I’m still constantly in a state of exhaustion.
I can’t remember when I last felt like I had energy, when the slightest thing, like washing dishes, or just doing my job, didn’t feel like my-god-how-can-anyone-be-expected-to-work-like-this-its-impossible-but-I-have-to-do-it-so-I-guess-I’m-gonna.
PH has done his best, despite his depression. He even gave me another weekend off, which I used to write and sleep in equal measure and felt deeply grateful for.
I needed it.
But when it was over, it was back to the grind. PH is better than he was, but his depression means that he only has so much to give right now. I try not to push him too hard, because then he collapses. Last weekend he slept through Saturday and half of Sunday.
I’ve been counting down the days to when I get Wednesdays off again.
For the last two months, I’ve been covering for a coworker who took a 2 month sabbatical to backpack around Asia with her boyfriend, because, well, they’re young and they can, and good on them for doing it.
This girl was the boss’s Girl Friday, doing everything from arranging advertising for the clinic to acting as a go-between when it came to delivering bad news to the staff. The stress of the job was slowly eating her alive, to the point where she started having to see a therapist. When she decided to go to Asia, none of us could blame her.
The boss wasn’t thrilled, but my coworker just basically said, “Look, I’m going. I would forever regret turning down an opportunity like this” and we were like “she has a point, you know.”
So the boss split her job duties between several staff members and off she went.
My portion of the duties involved doing the weekly business statistics before the staff meeting, which meant coming in on Wednesday mornings. I also took over the Facebook page, as well as the much-hated-by-clients weekly mass email.
It doesn’t sound like much, but since we were also short a staff member, I also lost the office time I previously had to do my OWN office duties, which involve going through patient files and making sure there are no mistakes being made.
So I was coming in on Wednesdays to do my coworker’s job, and then frantically trying to do my own between appointments on the other days of the week. I am now two months behind reviewing files, because I only get through a day or two of files a week, but there are six days worth of files to review ever week. Not to mention doing Facebook stuff in between appointments, in evenings and on weekends.
That hasn’t helped my exhaustion.
The rest of the staff was similarly exhausted from the overwork of being short a staff member, and we’ve all been counting down the days til her return.
She finally came back on Thursday, and there was much rejoicing.
We hugged her, told her how awful it had been without her. She brought us presents. She received a list of things to do from the boss. She worked the day with us.
And then, just before our boss’s shift ended, she went in and FIRED the coworker, and breezed out the door before any of us knew what had happened.
Everyone was shocked and appalled, including the other vets. The general consensus was “HOW CAN WE SURVIVE WITHOUT YOU?”
The coworker was in tears, but had secretly been expecting it, because she knew that the boss had been hurt and offended by the 2 month disappearance. She had already called the animal shelter where she worked as a locum and had been assured that they had plenty of work available for her. So she’ll be fine. She was just hurt, and who could blame her?
“She said everything was working fine without me.”
“But everything is NOT fine!” we listed all of the ways in which we were slowly sinking without her – me, two months behind in quality control, days when we are short staffed, the external advertising that hasn’t been done since she left…
Not only are we all horrified by the treachery of it, but now we feel that no one is safe. Because if someone THAT VITAL can be tossed aside like an old shoe, then who wouldn’t be?
Oh, and the boss told our coworker that she “wasn’t going to be the only one” because she had to “restructure”. We don’t know whether she said that just to cushion the blow or whether she really meant it.
Finally, and this really mostly effects me because I’m the only one whose hours were actually changed during the 2 month absence. Is she just assuming that I’ll carry on with the new hours, with too many duties and not enough office time in which to accomplish them?
Is she assuming that this will WORK?
“Here’s the thing,” I told my now-ex-coworker. “My period is due tomorrow. If it doesn’t come, I’ll take a pregnancy test. How PERFECT would it be if the DAY after she lets you go, I waltz in and tell her that I’m pregnant and will be leaving in 9 months.”
“Oh, man,” she said. “I really hope you’re pregnant. I mean, I always hope you’re pregnant, but I REALLY hope you’re pregnant NOW, because it would serve her right.”
Every month I hope for a positive pregnancy test, for the end of this post-miscarriage malaise which has followed me for the past 6 months. But I have never needed it more than this month.
My original due date is in 3 weeks.
It will be a hard day, no matter what. But a pregnancy would at least help me feel like I was back on track, that things would be okay.
Now, with the threat of permanently extended working hours, not to mention a boss who is capable of backstabbing of a loyal employee, I not only needed the pregnancy to help me emotionally survive my original due date, but to ensure my job security (if she fired me after I announced a pregnancy I would sue her into the stone age) and at the same time, to give me some light at the end of the tunnel. I could survive the new hours if I could promise myself “it’s just for a few more months…”
Plus, it would serve her right for firing a young, unmarried, capable employee with no plans for children in the near future.
The next morning, when I woke up, my period had not started.
So I peed on a stick.
Part of me genuinely believed that I MUST be pregnant, because it would be SO PERFECT, because it would make everything work out SO WELL.
Yeah, life isn’t like that.
Negative pregnancy test. Which, on the day your period is due and with first morning urine, is basically 100% reliable.
I haven’t felt so depressed in a long, long, time. Sad, yes. Tired, yes. But just… hopeless? No.
I went to work like a zombie. I mumbled responses. I fought tears.
And my boss said nothing to any of us about the firing of an important employee.
She didn’t ask me if I was okay with permanently extending my house.
She didn’t ask me if I was okay with adding the duties I had been covering permanently into my job description.
Which means that now I have a dilemma.
I could be a complete doormat, carry on like my coworker never came back, continue to cover duties that I only ever agreed to cover until mid November, show up on Wednesday to work…
Or, I can pull my boss aside on Monday, and tell her that she needs to tell me what the hell her plan is. Is she changing my job description and hours permanently? Am I next on the fire list? Who knows? I can point out to her that you need to TELL employees when you permanently change their job description and hours, and that I should be offered a raise if I’m taking on new responsibilities on a permanent basis.
I should point out to her that if she knows her decision was an unpopular one, she needs to talk to her staff about it, reassure them, and stand behind it, rather than trying to go on like nothing ever happened.
I can’t be the doormat.
I spent too much of my life being the doormat, and it never got me anywhere. Besides, it’s wrong. Someone needs to call her to task, to point out that she has a responsibility as a boss to actually tell her employees her plans.
Maybe she’ll fire me for doing that.
Christmas is coming and I’m dreading it, because I don’t have my baby and no promise of a baby in the future. Owl will now be a minimum of 4 years older than his younger sibling, which I consider too big a gap.
He still has no one to play with him, and he won’t, for years and years and years, maybe never, because by the time a younger sibling appears – if it appears – he will be looking for someone his own age to play his big kid games with him, not a toddler.
I’ll still be forced to play baseball and hockey and football and whatever else with him for hours every day because he’ll consider his little brother or sister too little to take my place s Primary Playmate.
I’ve taken a month off of my dog training and I don’t dare take any more, because we need the money and it’s not fair to my business partner, who’s covering for me. But I don’t know where I can find the energy, especially since it comes with crippling guilt for leaving Owl with PH, who finds even an hour or so of independent child care to be completely debilitating right now.
Now I had a prospect of no baby, no pregnancy, no job security, longer hours, more work, no end in sight. Oh, and the anxiety of a pending confrontation with my boss tomorrow.
I’ve been better.