Many of you know Todd is a hospital pharmacist who works evening shift. For the past couple of years he has worked 7 long days on/7 off. During his 7 off, he usually did some overtime. He has worked every other weekend for the last two years. It’s a lot.
Our family was feeling the strain of this schedule. Having him gone for 7 days in a row was okay at first, but with home schooling it means 7 days of me and Riley, 24/7.
Besides the too much togetherness factor, his 7 on, every other week, kind of isolates me. I can’t take a class, or join a weekly group, etc. because we have no coverage during the weeks he works. Plus it takes me a day or two to get used to him each time he comes off his shift. For us, it is a disjointed way to live and we were feeling disconnected. The week off sounded nice, but since he never really took it, well…you know.
So while the kids were at camp this summer and we had some time to think, and talk about what is best for our family and our marriage, we decided it might be better if he worked regular hours, like everyone else in his dept. Mostly days, and then each pharmacist has to rotate through evenings once in a while. Where he had been working every other weekend, it would be stretched out to one weekend a month. That seemed more manageable. It’s what he’d been doing before he volunteered for the evening shift.
He approached his young boss about changing back and was smacked down.
Todd has an impeccable work ethic and an impeccable record. While most hospital pharmacists have a significant error rate, his is practically non-existent. He is a workhorse. He puts in hundreds more orders a day than most of the other pharmacists who are happy to let him pick up the slack. He catches many, many more mistakes than his colleagues do. He is really, really good at what he does. He’s never called in sick once. And since he has management experience, (he left an Assistant Director’s job in order to be home more when Riley was three) his young boss often comes to him with questions, asking for advice on how to run the department.
But this young boss told Todd “no.”
No can do.
And Todd said he would have to leave.
And the short sighted young boss did not make the slightest effort to keep him.
And my husband, who tries to keep it all together for us at home, and who works circles around everyone else in his department, is opening up and asking himself some questions.
Namely, “Why am I busting my tail for a department that could not care less about me?”
“Why am I living in a house, when I am not handy, and the maintenance overwhelms me and makes me miserable?”
“What else could we be doing with our lives?”
“How else could we be living?”
And I look at this man whom I love, and I LOVE it. I love his questions. I love that he is thinking outside the box. I love that he is valuing himself, even if his boss doesn’t. I would trade being a homeowner any day for a spouse who had to work less, and who was happy.
And I don’t know what we’re going to do.
We moved to Cleveland for a school for Riley. We found one that worked well for a couple of years, until it didn’t. We were mostly sticking around here for Todd’s job. Luckily, in his line of work, it’s pretty easy to find another one. We don’t take that for granted, especially when so many people are out of work, but do we want to stay in Cleveland? Maybe. There is a lot about Cleveland to love and appreciate. But maybe not.
We’re looking around. Exploring the possibilities. Exploring alternate ways of living. We’re even looking at traveling pharmacist positions. Who knows? Seth wants to be home schooled too. If we could do it in Hawaii, why not? Everyone work, work, works, in order to save up some vacation to travel. What if we took a year or two and did just that?
Maybe I’ll be a travel nurse, and he can work part-time? The possibilities are endless.
We already hear the outside voices whispering in our ears as they have in the past, “You two think you can just run away. You’re never happy anywhere.” Voices that would say just suck it up, at least he has a job. Voices that would call me a complainer for daring to say out loud what I need. Voices that would rather play it safe, under all circumstances. Of course those voices are just mirrors of our own fears.
When listen to the still small voice within, there is no fear. No limits.
I don’t know how it is all going to unfold. We might stay put. He might just find another job here in Cleveland.
As Todd told me the news from his boss, there was a glimmer in his eye. As much as it hurt him to feel unappreciated, (and it really did) there was freedom in it too. It was good information to have.
Jerri sent me a quote recently by novelist Margaret Drabble,
“When nothing is sure, everything is possible.”
If you could live anyplace, where would it be, and why?