Site Meter Vamps and Scamps: Job Myths

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Job Myths

Yesterday a woman called me to ask about publishing . She had written a book. She only wanted to publish the one book, had no desire to make a career out of it. Someone at the license plate tax office had given her my phone number. I did the best I could, but she didn't write romance. Plus, she thought all she had to do was contact a publisher and wanted to know the name of mine. No, I didn't laugh. She was very sincere. I hope I enlightened her about the world of publishing as I know it.

That got me to thinking about jobs that I know nothing about. How many people roll their eyes when I ask a stupid question concerning their work?

My husband is a licensed paramedic. That's the highest level that you can go in his field. It starts with ECA, then EMT. EMT-Intermediate, Paramedic and last, licensed paramedic. To be licensed you need so many college hours. To recertify he needs 96 hours in 4 years. They run EKG's, give drugs, intubate, start IV's (as an EMT-I, I once started an IV going over railroad tracks and I nailed that sucker!).

Karl and I have been caught in a flash flood, been to shootings and hostage situations. He once had a gun pulled on him. We've gone to wrecks when there was a tornado spotted in the area and stood on the highway with lightning all around us as we tried to free someone from the tangled mass of metal. We've attempted to breathe life back into babies and held crying newborns in our arms. Karl has repelled over the side of a bridge into freezing water to get to a carload of GI's before they drowned.

The pay sucks. The hours suck. And invariably when you load someone into an ambulance a family member will ask if there will be someone riding in the back with their sick relative. Even though you want to tell them: No, ma'am, we're both going to be in the front. We just thought we'd turn the lights and sirens on and haul ass to the hospital. But instead, we just smile and say: Yes, ma'm. Someone will be with him all the time---because they don't know.

So, is there anything about your job that you want to vent about or inform us that other people get totally wrong? And since this is such a long post and if you've managed to get this far, I'll be giving away a book from my backlist and some Texas Bad Boys Goodies (Sept. release). Not the book but some promo stuff.

Karen Kelley
09/06 Texas Bad Boys/Brava


Jennifer Y. said...

I am sadly unemployed so I can't vent....although job searches stink and I could vent for days on those (can't get hired without experience, can't get experience without getting hired...grrr).

I can vent/inform people about my dad's job though...he is a pipefitter/welder and most people don't know what that involves (heck, I didn't and he has done it my entire life...LOL). He welds and lays pipes for different buildings for their a/c, heating, water, etc. He works very hard and sometimes has worked overnight and out of town. One of his most recent jobs was the new Georgia Aquarium. He was one of the MANY workers that helped build that place and lay the pipe for the different tanks. He periodically has to take a welding test to make sure he is still certified/capable of welding the different types of welds (I didn't know there were different types). The work is hard, sometimes dirty, and backbreaking (pipes aren't always light) and hours can be long if on a deadline. I am very proud of my dad and the hardwork he has done for my family.

Dannyfiredragon said...

I am currently also unemployed and I can only second Jennifer's comment hat job search stinks.

But I have also vent about my dad's. He is a firefighter and normally he should have been promoted this year, but here in Germany you won't be promoted if you are good in job, but when you have really good connection.

Jodi said...

Wow, Karen, I am in awe over the situations that you and your hubby have faced. I know they exist everyday, but to have someone tell it to you really puts it into perspective.
I work in the real estate field and it's amazing that sellers want to earn outrageous prices for their house, but when they go to buy a new one, they think they are getting ripped off in the price.
I could vent about my Dad's job too. He works for the electric company here and it truly is a thankless job. He is on call every other week to fix any problems that may arise. A couple of months ago, we had some serious problems and the "guys" were out working for up to 48 hours at a time! But because the town was without electricity, they were being threatened, had rocks thrown at them, they were yelled at, etc. It was sad and terrifying knowing that my dad was out there trying to get the electricity on, but still had to fear that some crazy was going to do something else!
Wow, I think that's the longest I've ever posted!

Cryna said...

I have not been working now for over 3 years.

I can remember when I was an Admin Secretary there were lots of times when I would think are these people for real. But if you want some real questions that make you want to say "Here's Your Sign" is when I was working retail. You can be wearing the store badge, doing price changes, changing selves and people will come up to you and say "Do you work here ?" You feel like saying no I just come in to mess around with the shelves do you think anyone will notice.

Karen said...

My job rant isn't industry specific really... it's just common manners.

My husband and I run several businesses, all home based. Which means lots of phone calls, and phone messages. I grit my teeth every time I have to sit down and pull off 30 minutes worth of messages, because I know there is about 3 minutes worth of actual information in there.

