Monday, October 31, 2011

Thank You: All Of You have you been blogging buddies? I've been...well, I'll explain. There's been a lot of development on my end, and I bet you all have no idea how much you had to do with it.

Here, I'll break it down for you.

Remember about 8 months ago when I started blogging on a complete whim? No? Well that's cool. I had three week break between when spring semester ended and summer semester began, and I'd never gone that long without having a paper to write in years, so when a friend suggested blogging to keep my fingers busy, I decided to check it out.

I found Blogger, opened an account under a fake name (not completely ready to trust the internet) and started writing. College was all I'd known, so that was a good enough topic at the time. But as I became more and more frustrated with the career path I had chosen, the topics turned to self-introspection. What the hell was I doing? For as defiant as I was in everything else in life, I sure waved the white towel pretty quick when my parents limited my options for potential college majors. I gave in without a fight. Without doing my own research, even. And sure enough, the farther I got along on the path that had been chosen for me by those "who knew best", the more miserable I became.

And through it all, you were always the first ones to know. I explained to you the intense misery I felt at my first "big girl job", how I wanted to just keep driving everyday on my way to work, and how I felt trapped and confined by the metaphorical prison cell known as the cubicle. I word for word described my boss's unwarranted bullying, and then filled you in on the day I got fired. After that ordeal, I gave you more than a glimpse into who I really was by letting you all see the results of my own psychological career assessment. I had previously changed my mind so many times (maybe I should have seen the sign then?) that I felt guilty about letting any of my family know that after two bachelor degrees and a Master's, I was starting from scratch. You, blogging world, were my main source of feedback.

And feedback I got.  People I'd never met before in my entire life offered condolences and words of encouragement. I felt like I belonged to a secret society, and one that was fully supportive of whichever direction I wanted to take.

Soon I focused on a select few careers and decided to take the leap. Writer/photographer turned out to be the most realistic (when compared to acting, writing music, finger-painting and underwater basket weaving) but it still seemed like such a long shot. But with your encouragement, I took the leap.

I sent out about countless job applications to websites and magazines asking the naive question of, "Hi, I like to write. How do I write for you?" Brash and completely unprofessional? Definitely. But worth the embarrassment to get my question answered? Absolutely. I had no idea how to get into this business, and I knew I had to start somewhere.

I got 6 replies and they offered me jobs writing bit by bit articles. Instantly, I felt the pit of my stomach grow heavy. What the hell did I think I was doing? I don't have a journalism degree, or an English degree or a writing degree, or an 'in' with some famous poet, or a collection of antique pens, or a library with leather-bound books...I had the sudden urge to answer all of them back with, "Sorry, family emergency. Maybe the spring issue will work out better. P.S. lose my email I'm terrified of you." But I'd already committed on here. On my online blog with a fake name. So I stuck it out.

And thank God I did. It's been tough, but I now blog for three separate companies on a weekly basis, and write for 3 different statewide magazines. Eventually I'd love to call myself a freelance photojournalist (I'm still saving for that damn camera) and be able to document history right as it happens. In the meantime though I'm learning new skills, like how to actual promote a blog correctly and how to use backlinking and other ways of optimization to increase traffic. Plus last night I found out I type 80 words a minute. Take that, Mavis Beacon.

Blogger buddies, what I wanted to say was thank you. Thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou a million times over. I feel like I'm finally in a job/career that is what I want to do, not what someone thought I would be good at. I'm excited, and I can't wait to see where this is all going to lead. I work hard, I make my own hours, and guess what...if I travel? I don't have to take time off work.

So that trip to Italy? That you voted on? Still planned for the spring. Except instead of a week long trip to Italy it's gradually grown to a 3 week trip to 6 different countries.

And I can't wait to write all about it.

The Not-So-Secret Confessions of a First Time Mom

Friday, October 7, 2011

Nightshift vs Dayshift

Fun fact: I'm a nightshifter. At a psychiatric hospital.

As in I work nightshifts...not some mythological shape-shifter super hero...although that sounds way more awesome...

But there’s a number of reasons why working nights is better for me: I get paid more, and by nature staying up all night just comes much more naturally than staying up all day. Plus there's a definite personality shift from day staff to night staff, and I fall into the latter.

So here we go:

5 Reasons Why Night Staff is Better than Day Staff:

1.) Night staff gets my sense of humor.

Day shift:

Nurse on lunch break holding an apple: "Oh darn, I forgot to wash my apple this morning."
Me on lunch break holding an apple: "Oh too."
I take a bite.
Nurse: "Wait, aren't you worried about eating a dirty apple?"
Me: "Nah, I'm more worried about the meth I did this morning."


Example #2:

Nurse #1: "Oh look, we're getting a patient named Heaven."
Nurse #2: "That's such an interesting name, I haven't heard that before."
Me: "That's totally my stripper name."


For the record, I do not do meth and I'm also not a stripper. Night staff laughs at that stuff. Point: nights.

2.) Night staff are as close to vampires as you'll get.

Night staff has no one to impress. We also shriek in the morning when people turn on the lights, and we walk to our cars in awe of this strange thing called "sunlight". Point: nights.

3.) We make better coffee.

Please, point: nights.

4.) Night staff are better at their jobs.

Yes, this is a stretch, but I'm going to say it. See, at a psych hospital, we are a part of the "real" hospital, so therefore we have to follow all staffing orders that are hospital wide. To save money, the hospital staffs short on nights. For the rest of the hospital it makes sense. People are sleeping at night. But in psych....oh honey...

People don't sleep in psych. They are always awake. When you tell someone it's bedtime, there's a good chance they will tell you that they are an orange and you are a carrot and as such they have superiority over you. There's really no way to argue with that.

Therefore, nightshift has to do the same jobs dayshift does, except with considerably less people. Point: nights.

5.) We look out for each other.

There's a million people to fill in for days. But nights? Hardly anyone. If we're short there's a list of about 6 people we can call, and we all know it. Dayshift has the luxury of not coming in for any extra shifts because most likely someone else will cover it. Nights? Not so much. You get called you come to work. There's no one else to call.

There. I've vented and now I feel better. Also I'm going to bed now.

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