Abundant Living

In John 10:10 Jesus promises His followers abundant life. This blog is about my life as His follower.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Wham bam new job

Things happen so fast when it comes to my work.

Rhea (former DON in west LA and clinical director/boss in Victorville) texted me on Sunday, 10/8/17. She asked if I was still looking for a job.  I replied yes.  She texted me a location which I looked up on the internet and saw was within commuting distance from a house John owns and lets 2 of his adult children live in.I texted that John has a house in Covina and I could work there.  She said that would be great.

On the following Tuesday Rhea called me and asked if I could interview with the owner on the upcoming Friday.  I said yes and then told Kimberly my current boss of the upcoming interview.  (I had already handed in a resignation at Rockcreek for my last day to be October 31.  There just weren't enough staff and the burden of constantly coming in and filling shifts all over the place was just too much for me - I felt overwhelmed.)

Then later on Tuesday Rhea texted and asked if I could "start tomorrow".  I called and asked if she meant to interview and she laughed.  

We talked and she said the owner didn't need to interview me since she wants me. I said I would take the job but wanted to wait out the month. She texted me on Wednesday after 4PM that I needed to start the very next day or not at all.  I asked her to at least give me until Monday and she said OK

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

It's such a priviledge

Last night was so fun at CRC.
Graphic from Mental health platform

It felt like many of the guys were really into the class. 

We've been studying boundaries.  We're using The Cloud & Townsend book entitled Boundaries.  The two gals who teach with me had debated about if we should do the specific chapter because it was on Marriage.  Most of the guys in our class aren't married. I'd argued that most of the guys had children and some relationship with their mom as well as that most of them would want to get married some day.  I figured that many would find it a topic of great interest.  It turned out that many of the guys were very into the topic.

There's a kind of awe in the group when anything related to women comes up.  To put it into context: these are mostly 18-23 year old male prisoners with a few, older, mentors mixed in.  They miss female companionship and at the same times have histories of failed relationships.  Many of them know they haven't always treated women right.  They find the ways of women to be a mystery.

Whenever I read that book it hits me anew just how broken we are as people.  How much we need Jesus' grace and healing. I pray that God would use me to help minister His grace to these young men.  I pray that their hearts would be softened and turn to God.  That God would bring healing and that these young men would stay with God when they're released from prison.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Still trying to figure it out

Photo from Sociais & Metodos
So much has happened on the job front.

I met with my old boss and it was a healing encounter.  I actually got to hear those words that we all long for when someone has done us wrong, but rarely get to hear. She apologized and said she'd been wrong.  She even looked a bit misty eyed when she did it.  She talked about that RN who'd talked bad about me, and the other folks that had been part of that group of people.  When she'd worked with them more herself she realized that some of them were lazy and some of them were not emotionally stable or healthy.  Although that same nurse continued to work for the company, my old boss had come to realize that she had problems.  She said she was sorry that it had taken her so long to make it right with me. She talked about the potential job and offered me a large salary plus bonuses to come work with her again.  I left that meeting feeling like I'd finally had the closure that I'd always wanted with her.

Right after that a recruiter contacted me.  Recruiters contact administrators all the time (one of the many side effects of a high turnover job). I didn't initially think much about this one. When she told me the position and company for which she was recruiting, my attitude changed.  It was a company I'd longed to work  for because I greatly admire their clinical stance and commitment to people who have mental illness.  I told her I was super interested and she had that company's regional HR person call and talk with me.  The HR person and I totally hit it off. The HR person set up for me to phone interview with the regional director of operations and the VP of operations.  The phone call with them went well; I was thinking how great it was to talk with people with the same  passion, vision and values as my own.

At that point there were two jobs I was looking at - one where I'd worked before in west LA and one where I'd always longed to work in Long Beach.  Although the Long Beach job was close to a condo my husband owns, neither job was close to where I am currently working and living. I set up to go to both job sites on the same day so I'd just be taking one day off work.