If a message clearly says leave your name, number, time you called, and a brief message... that's really all they want! Not your life story, how you got this phone number, who your sister's husband's cousin's best friend's daughter's next door neighbor heard the ad. Not how you hate leaving messages and so you will call back later (!). And not a million other variations on why your situation requires a three minute explanation, that ends in "I guess I really need to talk to you in person... can you call me back?". And no phone number.

Aren't you glad you asked? >G<

knoxvilleromancereader said...

When I worked as a dispatcher for hwy patrol, I would love it when people called in from other states asking if I knew what the roads would be like next week/tomorrow/this afternoon etc etc. You don't know how many times I would have loved to say they are long and windy with a yellow line down the middle. People calling in wanting legal advise when I've not been trained to give it and they get furious at you for not telling them what they want to know. There are other things I could vent about but I will stop at that LOL!

Karen Kelley said...

Jenifer, I didn't know there were different kinds of welding. Learn something every day.

And I can understand both you and Danny's frustration on finding a job. You're both so nice that I bet the right job will find you!

My hubby has been a volunteer firefighter for over 20 years. Very hazardous. Unfortunately there are higher ups like that in our world and it sucks!

Jodi, I think it would be so much fun looking at houses, seeing the different decorating techniques BUT the paperwork and getting established would be a bitch!

I met someone who was just starting out once and I didn't realize it's commision work---duh! No wonder so many of you work long hours. My hat goes off to you!

And your poor father! I didn't realize his job would be that dangerous!

canada, Okay, now that was funny! I almost spit soda on my computer!

I think someone should write a book about the gripes in the workforce. Tell it like it really is!

Karen Kelley said...

Other Karen, No, I really would like to know >G< and I never would've thought how many messages a small business would get or how it ties the owner up. You've opened my eyes.

Hey Knoxville, I've worked around cops a lot, hung out at the sheriff's office with Karl (hubby) when we worked ambulance together. Some of my friends have been dispatchers so I know a lot of wild stories! LOL

Barb V. said...

I no longer work -- serious burn out. I did payroll and Medicare billing for a County Public Health Service for almost 27 years. I loved doing payroll, but the M/C stuff was a nightmare. You had to deal with irate clients who were rabid when informed that M/C would no longer pay for services. Some of them went nuts -- you would get the whole rant about how they paid taxes and they deserves this service, etc. Of course there was a very definite set of criteria for who was covered and for how long, and it had to be strictly followed. And then it was a problem getting M/C to actually pay some of the claims. Think Katrina bureaucracy. There were the usual office politics too. I was so thankful when I was able to leave, which was four years ago. I told DH I will never step foot in that place again. And here is the best part: My old boss called me last week and asked if I would like to come in and work all summer doing a PCAP (prenatal care assistance program) audit. I was soooo pleased to be able to very graciously say thanks, but no thanks. HA!!

Stacy~ said...

Interesting topic Karen!

I don't save lives or risk my own -I work with the public as a loan officer. The things that amaze me are are someone who walks in off the street expects to get a $30,000 car loan without proof of income, etc. It's amazing the way people think LOL.

But my issue is more with common courtesy. Part of my job entails working up at the teller station, and it annoys me when people come in talking on their cell phones. Not only is it rude(!) and disruptive, but if you have a question for them, it's very difficult to get their attention. Sorry, but I need to see an I.D. before I cut you a check for $50,000. The other thing is when people don't have the paperwork filled out and think it's okay to hold up the line and fill it out in front of me - uh uh. Why should those who are prepared have to suffer?

Mostly people don't understand the importance of having good credit. I'm not talking about those unfortunate circumstances where someone might have gotten sick and was unable to pay due to an illness. I'm referring to the ones that max out their credit cards, are late or have defaulted on multiple accounts, and don't understand why we can't grant them another unsecured loan. Hmmm....

Of course it's not all bad. One of the best feelings in the world is to be able to grant someone their very first car loan - because they worked hard to get approved. Or working on a problem and making a bad situation turn into a fixable one. Repeat business is also very rewarding - I love dealing with people I know and helping them reach their goals, whether it's to own a house or open up an account for their 6-month old baby. Those make the bad things worthwhile....

Michelle B said...

Very interesting topic Karen! When I used to tell people I worked for Verizon (or GTE before the merger), they used to go on a rant about their cell phones. What they didn't realize is that I know very little about that side of the business. I worked primarily in the local phone and DSL sections of the company.

I did have some interesting experiences in the brief time I worked as a supervisor in the repair call center in Texas. We had one guy pull a gun on his neighbor when he thought the neighbor had stolen his phone service. This was while he was on the phone with someone in the center! Then we had one guy threaten to chop down all the telephone poles in his area if we didn't come fix his service *right now* (which was a Friday evening, of course).

I could go on, but I think that's enough for now LOL. That and I'm falling asleep. I'm sure I'll have more stories once I begin teaching:)

bamabelle said...

