I was summoned to the unemployment office today for a discussion with a case manager to review my work search, as I’ve already been on benefits for five weeks and nothing’s happening for me. This meeting actually turned out to be quite therapeutic in a sense, because I’ve been struggling with whether or not to continue pursuing nursing jobs while everything inside me is screaming at me to do something else, and I finally got a chance to talk to someone about it.
She was very understanding, and even though I had to disclose the reasons why I’m so nervous about nursing—and have had so much trouble sticking with jobs—she didn’t seem shocked or even concerned. Well, there was no reason she should have been; I’m obviously not “crazy” and I’m not inclined to try for disability. I can work. I want to work. But it’s time to stop pretending I’m fully capable of returning to clinical nursing. I get knots in my stomach even thinking about holding other peoples’ lives in my shaky hands.
I could certainly teach others to do caregiving, and my physical and psychosocial assessment skills are still sharp. I just can’t be a nurse in the traditional sense, and it’s a relief to know I’m off the hook and won’t be expected to look for those jobs. Instead, I’m going to be looking at some sort of office job, preferably still in healthcare, and I won’t be forced to commute more than ten miles in any direction because driving in the dark is getting to be all but impossible for me.
FINALLY someone is listening—someone who doesn’t expect me to keep slamming myself up against the barriers my age and my illness have constructed. There’s a lot I can still do; my job now is to find out how to use the abilities I still have to perform some sort of useful work. And I seriously do want and need to work; I’m not a big fan of living off other people’s money, and I don’t do well without having the identity that a job provides. But if I want to avoid falling on my face again, I’ve got to change the way I do things…..and that includes re-focusing my efforts in a different direction.
This is not to say that I CAN’T look for a nursing job or drive a little farther, it’s just that I no longer have to. I’ll always have one foot in the profession, but the other one is definitely out and unless some miracle occurs, it will stay that way. This doesn’t mean I have to be passionate at what I do for a living (although it helps!); all I really care about anymore is writing, and God knows I can’t make a living at that so I’ll have to find something I can live with for awhile. The job-hopping thing has got to stop. I’d like nothing better than to be in a stable and enjoyable job with decent pay and good managers….it doesn’t have to be glamorous, just something I won’t hate myself for a couple months (or years) down the road.
Surely such a position exists somewhere, yes? 🙂