Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Pushing Back Tears With Faith

Proverbs 3:5,6 says: "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight."

This has got to be one of my favorite Bible verses of all times. It reminds me of a big cozy blanket on a cold night. Many times in my life I have trusted and looking back I knew that the Lord knew what was right all along.

Tonight I sit here slowly absorbing that my career might be ending soon against my wishes. The tears keep trying to sneak up on me but I push them back. The kids are here and I don't want them to worry because mommy is upset.

To truly understand what is happening to me, you have to know a bit of background. I graduated from a vocational college ten years ago without my AS degree but I took my CRRT exam to become a Respiratory Care Practitioner and I passed. Now a step above that exam is the RRT, which is a national registry and given by the National Board for Respiratory Care. I graduated from college "Registry Eligible," meaning that I was able to take the RRT exam. Years passed and I had my kids, went inactive for awhile when I was staying at home, and returned to work in 2004. I went to work for a large medical center where I soon became a relief lead for pediatrics, was a member of the highly regarded transport team, and precepted other therapists. My experience has made me a huge asset to the department and my co-workers are like family. The last two years of my life were nuts. I was divorced, a single mom, then remarried, then pregnant, then I had major surgery, then I had my baby, and coming back from maternity leave I decided I would have to get my RRT exam done. Administration had been asking this of us for awhile but it had never been a priority because my personal life was so crazy.

I applied for my RRT exam but was unable to determine by the selections I was given how I qualified to take the exam. I called the NBRC and asked them which box I was supposed to check and they told me that two years ago they started requiring an AS degree to take the exam. I told them I graduated "registry eligible" so I should be grandfathered in but they refused and when I argued further the lady on the other end of the phone told me to get another job. I hung up very upset and went to my manager with my predicament. She was very understanding and even went up to bat for me, writing a letter to complain about how I was treated and sending it to the NBRC. I let her know that I was going to look into going back to school and she was supportive and told me to let her know what was going on.

I looked into different colleges and one college in particular wanted $17k for me to finish my AS degree. I wasn't sure if this was going to be my best bet so I looked into other schools. We had to weigh out costs and time, as going back to school with three kids and a full time job would be hard.

Two weeks ago I got a letter from Administration telling the therapists in my department that by January 1st, 2008 all RTs would be required to have passed or at least attempted the RRT exam. Those who didn't would have their positions terminated.

I wrote a letter to my manager, administrator, and executive director explaining my situation and how I would be unable to take the RRT exam due to circumstances beyond my control and asked them if I should be concerned about my job. I was called into my manager's office and she told me that it didn't look good because they were unable to make exceptions for this rule because otherwise they would be playing favorites and it might open them to lawsuits. They were unable to hold my position while I went back to school. Basically, their hands were tied and they had to let me go. She did recommend that I try writing out my goals for them. She said that she couldn't promise anything, but they could try. I told her I would.

(I hope I'm not losing you guys...hang in there for a little longer.)

My vocational college had closed down years ago so I had to do some investigating and asking around to find my transcripts. Finally I had them sent to me a couple of days ago. I started calling colleges immediately and what I learned was like a smack in the face. None of the colleges I called would accept the classes I had taken at the vocational college towards my AS degree. In fact, I would have to completely start over like a new student with no credits. So in order to keep my job I would have to start over again as if I knew nothing.

In 13 days is my last day of work. I have done some job hunting and turned in my resume but as it stands I am looking at losing everything...my job, my paycheck, my benefits (which my children and spouse are covered under), life insurance, my retirement in less than two weeks and I can't do anything about it. The worst part is that my hospital is just the first to implement this standard and other hospitals will soon follow, meaning that I will not be able to work anywhere soon.

So I stand here at a place in the road where there are so many ways I could go. I could start over and do the program all over again and add another huge student loan to my debt load. I could collect unemployment and look for another job. I could go to college for something completely different. There may be a new path there I can't even see yet. I feel as if I am hovering above a tank full of sharks and I need a game plan on how I will survive falling in the water.

I look at my kids and know I can't just throw my hands up. They need me to be strong and push on and take care of them. My husband is self employed and while he does well we still depend heavily on my income right now. How will I juggle childcare? Will my new job be supportive of me pumping at work so I can keep breastfeeding Midge? What can I sell if I need money? What if I can't get a job? Where is a good place I can waitress?....etc....etc.

Right now I need prayers, and lots of them. I am trying to keep my faith that God has something bigger and better planned for me and a year from now I will be looking back and things will be okay.

I will update my situation as things unravel so keep checking back.

Thanks for your support and love during this difficult time.


The said...

Hey you,

I just stumbled in on your blog (somehow?) and wanted you to know that I'm praying for you. How frustrating and terrifying!

BTW, I'm from the pilates board - no clue how I got here, but here I am!