Monday, December 28, 2009

Colder Times

I've been in a bit of a ditch here for a while now. I have come to a crossroads in my life, and I'm not liking the options laying before me.

One road, is my EMS career. The other is my family.

Work has been slow lately. I've not been able to pick up nearly as many days at the county EMS as I was at first. Orientation hours combined with just being Johnny-on-the-spot when they needed me has run out. They haven't scheduled me to work at all next month, which means my only days on a truck will be when somebody doesn't show up and they need a quick fix. Worse than that was the news I found out last night.

Big Red told me a while back that he was planning on leaving the county EMS and taking a job with the next county over. This meant more money for him, and a good shot at a job for me. I was a shoe-in for the position. I'm in town, I'm dedicated, and I work as hard as I can. But according to Boss Hoss, I'm not qualified for the position because my title ends in "B" and not "P." Only a paramedic will do to replace Big Red, even though they could spend well over a couple of months to find one. I tried reasoning with Boss Hoss, reminding him that I want to be a paramedic and planned to start classes as soon as I could find a full-time EMS job, as well as some other facts that I've already stated above, but he had his mind set.

The hospital job isn't faring much better. I'm working almost 20 hours a week there on average. But even that is declining. The work isn't bad, although I think it's too hectic for what they're paying me on the hour. Boss Bubbles, my supervisor up there, doesn't even have to lie to me about the possibility of full-time employment. I'm at the bottom of a very long totem pole. The people at the top have been there for years, and they have no plans of leaving.

Now the crossroads I mentioned earlier come into play. You see, the closest EMS jobs aside from county EMS are in the other counties. Two of those counties pay better than mine, but one has a college with a massive Fire/EMS school feeding it everything it wants, and the other requires you to be in peak physical condition with previous Fire and EMS training and work experience. Neither of which I am qualified for. The other surrounding counties don't pay nearly enough to merit the 45 min - 1 hour drive it takes to get there, and that goes for the big city with the private EMS jobs as well. Surrounding hospitals are the same way. Not only that, but the pay vs. hard work scale I mentioned for my current hospital would be worse in other places.

My crossroads are set before me. Do I choose to stay with EMS? It's the only career that I can say that I have truly loved. The work is selfless, the pay is dung, and the reward is only in the heart. But I LOVE it. I know that I could go for a few months or longer before I find the right place to work. In those few months, I could lose the only thing I love more: my family. They are the other choice. I couldn't ask my wife and son to stay with me while I go from poor to broke to worse. It's not fair to them. They've been through enough already while I pursued this adventure. My wife and I already know that the only way EMS could be financially rewarding is if I became a paramedic. Unfortunately, to get that money, you have to give that money. Almost $3,500+ that I don't have, and sitting without it for 2+ years while I take classes, stay up late, get up early, and never see home, all while going even further into debt because my regular work is suffering.

The choice I've made was a no-brainer, but it was so painful that it nearly brings me to tears every time I think about it. I looks like my time with EMS might be coming to a halt. Today, I plan to start the job search for something nearby that pays well and needs somebody full-time. My family needs me, and I need them.

I just don't see any other options...

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