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Fired After 50: Epilogue

Nurses Article   (13,470 Views 55 Replies 798 Words)

VivaLasViejas has 20 years experience as a ASN, RN and works as a Retired/Disabled Nurse and Blogger.

8 Followers; 142 Articles; 247,633 Visitors; 9,594 Posts

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Hard-won lessons from one nurse's "Summer of Discontent", which began with what seemed to be a secure job and the adulation of many, and ended with a much-changed---and humbled---attitude toward life and work.

Fired After 50: Epilogue

If you've been following this series, you know it's been a tough summer for me.......perhaps the toughest one of my half-century-plus on this planet.

In three short, but seemingly interminable months, I lost not only my job and my income, but my very identity. That, surprisingly, has been the most difficult aspect of this experience to accept---harder than the humiliations of unemployment, harder, even, than the job interviews (and rejections) and the forgoing of our usual summer activities because we literally couldn't afford them this year. All of a sudden, I not only didn't have a place where I needed to be every day, I was no longer the person I've believed myself to be for many years: the "go-to" person who dispenses medicine and wisdom, the family's problem-solver and decision-maker, the caretaker and protector of all.

Though my period of idleness came to a fairly swift end---I found a new job after only a couple of months---I've gone through some tectonic shifts in the foundation of my life that have literally shaken me to the core, and while I'm no longer reeling, the aftershocks continue. However, that is not necessarily a bad thing, as I'm discovering something new and transformational every single day:

I've learned that there IS no such thing as security anymore..........if indeed there ever was. I think the illusion of security is about the best we can expect in this life, whether we seek it in a job, a loved one, even an identity. The only consistent thing in life is change; just about the time we become contented with the way things are, something hits the fan and blows it all away, and we have to get used to a new 'normal'. Best to simply accept that fact and get on with it.

I've found that nursing doesn't make me happy. In fact, the career itself is one gi-normous cluster-mug, and if one isn't neurotic, depressed, anxious, paranoid, and chronically anal-retentive to begin with, nursing will make her/him that way. It's not just the crazy hours or the politics, it's because we have so much responsibility....and so very little power. That said, I am a nurse who still finds rewards in the job that I know I'd never find anywhere else, and until that no longer holds true, a nurse I will remain. While my mental health may suffer a little sinus condition from time to time, at least I know now where my vulnerabilities lie so I can avoid the situations that used to send me into a complete tailspin. And THAT's power.

I've come to believe that willful ignorance should be added to the list of deadly sins. I'm not talking about "dumb Doras" here; there is a world of difference between genuine stupidity---which is often inheritable, unintentional, and generally unamenable to fixes---and ignorance, in which one a) behaves as though s/he is stupid, and b) has every intention of continuing in this fashion. We see examples of it every day, not only in our workplaces, but in everyday situations where our managers, co-workers, and even leaders take pride in their open-mindedness to the detriment of all concerned; or when so-called political correctness rules the day instead of hard-headed common sense. To illustrate: how can nurse managers who have ever worked as actual nurses NOT understand that we don't "have the time", no matter what their silly scripts force us to say?

And finally, I've discovered that no matter how much we may think we matter, NO ONE is indispensable, and work---indeed life itself---goes on without us. In fact, I'm happy to report that my former employer is doing just fine without me; the census is back up, and the nurses who toughed it out are working overtime now. And even though some of 'my' CNAs still text me and tell me how much they hate working under the nurse who replaced me, it's clear that they're not going to quit anytime soon......nor should they. Even if loyalties were such that they did want to follow me, I wouldn't want them to disrupt their lives in such a manner; that would be the height of selfishness.

Besides, I'm still looking: the workload at my new job is twice what it was at the old one, and my almost-52-year-old body simply won't last long under these conditions. But thankfully, I'm dealing from a position of strength now---few things are more attractive to an employer than an applicant who already has a job---and since I have absolutely nothing to lose (and possibly everything to gain), I'm going to be very relaxed at my interview with the state government people next week.

Onward and upward!

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I'm a Registered Nurse and writer who, in better times, has enjoyed a busy and varied career which includes stints as a Med/Surg floor nurse, a director of nursing, a nurse consultant, and an assistant administrator. And when I'm not working as a nurse, I'm writing about nursing right here at allnurses.com and putting together the chapters for a future book about---what else?---nursing.

8 Followers; 142 Articles; 247,633 Visitors; 9,594 Posts

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3 Followers; 95,648 Visitors; 36,460 Posts

Have to agree with everything you said in this post. Best wishes for the near future in this job and the far future, in getting something more comfortable.

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13,242 Visitors; 2,801 Posts

Congrats on the new job! And thanks for sharing your experience and reflections!

I think the illusion of security is about the best we can expect in this life, whether we seek it in a job, a loved one, even an identity. The only consistent thing in life is change; just about the time we become contented with the way things are, something hits the fan and blows it all away, and we have to get used to a new 'normal'. Best to simply accept that fact and get on with it.

