Monday, January 08, 2007


How come when you think you've found a good thing, sometimes it just totally lets you down, or you let yourself down, or it turns out it wasn't meant for you???
That's what has bouncing around my head for a good week now... And here I am, on the brink of letting the dispatch job go...
It started out pretty good... I started in September, working 1600-0000. The learning process was fun... going from watching to doing helped me learn a lot more. I was slowly getting the hang of it as time went on. My trainer was good, pointed me in the right direction, gave me a load of help...

Then I went to nights. Not bad, kind of tough to get used to, and usually very quiet. Which was good and bad. Good because it was a slower pace most of the time, gave me more time to learn the intricacies of the job, etc... bad because it is quieter, so you don't get the repetitive learning mechanism in motion as much... things are more spread out, but usually when something happened, it was big. One time we had 25 or 28 cars headed to one incident... Big fight at the city college, (the city that has its own dispatch center)... City PD showed up, called us, and basically screamed for every available marked car in the county... he got all but 5. 3 town cars, 1 sheriff, and 1 trooper were the only cars that did not respond due to location or being tied up on something. Every time a car arrived, we heard "KEEP EVERYBODY COMING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" until they finally calmed the riot down... well, near riot anyway... 300 people in a college dance who didn't wanna leave, 20-30 of whom got violent and started to brawl...
Anyway, nights went ok. I was having a few snags here and there but was going ok for the most part, my trainer was great, etc...

Thennnn, I went to days. Within a few days of being assigned to B-lines (0800-1600) I felt the beginnings of a slow downward spiral. I was convinced that my trainer was the Devil's red-headed stepchild. (Not really. She is however, one of the most venomous, bitchy, nasty, rude, condescending, unhelpful, monkey wrench-like, abrasive wenches I've ever met.)
No help from her at all. I actually went backwards. In her eyes, everything I had learned before her tutelage was wrong and she had no problem burying her claws in my ass and hissing or screeching in my ear that she thought so. I could not do anything right. And everything I was doing was the same as I had done on the other shifts without problems from anyone, even the picky perfectionists. So here I was, basically relearning the entire job because this witch was on a power trip.

This spiral of apprehension and dread continued up until about a week and a half ago when after one particularly nerve grating day, I snapped. I held it in until she left, just slowly blocking everything else out, trying to get that last 40 minutes out of the way and over with. After she left, I went to leave also, then decided to grow a set of cojones and talk to the supervisor. I called her into the hall and just unloaded everything. Told her what was going on, that I could not take this anymore, that I did not want to fail at this job, but that I couldn't take the wench's badgering anymore. The next day of work I was with the supervisor and everything was peachy keen... for a few days.

I began looking inside of me, objectively at my performance, trying to figure out what went wrong... I felt dumber. I felt more useless and clueless than I did when I first started, except now I also felt like I was sitting there cross-eyed and drooling, and I was feeling very inadequate.

Then, my feelings of inadequacy was confirmed when I was pulled into the office of our new Assistant Director ( A Sgt. with the Sheriff's Office) and informed (fairly and matter-of-factly) that I was behind the curve of where a new dispatcher with my time in so far should be and that my training was being extended a few weeks. I should be just about ready to be cut loose of trainee-hood by now and sent into the insane, confusing, and frustrating world of dispatcherland with no leash. But, I am not ready for that yet, I was told, to which I totally agreed. That conversation got my "Plan B" wheels turning hard.

What to do, what to do....????

I decided yesterday, after a solid week of deep consideration, brainstorming, and trying to work out every angle that this job was not meant for me.

Then I began to think of the last year or so of my life... Giving a year of my life to paramedic training for what? So I could sit behind a radio and send all the other paramedics to jobs and let my skills rot? So that I could say "See, I told you I could do it!" and then neglect everything that I learned? I think not!

So Today, I began the hunt. I stopped by 3 ambulance companies. I was told by 2 that they didn't think that they were hiring but it's always good to have an application on file. I also went to the ambulance Co. where I did my ride time for paramedic class. There, I was told that they "May just be hiring", filled out the app, and left. I was hoping to talk to the bosses, but one was off today and the other was out and about. I did get to say hello to my preceptor and some of the people who were on when I was going my time... hung out and chatted for a few and then left.
I've also heard of 3 other ambulances that are hiring "Within Range" (not too far of a commute).
I could be pretty much gauranteed a job in Syracuse. However, I really don't want to go there. I know a guy (works for QVA and Syracuse) who, when I spoke to him a little while ago about a lead he was looking into some time ago, went into recruit mode, telling me the 43 reasons to go to Syracuse. I'm sorry, but I don't want to work in Syracuse. I will if I have to, but i'd rather not, given a choice.

So here I am, blogging instead of searching the net for opportunities. I'll be signing off of here shortly and starting the search for paramedic employment...

This sucks though... So many doors were opened for this job, I figured this was it...
I've known for a while that this wasn't for me to retire off of though... I knew that within a month of starting my training.

On to Plan B...
Get a paramedic job full time, start working my butt into shape, go back to school for Criminal Justice, try to get into ENCON (NYS Dept of Environmental Conservation Police), then hopefully eventually go to the Ranger School and get into the NYS Forest Rangers.
That's the plan anyway...

Other than yet another job fiasco, life is great.
I have an awesome girlfriend, if I didn't mention it last time... Things are going great. She's pretty down to earth, tomboyish, likes the outdoors almost as much as I do (some of our best dates have been hikes and nature drives...) and to top it off, we can actually hold intelligent conversations with each other. It's great.

Well, time to start looking for job options in the paramedic field.
Be safe!!!


At 6:50 PM, January 15, 2007, Anonymous kingmagic said...

Just found your blog Adam.
I,m a UK Paramedic and I can tell you it is the best job that I have ever done. And the worst at times!
Dont waste your training...spend some time as a para, make that difference to peoples lives and then decide on what you want to do.
I know many people that came into the Ambulance Service intending to stay only for a short time, to find that they could not leave the cameraderie, the experiences, the highs and lows behind.
Take a look at my blog and you,ll find many like minded paras.

All the best....Kingmagic of Purpleplus


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