Tag Archives: work

The Highs And Lows Of My Work Journey

There is a mountain near to my sister’s home called Cadair Idris and it is one of my favourites to climb in all of the UK. But one distinct memory I have of every climb is that the first part of the path we follow is like a never ending relentless stair-case. It is harsh on your legs for that first half an hour or so.

But after that sharp steep snap, you arrive (with jelly legs) to a rewarding platform – the views are glorious, the route starts to level out, and the journey is finally more enjoyable.

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I started my current job at the end of last year, and it seemed to involve a mighty steep learning curve for the first few months. Then when things started to level out and I realized I had quickly attained a good idea of what my role encompassed I experienced sort of jelly legs – feeling a bit wobbly and unsure of my footing.

That has gradually eased away. Some days, I think I am doing ok – and the one patient can throw all of that learning out of the window by throwing up something completely new. There are times I realize there is so much further to go, and more steep climbing is ahead of me.

I like it though. I like the team. That makes all the difference. I probably won’t be there for long. But it is a nice place to work for now. The learning has been substantial and that is good – very useful experience that may come in useful in the future.

Team Work

I can work on my own. I have had lots of experience in working alone. But the majority of the work I am involved with encompasses team efforts.

I have been working within teams for many many years. Teamwork is a wonderful thing. You can learn from each other, share skills and experience and motivation.

There is an important part of team work that should never be taken for granted. Keep an eye on the stress, anxiety levels and the mental health of your team mates. Look after them.

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In A While…Crocodile

I realized something a while back. I think I already knew it, but it really hit me with force. I have no difficulty at all in walking out, turning my back on, cutting ties with commercial enterprises.

If I do go through a stage during which I am employed by them, I will be reliable, turning up for work early, staying late, giving my all…but if they put me in a position where they are asking for me to compromise my values, integrity or sacrifice all that gives me a sense of purpose……well, my reaction is:


I have no regrets.

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Why Overtime Seems So Thankless

Overtime – I have given many many hours of my own time to charities, including rising at an unearthly hour of the morning, and working through to the early hours of the following morning – always with delight. As a volunteer, we are thanked for all that we do, all that we give, all of the love we show.

My entire working life, the environment in paid employment roles has proved different. I have seen behaviour and attitudes that would never be tolerated on a volunteer project. I could write many many pages on that subject, but today I want to focus on one area “OVERTIME”.

In salaried roles, I consistently gave extra time in addition to my contracted hours, and for the most part, nobody ever suggested that I receive a penny extra. That did not bother me. I gave extra because I wanted to help someone, so chose to go the extra mile purely out of kindness.

Currently, I am in a role that does pay you for overtime. The majority of overtime will be in connection to covering holiday time taken by colleagues. Generally speaking, it would not be my choice to volunteer for overtime. I don’t need any extra money. Plus the taxman takes a huge percentage of any overtime I am paid. But I understand that it is unfair to other colleagues not to offer to help out with extra hours.

But it is so tough to work extra hours. It is something I do not relish at all. My regular work schedule involves shorter shifts – less than seven hours. That works well for me on so many levels. I can maintain my energy and focus. My ability to assess patients, make sound judgements and feel satisfied I am giving my best are maintained with those shorter shifts. When a colleague is away on annual leave, I may need to work a double shift – up to fourteen hours.

It is absolutely brutal to work in a patient facing (or nowadays, mostly talking on the phone to patients) role. I am able to remain calm, but as the day progresses, I start to lose most of my brain function. Patients seem to become more difficult, more demanding. Doubt creeps in to my clinical decision making process. So, as I am second-guessing myself, I start to record more in the notes, so I can go back (or someone else can go back) and look at what was said in case I have missed something important and not picked up on important signs or symptoms.

It’s just one of those unavoidable situations. We have to cover each other’s holiday. At the end of the day, I am exhausted, but I like to leave the building knowing I did everything I could.

But what I hate…is when a colleague who has clearly had a bad day…crosses my path and starts grumbling about something. This happened to me recently. I had been working for over thirteen hours and my colleague complained that I was too kind to patients, and that if I am kind to them once, they will expect it every time.