As much as it really irks me at times, I have to agree with this, too. I admit I still kick and scream a bit, though, when it comes to accepting a change that doesn't seem like something I want.

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sharpeimom has 20 years experience and works as a inactive.

1 Follower; 39,554 Visitors; 2,452 Posts

i'm really tired and can't think of what to say except that i'm relieved and glad that you were able to find another job in only two months. i know two months can seem like an eternity, but in today's work climate, it wasn't long. it was long enough, however, to panic and to imagine every last possible dire consequence that might possibly (but barring complete catastrophe, would never ever happen in this lifetime) and to lose self-confidence.

i'm so happy for you! (((((((((((((((marla))))))))))))

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544 Visitors; 1 Post

Wow, stumbled on this thread and you know it could have been me writing it. I lost my job after 25 years due to down sizing. I had never even made out a resume. It seemed the world had gone on without me and here along I thought I had been in step with the world. Humbling to say the least. Guess the best part is I am not alone this is going on everywhere and to everyone and I am so glad for the encouraging notes from people here at this site.

Job interview next week I have done contract work for a year. ok but I would like to settle down again.

Debbie

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llg has 40 years experience as a PhD, RN and works as a Nursing Professional Development + Academic Facult.

5 Followers; 57,829 Visitors; 13,016 Posts

Good luck with the new job hunt. I hope you find the right fit soon.

And "thanks" for continuing to share your story. I'm sure it's been helpful and inspiring to a lot of people.

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VivaLasViejas has 20 years experience as a ASN, RN and works as a Retired/Disabled Nurse and Blogger.

8 Followers; 142 Articles; 247,633 Visitors; 9,594 Posts

I hope so. When I began this series, I wasn't sure it was a good idea, but when responses started coming in from other nurses who were in the same boat, or who had even capsized and fought their way back to the surface again, it made sense to continue. They have inspired and advised, and what's more, they cared enough about a fellow nurse to give of themselves to try to keep me from drowning in despair. If I can give back even a fraction of what I myself have been given here, all of this will have been worth it.:)

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Chaya has 15 years experience.

10,721 Visitors; 932 Posts

Not in your situation-yet -but am very aware how easily any of us could be. In this part of the country, I would say about 40% of the people I know who are over 50 (DH among them) are out of work and have been so long-term. They just aren't getting hired, or not at a living wage. Luckily none of us is losing the roof over our head but it really cuts into those retirement savings when we have a limited number of years to augment them.

Good for you for landing on your feet (but I never doubted you would)! I agree that from what I've seen it is easy to slide into a debilitating state of self-doubt and inertia. Thank you for a ray of hope and good luck with your future, whatever it may hold.

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Esme12 is a ASN, BSN, RN and works as a Emergency / Trauma Nurse.

4 Followers; 3 Articles; 145,984 Visitors; 20,896 Posts

AMEN SISTER!!!!!!!!!

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casper1 works as a REGISTERED NURSE.

5,646 Visitors; 198 Posts

Good luck in your job search, your facility made a big mistake letting such a articulate and insightful nurse go. I guess this is a lesson to nurses not to sacrifice to much of your life to your career. Do all the missed holidays spent working or all the kids concerts and sports games account for anything, are we expected to give up major parts of our lifes to our jobs? One would hope that our jobs would appreciate our sacrifice however reading your story I realize thats not always the reality.

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marymark has 31 years experience and works as a Clinical Manager, Lehigh Valley Heart Specialists,.

610 Visitors; 5 Posts

I was never fired but have been involved in RIF three times in my career - I'm 60 now. NEVER let this discourage you - when doors close - other doors open. The first time I required counseling because I too lost my identify. I thought I was a loser. I learned that although my employer did not value my skill set, others in a different health system would. It's not about you - it's about them. Since the three RIF's, I've gone on to complete my BSN (nights and on-line) and am now working on my MSN (on-line) so I can continue to remain competitive as I grow older. I've been in management for many, many years and these are the first positions to go....it's just a line item in a budget - nothing personal...and many times when new administrators come in, they want their own team in place. You can easily be the target of a RIF if an administrator doesn't particularly like you - for no particular reason - but, it's a God-send to be relieved from working with them - they RIF you instead of firing you. Whatever the circumstances, just hold your head up high, keep that resume current and always continue your education. I'm always preparing for the next RIF - I've always gotten another job before my severance ran out. Will be harder I'm sure as I get older but I can teach on-line after I complete my Master's.

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6,154 Visitors; 471 Posts

I'm so happy that things are slowly on the mend for you, and I hope that you find a position that is easier on the ol' bod soon. I, too, have come to the realization that our employers find us completely dispensable. I'm in a better place (currently) financially, than most in this crummy economy, and I'm so thankful for this. Because of my financial flexibility, I work on a casual basis, and this is so much better for our family. For too many years, I sacrificed my children, husband, and my own sanity to be the dependable and always-there employee. No more. I'll take my own mental health and the well-being of my family over pleasing some employer that would drop me at the drop of a hat. Good luck and take care. Oh, and keep us posted!

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