I went to the old job in west LA first.  It was fun to see all the positive changes that have been made.  There were lots of sweet greetings and hugs from the staff who still worked there.  It was a positive experience.  My old boss offered me the job and I asked for 2 days to consider due to the location. I left there thinking how fun it would be to work there again.  The location didn't please me; LA traffic is the worst.  Last time I worked there I had to drive 1.5 hours each way to and from work daily in grueling traffic.  I didn't want to do that again (plus John would never want to buy a home in the type of neighborhood I previously lived in.  It was a bit ghetto). Housing anywhere within an hour drive of west LA is off the charts expensive. I pondered these things as I drove to the next location.

At the Long Beach job I first met in person with the regional HR and 2 operations folks. That went fine.  Then they had the on site clinical and nursing directors tour me around the campus.  I fell in love with the site and all it had to offer clients as well as these two men, they would be great to work with.  Then I went into a room with about 12 site leaders sitting at a table and interviewed.  Typically I hate that kind of thing since I'm basically a shy person.  This time it went great.  I felt at home with these people.  The next day the regional director of operations, the person who would be my boss if I got the job, called me.  She explained that the way they ran the 12 people interview, every person completes a private ballet about their thoughts on the candidate.  She told me that every single person I'd spoken with that day wanted to work with me. I felt great because I'd liked them too and wanted to work with them. She said that the next step was to fly me to their corporate offices to meet with the owner and the president of operations.  She explained that they had to sign off on any administrator hired by the company to manage one of their programs.  She said that the regional HR woman would contact me with potential dates for that interview.

I was torn about my old boss.  I had only asked for 2 days to let her know my decision. I didn't want to keep her hanging. If I did not take the job, she would only have 3 of the original 5 week notice the leaving administrator had given her to find a replacement.  I knew that almost every other administrator would just accept her job offer, and then if the other job came through, tell her that a better offer came up.  That felt wrong to me.  That would leave her in a bad spot.  I prayed about it and decided to just do what seemed to me to be the right thing.  I explained about the other offer and said that she should open up the search because I didn't want her to end up without an administrator.  I said that if the other company didn't come through, and she'd not found someone, that I would still be interested. She seemed angry.  She said something about yes, I did need to tell her, it was not like she just had another administrator in her back pocket.  She stonily asked me why I would want some other company compared to the one she worked for and I explained that it was about the location and the other job was close.  She seemed like she was forcing herself but she did say that she could understand that if a job was closer to a home I already had, in that same situation, she would take the closer job. She told me not to be a stranger and to stay in touch.

When I spoke with the regional HR person for the Long Beach job she said something a bit odd.  She said that the regional operations person would prep me for that interview and that the two people I would be interviewing with were "not like us".  At the time she said that I felt gratified that she already considered me part of her group context. When the woman who I hoped would become my boss and I spoke I asked her a question.  I asked if they had sent any other candidates for this position up to corporate offices.  She admitted that they had, but that those people had not had my experience with inpatient or running a building that had a union in it.

The flight to the corporate offices was only a couple of hours.  I had my first experience using a taxi to get myself to the interview.  The interview was not comfortable.  I didn't get any vibes like they loved me but these two women were the type that were not easy to read.  Two days later the regional HR called me and said that she was so sorry, she could not offer me the job.  I felt so sad. I'd really wanted that job and all the doors had seemed to be opening.

Exactly one week had passed since I'd contacted my old boss. I texted her.  She texted me back.  She'd already put a new plan into place. The program director at the site wanted to do an administrator-in-training gig so he could sit for the state and federal tests to obtain his license.  The administrator from another building within an hour of that one would hang her license there and preceptor him in the program.  He'd learn to be the administrator there and when he was all done he'd become their administrator.  I actually believe it is a good plan.  That man had worked there for 12 years and had a life long commitment to the location. He's young and has a wife and 2 small children.  This is good for him and the building.

