Sunday, April 5, 2009


I’ve been working at this new job for close to a month now and if I’ve learned anything, it’s that few people stick around for very long. I went from feeing like “the new guy” to just one of the many, many, many “new guys.”

People leave this job for many reasons. Some quit because they can’t cut it; others get fired for making surprisingly huge mistakes with their patients. And then there are others who get fired for actually cheating.

You see, the first three months of employment at my job come with a lot of hurdles to jump. There are the basics, from CPR and First Aid training, to more advanced courses like PRO-ACT (basically, how to take down a physically-aggressive patient without hurting them or yourself).

In addition, there are a series of eight tests that cover advanced techniques for dealing with people with brain injuries. So far, I’ve taken and passed two of the tests. I need to get the other six completed over the next two months. But, apparently, there are a number of people who just can’t handle these tests.

So, they cheat. And they get caught. And fired, naturally. I can’t even begin to estimate how many people have departed in the short month I’ve been at this place. Some days, I come in and it seems like a dozen employee boxes are missing. Usually around this point, I’m asked by a supervisor to work a double shift.

Maybe it’s a maturity issue. A large percentage of the people hired by my company are under the age of 23. Maybe these people are looking for a quick summer job. Maybe they’re looking for some fast cash while they’re in school. Either way, the job is far more demanding than they expected.

I mean, I know how I was at that age. I’m at least 1000% more calm and patient than I was in those days. Life experience makes me appreciate what I have, even if some days it doesn’t seem like a lot.

As for my time there, I’m doing the best I can. The job is tough at times, but I’m enjoying it. If anything, I’ve been worried about making a mistake I’m not sure I’m making. I mean, you really never know.

Frankly, no one in a position of power in the company had told me one thing or another about how I’m doing. I could be doing just fine, or I could be screwing up royally. I wouldn’t know, aside from the fact that I’m still employed.

But yesterday, I finally got some feedback. One of the programmers was working in the apartment I was in, helping a patient straighten up his room. I was working with my usual patient and going about my normal routine with him.

As she was leaving, she pulled me aside and told me that I’m “really good” with that patient and thanked me for my hard work. I can’t even begin to tell you how great it felt to finally get some sort of feedback. And the fact that it was positive feedback? Even better…

I don’t know what the future holds. I’d like to continue working at this place, but that’s contingent on a lot of elements. I need to complete my training and get out of my probationary period without screwing up. Who knows, maybe I’ll make it?


  1. i think youre going to do fine. youre calm, youre paitent, you're warm and youre quiet when its important to be. i cant think of any one else as suited to do your job as you are. xoxo

  2. I'm glad you're doing well & enjoying it. As I boss I can honestly tell you I have always been thankful for the times that an employee has asked "how am I doing?" Sometimes when things are good you forget to mention it out of simple relief that you hired someone who is competent.