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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Overworked and Underpaid - and Pissed Off


Yesterday, when I received an e-mail from Katie Gates telling me she was planning to pass the LOVELY BLOG AWARD award on to me, I was flabbergasted! Then I began to obsess about what I should publish for today - something either profoundly funny or deeply moving seemed to be in order. The thing is, right now I don’t feel profoundly anything - except overworked and underpaid and really angry at my Friend-Boy, Eric. Although, like Katie, I did not receive the LOVELY BLOG AWARD icon, I am none the less proud and excited about it. Pretend it is on this page!

I know, I know. No one wants to hear me whine. So, I’ll try not to sound whiny, even if that is what I am doing.

If you wish, you can click on “Living Through It” for background on who I am and where I am in my life. It tells the story of the first year of living without the love of my life. Clint died on June 8, 2009 at 6:33 PM, in the capable and loving hands and arms of those of us who loved him so. The photo of the Red Sweater is one of his collection of cashmere sweaters he slept in during his last years. He was always cold. Now I sleep in it.

So, in addition to being a 62 year old writer, I am an RN, a hospice nurse. I went back to work in July, just a little over a year after Clint died. I took a part-time job doing home care only 10 hours a week, a job wit no benefits, with the understanding I would be offered a full-time job when our inpatient facility opened. That offer is still on the table, and as soon as we have a full complement of inpatients, I will be given the opportunity to apply for the full time job, which consists of 3-12 hour days per week - and it come with great benefits. I love home care, but I need more structure, more time to write.

Why don’t I have time now? Fair question. Our census has been high with many deaths and subsequent admissions, and the home care manager asked me to work full time for a few weeks until things settled down. I was delighted - at first. The money is good, I love my job, and hell, I’m a widow only responsible for herself and two dogs, Belle and Honey. (Their photos are on “Living Through It.”

So, where’s the rub? I work for a huge health care bureaucracy, and the payroll computer is confused that I, who was hired to work 40 hours a month, am clocking in more than 40 hours a week! So, it kicks back half the hours, and for the past two pay periods, my check has been short over forty hours. Ouch. The first time it happened, I let it slide because my manager assured me it would show up on my next check. Only, the same thing happened again, and now they owe me over 80 hours in pay.

I can handle this. I am not a struggling single mother with child care issues and school supplies to buy, but I do need the money so I can stay out of my nest egg which has taken a beating along with everyone else’s that is tied to equities and bonds.

However, last Friday, when I learned that once more my check had been shorted, I went to my manager and told her that, after two weeks notice, I wanted to fall back on my original job description - 20 hours a pay period. I said I was working too hard to get no benefits and not be paid in a timely manner. She agreed but said she needed the extra time from me because out census is so high. I stood my ground, and we came to a kind of compromise, I think. I will probably work 20 hours a week, two ten hour days and maybe some call.

This post is not nearly so interesting as I had wished, but it is what I know right now.

Maybe a little about Eric will give it some life. He is my Friend-Boy, to be differentiated from a Boy Friend. We are friends. He is brilliant and funny and very Metro, a rarity here in the Deep South. He is well traveled and knows art and music, and he is completely out of his mind. There is a reason he has had three wives and is divorced. He has big ole bats in his belfry, and I am accepting of that fact. I just don’t want to get involved in an intimate relationship with him. Even if I did, I’m not ready, still feel very married to Clint, but Eric has started talking sex and making passes at me. Hell, the other night, he grabbed me in the parking lot of our club and pulled me over to his car and put his hand up my skirt and started squeezing my butt. I’m terrified we were caught on the security camera and may be invited to not be members any more.

Then, the next day, he called me - at work - to ask if it were as good for me as it was for him! Started making jokes about my multiple orgasms and how the paint job on his Mercedes is ruined. I told you he was funny, but he is also a pain in my ass.

Sex for us would be relationship suicide, but I can’t make him see that. He can’t help it. He’s a man, and it’s in his DNA. He thinks if we don’t do well in bed, we can just go back to being friends. Shit. I’m a little nuts myself, but even I know better than that. So, after I refused his advances on Thursday night and was unavailable to go to dinner with him on Friday, he sent me the following e-mail: will be out of pocket all next week, have company and the next will be in nyc.will call in a couple of weeks when things are more manageable ps...don't call me. i will call you when i am if ever available again,,,,,,,bonne chance.

Then he started sending me annoying texts - in French. He lived in Montreal for several years during his medical education. Yes, he’s an MD. I can get by in French - having an education and some travel under my belt as well, so I have been responding in kind. Here’s a small example of the prattle we have carried on in a foreign language.

Him: “Tu devrais etre tres content. Ta vie est vide.” (Translation: "You must endeaver to be happy. Your life is empty)"

Me: “Triste, peut-etre, mais non vide." (You will pardon my French, I am sure). "J’ai moi meme.” Translation: Sad, maybe, but not empty. I have myself)"

What is this, tenth grade? For you young readers out there, don’t think groan-ups in their sixties can’t act like fools. Eric and I are doing a mighty fine job of it.

© cjschlottman


Linda @ A La Carte said...

Wow you have had lots going on! Work and I sure hope that straightens out. Men! What can I say. They often thing with their 'men parts'. Keep it friends!! Hopefully he will understand.

Sue said...

I hope you get your 80 hours of pay soon.
And I hope your friend-boy decides he's willing to remain exactly that, without the upgrade.

Bonne chance, mon amie!


deborahjbarker said...

Hi Claudia. I think I last commented way back in June or July - but I have popped back often. I just wnated to say Congratulations on your Award. As a fellow nominee I am pleased that Katie chose some of my favourite bloggers!
Every time I stop by The Red Sweater, I am struck anew by the lovliness of the photographs you have here of your husband.You don't need words. The photos say so much.
Your days sound busy, your dogs adorable and your friend-boy (love that description) should be grateful for your company.I hope it all works out the way you want it to.
Debbie :-)

Brooklyn Book Lover said...

Sorry to hear that the job is not turning out the way you expected. Don't give up, the right position will present itself when the time is right. As for your friend-boy, don't give in. Enjoy the friendship as it is. You know that Sex will just complicate things. No reason to make any changes to such a good/enjoyable friendship.

injaynesworld said...

Those bastard bureaucracies. Good for you for speaking up. You make sure you get ALL that money they owe you. And as for the friend-boy -- eventually it seems to always becomes all about the penis. Yet another reason why I'm single. ;)

Katie Gates said...

I enjoyed this post! Your sharing is always so honest and has just the right amount of humor. But: I need a translation of the French!!!
(and sorry about the no icon -- I backed up by about two bloggers to see where the ball might have been dropped, and I didn't see it at either site).

Brenda Susan said...

wow, that guy may be a friend but that was totally an unfriendly thing to do! Step away now is all that I can say!