Now I went within 2 weeks from a certainty that I would have one good job or another, to no new job. Wow

I'm perplexed.  I don't think I did anything wrong.  It feels like I have bad outcomes.  This is one of those times when I have to choose to believe the truth - that my life is in God's hands and obedience to Him is what matters most.  I trust God.  I know He has good plans for me.  I have no idea why this all happened but I can choose peace and happiness knowing that He is in control.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Unexpected encounter

Things that happen in life never cease to amaze me

Photo from Aging Care
Several years back I was fired from a job.  I'd worked for that company for 7 years and then quit because I re-married and moved from the site location.  A few months later they'd asked me to help them out on an interim basis and I did for a few months.  Then a few months later they'd asked me to become the administrator at a location that was within 45 minutes of my new location.  One year later I was fired from that location.  It broke my heart. I'd never been fired before.  It hurt a lot.  I had to work hard to get past that and live in forgiveness and just let it go.

This week the woman who'd been my boss at that job, the one who'd fired me, contacted me. She wrote on my most recent facebook post that she'd sent me her home and cell numbers via a message on LinkedIn.  I called her.  The man who'd taken over for me when I quit due to moving had handed in his resignation.  He'd been at that location for close to 8 years.  The location staff were of course upset.  When she'd asked them who the administrator was before him, they'd named me.  When she asked the 3 department directors who'd been there since then if they wanted me back, they'd said yes.  So she wanted to talk with me about going back to work there.

It seems strange to me that someone would fire me and then call me up and want to hire me again.  Back when I was fired I didn't think I deserved it.  Afterward I looked at my performance and found ways I could have improved, but I was still a good administrator.  We were meeting budget and didn't have any problems with regulatory agencies. Patients were fine. None of the patients' families had any complaints. The problem was that the resource RN on my boss' consulting team didn't like me.  If I'm honest, I didn't have a very high opinion of that RN.  She didn't seem very professional, helpful or hard working. But she was both professional and work friends with my boss.

That RN is still on the consulting team (not to be mean but I don't think a person such as her could get a better job).

I'm meeting with my former boss this coming Friday at the Starbucks down the street from her home.  I'm praying about the meeting.  I'm seeking God's direction.

That facility is an administrator's dream in many ways.  It's a five star facility. The same administrator has been there for the past 8 years - a rare occurrence in our industry. I always loved that program.

I don't live anywhere near that facility.   The job would pay a lot and John is willing to buy a house together in that area.  It's a super expensive area but I could always buy a place, work there 10 years, and make money from selling the home.  It's an area where houses continue to increase in value.  But that RN is still there.  Perhaps I could be wise and avoid her. 

At least I feel validated by her wanting to talk to me about working for her again.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Trying to process an uncomfortable situation

I had an uncomfortable experience with my youngest son Daniel last night. 

We'd met for dinner after work and then were going to go back to his house so I could see his new home (he's renting a place with 3 other graduate students & one of those student's wife).  Before we got in our cars, he seemed awkward, and when he spoke to me his voice was a bit shaky.  It felt like he was saying something he needed to say, but was anxious and uncomfortable about it.  It seemed like he felt he needed to do it. I could tell he'd thought about what he said a lot.

He told me that he does not want to have me try to give him advice regarding work-life balance, universalism, or who is in the body of Christ.

I was surprised because I thought I'd gone out of my way to make sure that I don't push my beliefs off on him. As I thought about it I rememberd one recent situation. I had told him that I believed he acted very pushy and wrong toward a friend of his who was Catholic.  I let him know that I didn't think it was a good thing that he kept showing his friend "what the Bible says" about things that were different than what the Catholic church teaches.  His friend was agreeing with Daniel but it was causing his friend problems with his parents.  This particular friend was the kind of person who would be swayed drastically by the fact that Daniel believed something. I'd shared with Daniel that the stream of Christianity is wide and there is latitude in what people think.  Of course we all see it the way we do, but at the end of the day, it's all about God and His greatness.  We can count on His grace where we missed it.

Of course I will seek to be careful and not talk about these things in any way. I respect Daniel greatly and never want to act in any way that makes him feel disrespected.

Yet, I find myself concerned for Daniel. 

During the past few months I've noticed that he's becoming what I would call a rigid fundamentalist.  This makes me sad because one of the biggest gifts I've always felt that Daniel gives to those around him is that they can  just be who they are when they are with him.  He's had friends of all ages, intellectual abilities (from genius friends to mentally challenged), sexual persuasion,  cultures, and walks of life.  My experience in life is that rigid fundamentalists often leave the rest of us feeling not good enough when around them.  I also feel like they often miss out on the joy and grace that is so abundant in life.  I don't want Daniel to end up like that missionary who asked Jayne to marry him in the book Jane Eyre.

I've also noticed over the last year that Daniel is extremely intense regarding his beliefs about helping our fellow Christians who are in need and being persecuted.  It is to the point where he doesn't seem to feel that just relaxing, having fun, or spending money on yourself is ever OK. I've tried to encourage him that our God created beauty and joy for us to experience.  That pleasure is a good thing, it just can't be the focus of our lives.

I know he's young and at that stage of figuring out what life is all about for himself.  I pray that he gain a balance.  I pray that I don't cross what he believes are his boundaries in these areas.

I am grateful that I have a 23-year old son who is so passionate about the Lord.  I'm grateful that he works so hard and has now been given grants so he can pursue his PhD in chemical engineering and environmental science. I admire the way he lives frugally so he can give to others.

But like all mothers, I want the best for him.

So I pray.

I also ask God to help me be sensitive to his feelings and to not cross any lines.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Heart Boundaries

Photo from Mindful
There was one young man who really got to me at CRC last night. 

He is all tatted up. His head is shaven and he has this tattoo on top that looks like some kind of seal. He has what looks like a red lipstick kiss mark tattooed on his cheek, he has something written in cursive on his head above his ear.  He has a bunch of other tattoos all over.  It's the first thing you notice about him.  He also has a serious countenance.  He is Latin and your first impression of him is that he is a gang banger.

When we were in our small group talking, I was impressed with him because early on in the discussion he brought up something he'd read that week.  I'm always impressed in life by people who read. Throughout the group discussion he was well spoken and voiced ideas that will serve him well in life.  It was obvious that he gets the concept of it not mattering what other people do or don't do because you have to choose who you are going to be.

At one point he said that people see him and probably think negatively based on his appearance but that, when he starts talking they see that he's got much more too him.  That's exactly how it was for me.  I find myself praying for this young man.

I pray that God would bring him close to Himself.  That God would prosper him and use him to help others while he's on the inside.  That he would be able to establish a healthy relationship with his child's mother. That he'd be blessed with a job when he gets out.  That he would become an inspiration to others and be used to God's glory. That he would be a father who starts a new legacy in this generation.

It seems to me that God's using these young men at CRC to get to my heart.  To enlarge the boundaries of my heart.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

A bit of work craziness

Graphic taken from Bing's Pinterest
I've noticed during the 2 weeks since I started back at Rockcreek that things are different than when I worked here before.  There's a serous lack of employees who can drive the company van, and major employee attendance problems.

This means that just about every day I'm getting call off calls from employees at one of the  3 homes with which I work.  It seems like there's always a huge struggle to find coverage.  Most frequently these call offs are for the PM and NOC shifts.  I've had face to face meetings with the staff at all 3 houses and one of the major issues discussed was attendance.  The ironic thing is that not everyone showed up at these trainings. I've been catching up with those who didn't show and talking about what was discussed at those meetings as well as explaining that attendance at trainings is just like attendance at the job- a person can't be a no call no show, they must call and let me know why they can't make it and get an authorization from me to miss.

Due to the driving situation, last Tuesday was very difficult for me.  I'd worked all day and then rushed to CRC to do the class.  As I left CRC I was happy and looking forward to going home and relaxing.  I checked my work phone and found messages regarding a client who had to go to the ER because he is non-verbal and was limping so we needed to ensure nothing was broken.  I sat in the parking lot of CRC and made calls for about an hour trying to get someone to come in and take the client to the ER.  I then realized that there was not anyone to get, so I went in and took the client to the ER.  Fortunately CRC is only about 15 miles from the house/facility where that clients lives. I didn't get back to the facility until 5:30AM.  Then I drove the 45 minutes it took to get home, took a bath, and went to bed for 1 1/2 hrs.  I then had to get up and get ready and be in to work for one of those house meetings, followed by a meeting with a day program and social worker about a client which did not go well.  I finally managed to get out of there by 2:30PM on that day, but still got calls and texts the rest of the day.  That whole situation was a bit too intense for me.  I need to get some time off work each day and be able to sleep for at least 5 hours. This is a salary job so I don't make any extra money if I have to do these kinds of things. I am OK if this doesn't happen but a couple of times a year, but if it happens all the time I feel that it's just too much. 

I almost had to go in and cover  a NOC shift last night (which is Saturday night and I'm theoretically off on weekends). In order to avoid going in to work myself, I told the staff person on duty  that she'd have to work a double.  In health care in general there is the understanding that if your replacement staff does not come in, and coverage is not found, that you must stay.  The staff person was upset at me and told her residential manager (RM) this morning that she was sick because she is diabetic and did not get to take her medicine.  I texted her and asked if she was OK.  I also informed her in the text that I didn't know that her working would cause her to miss taking medication.  I said that if I'd known I would have worked. She texted back that I knew she had diabetes.  I agreed that she had told me that last week but that all diabetics are different and I didn't know that her staying would cause her to miss medication doses.  In all honesty I am not sure if she did miss a medication does because most diabetics take an AM and PM dose; not medication in the middle of the night.  But still...

I pray that this does not become a regular event.  I pray for health of the employees at the facilities I cover.  I pray that there would be a spirit of responsibility and team work.

On this past Thursday the woman who is the program manager (PM) for my homes came to me.  She said that the other woman who is PM for the other 13 homes was quitting and Friday was her last day.  She said that she really likes working with me and wants a PM with whom she can partner and would really like to work with me.  I responded that I really like working with her too and, no matter what, we'll work together.  She'll either be my PM for these 3 houses or we'll be PMs together.  I prayed about it.  Every day I work for this company I want to be excellent and work as unto the Lord.  My main over riding feeling is that I want to fix problems, make things better, and be a blessing where I am at.  By God's grace I've developed some skills and have some knowledge that can be helpful in this setting. 

Friday the executive director (ED), PM and I met.  I basically told the ED that 2 of these 3 homes have huge problems and the good 1 has conditions out that we're seeking licensing to put back in. If they want to keep me there so that I can be of help in fixing all that, I'm good with it.  I told the ED that I know she's been telling me that for the first time she can remember they actually have several  Q applications (I am working as a Q right now); that they have more qualified  applicants then openings. So if she wants me to be a PM, I can do that.  There is a east and west side PM and I live closer to the east side homes. However, I was a PM for the west side homes close to 3 years ago. I told the ED that I could be a PM, if that's what they wanted, for east or west sides.  I told them that I just want to work where I'm of greatest service.

The PM position pays about 20% more than the Q.  They both pay terrible for all the required education, knowledge, skills and work they take. I love the ED, the Rockcreek faciliteis, and this industry; which is part of why I keep coming back to work here. I feel OK about the fact that I only stay 1 -2 years when I work for them because I take no training, jump right into the work, and make things better.  I also feel OK because it's always just too  much, it interferes with the ability to have a life outside of work.  The 2 times I've left before, I gave a month's notice.

The PM and ED decided that I should be the west side PM.  I think that the PM was very happy because she is currently working as the east side PM and the east side, for all it's problems, is not as troubled as the west side. I recognize that it's going to be a big headache but am excited that I'll get to train a brand new Q. I really enjoy teaching and mentoring employees in this field. I feel like it puts all my experience to use.

I'm a bit afraid of all the staffing challenges and the possibility of having to come in and cover shifts or take clients to the hospital during my off time.  I have prayed that God would use me to His glory, so I'm believing that this will be part of that.

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