Monday, February 8, 2010

Backing In

Bill and I laugh at the fact that we manage to back our way into many things. One example would be letting the rental car agent in Miami change our entire honeymoon itinerary, right down to the accommodations. Mercifully, the Honeymoon Gods smiled down on the newlyweds, and to this day we consider the Island City House in Key West one of the most magical places on Earth. Thank you, rental agent whom we did not know for changing the reservations we held for six months. Eighteen years later we still sing your praises.

In the spirit of our honeymoon experience, I backed myself into a new job last month. After an exceptionally horrific night at work, I began looking for other options. I knew that with a possible twenty years left to work, I could not afford a mental breakdown. I love what I do, but I do not love where I do it and whom I do it for. The hospital I currently work for is not something I want to discuss here, other than to say it's not a good fit for me. (Is that OK, Bill?)

While surfing nursing job availabilities, I applied for a position called "Assistant Clinical Lead" at the hospital I had previously spent 20 years working for. Reading the job description, I ascertained that this was a Charge Nurse type of position, and that I was well qualified for it. Wanting desperately to work somewhere quieter and smaller, as well as for someone I had worked for in the past and admired immensely were the motivators I needed to press the send button that uploaded my resume.

Friends, I got the phone call. I put the heels on. I dressed tastefully. I interviewed. With one group, then another, then some more and I got the job offer. I accepted. And here we are.

I backed my way into my very first managerial position.

My first clue that Assistant Clinical Lead was not a Charge Nurse Position came when when one of the interviewers asked me how I would handle a situation where "both of my charge nurses called in sick"? Well, I thought, no big deal, I am the charge nurse so I must be one of the sick ones. It's not really my problem. Fortunately, I did not blurt this out. The frontal lobe for once cooperated and I was able to recover with a reasonable answer. But while answering I realized that I would not be a charge nurse, I would be a manager. In the middle of an interview. Backing in - mercifully, without the "backing in noise" to alert anyone.

So now, I, who have been told by my new boss that my lack of a BSN is not problematic, that I have a solid reputation and experience and the wherewithal to do this job, am the Assistant Nurse Manager of the Emergency Room. By accepting this task I am leaving my old comfortable job, with the people that understand me and love me despite my many shortcomings, which is enough to bring me to tears. But that's another post.

Will these new job people accept me? Will they return my smile? Will they understand when I say that I don't know something but will make every attempt to find out? It's getting to be crunch time, and I am a little scared and a little intimidated. I am leaning on Bill, who is my Mentor of All Things Zen and Practical, for his knowledge and support. I will be looking for other Mentors, who will help me make the transition from regular sassy ER Nurse to Manager that should watch her sassy mouth and set a good example. I need to breathe, I need to stand tall and I need to make a difference.

I can do this. I backed my way into this job. That in itself tells me it's mine.

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