Well, I've been at my job for a few months now. It's the 1st job since I've graduated and gotten my medic license. There's some things that I like and some things that I really don't like about this job.
Things I Like:
My company provides inter-facility transport services. This means we take sick people from one hospital to the next. My specific job as a paramedic is primarily to transport patients who need cardiac catheterization or bypass surgery to the specialty hospital for that procedure. This means that many of my patients are very sick and require a lot of complicated machinery and drugs to keep their hearts alive. This usually turns out to be clinically challenging and interesting.
She is a 5 foot, 2 inch, 104 lb woman I shall refer to as "Bulldog." She's smart, thorough, and very keen on patient care and being an advocate for her patients. She's an EMT-B and her role in our medic unit is to drive and assist me as needed. She's awesome at both. She laughs at my jokes, doesn't mind the music I like to listen to and she let's me eat french fries off her plate. Awesome!
I work two 12-hour days followed by two 12-hour nights followed by four days off. It's pretty sweet. Here's an example: Monday: 7am to 7pm, Tuesday: 7am to 7pm, Wednesday: 7pm to 7am, Thursday: 7pm to 7am, off for the remainder of Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Back to work at 7am on Tuesday to repeat the process.
It varies quite a bit. Since Bulldog and I are often released into he wild with a big ambulance and a full tank of fuel, some days I have time to go shopping, sit in the park and read, run errands and more. Other days we're so busy that by the time I take a break, it's an hour past quitting time. The variety is what I like the most.
Things I Don't Like:
I'll never get paid what I want to ($1,000 per hour with unlimited vacation) but at least I hope to get paid what I'm worth. Currently I'm earning about 10-15 percent less than other paramedics with my experience and training. Pah! Furthermore, there has been mistakes (not enough money for the hours I worked, not paid overtime for overtime hours, etc.) on about 75% of my paychecks since starting there.
The office looks like crap, the human resources department is slow and backwards and the management enforces policy on a basis of convenience. Management tells us that they don't have the funding for raises but the company bought a new BMW and a new Jaguar for the top 2 managers at the office. I also referred a friend to work here. At the time the company had a policy to pay a $250 bonus to anyone who refers a new employee. I referred someone who has been working here for 4 months. Each time I ask for my bonus, I get another excuse.
We have shift supervisors, fleet managers, HR managers and call center supervisors. At any one given time there may be 2- 10 members of management around the office.
The other day, I walked into the office to find the shift supervisor and the fleet manager asking Bulldog whether she's had sex with me or not and how many employees she's given oral sex to. A classic example of inappropriate behavior, if not sexual harassment. Everyone was smiling like they were joking but I could see that Bulldog was not amused. Later, when I asked her about it, she said she's complained before, even in writing. The only outcome of her complaints was dark looks from the manager she complained about and a move to a different shift.
Just a few weeks ago, I was gathering my gear and paperwork for another shift. The shift supervisor was in the room along with several other employees. One of the more annoying and incompetent employees, Bullet-head, was showing off pictures on her mobile phone. She was going around, shoving her phone into people's faces and then laughing. She did the same to me. It was a picture of a quadruple amputee having sex. Then a cartoon of a man masturbating at people. I ask Bullet-head what she would do if I found those pictures offensive.
"It's just a joke!" She says.
The shift supervisor looks on and does nothing. Awesome work atmosphere!
So yeah, my job stinks. Often I'm the only one who comes in to work in uniform: Boots black, clean clothes, shirt tucked in and cleanly shaven. I also don't trust the company at all. They don't enforce the uniform policy, the sexual harassment policy, driving safety policy and more. There are people driving company ambulances who were convicted of driving while intoxicated 6 months ago!
In my job, I handle narcotics. They are regulated by the state EMS board and by the Drug Enforcement Agency. If the management is so lax in enforcing the simple policies, how diligent will they be about the drug management policies? If there's a mistake, my ass goes into the grinder too!
So, I'm looking for another job. I've got 3 prospects right now:
A 911 response agency that employs chase-car paramedics in a mostly rural and farm area. Good pay and a 24-on 72-off schedule (sweet!).
A full-time position at my alma mater that's on annual contract.
A 911 response position at a retirement community. A small response area but the same schedule and similar pay to the other 911 job.
Unfortunately each of these potential employers are diligent and careful. The process of hiring will take a while as they will actually check my references, conduct a background check and consider my eligibility carefully. I guess that makes them that much more attractive. At my current employer, there are several persons working who have been convicted of drug possession, domestic violence and robbery (State court records are available online!). I'm sure there wasn't much diligence there.
The upshot of all of this is that I really love working as a paramedic. I just need to find a better place to do it.
I'll keep you posted of the developments as they come. I've got another post coming up where I do something extremely rare in transport-ambulance service:
I saved someone's life.
More to come...