So you all know that I landed my dream job, right? I was an ER nurse in a Level One Trauma Center for a grand total of four months. Well, through a series of unfortunate events I am no longer there. I bet you all are wondering what happened.
I got fired.
And basically had a bad breakup with my job.
Now that sufficient time has passed and I've finished crying and the nightmares are pretty much over, I can tell you all about it. Mostly.
You see, this isn't going to be a gristly recounting of The Incident, but of the aftermath: the time I spent questioning my abilities and wondering if I had a mental disorder and laying in bed not eating and all of the requisite craziness that happened following The Incident.
And my decision to leave that job, while it hinged on The Incident, was actually made many weeks before It happened. I think I had mentally checked out way before that hobo tried to kill me.
So, I can tell you that as far back as I remember I have wanted to work in an ER. I steadfastly refuted everyone's assessment of my abilities that maybe I wasn't suited for the chaos and danger and heartbreak of an ER. I put my head down and plodded along, ignoring everyone's advice because fuck them. My paramedic friends, my teachers, my fellow nurse friends all told me the same thing... but I had made up my mind that I was going to work at the Trauma Center and god help anyone who stood in my way.
So, after a year or so of knuckles to the grindstone hating my jobs and dreaming of The Promised Land I finally got an interview. And then, the job offer. I DIED that day, oh my God, my dreams had finally come true!
But then I started working there.
And I hated it.
But I refused to admit to myself that I hated it. Because if I admitted that, then I would be wrong and everyone else would be right.
It was horrible. Everything was horrible. The things I saw I can't unsee. Dead children. Dead babies. Traumatic amputations. Brains. Screaming families. Death.
And the violence. I had been bitten, threatened, punched, scratched. My coworkers told me to make sure I documented everything for when-- not if-- I ended up in court.
I bet you're thinking, MoJo, it can't be that bad. Seriously, you can't possibly have seen all that in four months.
But I did. And it haunts me.
I spent many breaks crying in the bathroom from fear, from stress. How was I going to handle this and not kill someone? How was I going to handle four patients, all of whom could be actively dying, and make sure I got everything done right? And how was I going to do this and hold on to my compassion for my fellow human beings? Because I didn't just lose faith in myself in that ER. I lost faith in humanity.
And then, The Hobo. And his knife. And the cops and the guns. The Incident. I have never been in such fear for my life. I was scared for my life. The enormity of that moment still hasn't fully registered in my brain, even today so many months later. I could have died that day.
I was fired the next morning when I reported for work at 0700. The conversation basically went "We're going to release you from probation." "Oh, good, because here's my resignation I typed up last night at 3am because by the way I haven't been to sleep yet."
They were cool about it. They told me that I was very smart and professional but that they knew it just wasn't for me. And I told then I knew, too.
But the damage had been done. I was full of doubt. I didn't know if I even wanted to be a nurse anymore. How could I have worked for something for so long and then, once I got it, fail at it so utterly, so miserably?
I was ashamed, embarrassed, humiliated. I was angry. I was hopeless. I was relieved. I cried for two days. Remembering even now brings tears to my eyes because I'm still not over it. Part of me wants to call them and ask them to please give me another chance, if only to prove to myself that I'm not a failure.
The other, sane, rational part of me says "You set a goal, you achieved that goal. If it doesn't work out, you set other goals and then get to work achieving them. That's life. Get over yourself."
I could tell you that I have a new job now, in an ICU, and that I pull ER shifts now and again in my little 79 bed hospital. But I almost feel like the taint of failure will never leave me. I'm back on the bottom rung again because I tried to bite off more than I could chew and fell so far and so hard that for a time I didn't think I'd ever get back up again.
It's going to take time to rebuild my confidence. I'm sure I'll get there someday but I feel like much of what made me "me" was my brazen and unapologetic belief in myself and my refusal to accept anything but what I wanted. I feel like I've lost so much of that. I'm more tentative and hesitant now. I second-guess myself. Isn't that funny? What does that say about me-- that losing a job has damaged me so thoroughly? Did this make me crazy on top of hopeless and full of self-doubt? What the alternate fuck, MoJo?
So now I've begun the process of pulling myself up by my bootstraps and putting on my big girl panties and getting the fuck over it. This is part of the reason that I wanted a fresh start on my blog, to go along with a fresh start of my career and my "self."
Someday maybe I'll go back. After a few more years of learning, becoming more seasoned, growing as a professional and a person I'll go back-- not hat in hand, but with my head held high ready to take it on again. To get back on the horse that threw me.
Or, maybe not.
Either way, I'm taking you fuckers with me.