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Fired After 50, Part III: It's Always Darkest Before Dawn

Nurses Article   (5,303 Views | 13 Replies | 804 Words)

VivaLasViejas has 20 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych.

8 Followers; 142 Articles; 250,002 Profile Views; 9,735 Posts

Third in a continuing series about a fiftysomething RN (me) who, through a trifecta of misfortunes, became unemployed at a time---both in history and in life---when finding a new job is harder than ever before. Follow along on the journey that is taking me down roads I'd hoped never to travel as I work on reinventing myself and my career once again.

Fired After 50, Part III: It's Always Darkest Before Dawn

Well, if I've learned anything from this chapter of my life, it's to be grateful for the simple things that keep me going, even in the face of repeated disappointments and the ennui that tends to accompany an extended period of idleness.

Yesterday, I spent all of the afternoon and much of the evening at my old workplace, having been invited by the DNS to do the monthly MARs/TARs audit and get the new sheets ready for use on the first of the month. The reason it took me seven hours to do four or five hours' worth of work was that people were literally coming out of the woodwork to see and talk to me; I've been out for a month-and-a-half now, and folks I'd never even worked with were hugging me and asking if I was coming back to work. Comfortably ensconced in the resident care managers' office, I almost felt like a queen holding court as nurses, aides, laundry staff, even residents and family members got the word that I was "in the house".

Needless to say, this wasn't exactly conducive to close work, but it did my heart a world of good......something I needed more than the couple hundred bucks I picked up for the day. You see, being unemployed---even through circumstances that were nobody's fault---has a quiet but corrosive effect on one's self-esteem, although to be honest I didn't realize how demoralized I'd become until yesterday. In between job hunting, the physical limits imposed by my knee injury and subsequent surgery, and bouts of despair, I've put back on over twenty of the 60 pounds I'd lost over the previous 18 months, and I am NOT happy with myself for that. I've had a lifelong battle with compulsive overeating that I thought I'd finally beaten, and reality has once again smacked me upside the head. Everybody says "oh, you poor thing, of COURSE you're putting on weight, you're depressed and anxious and you're not moving around as much".....but I know it's no excuse for letting this happen to me again. Again. And I'd been doing so well for so long.

Sooooooo.....now I've got guilt heaped on top of depression on top of being terrified that I won't find a suitable job before we start having to sell off our possessions on Craigslist just to keep the lights on and the furbabies in kibble. That's why yesterday was such a blessing: it reminded me that I was a good nurse (and will be again if someone will give me a job!) and a decent human being who is loved and valued. There were several CNAs who told me they wanted me to let them know when I land somewhere, because they missed me and hated what happened to me, and they wanted to work with me even if they had to drive to another city to do it. (That didn't hurt my feelings a bit.) Even some staff members with whom I've never been especially close gave me big bear-hugs, invited me to concerts at their church, or sat down and asked me what I thought the future held for me.

And, it just so happened that the county psych nurse consultant, with whom I've had a very congenial professional relationship for many years, was there doing evals on a couple of my residents. She was extremely interested in the fact that I was looking for work and asked if I'd consider a local resident-care manager position. I asked who needed an RCM; she said the facility she had in mind didn't know it needed one, but that she would be recommending a change and I was her first choice. Naturally, I said I would---it's not my favorite job in the world, but I do know the MDS and associated paper work, and an endorsement from this lady is like gold: neither easily earned, nor easily ignored by the upper management of any LTC in a three-county area.

I usually prefer to eschew cliches, but my life experience has shown me time and time again that it's always darkest before the dawn. Maybe---just maybe---this will be the turning point. I've already had more disappointment in this job hunt than I thought I could handle, but now there is cause for just a wee bit of optimism.......at any rate, it's a possibility, and a possibility is waaaaaay better than nothing.

I feel kind of like a robin with one end of a ten-foot earthworm in its beak: the littlest nibble keeps me trying. And when I need to feel the love, all I have to do is pay a visit to Ye Olde Nursing Home instead of the hitting the refrigerator. Got to remember that. 🙂

Third in a continuing series about a fiftysomething RN (me) who, through a trifecta of misfortunes, became unemployed at a time---both in history and in life---when finding a new job is harder than ever before. Follow along on the journey that is taking me down roads I'd hoped never to travel as I work on reinventing myself and my career once again.

8 Followers; 142 Articles; 250,002 Profile Views; 9,735 Posts

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Nascar nurse has 25 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in LTC & Hospice.

2,213 Posts; 32,174 Profile Views

Wishing you all the best. It will come, it just might take a bit.

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VickyRN has 16 years experience as a MSN, DNP, RN and specializes in Gerontological, cardiac, med-surg, peds.

