So after being put on academic probation, and scoping out the mounting student debt (after being told I would have to be knocked up and/or have a child in order to take out more student loans), credit card debt, and car debt that I had accumulated (hey, I needed a reliable ride. In 2004. That ride had 26k and now has more than 200000 on it. I'd say, pretty reliable!) I decided it was time to work. Time to pay the piper (student loan demon).
My job was working for another evil empire, but this one of a different sort.
This was the ambulance evil empire, one who did not care if you worked 40 hours of overtime, their shifts were filled, and their contractual obligations were fulfilled, and I was making 1.25/hr more than working at the OTHER evil Empire. Bonus.
It did not matter that I had a college education to them.
It did not matter that I could think on my feet.
The powers that be persistently put me with the castaways, the ones who were unpopular, the ones that would not jump anything that moved, the ones who couldn't identify a bar of soap and a stick of deodorant, and if they could, they had not seen said items for many, many days. The stench that emanated from them indicated as much. Or, the ones who had such a wretched attitude, they could make even the sweetest of grandmas crotchety at them. Or better yet, the ones who were dumber than posts. And usually, I'm not very mean, but some of these people could not find their way out of a paper bag with a map, flashlight, and painted directions on the bottom of the bag. The EMT class is essentially advanced first aid. Most people who go to all classes, pay attention, do the work, and genuinely WANT to be there will be successful in the class. But really...fueling a diesel engine with gasoline? You gotta be some kinda spaychel to mess that up.
Very rarely did I have a decent partner to work with who did not stink, could carry on a logical and intellectual conversation, and had a positive attitude.
I received nothing but disrespect for my intellect, teased for my accomplishments (living on a farm, graduating from college), nor praised for doing a good job. My self-esteem sunk to new lows. People teased me because I did not date. People teased me because I had short hair, was in shape, enjoyed riding a bike, and didn't have a boudoir that resembled a revolving door. Automatically, they assumed I preferred the female persuasion.
Eventually, I came up with a saying "Check your soul at the door, or they will take it from you."
People who knew me before, during, and after my employment with this evil empire said I was not the same person I was before I began working in their midst, nor was I the same person after. I had become a robot, even though I had taken an intermediate course, acquired licensure, and can give medications, intubate, and start IV's.
The job I have now, I have worked for over 3 years. I enjoy my job, though it entails no patient care. There is a TON of stuff to learn, and I learn new stuff every day. While I know that what I do is not directly related to prevention, I know that the data needs to be collected to determine where the information needs to be targeted.
The relationship I am in is wonderfully positive, and I feel very blessed that I have him in my life. He makes me laugh, he hugs me when I am having a bad day, he loves me and not just in words. He tells me I'm special (and not short bus special) and he tells me I am smart. And that's just a start!
For pretty much the first time on a personal and professional level, I have been told "You're smart, You're intelligent. And I don't know who told you you weren't, but you need to not believe that. You need to have confidence in what you are doing because you DO know what you're doing and you're a valued member of this team!"
After almost thirty years of conflicting reports, the messages of inadequacy causing self-doubt that have been hammered home for so long, are starting to shift. The paradigm that "I am smart, I am worthy, I am capable" is starting to take hold.
And I kinda like it!