Monday, January 02, 2006

Remembering my working life

I have not worked at a paying job since October 3, 2003, but don't feel sorry for me.

I was the victim of a Friday afternoon kamikazi attack by the CEO of the health system for which I worked long and hard for 17 years. I had attained a pretty high status within the organization, I was independent, and reported directly to the CEO. I loved my job and felt that I would outlast any administrator at the facility.

Twenty of us were called to the board room for a meeting on that fateful Friday afternoon, and within an hour of finding out my job had been eliminated, I was allowed to pack up my personal effects and I was escorted out the door by the CFO, thank you very much. I had been locked out of my computer before I returned to my office so there was no retrieving any personal files. All twenty jobs had been eliminated. Don't let the door hit you in the you-know-what.

Most of us had worked there in various jobs for a long time and had made good money. I suppose this was administration's attempt at regaining some fiscal viability after failing miserably with many ventures. I don't know if eliminating our jobs worked or not. (I really don't think so because within two months both the CFO and the CEO were terminated.)

I remember all the many years I had loyally worked for this organization and now I felt betrayed. I didn't even get a going-away party and that hurt.

I look back at my working years and can now honestly say that I do not miss having a paying job. (Why I'm not working is another story.) Yes, I miss the many friends I had made over the years, and I miss having some place to get dressed for every day. But, I do not miss the messy-mind administrative games those above me played.

Being retired has given me the personal freedom I have yearned for a long time. No more living my life dominated by external demands. As some of you may know, there is always a crisis when working in healthcare, whether it's from the patients, the physicians, the equipment, the government, JCAHO, or the insurance companies.

As long as husband and I can pay our bills and put food on the table, we are going to be okay. In fact, if it was up to husband, we would be on the road 365 days a year, living out of the back of our van, and traveling the countryside like hippy vagabonds. My idea of travel, however, revolves around buildings named "Marriott" and "Hilton" and doesn't involve cooking outside on an open fire or using a hole in the ground for a personal convenience.

Maybe one of these days we will come to a meeting of the minds and finally agree to be retired amicably. In the meantime, as in any marriage, we are going through a long period of adjustment. We each have our own special interests but we find ourselves doing EVERYTHING together. And, that's fine but it leaves little room for personal freedom and a private time for reflection.

It's a good thing I taught husband to wash his own clothes and load the dishwasher a long time ago so he can take care of these chores while I blog.


At January 02, 2006 7:20 PM, Blogger Abandoned in Pasadena said...

You've reached a pinnacle when you can post your feelings so honestly about losing the job that you enjoyed so much at one time. When losing a job in that manner, it is not so easy to recover....some people never do.
Enjoy your retirement with hubby and do some traveling. He can always pitch his tent up in some little corner of your Marriot room.

At January 02, 2006 9:55 PM, Blogger jellyhead said...

Wow, Motherkitty, that must have been a tumultuous time for you in 2003. I guess now you are enjoying the extra time you have to pursue your talents (like writing!) and goals.

I'm sure Fatty and I would have difficulties adjusting were he & I to be at home together most of the time. We often get a bit fed up with each other after just a week of holidays!...not that either of us does anything so awful - just that we're different, and it shows more when you're with someone almost 24/7. So the fact that you and your hubby are going through an adjustment period sounds pretty much par for the course... and I'm sure your deep love for each other will see you sail through it :)

At January 03, 2006 5:55 AM, Blogger Alipurr said...

I am glad you wrote about this. It is good to stop, put a finger to the wind to see which way it is blowing. It is good to get a good look behind you and good look in front of you. It helps you figure out where you are going, and whether it is where you want to go.I have confidence that you and dad will figure things out and have a lot of great adventures in retired life.

At January 03, 2006 9:05 AM, Blogger susan said...

This sounds so familiar. I worked at a hospital for many years. I watched my boss go to a meeting and return with the CFO standing over her while she cleaned out her desk and escorted her to the door. She had done nothing wrong, like you, but was treated like a criminal. It was very traumatic for all of us in the department with her, but of course nothing near the feelings she was experiencing. It still makes me mad just thinking about it. I quit about 2 weeks later, not wanting to work for such an organization. I see people now out in the world who used to work there, and we all reminisce about how great it is not to work there anymore, with all the politics etc. of healthcare.

Just be glad you are free now and can do what you want! Enjoy your retirement.

At January 03, 2006 9:07 AM, Blogger susan said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At January 03, 2006 10:01 AM, Blogger Motherkitty said...

Susan, are you sure we didn't work at the same hospital? Do you think this is typical of all health systems across the U.S., to dump hard-working, loyal employees just because they can and because they think they can save a penny? I also see a lot of ex-employees around town (several of them are now working as cashiers at the local grocery) and they agree that working a cash register is better than putting up with all the nastiness found at the hospital where we once worked.

We discovered that my staying home with a third of the money I was making is preferable to all the long hours and headaches I suffered for many years.

At January 04, 2006 12:08 AM, Blogger Trish Milburn said...

It amazes me how bad companies can treat their employees sometimes. But I'm glad you're enjoying your free time. I like working for myself much more. I probably work longer hours, but it's my time schedule, not someone else's. And I don't have to fight rush-hour traffic.

At January 06, 2006 10:58 AM, Blogger susan said...

I just had to comment one more time on the employment situation. I do not find comfort in the fact that our hospital is not the only one treating employees like that, in fact I take offense! Do they have a healthcare CFO conference where they teach firing techniques so they will be consistent across the nation?

Sorry, just had to vent one more time...

At January 06, 2006 11:48 AM, Blogger Motherkitty said...

Susan, yes, they do have seminars on firing techniques because I've been to them. For CFOs and CEOs, their mindset is based on how to improve the bottom line and show a profit at the end of the fiscal year. That way they can show the powers that be how economical they were during the past year and to save their own a**es from the firing squad. Their attitude is, better them than us. So, the rest of us continue to suffer. I believe it's epidemic across this great nation of ours. If you can't do it cheaper here in the good old USofA, then get rid of the long-timers and ship it to a foreign country where they pay overtime in McDonald's french fries.


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