) came over and we talked for about an hour and he gave me a blessing. After that I felt much better and knew I was going to go back into work with my head held high and not let me trainer get to me. I was able to write down some of the concerns I had and my feelings about how things were going. I got to work and met with the supervisor I had talked to that morning as well as the manager. It kinda went the same as my morning phone conversation in a sense that they told me it was up to me to overcome whatever it was that was keeping me from taking control (they didn’t seem to understand that it was my trainer that was my biggest issue at the time- sometimes personalities don’t work out!  Everybody learns differently and as much as a person needs to adapt for training I think that sometimes a trainer needs to adapt for teaching) after talking with them, we also met with the trainer and had a good discussion about how I was feeling. That sometimes I felt as if my trainer instead of talking to me about something she felt I wasn’t doing well it came across to me as an “attack”. She apologized for that and said she wasn’t trying to be that way. Overall I still made a few mistakes that night but I felt it went a lot better. I also felt as if we were able to talk about things better, I left that night unsure how my review would go, but knowing in my heart I felt more confident in my work. The few times I had an issue I didn’t let her approaching me about it get me down. I drove home that night tear-free.

Then I came in on Sat afternoon for my next shift and saw my review! She still gave me bad scores! I felt crushed! Yet I still tried to not let it get me down and was working hard to overcome. But things again didn’t go as well as she felt they should and late Sat night the manager came in before the end of the shift. We went into the office and chatted. It wasn’t going well. Basically I was told I was going to be rejected during probation, unless I chose to just quit. With the RDP I would not be able to do anymore time answering dispatch phones but would be re-assigned to work in another office doing clerical work during the time it takes for everything to be processed. (A few weeks) I would still be able to get paid during that time. So that was the option I chose. I stayed strong during that meeting and didn’t cry until I was driving home again!

My mom was the first one I called. She is so supportive of me and I love her for that. She told me she was proud of me for even being able to handle it for as long as I did. She told me that she would help me out as much as possible financially or otherwise if I wanted to go back to school and get back into the medical field again. She also said she’d help if I wanted to go into something else all together. I know she was trying to help and wasn’t really sure how to comfort me and I think I may have snapped a bit at her (sorry mom) but I really didn’t (and still don’t) know where I can go from here! I still haven’t become a wife and mother, but the dream of being a physician is pretty far fetched at this point in time…. And I can’t go back into EMS because I still have lingering knee problems. Plus in Nov I let my cert lapse (even while I was out with my knee I kept it up to date, I should’ve continued with that) so even if I wanted to try and use that to my advantage at this point I would have to take a full course for that again! So I was left with a feeling of fear and hurt and just the unknowing! I cried a lot that night. By the time I finally crawled into bed it was after 3 am and I couldn’t go to sleep! I struggled for a long time! When I finally did get to sleep I woke up again at like 6:30! I stayed in bed after that until 8a but I never fell back to sleep either.

At around 8 I got up and got ready for church. I shed a lot of tears during church and basically felt helpless to some degree. It’s nice knowing that I have the gospel though and I know I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else at that time! I am thankful for the gospel and I have faith that it will all work out, I just don’t know when or how! I was able to take a nap after church and then had dinner with some good friends and got to spend some time with them after dinner. I am so blessed to be around such great people and I know that I am loved! I didn’t cry when I was with them and I think it was then that I really began to understand that in the grand scheme of things where I am working doesn’t really matter. I was able to realize the hardest part about the entire situation for me is the feeling of failure I suddenly have. For me always being told I could do anything and mostly being able to, it was hard to be told that I wasn’t capable, or that I wasn’t improving enough to be successful. It didn’t make sense to me and almost still doesn’t. I don’t fully understand how I can be on the ambulance responding to these same situations I was answering calls for and help those people directly, yet I couldn’t seem to get it right to help them on the phone. Maybe I am a hands-on kind of person. Maybe I need to see the situation in order to really do something about it. But it really did make me feel a bit like a failure. For once in my life I wasn’t able to do anything I wanted to do! WOW! It’s hard to accept!

So now I am left still wondering, what am I going to do next? What is the path I am meant to take? I really don’t know! I have always loved working on cars with my dad, so do I take auto-shop classes? I still want to learn to play piano (and my dear friend Renee started teaching me once, but then moved away so I never got to finish learning) so do I take a piano class? I still love the medical field and knowing I love being there hands-on, do I look into medical assistant? Physician assistant? Do I try surgery technician? I really don’t know. In the meantime I will get to do some clerical work. I am going to look on the state jobs website and see if I can get in somewhere else within the state while I am already in the system.

I know that Heavenly Father has a plan for me. It seemed like (and was) such great timing when this job came around because the county job fell apart. Things were going so well and I was looking at moving out and other options, now this has fallen apart. I know that there is a reason, but I don’t see it yet. I am hoping it won’t take long for me to figure it out. But I think in the 2 days since I learned that I was losing my job I have already come a long, long way! I am keeping my head held high and I am looking toward the sky! I know that I am going to be at church every week, I am going to be at the weddings I might have had to miss in Aug, and I know that right now is the perfect time to look into fall classes. So again although it sucks the timing is good. I WILL be ok! It just may take some time! I am not crying anymore and somehow I feel a sense of relief. I am not sure why I feel relieved when I was happy there and enjoying the opportunities it was giving me. But there has to be a reason that this has happened. I saw a quote on facebook today that seemed to be appropriate for me right now, it says “might not be tonight, tomorrow or the next day, but everything’s going to be ok” E.S.  I have to believe that! I have faith in it!

So here I am 32 (almost 33) and left starting over. I don’t know where I am going. I don’t know what I will be doing in a month or two. But I do know that I am hanging onto hope. I am not going to let this trial get me down. I know that I have potential. I know that my parents still believe in me and I still know that I can do anything I put my mind to (except 911 dispatching apparently) I cannot let one little setback bring me down! I will be doing a lot of praying in the next few days/weeks/months and figuring things out. Until that time I guess I am working clerical in the Moorpark office for my last however many days as an employee of the CHP. This experience has taught me a lot and I won’t forget it. I may be a little regretful that I struggled and couldn’t quite get it right but once I find the silver lining on this dark cloud that’s come over me it will all make sense. Until that time I am going to ride the wave and see where I land on the shore! It can’t get much worse, unless there is a shark nearby in the water! But hey if you read my recent post about being adventurous that may not be such a bad thing! I’d love to go swimming with the sharks!  J 7-9-2012


  1. Wow. That is a rough ride. I'm so sorry you had to go through all that, but I'm glad you are staying optimistic. I'm sure you will find the path you are meant to be on. In the meantime, maybe we can go on a road trip together! :o)

  2. Have you thought about working in a pharmacy? I am a Pharmacy Technician and I LOVE IT!! Thats in the medical field. Classes to become a tech generally only take a few months and some stores will give you the training you need to take the certification test and you don't even have to go to school. Pay is not great starting out, but you do get benefits. Its hands on, and you get to work with people. I work at Walgreens. Just something to think about. Send me a message on FB if you want to know more.

  3. People change careers many times in life. For our generations, I definitely feel like we've had to change in order to survive the economy. Now is one of those times! Explore another hobby you love and make it a job you enjoy. The possibilities are endless, and God knows your heart. This big change means He has special plans :) Love you!