“Too kind to patients”? What? I think they may be referring to my eagerness to get things sorted out, and not to keep patients hanging. That is not just my approach to patients, that is my approach to work in general – get things done properly and quickly, move on to the next task. I have been trained to work this way. I have been working this way for twenty years. I admire people who operate dynamically – acting decisively and energetically to achieve a result.

I was so tired I could not really respond to my colleague – I just wished them a lovely weekend. But it played on my mind afterwards. What exactly would they suggest I do? Be unkind or rude to patients? Procrastinate more? Put the phone down on patients when I cannot be bothered? Become stressed and irritable? How on earth would that help? It would not help patients. It would not help the reputation of the NHS or our practice. Perhaps most importantly, it would not help me.

I accept that there will be days I leave work exhausted, however, I like the feeling of being tired and satisfied that you gave your all and you helped patients. I like that I can rest my head on my pillow without worrying. It helps me to sleep deeply and peacefully – which is mighty important when you have to rise early the next day to do the whole thing all over again!

It’s Called “Making A Rod For Your Own Back”

I often fall for a tactic that people use. You know when they suggest that you are incapable of a task, that it is beyond your ability, that they will have to wait until someone more qualified or experienced is available to perform that task properly.

I am one of those people who offers to attempt the task, without promising I will meet their exacting standards. When I perform the task faultlessly, the person who was fishing for me to volunteer showers me with excessive praise and tells me I am better than the usual donkey who ends up being lumbered with the task.

This is how I came to be assigned the weekly task of mowing the lawn and leaving a perfect pinstripe finish. I cannot tell you how tempted I am to leave wiggly lines.

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Ready For Another Monday

Mondays – in my new schedule, Mondays are quite demanding. I am always glad to see the back of them.

I am learning to prepare for my Mondays and to take some time to clear my thoughts. I want to think clearly, be calm and keep a cool head no matter what stress is thrown at me.

It is not always easy. But it is just one of those things. I have to face Mondays just like everyone else. I try to treat myself though with a yummy meal on Monday evening – my little reward for surviving the day!

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Buried By Work

I have been helping out with overtime recently to cover the shifts of a colleague who has been on holiday. Those extra hours…they have left me totally shattered.

Today was the last of the overtime, and now I am back to my normal hours…but I feel as if it will take me a while to recover – I have fallen behind with everything and want so much for the chance to catch up.

At the moment though..it is the desperate need to overcome sleep deprivation that is winning our over the list of other tasks I need to catch up with.

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Chipped Confidence

I have felt a little wobbly at work lately. I think it is just tiredness and being a bit run down – my nose has been all sniffle sniffle for a couple of weeks. But I feel as if for some reason my confidence has been chipped. I am not always certain I made the right decision.

As a result, I have been noting down every decision I have made that I am not really 100% sure of so I can check them with a senior colleague at toms point.

I need more rest. I need to regain some confidence in my decision making process.

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Brrrriiiinnngggg Brrrriiiinnngggg

Friday evening is becoming a little daunting. I seem to pick up the phone to a caller with a situation that is far from simple. I am trying my best to respond professionally and to remain calm, but it sort of feels as if I am being tested with impossible situations! What I want to do is to say, “Sorry, I am new, and I don’t now what to do.”

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I am so glad to close my eyes after such a busy week. I believe the cold is going to melt away into slightly warmer temperatures over the weekend. Although my woolie hat has been absolute salvation for the past couple of weeks, I am looking forward to not having “hat hair” when I arrive at work.

Hello…Is It Me You’re Looking For?

In just one week of my new job, I have spent more time on the telephone than I did in nine months of my old job. It is so funny how different roles can involve such different ways of communicating.

Today…three of the people I spoke to on the phone said to me that I have a lovely voice. Which although it was ever so slightly odd, and perhaps a tiny bit inappropriate in view of the serious nature of the phone-calls, did bring a smile to me.

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In other news, I just happened to bump into someone yesterday that I have not seen for the almost a year…and he gave me a huge hug. When I last saw him we still had to wear face-masks at work and there were all sorts of other rules to follow. Isn’t it wonderful to be able to enjoy hugs freely?!!