Friday, March 03, 2006

The End Of The Road

Pre-Hyptnotized Peter

What Office Space character are you?
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Here I sit at the desk where I have parked my professional belongings for many, many years. I say "parked" because I don't actually work out of this office; I'm usually running around a hospital unit, coming only to the office to check e-mail, grab a phone number, or pee (yes, my office has a bathroom). I hate this computer. A year or so ago I typed in "ADHD support group san antonio" into Google, because I knew such a thing existed, and a link popped up which looked accurate, but of course was not. And it had to be porn with a ton of stuff linked to it, so that I now am inundated with countless pop-ups for meeting singles and party poker. Since I am part of a larger network, I'm not allowed to download pop-up blockers and the computer help desk people sigh every time I call begging them to clean it up.

I think the computer needs to go the way a la Office Space.

Anyway, I have brought home two suitcases full of stuff from my office. The housekeepers here look a little annoyed at how quickly I can fill up a trashcan. All of the little Elvis pictures (from a desk calendar I received as a gift a few years ago) are down from the bulletin board and have been posted in random places on the unit where I have worked, mainly because my supervisor went onto one of her little mole-hill-into-a-mountain terrors not too long ago about unnecessary things on the walls. There is only one box remaining on my desk, waiting for someone who can carry more than ten pounds to take it to my car. I suspect I have a parking ticket on my car because I had to turn in my parking lot badge today and I refused to park in visitor parking.

Speaking of my supervisor, I did not realize she would not be at work today so I didn't say "so long and thanks for all the fish" yesterday. But, neither did she. The night shift staff was a little emotional this morning as they left work and said their good-byes. A couple brought some presents for Anja. One of my co-workers made me a giant cake; seriously, I think this thing is seven inches tall. She is worried that the middle layer of cheesecake is going to ooze out when we slice it, but I put it in the refrigerator a few hours ago, and I'm confident it will be fine. My co-workers are working on a scrapbook for me - they have all made their own page with comments about themselves, Anja, and me and put their photos on it.

I have been pretty detatched from my job for a couple of years; my pregnancy has only intensified that. My co-workers look utterly surprised when they realize I have no plans of returning. Working with people who are chronically mentally ill can be draining in its own way, but working with people who seem unable to separate their professional and personal lives is a whole other kind of drain. The patients occasionally say thank you, they seem genuinely pleased that I have been able to help them, and it is for them that I have stayed in this job for so many years. Many of my co-workers, however, work very long hours and gripe about it the whole time, but never take any action to change their circumstances. And don't think I haven't said, "Gee, if you're so unhappy, why don't you just leave??" And a couple have for better things. Now it is my turn to practice what I have preached, and it is less about leaving someplace where I am unhappy than it is about moving on to better things.

So, goodbye job. Goodbye co-workers. Goodbye patients, because it is them I will truly miss the most. I'm off to start my new journey.

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