Career Counseling

From July 1, 2008. Another trip to work at the Cleveland VA Hospital, which had to be one of the most depressing and horrible jobs I had done in my years of traveling IT and Project Management.

Mainly, it was government work. No one seemed to care if anything got done, yet complained mercilessly if something didn't work. A contradiction, for sure. But I had a lot of time to talk to the staff and the patients....


Another Day at a VA.

Days like this frustrate me like no other. An early morning drive to get to a job site to sit around, solve simple issues and basically waste a whole lot of time.

A day of nothing.

It is simply intolerable to me. I feel sucked into this government work mentality… nothing to do? Why do anything? Might as well nap at the desk.

Screw that.

I have too much to do. Unfortunately most of it is at home, in my office. Not here. Not in Cleveland.

I hate clock watching. I hate feeling like I’m trapped and can’t make good use of my time. I hate sitting here thinking about everything that needs to be done, or how much smoother the day would go if only I were in my office helping out where actual work is being done.


No internet, because it’s a VA.

In the interior of the hospital so my cell reception is terrible.

Watching these government workers that OUR TAX DOLLARS are used to pay their salaries spend half of their day doing absolutely nothing and prefer it that way.


The only time I felt of any use today was helping an elderly man who fell out of his wheelchair while I was on the phone in the lobby.

I’m stationed in this cubicle just waiting for something to happen. Anything. One nurse keeps coming in to ask me if starting a career in Healthcare Informatics would be a good idea.

“You have a degree in nursing?” I asked.


“Are you not enjoying nursing?”

“Oh, no! I love it. This is the first time in my life I have a job that I really love!”

She seemed pretty positive about her job...

“Then why do you want to change to Healthcare Informatics?”

“Well, the money.”


I figured as much.

“Is Healthcare Informatics similar to what you do?” she asked.

“Not quite, but HCI could encompass a lot of things. Mostly though, it’s information management. A lot of database management, dealing with HIPAA compliance issues, maybe even loading and setting up desktop PC’s around the hospital.”

“Ok, ok.”

“I’m not a career counselor, but I can say this; finding a job you really love these days is difficult. If you love your job, the enjoyment of doing something you love might be worth a lot more in the long run that making a few extra dollars.”

I don't know, would you rather take care of patients all day or stare at database queries and tables all day? To have a career that pays ok is one thing – to do something that you love is something completely different. If you’re not loving nursing, then go for it! If you’re ok with nursing and you’re one of those people who swear at their computer every time a dialogue box pops up, you might want to stick with nursing.

Do you want to clean poop off of elderly people or get berated by people every time windows blue-screens like you did it to them as a personal vendetta?

One thing is for sure; if she thinks a career in IT means getting paid to sit in front of a computer all day chatting on IM’s and Facebook, she hasn’t looked into it very much. She’s never built a server rack, or worse, a battery back-up rack! She’s never had to squeeze into a crawl space to pull new network lines and get trapped with an active wasp nest. She’s never had to stand in the blast of a room-sized air-conditioning unit for hours while fixing a server in a network center. She’s never faced the horror of a failed back-up routine discovered only after a hard drive dies and takes all of its data with it. She’s never had to deal with the complaints of people who depend on “geeks” to keep their work systems functioning properly despite the ridiculous actions of software companies, constant security threats from the outside world and litany of bureaucratic nonsense IT departments have to deal with.

Sorry if I’m ranting, but the rant is keeping me awake for the moment.

It’s going on 3PM. There’s a show at the history museum down the street. I think I’m going to call it a day, grab my camera and go see it...

One thought on “Career Counseling

  1. I do nursing care, and you’re right – poopy pay, poopy patients, and poopy working conditions – much as I’d love a job with more money, I’d much rather the smile I get from a poorly patient than a big fat wallet. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *