1.) So I officially won the Biggest Loser competition at work, and got the money today. (Not that I've exactly earned it this past week; I've been eating like an absolute train wreck ever since the half marathon.) Anyway, my grand total was $90.55, mostly in one-dollar bills. I pity the person who was behind me in line at the drive-up ATM tonight.
2.) Just as the soreness is abating from Sunday's race, I've got my eye on another one: the Run to Victory, which is a half marathon near Greensboro that benefits a camp for kids with various illnesses. How can you not support that? Plus, they have cool shirts.
3.) My Duke interview is one week from today. I'm not sure whether to be nervous or excited. Probably both. I sort of just want it to be over already.
4.) This one's going to be a rant, just because it needs to be said. Plain and simple, I'm starting to feel really 'burned out' at work. We're smack in the middle of flu season, and we're struggling with not only the seasonal flu vaccine (which in itself is more than enough of a challenge!) but with this godforsaken H1N1 as well. A mom said to me today, "So if I've got a generally healthy kid" (gesture toward teenage boy) "and he gets the flu, it seems to me the most sensible thing is just to stay home and ride it out, isn't it?" I could have kissed her. If only the rest of the Triangle would take a cue from that family. For the past five months we've been, in a word, swamped with flu cases. And it's really hard to keep taking people's media-fueled concerns seriously when the fact is that we're all, every one of us, wading knee-deep through H1N1 every single day. If you're unlucky enough to get it, well, you'll feel crummy for a week or so, and then you'll get better. Yes, there are people with underlying health conditions who should probably see their doctors, but that's just as true for the regular seasonal influenza that we see every single year. Bottom line? It's the flu. Suck it up.
Anyway, I could whine about all the tiny daily frustrations all night long, but this impending burnout feels like more than just flu season. Liz said last night, "It's because you're not getting out what you're putting in," and I think she's exactly right. Officially, my hours are 8am to 5pm, but because I live so far away and the traffic is so bad (and because actually being DONE at 5pm is a rare event), a typical day has me leaving the house at 7:15am and getting home no earlier than 6pm. That means that I devote around 11 hours of each day to my job. (And while I'm working, I'm WORKING -- it's not like an office job, where you can take a five-minute mental break to read your email and check Facebook.) Not only that, but the money is barely enough for me to support myself... I can pay all my bills, which is great, but I'm still counting the price of every item I put in my shopping cart, and still running out of money at the end of every pay period. The intrinsic rewards (cute kids, nice coworkers, etc.) plus the extrinsic rewards (money) are simply not filling in the hole I'm creating with the amount of my time/energy I'm pouring into the place. Add a scoop of Flu Season to the top of that sundae, along with a hefty sprinkle of H1N1 vaccine protocols, and you've got one miserable Jess.
And I feel guilty in a way, because there are so many others who are doing even more than I am -- lots of the other nurses work five days a week, for instance, or pick up more weekend days than I do, or volunteer to run flu clinics, or work extra hours to fill holes in the schedule... and I honestly don't know how they do it. I signed up to work this Sunday, because we're expected to work a certain number of weekend days, and even that self-imposed usurping of my 'free' time makes me want to scream. Every time someone asks me to work extra time outside of my regular Monday-to-Thursday schedule, my insides clench together in instant protest. I don't want to. But... no one else seems to mind it as much as I do. Either everyone else is that much less selfish than I am, or they truly don't resent the job as much. I don't know which it is, or why it is... but I'm tired of feeling guilty over it. I am one person, and I'm carrying the load I can carry, and that's just going to have to be enough.
It's only for eight more months, anyway. I'm ready to go back to school, ready to have a license that means something and a paycheck of four digits. I want a job with regular hours, where I have a tiny bit more prestige, where I don't have to worry about whether or not I'm "doing enough". I want a job that's salaried, where I make enough money that I won't resent being there every day. I'm approaching a breaking point, and it isn't because this particular job is so heinous. It's just that I've been struggling like this for years now, ever since I've been out on my own. I'm frustrated because I've put in my time, I've paid my dues, and I'm ready to move on -- and up. Let the next generation of twenty-year-olds struggle a little, and let me out of this holding pattern. Let me become what I'm supposed to be.
5.) Now that I'm done ranting, I believe I'm going to go watch Grey's Anatomy. There are good things about Thursday nights. :)