3 Followers; 105 Articles; 5,349 Posts; 131,999 Profile Views

Praying for you, Viva! God is faithful and He will provide :)

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P_RN has 30 years experience as a ADN, RN and specializes in ORTHOPAEDICS-CERTIFIED SINCE 89.

6,011 Posts; 33,612 Profile Views

Love and good wishes your way. Hopefully the lady's recommendation will find its way back to you.

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PALPN4018 has 17 years experience and specializes in med surg, pediatrics, geriatrics, family.

15 Posts; 1,062 Profile Views

Thank you for this wonderful story. I am a 50 year old LPN and also struggling with job loss and reinventing myself. My self esteem has taken a nose dive and so has my self confidence as a nurse. My bf wants me to go back to school to either finish my RN or learn a new medical field. It isn't that easy. I would have to retake A&P and microbiology then go at least two more years to finish either RN or a specialty like cardiovascular tech. I am also struggling with weight related issues affecting my knees and lower back. Financially I cannot afford to go back to school.

As an LPN I am at a major disadvantage because RNs and MAs are preferred, LPNs are being treated like MAs even though we're licensed.

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GoNightingale is a BSN, RN and specializes in Med/Surg, Tele, PCU.

127 Posts; 4,340 Profile Views

There's always a silver lining to every cloud. True statement -not a cliche. You can choose to make this experience one that will make you a stronger and more enlightened person and nurse. I have gone through the same thing you are going through and I have a much deeper understanding of those that are going through difficult times of all sorts.

You're going to be just fine and yes, go ahead and recreate yourself. While I was going through periods of "ennui" I would study and research nursing information that I never had time to research. I also learned how important it is to stay fit after 50. For one thing, as a bedside nurse, if an employer assesses that I am not fit to do the duties of what a younger nurse can do, they'll hire a younger nurse. With regard to insurance, many employers consider whether thay want to pay a premium for a youner nurse or for an older nurse. So...I'm trying with all my heart to stay fit- better eating and exercise (including resistance exercise). Not easy my dear friend, but it's to our benefit!

I know you're gonna do just fine- just lean on the positive. Let us know of your progress.

Keep on truckin'! My hat goes off to you:yeah::redpinkhe

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31 Posts; 2,398 Profile Views

Your story moved me to tears . . . thank you for sharing your heart and your struggles. I just said a prayer for you . . .

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Debilpn23 specializes in long term care Alzheimers Patients.

439 Posts; 13,989 Profile Views

Thank You Viva for posting your story.

My thoughts are with you.

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SmilingBluEyes has 20 years experience.

2 Followers; 19,584 Posts; 65,706 Profile Views

I feel for you. I still say, you are a brilliant write and a compassionate and caring person. I keep praying the right job comes down for you soon

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5 Posts; 630 Profile Views

Thanks for posting. Several years ago the CEO where I worked decided to blame all that was wrong with the facility on me. She didn't fire me, but she wanted me to accept blame for things that I had had nothing to do with. I couldn't do that so I left a job I had loved for 9 years (with no previous complaints from the CEO or anyone else, by the way). I had to re-invent myself as well. I have since finished my MSN and am now working on my PhD and teaching nursing students full-time. Sometimes what feels horrible today, turns into a great blessing tomorrow! Hang in there, I have a feeling your blessing is right around the corner!

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5 Posts; 630 Profile Views

It's never too late to go back to school. I know school is expensive, but a financial aid counselor can help you with that. I think a lot of us nurses fight weight related issues. I know I do. I think I agree with your BF on this one. School is your best option.

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16 Posts; 1,047 Profile Views

I'm in a similar situation after leaving the field then spending years taking care of my elderly mother. Basically stepped off the planet for a decade and it wasn't quite the same when I returned. But I wasn't the same either. I've always known this culture is not kind to low income and those over 50 (50 at the outside - another valuable resource partially consumed and tossed into a landfill), but to live it is not the same as being conscious of it.

Having spent my life working in mental health, and so my own personal growth, I've developed a pretty impervious internal locus of control and equivalent level of peace short of being thrown into a battlefield. Even if I could, I wouldn't exchange youth for the wisdom and experience in having grown older. While there are a lot of great things about America, the value system in this culture is grossly askew and that isn't going to change in our lifetimes so we must adapt. Where there is gray matter there is hope, salvation, and beyond. The problems are there to be dealt with but not dwelled on. There are redeeming qualities about our lives and American culture that can be harnessed to recharge us to deal with the downside, adequate time must be spent there or the battery goes dead along the way.

One things for sure, flexibility seems the key to adaptability and a stash of survival gear buys some time. Doing the same thing expecting different results actually is a good definition of insanity for those of us who are not mentally ill. I've got a plan, lots of contingencies, and a timeline - but where I'll be a year from now I can't say. I may not be back in the saddle but I'll be on the road.

My guess is, so will you.

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