Thursday, January 16, 2014

What a good job looks like in a wacked-up world.

My hand was hurting at work on Wednesday. I was talking to my assistants about it and they said, "Why don't you go to one of the doctors?" I never thought of it. I've had such shitty health insurance for so long, my method was just to wait it out. All of it. And try to home remedy everything. I think this is how most of the world lives. I have never gone without health insurance but I have not had anything that was good enough for me to go in and see someone (unless it was really bad).

So now I have six weeks vacation plus paid holidays. Actual sick leave. Health & dental insurance, disability, 401k, retirement. Insurance for my "domestic partner". Malpractice. Paid maternity leave. I could go on.

Simply, I have not had a good job since I left Kaiser, nor prior to working there. I think perhaps there are good jobs out there, but they are scarce these days in any field. Except maybe a few. I forgot how nice it was to have benefits.

Part of this makes me feel bad. I'm part of the "haves" for now. I have good pay and I have a lot of other good perks. I have enough pay to not have the other perks, yet plenty of people are scrimping by on crappy pay and then poor health insurance. It seems unfair. If you have a lot, you get more favors.

I realize I worked hard and went through many years of school. I took interesting jobs not for the pay but for the experience. I have been fortunate to come upon opportunities and have the ability to take them. So many things seem to just be by happenstance.

Today I had coffee with a work colleague. She's actually a new doctor for Kaiser. Graduated eight years after me, with over 200K in loans. How does a person make that work? I can't stop thinking about it since we talked. It's a mortgage payment in itself. What are we doing with our education system? I don't know. I'm just glad I went through school when I did, and that I have been lucky enough to have employment through all the skirmishes in the economy. I'm thankful not to be in my twenties just entering this crappy mess of a job market. Not that I trust that I have nothing to worry about. But I will be happy for now, day by day. If all else fails, we'll live in a van. :)

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