Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Back on the Job, Thoughts on Employment

I am currently at my place of employment, protecting a remote industrial site from the ravages of crime, terrorism and disease. In other words, not doing much at all.

I am employed in a dual role as a security officer and paramedic for Doyon Universal Services, a Native Corporation that is actually a very good employer. I am paid a reasonable wage for my field, enjoy nice accommodations while at my place of employment, and enjoy the benefits of a very safety conscious company. My supervisors trust me and trust my judgment, so I don't feel that I'm micromanaged to death. My primary role is to be available to respond to emergenices, and emergencies are rare at this facility. Thus my job offers lots of "down time" in which I can pursue many of my own interests.

My only real complaint is that more than half my life is spent on the job, away from home and away from my preferred lifestyle. That particular complaint is becoming more and more of a vexation to me, and there is little I can do to change it except perhaps seek a change in occupation.

The job market for old paramedics in Alaska is very limited. Most paramedics in this state are employed by fire departments and are limited to established members of the Good Ole Boy Network. The majority of EMS units in Alaska are staffed by volunteers, and most offer a level of care that is, well, let's just say it is less than optimal. There are a couple of air ambulance outfits that pay poorly and treat their employees worse, and the remaining option is the oil patch. That's where I'm at and probably where I'm destined to remain.

On the positive side, though, I was able to do something very nice for someone today. I ordered a Valentine's Day gift for a lady I love very much, one that is very practical and needed, that she can not afford herself. That was very much a bright spot in my day, and something I would not have been able to do were I not gainfully employed.

Though my job forces me to miss many social events, those I am able to attend are all the more precious because of their rarity.

One of the requirements of my job is that I spend at least 40 hours each quarter doing a clinical rotation at a busy ambulance service or hospital emergency room Outside. I am able to do my rotations at my lady-friends home town, so that means our long distance relationship is largely funded by my employer, rather than entirely out of my pocket. It also results in a significant number of frequent flier miles I can use to bring her up here to visit.

When everything is considered I suppose the blessings far outweigh the curses. A full-time, year-round, money-making job is pretty rare in Alaska, and I am lucky enough to have one of those. Perhaps I should quit complaining, relax, and enjoy the benefits.


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