Hi Karen!

I have so much respect for paramedics, as they put themselves out there everyday to save lives. I am a registered nurse, and I always find it humorous when patients seem to think the hospital is an upscale hotel. I do not mind going the extra mile within reason. I became a nurse because I like to nurture, but even I have my limits. Once when we were doing a code, a patient's husband stormed into the room. He said "My wife might enjoy her breakfast if it were hot, and I would have this taken care of NOW!" All I could think was that our patient that was being defibrillated would probably enjoy breathing and a pulse Now as well lol!

Currently, I am staying home taking care of my Grandmother who has Alzheimer's Disease. Between her care, my two children, and husband I stay busy (to say the least. There are many things I miss about work, but some things I don't as well lol.

Laurie D. said...

I am extremely frustrated by people who call my office and want me to give them free legal advice. They aren't happy when I tell them that I'm a legal assistant, *not* an attorney and I cannot practice law. My name's not on the door, fella, I can't help you - you'll have to pay for that.

Or the people who return calls to every number on their caller ID - wondering if someone from this office called them. Excuse me, but there are 9 people in this office, and I have no clue who each of them is calling. I try to tell them that if they didn't leave a message there's a good chance it was a wrong number. Geez, get a life.

Amy S. said...

I am unemployed.

Karen Kelley said...

Barb V, I used to do some medicare billing stuff, You're right. It's a nightmare!

Stacy, I would say you do risk your life! LOL I wouldn't want to be the one who tells someone they can't have a loan! You're also right about the need for good credit.

Michelle B, I know where you're coming from. There are a lot of crazies in this world. Sad but true.

bamabelle, I was a nurse (LVN) before I got published. I still am, but I rarely work at the hospital any more. I'm lucky in that it was a very small hospital. Most days we'd only have 4 patients each. We did total patient care and shared an aid so it was pretty easy most of the time. The patients got a lot of one on one and since this is a small town we knew most everyone. Very laid back. Not at all like the big hospitals.

Laurie d, But you're supposed to have ESP! LOL

Amy, I hope something comes along soon!

Karen Kelley said...

In my very scientific way (I drew a number from a cup) the winner of a copy from my backlist is~~~drun roll~~~ Michelle B! Yea! Confetti going everywhere!!!! My available backlist includes:
Southern Comfort
Southern Exposure
Bad Boys With Expensive Toys
Temperature's Rising

If you can tell me which one you want and e-mail me your address ( I'll be able to mail it off in the morning.
Thanks for playing!

Judy F said...

congrats Michelle B..

I can Id with a bunch of the rants on here.

I work in a billing office for an orthopedic surgeons and PT. You be amazed at the clueless people or the poor phone skills. I had one lady mumble her first name and just said call me. No phone number, no account number and no spelling of the last name. grrrr
or the people that call and don't understand that once the insurance denies it is their job to contact the insurance company if they have a problem with something with THEIR insurance company.

Canada I get that all the time since I work part time in a bookstore. I feel like saying I wear this lovely apron cause I look so hot in it... Or the people think we know every book in the store. Or ask I am looking for a book by Nora Roberts its a trilogy and its about a family can you help me? Well that narrows it down dear. LOL

Michelle B said...

Woo hoo! Thanks Karen:) And thanks for the congrats Judy!

susanna in alabama said...

I learned early that some people are evil. When I was a teenager, my dad owned a monument company (i.e. sold tombstones) and I worked there a few summers. One day I sold a double stone to two ladies for their parents. Later I learned that their brother had bought the exact same stone for their parents recently. Because they were angry at him over something, they didn't want to be one-upped by him and thus bought the exact same stone for the same parents. The brother wasn't evil; he canceled his order and let them have their way. Another lady bought a stone for her husband, who had been buried when she was too ill to attend the burial. She wanted him buried on top of a hill, their grown kids wanted him buried at the bottom of the hill (cemetery in both places), so since she was not there, they had him buried where they wanted him and then disturbed the ground where she wanted him so she would think he was there. They even moved the funeral home's metal marker. Then they allowed her to buy and have a stone installed where she thought her husband was buried. That is evil.

People rarely know what I do - I've been a legislative city council aide, an adjunct professor and a grant writer/manager. I just usually say "I write" or "I teach". My mother worked for 30 years as a teacher, and recently someone said to her that teaching was a "part time" job. She nearly lost it.

Canadianfriend, I feel your pain about people asking if you're a clerk, but I confess that I often straighten clothes or put them back on hangers when I'm in a store just shopping. Which is odd, because I'm not very good at keeping my own clothes neat at home. I guess my own house has already passed the point of crazy-lady-cluttery :D.

And I join the rest of you in admiring paramedics, firefighters and police officers. Awesome, hardworking and (usually) underpaid people.