Like many authors, I use real life experiences in my writing. Sometimes bits and pieces of people in my life work their way into the composites of my characters. Okay, more often than not this happens, but can I help it that I’ve met more than my fair share of impressionable people? The impressions aren’t always good ones, but they do make for some great villains in my stories. Hey, there has to be a bad guy or two in order for the story to go forward otherwise you just got a big book of Hello Kitty happy times and that’s just BORING! 🙂
Ideas for story lines can come from just about anywhere including something on the local news. The latest one for me is from my own life and my “evil day job” as a veterinarian. The situation isn’t a unique one. I know many others who have had to deal with “office politics” and end up hating their jobs because of it. I’ve dealt with this sort of thing a lot over the last 20 years, but more so in the last decade. No longer does it mean a damn if you have seniority over the young whippersnappers that came after you—the ones you trained in the job hoping they would become partners and allies in creating a fabulous work environment. What is does mean is that you make less base pay then the “newbies” but are still expected to do all the work and take up the slack for the coworkers who can’t keep up with the pace, even five years later.
So after a decade of switching schedules to help out the same coworkers, covering them when they called off sick repeatedly, coming off lunch breaks early because the same coworkers are “overwhelmed” and need help, covering holidays so the others could be with their families, it’s time that this old broad take a step or two back. The pace is actually killing my health. I have multiple injuries sustained over the years, constant back and knee pain and now a rotator cuff injury. I suffer from debilitating migraines as well. I don’t plan on getting sick, nor do I know when I will wake up one morning unable to walk. It happens and more often when I have to do more than my share for months at a time. Years of conditioning to keep going until the job is done, has left my spirit and my body very broken.
Why stick around in an environment like that? Well, this was my dream profession (besides being a published author of course!). I wanted to be a veterinarian since I was six years old. When you put all that you have into achieving your career goals, you tend to not want to give it up without a fight. There were still more good days than bad and I enjoyed my patients and their owners up until the last few years. Not only has the economy taken it’s toll on everyone, it’s made it very difficult for my clients to take care of their pets the way they want to and harder and harder for me to accept I can’t save everything that walks through the doors. Above all else, I can’t keep seeing 2/3 of what walks in the doors while a few of my coworkers sit back and let me do it.
Why should I have to ask people I’ve worked with for five or more years to get up off their butts and exert a little effort instead of perusing the Internet? Why should I juggle three patients at once and still be willing to say yes to one more because another doctor doesn’t want “to start on another case that may be too long to handle this close” to her lunch break? Why should I see the next client who had been waiting over an hour because the rest of the doctors were mysteriously unavailable or “too busy” with Goddess knows what to put the client first? I have no problem seeing more patients than the rest of them, but when it’s EXPECTED of me to do it every single shift, it tends to wear me down. When I do ask for help or say I’m overwhelmed, I am made to feel like I’m imposing on them.
Here’s where the ideas for a nemesis or two for the books I’m working on now. My heroines tend to be just like me. They work their fingers to the bone to make their dreams come true. If that means long hours and little time off, that’s what they do. Of course, they too work with a choice few who do as little as possible to get by and then reap all the rewards in the end. Two of my heroines will be faced with career and life changes because of gut-wrenching betrayals in their lives. I can write about these betrayals with ease since I’ve been dealt a few horrific ones over the last few days.
Yesterday I found out that some coworkers who I thought were my friends, have been bad-mouthing me and telling my bosses that they don’t feel I have their backs.
I haven’t felt they have had my back for the last five years, but I still kept going with it and kept silent. Since I’m considered “a core” member of the work place, I’m held to a higher standard than the rest of them. I can’t get sick because then it would mean the others actually have to do the job they’re being paid MORE THAN me to do. I don’t have the right to request a different schedule now that my life has changed with marrying a man in the military. I don’t have the right to request they honor their promises to me that I would be able to have the schedule I want once we have more doctors. We now have TOO MANY veterinarians on staff and that’s a whole other can of worms I don’t want to go into here.
My characters and I have all kept quiet and taken one for the team for far too long. No more. The shit is going to hit the fan and lucky for my current coworkers, it’s only going to be played out in my books for now. My ultimate “revenge” is the day I walk out that door forever. That is when all of them will realize they will actually have to work for their paychecks. At this point the retirement date is Summer 2014, but that could change at any moment. Just like with my characters, we won’t know what happens until we turn the page…
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